May 14, 2009

"My grandfather, as usual, opened the paper, The Times, and in it he read that a new planet had been discovered."

"He wondered what it should be called. We all wondered... And then I said, 'Why not call it Pluto?' And the whole thing stemmed from that."

Venetia Phair was 11 then. Dead, now, at 90.


Bissage said...

Maybe this one will work?


Bissage said...

She tartly rejected any suggestion that the planet was named for the Disney dog.

Then I guess this guy is right out.

Palladian said...

She's named Venetia Phair and the best she could come up with is Pluto?!

EDH said...

Which raises an interesting question: Does Althouse want to be a Polyester Bride?

I was talking, not two days ago
To a certain bartender I'm lucky to know
And I asked Henry, my bartending friend
If I should bother dating unfamous men

And Henry said,
"You're lucky to even know me,
You're lucky to be alive.
You're lucky to be drinking here for free,
'cause I'm a sucker for your lucky, pretty eyes."

bearbee said...

I like grandpappy's name - Falconer Madan

Crimso said...

So she lived to see its rise and fall.

Tibore said...

You gotta love that name... Venetia Phair... sort of sounds like Liz's more proper, elegant sister.

Elliott A said...

Too bad it has lost its planethood

Eli Blake said...

PLUTO was chosen because in addition to continuing with the theme of Roman names of Greek gods, the first two letters were "PL" which were also the initials of Percival Lowell. When Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto he was working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff and studying a region of the sky that Lowell had predicted it would appear in.

As far as Pluto losing its status as a planet, I always thought that was rather ironic since the meeting at which that occurred was held in Europe. And if Pluto is not a planet then neither is Europe a continent (geological scientists will tell you that there is no European plate, but rather only a Eurasian plate, which Europe is really just a peninsula stuck on the Asian continent.) Geologically speaking, if any portion of the Asian continent deserves to be designated as a separate continent it would be India, not Europe.