Get Pluto out of Here!

Why it's not a planet, Europe is no continent and W. isn't 43

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ILLUSTRATION FOR TIME BY ROB DUNLEAVY

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It's this kind of overthinking that leads not just to the cosmic sloppiness of a crowded solar system but also to the existential absurdity of counting Cleveland twice. You don't have to be a stickler to want to heed the dictum of William of Ockham, the 14th century monk who famously declared, "Things should not be multiplied unnecessarily," which is how they said "Less is more" back then. So in honor of Ockham, let's dispense with a few other stubborn, definitional problems once and for all.

Europe: you're not a continent; you've never been a continent. I know, it would be galling if a raw cowboy island like Australia retained its glittery Continent label while you were downgraded to Midsize Peninsula of Western Asia. But hello? Look at a map. Besides, these days you've got the euro, which is currently trading at about a buck thirty against the dollar. Don't be greedy.

Y: a vowel? Please. Y gets plenty of work as a consonant without having to moonlight in a job it wasn't designed for. Someone needs to show some guts and either change the spelling of problem words (what's wrong with fli, cri, cript?) or relax the rule about every word having to have at least one vowel in it. Either way is fine, but the whole "sometimes y" thing has always smelled like a dodge.

Panda: raccoon or bear? Seems the lesser known red panda has a scrap of raccoon in him, which has thrown the whole panda clan into question. I say split the difference: go with bears for the white ones, raccoons for the red ones, and do it quick. (These are biologists we're dealing with, not astronomers. Give them too much time, and they'll start dissecting things.) And if we ever find yet another type of panda out there, just call it Grover Cleveland. There are plenty of those to go around.

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