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Mike Brown in Cambridge, MA Tomorrow Night

As I noted over on the savepluto blog, Nomi and I plan to be at the Mike Brown lecture tomorrow night in Cambridge, assuming the weather cooperates.

Mike Brown, the astronomer who discovered Eris and who didn't necessarily want to kill Pluto but ended up doing so, will be speaking at Tommy Doyles Irish Pub & Restaurant at 96 Winthrop St. in Harvard Square tomorrow night starting at 7 pm. He will be lecturing on his new book "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming." The president and vice-president of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto As a Planet will be there to show our support for Pluto...and to get our copy of the book signed. :-)

People tend to assume we go to these talks with large signs protesting the demotion of Pluto. In reality, we know that in the end, people like Mike Brown and Neil deGrasse Tyson are on the same side as we are, at least for the important part, which is promoting astronomy among the general public. Tyson can testify to how respectful we were at his talk a few years ago, and how delighted we were to meet him. We're looking forward to meeting Mike Brown tomorrow night.


Michael, I'm getting a 404--Not Found on the Save Pluto link. Is the site down?
Had an extra "w" in the URL. Try now.
Mike Brown gave his presentation a couple weeks ago at the Hayden Planetarium, with an introduction by Neil Degrasse Tyson. Dr. Brown’s presentation was very good. Afterwards I introduced myself to Dr. Tyson as the librarian who changed Pluto from Planet to Dwarf Planet for New York Public Library (he was pleased). I would have saved Pluto as a planet for juvenile, literary, or historic works as a local heading with cross-references to Dwarf Planet, if anyone asked (or offered chocolate!) but no one did.

There was a vocal contingent of Pluto fans there, but none of them actually USE the data, IAU gazetteers, and definitions in meaningful way. As someone who specializes in thesauri, controlled vocabularies, and metadata, I think the IAU had to come up with a definition for their own use for the TNO’s in a way that represented how they actually USE data, not sentiment or nostalgia. They made the decision (no matter if the astronomers outnumbered the planetary scientists in the voting) for their own use, they didn’t ask anyone else to use their definition. Those of us who are involved in cataloging, indexing, or maintaining databanks (using terms and definitions from Library of Congress headings, USGS and NASA thesauri, etc.) do so with the needs of the people USING the information in mind.

December 2016

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