Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dwarf-planet tossing: In your tiny, icy face, Pluto!

What is the possessive for Harper’s? Harper’s’s Luke Mitchell has a fascinating discussion with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr. about the ethics and morality of force-feeding of hunger strikers at Guantanamo. The man is a master of logic origami. Winkenwerder claims (wrongly) that the World Medical Association’s 1991 Malta Declaration allows doctors to substitute their own judgment for the prisoner’s when he or she reaches the final stages of delirium or coma, but, he says, why wait that long, let’s strap them into restraint chairs and shove NG tubes into their nose while they’re still healthy and mentally competent.

Pluto has been sent down to the minors, and is now a “dwarf planet.” I think they prefer “little planet.” According to the BBC it was because of its oblong orbit. For me, it was always that its orbit left the plane of the ecliptic that did it.

Now, about Xena...

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