AGAINST ASTRONOMIC NITPICKING.

AGAINST ASTRONOMIC NITPICKING. The Pluto wars seem to have finally come to a conclusion as astronomers decide it's not a planet after all under their new definition of planet. The Associated Press reports: "The new definition of what is -- and isn't -- a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one."

I think this is silly. If astronomy has been proceeding since Copernicus without a rigorous definition of "planet" -- which is certainly my understanding -- then obviously the world doesn't need a rigorous definition. It's just a folk-cultural term and it denotes nine entities, one of which is Pluto. There's no need for a bunch of busybody astronomers to make trouble for everyone else.

--Matthew Yglesias

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