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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite PlanetThe Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet by Neil deGrasse Tyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Neil deGrasse Tyson's account of how Pluto went from being the 8th planet in our solar system to being designated a "dwarf planet" in the Krupier Belt that exists beyond the orbit of Neptune. I admire people like Tyson who can take complicated scientific concepts and explain them in laymen's terms without sounding condescending. (Another book I have read which does this well is Nigel Calder's Einstein's Universe.) Tyson talks about the controversy around Pluto's demotion, if it can be called that) treating those who disagreed with or even attacked the decision fairly and without rancor. He finally states that rather than trying to define what something is or it not, we should be more concerned with the property of astronomical bodies and what these bodies have in common or in contrast with other bodies. For example, we should be more concerned with planets that have or lack atmospheres, have water or ice (along with the possibility of life), or experience weather patterns. I agree.

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