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Comment: Re:"Haters" (Score 2) 190

by Dogtanian (#49158125) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

To be fair, the argument against calling Pluto a planet was really political more than scientific--it's hard to argue that there's some nonarbitrary scientific justification for removing Pluto's planet status.

I'm sure those on the other side of the debate would argue that it's just as political and arbitrary to claim that it *is* a planet, beyond pure inertia (i.e. because it had always been called a "planet" until then).

Two wrongs don't make a right


Anyway, they were Pluto-haters, or haters of the idea of smaller planets messing up their tidy worldview.

Now I think you're trying too hard to rationalise the "haters" label. As I said, you don't have to agree with their opinion, nor the way they went about getting the result they wanted.

But that doesn't change the fact that dismissing their opinions and actions purely as "haters" was quite silly.

If the argument had started to become too personal, then this sort of concerted attempt to justify that way of thinking simply makes it worse. As you said, two wrongs don't make a right.

Comment: "Haters" (Score 5, Insightful) 190

by Dogtanian (#49155849) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

The efforts of a very small clique of Pluto-haters within the International Astronomical Union (IAU) plutoed Pluto in 2006

Yeah, that's right. They were "Pluto-haters". Not just people who happened to hold a different opinion he doesn't agree with.

That's not to say that you have to agree with their position, nor the way they went about having Pluto stripped of its status. But to ascribe their actions to the fact they personally "hated" Pluto- rather than simply believing that it couldn't justify its status as a planet- is somewhat childish.

I don't know if he meant "haters" in present-day sense (i.e. with its "haters gonna hate" connotations et al), but I've always had contempt for that usage. It's a cheap and easy way to counter anyone you don't agree with, to depersonalise and dismiss them in as people who hate purely because they're "haters". To make it a personal beef and a partisan issue rather than one of simple disagreement on a particular matter- one which would require legitimately addressing what they're actually saying instead of trying to puff yourself up in the cod-macho bullshit "them versus us/me" manner of an adolescent who's either immature enough to see things in that light, or has nothing to say beyond the convenient "haters gonna hate".

Seriously, step away from the gangsta rap and stop acting like a f*****g fourteen-year-old.

Comment: Re: Just (Score 1) 163

by Dogtanian (#49151451) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

Why not eat magic pills while running through a maze chased by ghosts?

It's called a rave.

A rave is running through a maze being chased by ghosts?!

Seriously, I'm assuming you were trying to rip off the now-famous Marcus Brigstocke joke, except you got lazy and didn't even bother to make sure that the (now mangled) version in your head made sense as a joke any more.

Or perhaps the joke is so overused and ingrained that retellings don't have to be correct or even make sense at this point... it's just an instinctive response that only requires the vague invocation of the two elements of pac man and raves that have somehow become funny because I heard a joke about that once but can't even be bothered repeating it correcty, etc. etc. etc.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 514

by Dogtanian (#49141885) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The thing that really hit me about the screenshot was how crowded it looks. The example is presenting information with a clear underlying structure (a file system) and a small number of actions I can take, and probably half the area of that window is empty space. And yet, my immediate reaction is that there's no clear structure to tell me where to look, and the design desperately needs more visual hierarchy and better use of whitespace. Of course, this is a recurring problem with the current trend for flat designs

I agree that the screenshot looks more complicated than it needs to, but I'm not sure it's a problem with the "flat" graphical style so much as the layout which (IMHO) looks like versions of Windows from the not-at-all-flat Vista onwards (and even XP to some extent until you turned some of the crap off).

The problems with the icons there are- if anything- that they've moved *away* from flat design which (done well) would- and should- have simplified them to their essential elements and made them recognisable at a distance (à la road signs, etc.).

But, as stated by others elsewhere, MS has always been about change for the sake of change, playing silly b*****s by introducing new technologies and ways of doing things that are discarded in the next version of Windows simply for the sake of being new, or at least for selling some "new" crap.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 4, Insightful) 514

by Dogtanian (#49136699) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Those icons look like someone's first pixel art experiments. It seems that Microsoft has fired all of its professional graphics artists.

The problem is that- in terms of style- either they can't make up their mind what they are, or they're trying to have it both ways.

They're neither sufficiently clean and flat to match the current style of graphic design (which they went for with Windows 8), but nor do they work particularly well as 3D or prettified icons, or any other style in their own right.

The end result is that they just look like horribly underdesigned versions of "old school" icon design circa XP to Windows 7. And some (e.g. the warning "!" triangle and error "X" circle) just look badly designed full stop.

The colours are also far too bright to be used in large, solid blocks like that. It's probably no coincidence that the "flat" trend in general was accompanied by the rising use of *slightly* less fully-saturated colour (see here for an example); not dull by any means, but more tolerable for solid blocks than (e.g.) #FF0000 red etc. (*)

I grew to hate the use of bland gradients of the previous design trend (early Web 2.0 and later) and the glossy 3D effect started to get overdone (and cheesy) when adopted by every man and his dog. So I'm a fan of the flat look when it works. The problem (which I figured out at the start of the trend) is that if it's not done well, it can easily come across as being simply underdesigned or crude, and as it becomes more widespread it's likely to become adopted by people who can't tell the difference.

(*) Mind you, that was also a trend elsewhere, e.g. in clothing.

Comment: 32X launches when Saturn already on the way?! (Score 2) 153

by Dogtanian (#49116113) Attached to: Is Sega the Next Atari?
Additional stupidity; I remembered that by the time the 32X was announced in the UK, the (entirely incompatible) Saturn was already due for launch in the near future. Worse, I recently found out that in Japan, they actually launched at almost the same time.

What was the point of that?! Who was going to buy the 32X knowing that it was a stop gap for something imminent/already here? Granted, the 32X was much cheaper at launch- which was apparently the justification- but anyone with half a brain would have known that it would die when (as all new consoles do) the Saturn came down in price enough that Joe Public would buy it instead of a half-baked piggy in the middle.

(And anyone who realised that should also have realised that the software companies would be thinking the same thing and not likely to waste their time supporting a dead-end console.)

The other problem with the 32X was that Sega had *already* released an "enhanced capabilities" add-on for the Mega Drive/Genesis, i.e. the Mega CD, which you already mentioned. So the 32X was, in effect, the third separate (incompatible) "format" built around the same console.

All that is stuff that should have been obviously stupid at the time; there were other factors that led to Sega's downfall (e.g. Sony playing the PlayStation launch very well) one could argue are easier to spot with hindsight, but those were on top of the obvious stupidity of having the half-baked 32X muddy the waters- and confuse the consumers and retailers- at the time of the Saturn launch.

Comment: Re:Question In Headline (Score 1) 153

by Dogtanian (#49115921) Attached to: Is Sega the Next Atari?

Atari was a dead husk for two decades. Before the Atari name was used to rebrand some corporate consolidation.

Actually, the Atari *name* has never really been out of circulation for long.

The original Atari Inc. was split and sold off in 1984 to become Atari Corp., (shut down circa 1996, following the Jaguar debacle), and Atari Games (defunct 2003, but renamed in the late 90s (*)).

While Atari Corp. and Atari Games were the only successors that (IMHO) could really claim to be continuations of the original company- and they're both now defunct themselves- nevertheless, Hasbro bought the home rights to the name and IP from the defunct Atari Corp. and used them in the late 90s. (*) Infogrames in turn bought them from Hasbro a few years after that, and has used it ever since.

So yeah, today's "Atari" is just Infogrames, and the real Atari is long dead. But the point is that the name never really went away- it was in almost constant use.

(*) Atari Games- who only owned the name for arcade use- was renamed to avoid confusion with Hasbro's new "Atari".

Comment: Re:Scared Idiots (Score 1) 286

by Dogtanian (#49081505) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum
The bold text was because I tend to be longwinded and like to provide a "tl;dr" version of the important points.

Well, you're wrong about the constancy of isotope ratios. There're plenty of processes, chemical, biological, and physical that lead to isotopic fractionation.

I didn't claim that this wasn't possible.

The question is whether bananas enrich the radioactive isotope of potassium in the fruit.

*Your* question was whether they enrich the radioactive potassium. If you're going to use that to bash what I said as "uninformed shit", I'd sure as hell expect you to know if that was the case. Evidently not.

And, indeed, I did read several sources- including, but not restricted to, Wikipedia- and none mentioned isotope fractionation as a factor.

Comment: Re:Scared Idiots (Score 1) 286

by Dogtanian (#49081401) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

You do understand that not one single normal human being will get past the first few words of a post like yours.

This is Slashdot, though, and the comment was written with that in mind. If it had been aimed at the general public, I'd probably have left some out and front loaded it with the "take home" points.

Comment: Re:ummm... (Score 1) 81

by Dogtanian (#49076687) Attached to: The Revolution Wasn't Televised: the Early Days of YouTube

Dial-up was already very rare by that time. There were already more 'broadband' (or at least, what was understood by that term at that time) connections than dial-up accounts around 2001.

Perhaps you're suffering from selection bias, either from your peer group, socioeconomic group or area. Or perhaps you're simply forgetting what time all this happened.

I'm afraid you'll have to take it on trust, but these were literally the first two meaningful results (from different sources) that I clicked on when I did an image search for a graph:-

Home Broadband vs. Dialup (American adults, 2000 to 2013) - Source: Pew Internet

Web Connection Speed Trends - US - Source: Nielsen (After noting that some others were taken from the same Pew Internet source, this was the first I found that apparently wasn't).

These figures are for the United States- although I live in Scotland, I never had the impression that the United States was that different to the situation here, and this essentially confirms that belief.

In short, this backs up what I said even more accurately than I'd ever intended the original statement to be. Yes, broadband *was* around in the late 90s (as I was already aware), but only a small proportion of domestic users had it back then. It was 2004-05 (*not* 2001) before it reached around 50% in the US, and I'd say Scotland (and the rest of the UK) were somewhat similar there.

Comment: Re:Scared Idiots (Score 3, Informative) 286

by Dogtanian (#49076499) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

People are scared of radiation because they don't understand it. [..] I would be interested in how many banana doses of radiation this kit contained.

You do understand that the overused pop science "banana equivalent dose" can be highly-misleading when used as a comparison with other forms of ingested radioactive materials- right?

Background- bananas are radioactive because they contain potassium and a very small- but fixed- proportion of naturally-occurring potassium is the radioactive isotope, Potassium-40.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, the amount of potassium in the body remains relatively constant (assuming you're consuming enough to maintain it), and hence so does the amount of radioactive potassium-40 . Any excess will be eliminated via the usual channels. So you're not going to "build up" any more over the long term by stuffing your face with bananas- it'll either replace/displace existing potassium or be got rid of.

This makes it very misleading to compare with other radioactive substances which can remain in the body and build up over time, i.e. the more of that source you ingest, the more that you'll have within you (and hence the radioactive dose that you constantly receive from having those within your body will *increase*).

While this shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of the "OMG! RADIATIONS WILL KILL US ALL!!!!111" lunatics, it's an indication that radiation- and its safety- isn't always as simple or as harmless as those on the other side believe either. The "banana equivalent dose" (or rather, its overuse and oversimplification) is one example.

(Disclaimer; I'm not an expert either- but I don't claim to be. Please correct any of the above if it's felt to be misleading).

Comment: Re:ummm... (Score 1) 81

by Dogtanian (#49057391) Attached to: The Revolution Wasn't Televised: the Early Days of YouTube

That is incorrect. Realplayer made a whole business model around compressing both audio and video enough to be vieweable as a stream over analogue modem connection.

What exactly do you think is "incorrect"? Because I never claimed that video streaming wasn't possible over a modem connection. On the contrary, I'd already specifically mentioned Real by name in my original comment!

My *actual* reply to the comment in context was:-

Because most videos back then weren't "streaming".

they [i.e. "most" - not all- "videos"] weren't "streaming" because while Joe Average was on dial-up, streaming wasn't possible at a quality most people would tolerate for anything longer than brief clips.

In other words, I know Real was around, and no-one in their right mind would want to watch clips of that quality for an extended period.

Comment: Re:ummm... (Score 1) 81

by Dogtanian (#49057193) Attached to: The Revolution Wasn't Televised: the Early Days of YouTube

Because most videos back then weren't "streaming".

I know that- and they weren't "streaming" because while Joe Average was on dial-up, streaming wasn't possible at a quality most people would tolerate for anything longer than brief clips. And that was my whole point about the switch to broadband.

Yes, Youtube may have been an improvement, but that's not the same thing as implying that it invented the whole concept.

To be fair, that wasn't *my* claim. Strictly speaking you're correct and the summary is a bit misleading (and may be more so to someone who wasn't around back then).

And yes, I myself downloaded videos before YouTube came along, so I know that this is the case.

But it is fair to say that video on the Internet before YouTube was probably an order or two of magnitude less common than it is today- both in terms of what's out there and how much we view. And the qualitative change- i.e. *how* we view and respond to it- in terms of real-time streaming and responding viat comments and *what* we view (i.e. much more user-generated content) is quite different to downloading a film or TV programme over P2P or whatever.

Yes, there was *some* non-Big-Media-produced content before YouTube (mainly from mid-sized websites) and a small amount of end-user produced content... but this (and particularly the latter) exploded when YouTube came along.

Comment: Re:ummm... (Score 2, Insightful) 81

by Dogtanian (#49056993) Attached to: The Revolution Wasn't Televised: the Early Days of YouTube

video was on the net much much earlier than a decade ago. I recall watching video on my computer as amiddle school kid, so at least as early as 97-98

Yeah, I remember occasionally watching very (*very*) low resolution Real Video and similar clips over a dial-up connection circa the late 90s. But not very often, because...

quality was trash, and clips were small


thats what youtube was in V1 as well

From what I remember, even the early 240p YouTube clips (which gave rise to the site's now-fading association with low-quality video) were still better than anything that could be viewed in anything like real time streaming over dial-up.

YouTube came along at almost exactly the same point (circa the mid-2000s) that broadband started seriously taking over from dial-up as the main method of Internet access for your average, mass-market user. And while broadband connections of the time might be slow- and the early YouTube videos low resolution- by modern standards, this was still a massive improvement upon what had gone before.

Yeah, I'm sure many people were sharing movie and video files before that- some, no doubt, over university-owned broadband connections et al- but YouTube was far more usable and less disparate than finding those clips, and came along at a time when the technology let a rapidly-increasing number of people take advantage of it.

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?