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The Ninth Planet

As a kid, I learned there were nine planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, discovered in 1930. That all changed in 2006, when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided to strip Pluto of its status as a planet and began hunting for a new ninth planet. Your author is as far from being an astronomer as the earth is to the sun. However, I would like to make a modest suggestion in finding and naming this elusive planet.

It’s called Planet EU and it is quite close to us geographically. According to the IAU a “planet” is defined as a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

While this meaning may void my suggestion of Planet EU, if taken broadly, the governing authorities could still debate my proposal. Planet EU does orbit the Sun, thanks to its current location in Belgium, which is located on Earth. Its mass is gigantic thanks to its growth and expansion into every part of Brussels and all its major edifices are round.

Planet EU has its own atmosphere. While it may not be the envelope of gasses that surround our planet, it is still noticeable. Its atmosphere is one of refusal to understand the concerns of the citizens who live in the 28 countries that make up the EU. Of course, I’m referring to the ones who are not inhabitants of Planet EU. That is what makes it a separate planet, it disassociates itself from the rest of the universe.

Planet EU has its own language, called EU speak. It is a language that must be translated into the 24 official languages of the countries that make up Planet EU. This is an opportunity to say nothing in 24 languages.

The planet is also populated by people that look like us. But don’t be fooled, they are extraterrestrials. They will tell you anything you want to hear, as long as you say you like and believe them.

They also have a peculiar characteristic, namely an inability to think for themselves. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, it’s just the way they are. Unlike earthlings, EUers must confirm their every word and action with a superior being, in their very structured system. When communicating, you may find a profound delay before receiving an answer to your query, unless it is something innocent like “How are you?” Even then, you should expect a delay of a day. However, if you pose the question on a Friday, expect the answer on Monday.

On the other hand, being declared a planet, might make the EU more efficient and productive by reaping economies of scale. After all a planet is a lot larger than the current EU association.

Despite these apparent flaws – it’s not their fault – my suggestion for declaring Planet EU the ninth planet deserves serious deliberation, even if it’s only temporary. Most importantly, if Planet EU is declared as such, it might give us an opportunity to reform it and remake it into a more representative body. Let’s not miss this opportunity to make history.

By Arthur Rubinestein

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