By now I'm used to new versions of OS X inserting the latest and greatest into the Dock. This time, the first boot of Mountain Lion populated my Dock (which is pinned to the side in its 2D glory, as it should be) with icons for Launchpad, Notes, and Reminders. As a result, there are more shiny objects, making the Dock objects I use for launching or switching apps even tinier and smaller to hit. So I tried dragging Launchpad out of the Dock, expecting it to vanish in a puff of virtual smoke. (I should note that this is an expectation that Mac OS X has taught me.) But no go. The Launchpad icon just rubber-banded back to the Dock. Same with Notes and Reminders.
Are we stuck with Dock spam? Well, no.
You can still click-and-hold (or right-click) on these Dock icons, navigate Options->Remove from Dock and there you go.
But... why is this the case? Why is Apple breaking behaviors they taught us? Is this a subtle signal that Launchpad will be the way of the future, and Apple is training us to rely on Launchpad? Is this another hint for iOS-ification conspiracy theorists?