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A moth is not a butterfly
And I know why, I know why
It kind of makes you want to cry
That a moth is not a butterfly

CBC Radio’s Shift has a nice little habit of playing music that fits with the discussion of the moment. Hawskley Workman’s tune “A Moth is not a Butterfly” was up today. The moth today is Pluto, and the butterflies are the other eight planets. Correction — the only eight planets.

The International Astronomical Union has finally set down in writing what the definition of “planet” is and Pluto doesn’t make the cut. The general public opinion on the matter seems to be, “Aww”. Everybody loves the underdog.

The problem was that there are other objects in the solar system which are bigger than Pluto, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that there will be dozens more in years to come. Astronomers had a decision to make — either make all these new objects planets, or else bite the bullet and demote Pluto.

The little guy still gets to be called a dwarf planet, along with the (former) asteroid Ceres and its neighbour in our solar system’s Great White North, UB313 (aka Xena). There are dozen or so more candidate dwarfs on the list — Sedna and Quaoar among them.

So although everybody seems to love Pluto and wanted to see him stay among the planets, he’s got a lot of company out there near the Kuiper Belt. (That’s why he can’t be a planet anymore — planets are, by definition, loners, unlike the asteroids and the snowballs beyond Neptune.) You can all still cheer for him as the poster-boy for those ancient icy trans-Neptunian objects.

As an off topic side note, the lyrics of “A Moth is Not a Butterfly” seem awfully hard to come by on the web, so here they are, transcribed by me, in their entirety. Apologies for any mistakes.

A moth is not a butterfly
And I know why, I know why
It kind of makes you want to cry
That a moth is not a butterfly
But some are happy in the bluest sky
And others search in the dark of night
And sadness is a silent right
A moth is not a butterfly

A stone is not a grain of sand
It’s hard I guess to understand
Both broken parts scatter the land
A stone is not a grain of sand
And one has lived for longer still
The other longs to break until
The wind can lift it in its hand
A stone is not a grain of sand

A desert’s not a mountain side
And I know why, I know why
Cause one is vast and one divides
A desert’s not a mountain side
Cause one has need for open space
The other’s simply in its place
It must be known far and wide
That a desert’s not a mountainside

A moth is not a butterfly
And I know why, I know why
It kind of makes you want to cry
That a moth is not a butterfly

Random FAQ Comments (2)

2 Responses to ““A moth is not a butterfly””

  1. itsallgrey says:

    The CBC can be pretty clever sometimes. When they aren’t providing ridiculous amounts of airtime to the likes of Gian Gomeshi.

  2. [...] I start mentally humming the intro to A Moth is not a Butterfly after that Julie Delpy waltz from Before Sunset, the player should pick up on that and queue it up [...]

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