I don’t like not knowing how many planets there are

I grew up understanding that Pluto was our solar system’s ninth planet.

By the time I got to college, students were being taught that there were only eight planets, and that Pluto is actually a “dwarf planet.”

In the near future, kids may be growing up learning that there are, once again, nine planets.

Scientists believe they have discovered compelling evidence of a celestial object that may fit the criteria of a planet. It’s estimated to be 20 billion miles away from the sun at its closest point in orbit, and 100 billion miles away at its furthest. By contrast, Pluto is 4.6 billion miles away. The potential new planet would take between 10,000 to 20,000 years to orbit the sun.

Planet 9Now I understand that our solar system and galaxy — let alone the entire universe — is pretty frickin’ big, but I feel like the number of planets is something that should stay constant.

A lot of things do change in life; our jobs, our relationships, our physical appearances, etc. It would be nice if I could go my entire life comfortably knowing exactly how many planets there are.

Science is forever changing. I know that. This is more of a selfish request than anything. But if there are any universal truths in the world, planets should be one of them.

It would be like being told how may presidents there were, and then one day, the history community says, “You know what? That James Garfield guy, yeah, he doesn’t count anymore. Just gonna cross him off the list.”

And just like that, he’s gone.

Or if some type of international fairy tale association added an eighth dwarf to Snow White’s clan. (If so, allow me to recommend the name “Trumpy,” the egotistical, maniacal, narrow-minded dwarf with orange hair who is hated by all. Kids have to know.)

Why don’t the people get to have a say before these experts decide to rewrite our entire childhood education? Where was the public input session prior to Pluto’s abolishing?

It would have given me the opportunity to write an emotionally driven, impassioned speech about why I would like to see Pluto stay. It would have involved absolutely no scientific reasoning, but rather, it would have been a sympathetic plea that tugged at the heartstrings.

On that same level, I’d like to know more about this mysterious ninth planet before it’s put on the same plane as Earth, Mars and Neptune. Because I don’t trust it. It’s lurking in the shadows, it’s gone billions of years without being discovered, and it’s not a planet that Matt Damon would easily be able to survive in if he got stranded there.

You know what? That should be the new criteria. Send Matt Damon there, and if he finds his way home, then it’s a planet.

What to name the program?

The Bourne Interplanetary.

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The perplexing, topsy-turvy career arcs of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Based on what decade you’re in, asking somebody to evaluate the careers of actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck would elicit very different responses.

Their co-written late ’90s hit, Good Will Hunting, which put them on the fast track to stardom, guaranteed that the two will always go hand-in-hand. Plus they’re besties in real life.

Good Will HuntingBut what’s strange is that the perception behind each of them, at any given time, has always been different. When one flounders, one excels. When one has a breakthrough, the other falls into monotony. It’s bizarre.

I thought of this topic because I was watching last night’s People’s Choice Awards for like 10 minutes (and I’m not just saying 10 minutes to make myself seem more cool — it was because I was watching American Idol instead), and Affleck was honored with some humanitarian award.

He gave his speech, which contained some fairly moving remarks about how small acts of kindness can go a long way in the world, blah blah blah, but most of all, it got me thinking: this guy is everywhere now. And we haven’t even seen him as Batman yet.

And where the hell is Matt Damon?

It’s amazing it’s come to this when you consider the not-too-distant past.

But let’s start from the beginning. It was 1997 when the duo, in their mid-20s, won Academy Awards for writing Good Will Hunting. Their acceptance speech reflected their youthful exuberance, complete with a high-pitched squeak in Affleck’s voice. But it was endearing and together they captured the hearts of America.

If you asked anyone at this time, no one would have denied that they’d both be stars. It’s just that no one would have guessed the paths they took to get there. Saving Pvt Ryan

Flash forward five years later. Matt Damon already had classics like Saving Private Ryan and Ocean’s Eleven under his belt, and was just getting started on the Jason Bourne trilogy. His peak saw no limits.

Affleck, meanwhile, in addition to a few unsuccessful romantic comedies, sunk with Michael Bay to the bottom — with style over substance disaster thrillers Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. If he was wasn’t the butt of jokes yet, he would be very soon.

In the next two years, Affleck’s career was all but dead. Gigli was an unmitigated disaster. Daredevil and Surviving Christmas didn’t do him any favors, either.

Damon, meanwhile, continued his role in the Bourne and Ocean films, and starred in another collosal hit, The Departed. He was as A-list as it gets.

At this point, the script had been written. Damon won. Not that it was a competition, but it was general consensus Invictusthat since Good Will Hunting, one career went straight to the top, the other flatlined. No one saw any reason for that to change.

By the end of the decade, Damon secured his third Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Invictus. Affleck, meanwhile — whether by choice or by Hollywood shunning — was not in a major blockbuster. Instead, he had a leading role in the underrated political-thriller State of Play, and quietly started his filmmaking career, directing the critically acclaimed Gone Baby Gone, which starred his brother.

Things were starting to look up for Ben.

Nobody saw what would happen next.

Damon opened the next decade with a supporting rule in the acclaimed Coen Brothers’ 2010 film, True Grit, but since then, it’s been flop after flop: We Bought a Zoo, Promised Land, Elysium and Monuments Men came and went with a whimper.

Affleck, meanwhile, continued to establish himself as an elite director, while also using the platform to resurrect his acting career, with The Town, and Academy Award-winning Best Picture, Argo. Another poignant acceptance speech,movies-ben-affleck-argo-award 15 years after his last, won back America’s hearts.

While Damon had a small role in Interstellar this year, Affleck was the lead in the fall’s biggest hit, Gone Girl. His next projects involve playing Bruce Wayne in the Batman/Superman crossover, which promises to be huge, while directing (and starring in) his fourth feature film.

Seriously, who saw this coming 10 years ago?

People say Matthew McConaughey’s career underwent a huge rebirth last year. But his never died like Affleck’s did. And what’s most shocking is his meteoric rise is coinciding with Damon’s fall from grace.

How about dem apples?