Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:And still (Score 1) 189

by Cochonou (#49157677) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet
You seem to have missed this peculiar characteristic of the 2006 definition of a dwarf planet: it is not a category of planets. Have a look here:

The IAU members gathered at the 2006 General Assembly agreed that a "planet" is defined as a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

This means that the Solar System consists of eight "planets" Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. A new distinct class of objects called "dwarf planets" was also decided. It was agreed that "planets" and "dwarf planets" are two distinct classes of objects. The first members of the "dwarf planet" category are Ceres, Pluto and 2003 UB313 (temporary name). More "dwarf planets" are expected to be announced by the IAU in the coming months and years. Currently a dozen candidate "dwarf planets" are listed on IAU's "dwarf planet" watchlist, which keeps changing as new objects are found and the physics of the existing candidates becomes better known.

So this definition actually enrages three kinds of people:
- People who think Pluto should be classified as a planet for historical reasons.
- People who think Pluto should be classified as a planet, precisely because as you said, they are many categories of planets which are quite different (terrestrials, gas giants...).
- People who think it is gramatically incorrect for "dwarf planets" not to be "planets".

Comment: Re: White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 412

by Cochonou (#49155265) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?
Yes, it's about the same for me. I see it predominantly gold and white. However, I can see it black and blue if I first look at this white and gold dress, and then I scroll the image from the bottom. I guess it's because most of the orange illumination "hints" are in the lower part of the image.

Comment: Re:NYTimes wouldn't write this about... (Score 1) 447

by Cochonou (#49104825) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests
Oh by the way, I an atmospheric scientist and I work with computer models every day. I have serious doubts about how well we can simulate the future climate of earth in 10 years, let alone 100 years into the future. We just recently began incorporating micro-biology into the climate models. They are very crude and in my opinion, it's these very organisms that over the long term, will play an ultimate role in the carbon/oxygen balance. Until we have these features much better modeled, we cannot say with any sort of certainty what the earth's temperature will look like in the long term. At this point, there is still a lot of variability in the outcome, by make very minute changes to the model initial assumptions.

Yes, of course. The current models point to a strong global warming. They might very well be wrong.
The matter at hand is actually quite simple. Knowing that the current models predict a salient danger, would you rather:
- Act now to reduce carbon emissions, given corrective actions are very expensive and might turn out to be useless at the end ?
- Wait for more information before acting, knowing that delaying the corrective actions might have very nefarious results in the end ?
The choice is not straightforward. If it was, there wouldn't be such a debate.

Comment: Re:Accuracy of traditional lie-detector polygraphs (Score 2) 106

by Cochonou (#48743911) Attached to: European Researchers Develop More Accurate Full-Body Polygraph
I would also like to know if there is really a "widespread use" of polygraphs. I understood they were almost exclusively used in the US, and that most other countries actually forbade its use as evidence in courts - which would make the use of polygraph a local idiosyncracy rather than a widespread practice.

When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves.