Saturday, August 26, 2006

Remaining willfully misinformed about the news of the day

I subscribe to the Boston Globe, and most mornings I manage to fish it out of the shrubs in front of the house and at least scan the headlines while I drink my coffee. Typically, scanning the headlines gives me at least some idea of what's going on in the world. The Israel-Hezbollah war? Terrible, terrible thing. That guy who confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsay? Terrible,terrible thing.

But there are times when scanning the headlines only leads me to confusion. Two weeks ago, I was scanning the front page of the Globe where there was a top of the fold story, complete with colorful graphics, proclaiming that not only did scientists consider Pluto to be an official planet in our solar system, but they were also adding three other outer space locations to the official roll of planets, bringing our solar system's total to 12. This was quite a bit of news to digest, although I didn't really bother to read much beyond the first few paragraphs of the story and check out the colorful graphic that showed the three new planets floating like proud new balls of hardened ice out around Jupiter and Neptune.

This just all goes to show how utterly confused I was only days later when newscasts everywhere started proclaiming that scientists no longer considered Pluto a planet, but rather some kind of auxiliary near-planet. What the hell had happened? Only days before, not only was Pluto a planet, but there were also three other new planets that I had never heard of. Had the Globe lied to me? Or are there competing factions of scientists who battle daily over the number of planets in the solar system?

Not seeing any brightly colored graphics on the front of today's Globe, I may be doomed to a life of never knowing what the real story is with Pluto. Honestly, I'm not all that put out by the issue, since I have never been nor I am I likely to ever go to Pluto. Of course, the same thing could be said for Russia, or Kalamazoo, Michigan. Is it possible that these places could disappear from the map, too, if I've never been there? It's a terrible, terrible thing.


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