Written by David Grant
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Friday, 23 November 2012

image for The Term "Dwarf Planet" Deemed Offensive
New Name is Small Comfort

Planetary astronomers are treading carefully after being labeled as planetists for using the term Dwarf Planet. The Technical Words Institute of Technology and Science, or T.W.I.T.S. for short, are protesting the derogatory nature of this astronomical term.

Bemused astronomers claim that a body that has become an ellipsoid under its own gravity, but has not yet cleared its neighborhood of rival material cannot just be called a planet.

Ian Finnity, Professor of Planetary Bodies, asked, "What do we call it then? When I suggested to this institute that we could call it a Midget Planet, they became extremely angry. They thought that Midget was worse even though it was technically more accurate because a Midget is in proportion whereas a Dwarf isn't."

Astronomers are toying with several different names. The candidates are: Small Solar System Bodies, Little Planets, Equatorially Challenged Planets, and Spatially Minimized Planets.

When I asked T.W.I.T.S. whom the term Dwarf Planet is actually offending, a spokesperson replied, "It doesn't matter, we must class a term as offensive before a victim of this term appears, otherwise we have failed in our work."

I could only assume that some future inhabitants of a Dwarf Planet might end up mentally traumatized by being labeled such.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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