September 14, 2006

Shouldn't the companion be named Norton?

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at September 14, 2006 9:31 PM

Via Dynamics of Cats, the "dwarf planet" whose discovery led to Pluto's demotion has been named Eris, losing its previous informal name of Xena. Steinn responds with an appropriate "Hail Eris!", but then wonders if dwarf planets should have dwarf names.

As a sometime-admirer of the Goddess (one of the patron deities of Kaos Alley), I am pleased to see her recognized here, even if it is a dinky little dwarf planet. (At least it has an appropriately eccentric orbit.) In her honor, I suggest going bowling, eating hotdogs (especially tomorrow), or generally doing something chaotic. Initiates can go here, and click randomly in the table of contents.

Via Pharyngula, the Bad Astronomy blog finds a wingnut who thinks that this naming choice is... a vicious liberal attack on George W. Bush. His argument is based on the fact that the Caltech is in California and therefore must be a major liberal enclave. I would like to propose a slightly more plausible theory, in which the game Illuminati is an accurate representation of world affairs, and the Discordian Society has just added the IAU to their power structure.

Tags: Caltech, Randomness, Religion, Science

Caltech is actually among the most liberal schools out there (at least in the US), although that has nothing to do with this particular "logical" leap.

I prefer the name "Xena." Warrior (dwarf) planet!

Or if we're going to name it after dwarves, it might as well be called "Flint."

Also, it's worth mentioning that Kaos isn't the only alley in Lloyd that has patron dieties. Valhalla, for example, has Loki... :)

Posted by: Mason | September 15, 2006 12:36 AM

I'd have preferred Xena also, but Eris is fine. Note that the moon (ex-Gabrielle) is named for the god of Lawlessness, so there's still a subtle Xena connection there.

Dwarves could be cool, though Steinn goes in an all too obvious direction. There are more interesting sources of Dwarf names - a dwarf planet named Gimli or Cheery Littlebottom would be much cooler than obscure Scandinavian references.

I like the Illuminati explanation! :-)

The logic that Caltech must be liberal is quite correct (research university alone is enough for that; being in California is just gravy), but going from that to reading anything into Eris's name is bonkers. Mason, why do you say this is one of the most liberal schools? I consider it to be just about what one would expect, nothing special in terms of political culture. If anything I'd figure it would be a wee bit less liberal than similar schools, since it's so freakin' expensive (so rich privileged smart kids will tend to be overrepresented). The extreme outliers for liberalism would be UCSC and Berkeley, of course. :-)

AG, do you think there's enough content to justify an astro sub-tag under science?

Posted by: Justin | September 18, 2006 12:25 PM

I always had the sense that Caltech was less liberal (also less political) than similar schools; this is partly because I just happen to know a bunch of conservative Techers. Also partly because my major point of comparison is Berkeley. :)

I was thinking myself an astro tag is probably called for at this point, but I've been lazy about tag creation.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | September 18, 2006 1:33 PM
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