It's official…

By Julianne Dalcanton | July 3, 2007 1:00 am

When you’ve been kicked off the Solar System puzzle, you’re not a planet anymore.


Maybe Bush can give Pluto a pardon?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Miscellany, Science and Society
  • Analyzer

    What can we learn from this image?

    1. There is an enormous hurricane over Newfoundland. It has already completely annihilated Europe, which no longer exists.

    2. All the planets can be seen simultaneously and in vivid, colorful detail from lunar orbit. They are all much larger, or much closer to the Moon, than previously thought.

    3. The Sun is much larger, or much closer to the Moon, than previously thought.

    4. The rings of Neptune are much brighter than previously thought.

    5. Giant nebulae are rapidly approaching the Solar System.

    6. A spiral galaxy is rapidly approaching the Solar System.

    7. The asteroid belt is made of delicious morsels of peanut butter and forms a nice bridge from the Moon to the Sun.

  • ropata

    Isn’t Pluto the light blue dot to the upper left of Neptune?
    But I don’t want know what those brownish objects are, orbiting Uranus :)

  • kapakapa

    When the judicial system is kicked around at whim, you are not a democracy anymore.

    ‘Maybe Bush can give Pluto a pardon?’ – or conversely Plutonize B.

  • A
  • Chad Orzel

    Maybe Bush can give Pluto a pardon?

    Ask and ye shall recieve.

  • kb

    Except all you smart people don’t even realize Bush did not pardon Libby. He just cut his jail sentence short.

    I know it’s hard to understand this when you have an ax to grind, but there is a difference. He’s still guilty, and responsible for the remainder of his court imposed punishment, he’s just not going to be in jail any more.

    Luckily for those of you who would use this as a political rallying point, the American public is basically too ignorant to tell the difference either. They’ll believe you every time you bring up a “pardon” joke about Bush.

  • Van

    Bush didn’t just cut Libby’s jail sentence short, he cut it completely. As for the fine that Libby is supposed to pay, as has been pointed out by others, he will not pay a dime as his neocon friends will pick up the tab. I have no doubt that there will be a pardon the day before Bush leaves office.

  • TimG

    kb wrote: “Except all you smart people don’t even realize Bush did not pardon Libby. He just cut his jail sentence short [. . . .] he’s just not going to be in jail any more.” (emphasis added)

    First, no one here actually said Libby was pardoned (although the reference was obvious). Second, if you’re going to criticize someone’s factual accuracy, you should get your own facts straight. Libby served no jail time.

    from (
    “Earlier Monday, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that Libby could not delay serving his sentence, which would have put Libby just weeks away from surrendering to a prison.” (emphasis added)

  • Joseph Smidt

    Oh no! Not the puzzle too. AHHHH!!!

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  • tyler

    I hope the ops delete all the off-topic political spam comments. How rude!

    It’s true that this puzzle presents a comically fanciful view of the Solar System, but the Melissa & Doug floor puzzles are intended for toddlers. My 3 year old son has this very puzzle and loves it; he is quite interested in space and the planets in particular, and playing with this gives us another opportunity to talk about the subject. Kids at this age are not big on high-concept understanding, it’s what I call the “factoid” stage of learning. So, he can read and spell the names of some of the planets and will have the rest down soon, and for each one he knows three to five choice factoids. Such as “Jupiter is the biggest, is cloudy and has the big spot. Mars is red and dusty and we send space ships there, you could visit it if you wear a space suit, but it would take a long time to get there. Mercury and Venus are too hot, you couldn’t go there even with a space suit. Asteroids are rocks, but comets are dirt and ice.” etc.

    I do throw in some warnings about the many less than perfectly accurate bits. “They’re not really that close together, you know.”

    We haven’t broken the news to him about Pluto yet. When the time comes I am going to frame it as adding *new* “little” planets – Hail Eris! – because he is quite fond of li’l ole Pluto. It’s the smallest, you know, and very cold, and far away. ;o)

    We also spend time with other sources of more accurate info, such as the very beautiful introductory reference book “Universe”, which is full of excellent modern astrophotography, and a highly recommended gift for older kids with an interest in space. In fact he knows the images well enough that he was able to point out an error in another kids’ space book, in which the coloring of Neptune and Uranus was reversed – “Neptune’s not green! That’s wrong!” – great stuff.

  • Alex R

    I was talking to a teacher at my son’s preschool the other day, and she was lamenting the fact that they had had to excise the “Pluto” section of their solar system songs… snif, snif…

  • Tom Allen

    About Eris’s satellite; isn’t “Dysnomia” the condition of having a bad name?

  • Archer

    “isn’t “Dysnomia” the condition of having a bad name?”

    No, it means Lawless. As in the warrior princess:

  • Tom Allen

    Damn! That’s subtle. Not the first time I’ve been way off with a literal interpretation.

  • Nigel

    Actually, dysnomia is a neurological condition where you can’t remember names (seems quite appropriate really, for the moon of something that isn’t a planet).

    Also, Mr. Bush is surely quite right to commute Scooter Libby’s sentence. He must know that it is Cheney (and/or Rove) who actually deserves to go to jail.

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  • Charlie Petit

    I say guilty, guilty, guilty, and neither pardons nor commutations are in order … for Mr. Pluto — a minor planet which means not a planet at all, unlike minor felonies which are still felonies and have nothing to do with the topic. This floor puzzle and Pluto’s new (and yet contingent still) status aren’t exactly a paradigm shift, you know.

    I like the puzzle. It won’t warp anybody’s budding cosmology. I have five grandkids, age 3 to 6, and they all like to look at an old, random NASA poster in my home office. It’s called Origins and is pretty goofy too. It shows a bright spiky dot labeled Big Bang, and next to that is the Eagle Nebula pillars of creation pic and another of Eta Carinae, leading to blobby contracting cloud things and then a protostar and thence a big greenish gas giant and an earthlike sphere, all orbited by ball and stick organic molecules culminating in a cloud of DNA apparently debouching from the Earthy orb …well,you get the drift. Oh, yeah, it has arrows all over it. Such scale-impaired images are just graphic lists with zoomy picto-words. Kids like’em. Such imagery sends their busy little minds racing down wonderful avenues.


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