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Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."
Games

NYT's "Games To Avoid" an Ironic, Perfect Gamer Wish List 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-or-less dept.
MojoKid writes "From October to December, the advertising departments of a thousand companies exhort children to beg, cajole, and guilt-trip their parents for all manner of inappropriate digital entertainment. As supposedly informed gatekeepers, we sadly earthbound Santas are reduced to scouring the back pages of gaming review sites and magazines, trying to evaluate whether the tot at home is ready for Big Bird's Egg Hunt or Bayonetta. Luckily, The New York Times is here to help. In a recent article provokingly titled 'Ten Games to Cross off Your Child's Gift List,' the NYT names its list of big bads — the video games so foul, so gruesome, so perverse that we'd recommend you buy them immediately — for yourself. Alternatively, if you need gift ideas for the surly, pale teenager in your home whose body contains more plastic then your average d20, this is the newspaper clipping to stuff in your pocket. In other words, if you need a list like this to understand what games to not stuff little Johnny's stocking with this holiday season, you've got larger issues you should concern yourself with. We'd suggest picking up an auto-shotty and taking a few rounds against the horde — it's a wonderful stress relief and you're probably going to need it."

Comment: Re:You can't teach people who don't want to learn (Score 1) 932

by Dodder (#30079302) Attached to: Easing the Job of Family Tech Support?
Here's a good one for you to really piss her off and I use it all the time... I'd RATHER be a doctor or veterinarian. It's so much easier. At least when your patient dies you can just say "Sorry, we did everything we could, but he/she didn't make it." Try telling that to the CEO of a corporation, "Sorry the computer crashed and the hard drive failed. We couldn't recover the data and the backups have been failing for the last 3 months because you wouldn't spend the money on performing any recovery tests. There's nothing we can do. Your business didn't make it." Yeah, right. You work until it's working again. You have roughly the same education as a doctor, but get paid a fraction of what they make and their procedures don't change every 3 months. They probably perform the same procedures they learned in their interships their entire careers. My dog got the equivalent of canine vertigo. You know what the vet told me? "We don't really know what causes it. It usually happens in older dogs. It should go away in a few days." Done. $150. Try pulling that shit about a computer issue. "Looks like you got a computer virus. We don't really know what causes it. It should go away in a few days. If it doesn't buy a new computer." Done. $150.

Comment: Re:get another but... (Score 1) 344

by Dodder (#29698657) Attached to: When Do You Fire a Headhunter?
Seriously. Are you sure you're a contractor? You sound more like a full-time employee of a contracting company.

I don't think I've ever worked with the same head-hunter twice. There's been good and bad.

The ones I refuse to work with any longer are the ones who weren't paying me on time.

The ones who assist me with landing a contract for the rate I require are the ones I continue to keep in touch with.

The one who gets me my next contract at the rate I require is the next one I will be working with. I probably haven't met that person yet. Maybe I have. It's not much of a concern to me who the middle-man to my paycheck is as long as I get my rate and paid as agreed.

Comment: Fair Comparison? (Score 1) 712

by Dodder (#29291513) Attached to: Has the Rate of Technical Progress Slowed?
Uh, first off. How bout comparing 80 years to 80 years or 40 years to 40 years?

What's this, "Let's compare 80 years to 40 years and say less has been accomplished in the 40."?

Secondly, way to pick an unarbitrary starting point for the 80 years at approximately the beginning of a major technological revolution and then use the current comparison time frame at a non-precursor to a major technological revolution, but rather a maturation period in the previous technology. Ever heard of incubation period?

If you want to be unbiased please compare 1860-1909 to 1960-2009. Or better yet, 1880-1960 to 1980-2060. You're going to have to wait another 50 years, but I am very eager to see your comparisons of those two timeframes with regards to rate of technological progress.

Comment: Re:There's tickets? (Score 1) 210

by Dodder (#29106115) Attached to: Burning Man Responds To EFF's Criticism of Policy
Agreed. Just look around for a hippie you know or have seen. :) Even if they don't know they'll easily be able to find one that does. And they're usually very open and eager to expose people to the experience.

A co-worker friend of mine has been trying to get me to go to one of the regionals for a while now.

I want to go to the big one in Nevada one day. I know it's not going to be "as good as it used to be". I've been to Grateful Dead shows in the mid 90s that weren't as good as they used to be back in the day. Lived in Boulder in the mid-late '90s. Lived in Austin in the Late, Late 90s. Yeah, I missed them all when they were awesome. I'll tell you what. My life is very much richer for at least getting to experience what they were when I was there and I could easily imagine what they used to be from it.

It's waaaay better than nothing and short of time travel that's your only other option, nothing.

Comment: I'm Working On It (Score 1) 184

by Dodder (#29039557) Attached to: A Standardized OS For Robots
I've been developing, not an OS, but a Java Framework for robotic control which allows third party developers to implement the low level I/O for components and trying to formulate a higher level general API to make calls to the devices. The challenge is conceptualizing what those higher level commands would be that are general enough to all components and yet high level enough to be abstracted from the hardware.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

Working...