Is it just because this is a slow news cycle?
Pluto is custom-made ideavirus material. Why?
- Because all of us know enough about the topic to think our opinion is valid.
- Because we grew up with it.
- Because science is mysterious to the average person, but planets, it seems to us, are not.
- Because it’s simultaneously controversial and safe–no one will be offended regardless of your stance on the Plutonians and their planet.
- Because there’s just enough background information that it’s more than a sentence or two.
- Because no one is trying to make a buck off it.
It’s interesting to note that you couldn’t (and shouldn’t) try to make any money from this. Once again, there’s a difference between getting people’s attention (the cover of Newsweek, for example) and getting their money.
My humble contribution: instead of demoting Pluto, they ought to promote a whole bunch of smaller planettes. And they should sell the naming rights to various marketers (Goofy being the first easy sale) and use the millions they would earn to fund actual science education on a planet desperately in need of it. If it’s okay to sponsor the US Open, why isn’t it okay to sponsor UB313? I’m also selling the naming rights to my car.
UPDATE: Jay Porter bought the naming rights to my Prius in exchange for a donation to his favorite charity. Thanks, Jay. The Jay Porter Prius is now averaging 48 mpg, fyi. No word yet on what’s going on with UB313.