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August 30-September 6, 2006

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Letters to the Editor


THE FRIENDS of Pluto are in a dark mood. They're insulted that the International Astronomical Union has determined that the "ninth planet" is just too small and too eccentric to be considered a planet any longer (or a "classical planet" as some of them say). They've thrown Pluto a bone by using the term "dwarf planet."

But for my tastes they can keep that sad little gesture. I don't consider this a demotion for that mighty ice globe. Its glory is not dimmed by our former or current understanding of its position in the hierarchy of celestial spheres. It's only our planetocentric view that suggests that being a little planet is a better thing than being what it was and still is:

Pluto, ruler of the solar system's overworld, greatest of the trans-Neptunian objects, mightiest lord of the Kuiper Belt (gateway to the Oort Cloud), overseer of its relatives who have dared to go comet.

Pluto maintains a regal distance from mere planets. It corresponds with Neptune from time to time, coming closer to us than does that windy gas-giant, but it also ventures nearly 2 billion miles further from the sun out into that realm of darkness that is its natural home.

For some, the mourning is more for the demise of a learned mnemonic describing the order of planets: "My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas" [Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto].

The brothers Zeus, Neptune, and Pluto divided creation between them. Zeus took reign over the larger part, Neptune took the watery realms and Pluto was made king of the mineral rich underworld but ... Maybe very easy mnemonics just skip underworld nobility.

Tom Noddy, Santa Cruz


WE FROM Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping loved to see the article in the last issue of Metro Santa Cruz "Green Grow Their Gardens" (Cover Story, Aug. 16)! It is great to get this recognition after being in business almost twenty years, Thank you. Here's a clarification we would like to make. Terra Nova hosted a local meeting for the Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA) at our offices in 2004. At that time we formed the Monterey Bay Working Group of the ELA (ELA CA MBWG). The national ELA formed in Massachusetts some twelve years ago. Brett Graf is the coordinator of our local working group. ELA CA MBWG is now in partnership with the Live Oak Grange with a project called the EcoGarden. Call 831.359.7918 for more information. The Live Oak Grange is located at 1900 17th Ave. in Santa Cruz.

Ken Foster and all of us from Terra Nova, Santa Cruz


RE Jesse Thorn--America's Radio Sweetheart (Cover Story, "My Life As America's Radio Sweetheart," Aug. 25): I'm biased because Jesse is my daughter's boyfriend, but reading his article was a great thrill. He's as good at writing as hosting The Sound of Young America. I hope you can invite him to join on as regular columnist!

Beth H., Mill Valley


WE AGREE with Jim Englert. Add two more votes for moving This Modern World back to the Letters page where it belongs.

Laurie and Nancy Brewer, Santa Cruz

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