mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Brief Personal Update, With Cows and Pluto

Looking back at my journal over the last few weeks, I see that CowParade and the controversy over Pluto's status have been dominating my life. Yesterday gnomi and I actually had a convergence of the two.

Planets first. Yesterday, as anyone reading my blog would know, the IAU voted to demote Pluto to a "dwarf planet." Normally, I'd be blogging about this sort of thing in more detail, but since I set up savepluto that's where most of that blogging is happening. For those of you who are wondering, yes, we are serious about the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet, but as I noted in savepluto last night, we expected that everything would end with the vote. Instead, after the vote finished, we started to receive more emails of support than we had before, and requests for media interviews. We were also asked if we would be selling merchandise to support Pluto.

I have no idea if any of the media interviews will really lead to anything, but in the meantime, Nomi set up a Cafe Press store called Planet Pluto. If anyone wants to buy a T-shirt or a mug with our official logo, you can do so there. I'm getting a mug for myself.

As for how the IAU vote will affect things at work, saxikath talks about that a bit under Miscellany. The upshot is that no, textbook companies aren't about to make a ton of money from updating our books. But on a personal level, I have to admit that this is the sort of thing that makes my job more fun. We get to play with the textbooks and make some interesting edits. As saxikath says. this is a "teachable moment" for science educators everywhere.

Now to the cows. Earlier this week, Nomi and I photographed the last three CowParade cows that we were missing, so we now have visited, seen, and photographed all 117 official cows plus the one stealth cow designed by Nan Freeman in front of the Bank of America building. Yesterday was the book launch for CowParade Boston: The Cows Have Landed at the Borders in Downtown Crossing, and Nomi and I went during lunch so we could meet some of the artists and get them to sign a copy of the book. We met Howie Green again, and told all the artists how delighted we were by their work. I also told one of the CowParade officials that along with auctioning off the cow statues, it would be nice if they could also auction off a place for people to keep their new purchase.

So for now, that's my personal life. Be back here on Sunday when I when I anticipate announcing that I've lost two more Hugo Awards.
Tags: astronomy, boston, conventions, personal, pluto, science, science-fiction, space, teaching

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