Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:It's a Planet (Score 1) 46

by ChromaticDragon (#46748007) Attached to: Pluto May Have Deep Seas and Ancient Tectonic Faults

It's all somewhat arbitrary in any case.

It's all just a matter of what we choose to call things and how we choose to categorize things. Lumping things into categories based on similar characteristics is helpful for a number of reasons.

If you go back and look at the history of when and why Ceres (and Vista, and Pallas, etc.) was demoted from planetary status, you'll see all sorts of similarities. The continued discovery of Kupier bodies shows Pluto was part of a larger community, just like Ceres.

What folk mean when they say defining things such that you keep Pluto in and leave Ceres out is that they're looking for a consistent pattern of categorization and nomenclature which minimizes changes. It's simply easier to drop the ninth to to squeeze back in a fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.

These continued discoveries create the need for updating our categorizations because they highlight the problem of HAVING ALREADY demoted Ceres, Vista, Pallas, etc. It makes no sense to call these new things planets unless we also do this for the bodies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Comment: Longevity of the guns (Score 1) 630

by ChromaticDragon (#46707539) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

I'm curious how they've addressed the issues of these sorts of things tearing themselves apart. The article doesn't go into details. One has to assume since the overall price per projective was determine that this was factored into things. And the video seems to show something rather purposely placed there that gets destroyed in the launch process.

Anyone find further details?

Comment: Re:Credibility (Score 4, Interesting) 703

Please pick up "Six Degrees" and read it.

You are woefully ill-informed if you believe 5C simply "sounds like a lot" but "local variations are far greater". The effects of Climate Change due to Global Warming are not limited to it being just a little warmer. 5C will make things very difficult.

To your point, you need to separate the purported propaganda of us reaching a 5C increase by 2100 vs. the effects of a 5C increase. Yes indeed it is one thing to go on and on about the effects of full scale nuclear war (or a catastrophic asteroid strike, Yellowstone erupting, or whatever) while ignoring the related probability of such an event. But it's foolish to debate the effect rather than said likelihood. These are separate issues/debates. Documenting what has happened in the past at certain temps is probably quite a bit more "settled" than predicting things for the rest of the century.

Comment: Re:Yeah, too bad there's no real reason to do so.. (Score 1) 292

by ChromaticDragon (#46543683) Attached to: Back To the Moon — In Four Years

I agree with you on the most part as long as we are thinking of things in the sense of economic/investment value.

Think of anything really and ask yourself whether it makes more sense to build/do such in space or down in another gravity well.

But for raw science, I would hope that we start deploying (very) large telescopes on the far side of the moon.

Comment: Re:Ah, the Planet Pluto (Score 3, Insightful) 138

If you believe there's some pedantic reason to keep Pluto as a planet, I have to ask whether you hold the same views regarding Ceres.

Ceres was "a planet for both the common and technical definitions for quite some time".

The circumstances surrounding demotion of Ceres and Pluto are rather similar. The timeframe either of the two were considered planets is also similar.

Now, what I find more interesting BOTH for this issue of Eris and Pluto and the argument over Planet classification is to look at MASS instead of diameter:

Look at this chart of bodies in our Solar System ranked by mass in a logarithmic chart. The eight planets unambiguously rank as the largest bodies. Eris still is more massive than Pluto. And all the dwarf planets are outranked by several moons.

Yes definitions are arbitrary. But the eight planets stand apart. It does make sense to align definitions to match such. In any case, the definitions OUGHT to be consistent. What criteria other than inertia of publications would you prefer that keeps Pluto IN yet leaves Ceres OUT?

Comment: Re:Not MITM (Score 5, Informative) 572

Yup. But proxies cannot handle HTTPS unless... they are acting as a MITM.

The proxy must either pass it along, block it outright or essentially stand in the middle so as to be able to perform all the usual filtering/sniffing/etc. it would do were the traffic plain ole' HTTP.

Comment: SuperBowl Death Knell (Score 2) 423

by ChromaticDragon (#46400271) Attached to: RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

I don't know about other folk. But when I saw RadioShack's SuperBowl commerical, I cringed.

Timothy remarks that "a few years ago" RadioShack was trying to get back to its roots as a hobbyist outlet. I don't know how anybody could reconcile that idea with the incredible disdain for the past demonstrated in that commercial.

Trouble is... what differentiates RadioShack? Why would I bother going THERE for cell phones? As they've tried more and more to become like everyone else, they've succeeded in undercutting and destroying any reason I'd have to go there first for anything. I'll still end up at RadioShack when my shopping research shows they have what I want less than others. But to go there on a lark? Not these days.

Comment: Re:just buy an costa rica island to put them on (Score 4, Interesting) 168

I imagine that the best way to respond to this is to say this is a NECESSARY condition, but probably not a SUFFICIENT one.

Since others are chatting about Jurassic Park, the author dealt with some aspects of this in the second book as it pertained to whatever may be lost culturally. Granted, depending on the nature of the best in question, whatever constitutes "culture" amongst a population of the critters may vary from critically important to negligible. In any case, ANYTHING baby mammoths were supposed to learn from other mammoths is clearly GONE.

Then, in recent years we've just begun to understand how very important microbes are for various species. This ranges from the vast effects of gut flora in humans to creepies and crawlies all over our bodies. Again, we have no idea what this was, should have been, or should be.

IF we can get "good" DNA here, then the statement of "hairy elephants" is probably extreme. Nonetheless, it's not clear exactly how much we could ever consider these to be "true" mammoths. Having said that, I'm glad they're trying. Even if they fail utterly with mammoths, what they learn should almost certainly apply to species management and preservation given our current extinctions.

Comment: Re:Predictions were made in the 1970s then? (Score 2) 560

by ChromaticDragon (#46295829) Attached to: How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?

There's a very significant difference between accurate prediction of the outcome of a random variable vs. measuring the statistical properties of said random variable.

Try this analogy to help you understand this...

Let's play a simple game, called "Pick a Marble". You reach into a bag and pick a marble.

Today, we'll play with the following conditions... There are 1000 marbles in that bag. 100 of those are red. 900 of those are white. I'm going to "predict" that your marble is white. It ought to pretty clear that I'll be correct 90% of the time.

Now, let's play every day. But we'll swap a white marble for red each day. It should be clear enough that in a couple of years I my predictions will change because the nature of the random variable changes. After two years, I'll say your choice will be red and I'll be right more often than wrong.

Weather (i.e. temps two months from now) is far, FAR more difficult than this trivial game. With the most powerful computers imaginable, we cannot predict the outcome of billiard balls past a small number of collisions because the uncertainties in our measurements compound so much over each successive, iterative calculation. Trying to predict weather is far more difficult than that. Even if we had sensors giving us temp, wind speed/direction, humidity, particulates, etc., at every point one-foot apart in a 3D grid of our entire atmosphere, we STILL would not be able to predict WEATHER accurately past about a week... to say nothing of two months.

HOWEVER, it's far easier to treat the weather as a random variable and categorize the statistical nature of such. In laymen's terms, you may not be able to predict the temperature on Christmas Day six months in advance. But you can be fairly confident in suggesting a range.

THIS is why it's fairly straightforward to "predict" the temp (CLIMATE, not WEATHER) 100 years from now while not being able to predict the temp (WEATHER, not CLIMATE) two months hence. And like the changing distribution of red/white marbles, what feeds into the calculations of determining climate is known to be changing over time.

And, though it's a bit harder to understand, this is also why Climate Change doesn't lead to even temp increases all across the planet. The extra energy in the system is monkeying with things a lot turning these nice Guassian variables into weirdness which results in more frequent extremes.

Comment: Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (Score 2) 665

Umm... speaking of absolutes...

A theory doesn't often get proven "completely wrong". Much more often it gets replaced with something that works better in fringe cases. For many practical purposes, the theory that the world is flat works just fine. It won't work for large distances, of course. But quite often I really don't need to worry too much that a triangle on a sphere actually summing up to more than 180 degrees. Again, Newtonian physics works just fine, indeed very well, for many purposes. It wasn't/isn't "completely wrong" as much as it isn't accurate for certain cases. Even if we ever rule out either General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics, both will still be incredibly powerful tools in their respective domain.

To suggest we'll wake up one day and find Evolution is "completely wrong" is a bit silly. First of all, "Evolution" here is an umbrella covering many theories. Second, anything that replaces it will have to address/answer all of the same currently available data. It's much more likely that whatever may replace it will be a superset of it (eg. the recent work on viewing Abiogenisis as a subset of a larger scheme of complex systems) or a refinement.

And especially in the context of the Evolution vs. Creation debate, we're not going to find out that Evolution is "wrong" therefore Creation must be right. Not at all. Again, whatever would replace Evolution would look a lot like it. And Creationists have yet to put forward anything that would function as a Scientific Theory that could address currently available data.

Comment: Re:law of gravity (Score 1) 665

In order to properly appreciate the Evolution vs. Creation debate, you need to step back... way back.

You need to realize this is NOT truly (or solely) a debate about or within Science. If you cannot or will not believe this is fundamentally a war over mindshare directly stimulated by and fostered by religious worldviews, you're not going to be able to see past the propaganda techniques often used.

The suggestion that one can contrast the "Law" of Gravity vs. the Theory of Evolution is only useful in preaching to the choir. It demonstrates an incredible depth of ignorance of Science in general and specifically philosophy of Science. It will not "win" over an "Evolutionist" because it's inherently and fundamentally false in their eyes.

There are many ways Creationists embarrass themselves by listening to themselves tell each other that somehow they know more about Science than Scientists.

Comment: Re:What's the big deal? (Score 1) 770

by ChromaticDragon (#45990699) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

The danger isn't so much what they'll end up believing.

In all honesty, nobody needs to BELIEVE Common Descent. They need to UNDERSTAND it. It quite literally is the underpinning of most of modern biology.

The real danger here isn't the confusion over Biology or the danger of blurring the lines between Church and State. No, the real problem is that the only way folk can conflate Evolutionary Theories with "alternatives" is to ACTIVELY teach against basic skills of Critical Thinking. This is further compounded by purposeful distortion of redefinition of Science and the Scientific Method.

These practices ripple out to all fields of Science and set yet another generation up to be complete suckers for marketing, propaganda and political manipulation.

Comment: Re:Which makes no sense (Score 1) 770

by ChromaticDragon (#45990599) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

Nah. You should not take your individual experience and extrapolate it onto all Christian experience throughout time, even despite the Catholic church's history.

As others have stated, there were Jewish scholars, probably prior to Jesus even and definitely prior to the Enlightenment, who believed the Earth was millions of years old. And there has been and will be quite a variety amongst Christian scholars.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.