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A deplorable drop in standards

I'm not the only person to have posted about this recently (Charlie has, for a start), but I think that this is a matter that affects us all.

While it's understandable that the powers that be should want to see a continuous improvement in standards, this latest proposal is nothing short of ridiculous. If we take an cumulative average over the last couple of centuries, the rate of increase in the pass rate lies somewhere below 2% per year, but all of a sudden we're being asked to accept a sudden increase of over 30%. No doubt we'll see the same official line as ever - it's not that the "gold standard" has fallen, but rather that the candidates are better than ever before. We'll probably even see the slightly facetious suggestion that those candidates that passed back when the qualification meant something would find these new conditions quite taxing. Pull the other one!

It also doesn't help that these figures are being inflated by resit candidates. By my reckoning, one of the candidates now passing failed for the first time almost two hundred years ago (after an initial misclassification of its result); if it has now passed without any appreciable change in its circumstances, then that's a clear indication of a drop in standards. We've also been given hints that next year's results may be even more outrageous, with a potential 200% increase in the pass rate.

To add insult to injury, there's also a distinction being made in the type of pass where none was before; now we'll have to ask whether they're a true planet or merely a Plutonoid...

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"Plutonoids" sounds like something you'd go to the doctor to have removed.

Bother, that was a typo - the proper term is apparently "pluton", even though that sounds like one of Dan Dare's adversaries.

(Deleted comment)

Re: Fnar - you scenic, you.

Strictly speaking, the proposed definition for planet takes Basri's planemo and adds the constraint that it is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.

so, if ceres is promoted, does it get stripped of its asteroid number? can it be re-used? should we allocate the other planets asteroid numbers as well? important questions!

Bravo - you had me fooled at least :-)

Heh. I figured it out about halfway through, but only because I heard Ceres' discoverer on Radio 4 this morning :)

I heard Ceres' discoverer on Radio 4 this morning

How? Giuseppe Piazzi has been dead for 180 years!

D'oh. 2003 UB313, I meant to say.

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