A new way to "crack" scientific problems

Last week's announcement of the tenth planet was forced by Internet crackers, reports The Inquirer (via Slashdot): </p>

It transpired that [Caltech physicist Michael] Brown and his friends had been sitting on the information since 2003 when they snapped it with a 122cm telescope at the Palomar Observatory. However they couldn't confirm much about it until it was analysed again last January. So in the time honoured tradition of boffins everywhere they decided to keep the data from the common people until they knew a bit more.

The "secure" website holding the data was cracked, and Brown disclosed the planet's existence under the threat that the information would be released without authorization.

It is the tenth planet and all, but two years doesn't seem that unreasonable a length of time to keep it secret.

I guess you never know what will draw the attention of such neer-do-wells. I wonder if any anthropologists may already have had similar demands made of them? We have a lot longer-lasting secrets than astronomy.

UPDATE: A reader writes a better punchline: "Actually longer lasting than what the astronomers study!"