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Comment Re:We already had one (Score 3, Informative) 14

Yes, they're fictional, but it's a good start, since after all it proves that modern-day researchers weren't the first people to think of classifying planets by their habitability characteristics. Also, the simple "class [letter]" scheme is easy to remember and use; I sure hope they don't come up with some arcane, complicated system instead. Finally, they should definitely use "Class M" to refer to Earth-like planets simply to pay homage to Star Trek. Everyone and his brother knows what a "Class M" planet is, as long as they watched some Star Trek within the last 50 years.

It looks like you got your classes from Star Trek too, as seen here, but with some differences. I'm not sure where you got Class Q or I. The system probably does need a little revision though. Class H's "generally uninhabitable" doesn't tell you why. The Class P (see appendices) for icy planets is a good example. Class N for "sulphuric" really isn't sufficient; Venus is more like the Class Y "demon planet" except there's no dilithium-based biomimetic lifeforms, but the fact that Venus is so hot is important it needs to be classified that way. If a planet is too cold or too hot to live on, that's an important factor for humans. Same if there's no atmosphere. A planet (or moon) that's not too warm or hot but has no atmosphere can still be inhabited using domes or other sealed habitats, so that should be a class by itself. Mercury probably wouldn't fit there however, because it's much too hot. But it's hot in a different way than Venus, so they should have different classifications (hot because it's too close to the star, vs. hot because it has a thick atmosphere and runaway greenhouse effect). Finally, moons and planets should be classified together. The orbital path doesn't really matter (except insofar as it affects the climate/temperature). There could very well be Earth-like moons out there somewhere, so those should be Class M (like the moon in "Avatar").

So here's my proposal which borrows from ST:
Class M - Earth-like, small, rocky, oxygenated atmosphere, right temperature
Class D - small, rocky, little to no atmosphere, right temperature, inhabitable with sealed habitats (e.g. Mars)
Class J - gas giant (any size; this may be expanded later after we explore more star systems and decide we need to classify them further)
Class E - small, rocky, little to no atmosphere, too cold (e.g. Pluto)
Class F - small, rocky, little to no atmosphere, too hot (e.g. Mercury)
Class G - small, thick atmosphere, too hot (e.g. Venus)
Class A - very very small, not spherical (e.g. moons of Mars, captured asteroids)
Class B - very small, spherical but extremely low gravity (e.g. Sedna, Ceres, Pluto, dwarf planets in general)

I'm probably missing something here, perhaps planets with only liquid surfaces. I avoided calling Venus "Class N" because it sounds too much like "Class M".

Comment Re:Documentation is rarely valued as a contributio (Score 1) 320

Unfortunately, this shows why books are kinda obsolete for anything that's still under development. For things like awk, sed, grep, etc., they're great, because those things haven't changed much in ages. For a whole OS, not so much; they're all changing constantly. There is an e-book on git at, but being an e-book it gets updated, plus it seems like git has stabilized now.

I'm not so sure the cathedral model is really necessary for a competent and motivated tech writer however. As long as the tech writer can navigate git (using a GUI program like gitk or TortoiseGit or whatever), they can follow the development of the project and then update the documentation soon after changes are made, having the doc updates ready in time for major releases.

But for anything that's still under active development, the docs are always going to be going out-of-date unless someone keeps them up-to-date. This is true of any software project. You can't use a book about Windows Vista for Windows 10.

Comment Re:Documentation is rarely valued as a contributio (Score 1) 320

I can't speak for other people, but personally I do value documentation. Not that I want to spend all my time documenting someone else's work, but when I need to learn about something, documentation is invaluable. No, it isn't as fun as writing code, but that doesn't make it useless. If someone else wants to contribute to FOSS and isn't a coder, but can do tech writing, I for one would appreciate their contribution to documentation.

Just because a lot of stuff isn't documented well doesn't mean it should be this way. git is a bit of a special case: it does have documentation (there's lots of man pages for it), but the problem is that its UI is organically grown, it wasn't really designed with a consistent interface, and it shows (badly). It's very powerful but the interface isn't the greatest; I usually find myself googling for answers when using git, and winding up reading stuff on stackexchange. Good documentation only helps so much when you have a wacky UI.

Comment Re:Issue is more complicated (Score 1) 851

To be fair, this issue really has almost nothing to do with Linux on the desktop. This is about the kernel mailing list. The kernel has been used successfully on Linux desktop systems for over 15 years now; it's really not holding anything up there. Most of it is a solved problem. There's some interesting work still going on there to be sure, but most of it is either for servers/high-performance computing or for embedded systems, not for standard desktops. There's nothing that can be done in the kernel that will magically make Linux a much more attractive option for the desktop.

Almost all the stuff that could be done to improve the desktop experience is in userspace, which by definition doesn't have anything to do with LKML: things like init systems, desktop environments, application software, distributions, etc. The main exception is graphics drivers, but even that isn't really a LKML topic, those things (like Nouveau) are pretty big projects by themselves and aren't conducted on the LKML. And of course, it should be obvious that the biggest impediment to Linux on the desktop isn't really technical at all, it's the availability of application software (though I suppose you could argue that improving WINE would make a big difference here).

Anyway, the point is, this issue is about only one part of the whole FOSS/Linux community; other projects don't have this notoriety.

Comment Re: America (Score 2) 394

No, I want them to already have values which align with my own.

What you're advocating is a politician who's corrupt and votes for legislation that's against my own interests (like the DMCA, Iraq War, etc.), and then only changes course somewhat after he/she finds out that position is too unpopular, so they change their rhetoric somewhat to try to appeal to the voters and keep getting re-elected. Meanwhile, the shitty legislation has already been passed, and they're not doing anything to repeal it.

The point of a democracy isn't to elect someone who will do the bare minimum to get re-elected, while passing as much stuff as they can for their corporate benefactors without pissing off their constituents too much. The point of a representative democracy is to elect candidates who share your own values, so that they can spend their time studying the issues in-depth and making sound decisions on them, because they may come up with a different decision after studying the issue for weeks or months than you would after reading some slanted "news" article for 1 minute.

Comment Re:Western World Projects are becoming embarrasing (Score 1) 178

It's simple: Western society is collapsing. It's too bad, too; we're finally figuring out a few things like equal rights for gays and ending prohibition for pot, the former marginalizing a significant portion of society (reducing productivity) and the latter costing society a fortune in money and violence (just like alcohol Prohibition did in the 1930s).

But I guess all the corruption, plus all the outsourcing to low-cost nations, plus all the lawsuits, is catching up with us.

Comment Re:I see the problem (Score 1) 324

No, it's not about being "Christian", dominionists are a particular strain that wants Christians to have dominion over everyone, hence the name.

It's just like how only some Christians believe in Prosperity Theology ("God loves rich people more, and that's why he's blessed them with wealth." Dominionists are closely related), and only some Christians believe in speaking in tongues. Christians aren't all the same.

As for Cruz's claims, obviously he keeps that quiet. His father spells it all out.

Comment Re: She killed the calculator group. Never forget! (Score 1) 324

No, it doesn't. It's a compromise, just like anything else. Having dedicated, high-quality keys with excellent tactile feedback is ideal, however it isn't always practical. There's no way you can do that on a phone with apps, for instance, because every app is different and you need to be able to reconfigure it on the fly. Having it on a Model M keyboard works fine, because you don't expect it to change and there's plenty of room there for lots of keys, unlike a phone. And the keyboard sits on your desk; it's not mobile, so there's no real penalty for it being big. The HP48-series calculators were great in their time (though slow for a lot of things, especially anything involving the menus), but they were about as big as a modern phablet, and that's all they did.

If you're already carrying around a 5" screen smartphone, why not have an app that does most of that stuff (esp. when you can just use the free version and not pay anything)? Maybe you like hauling around a dedicated calculator everywhere you go on the off change you want to convert degrees to radians, but I'm not going to; an Android app works just fine for that.

Comment Re:weakly disguised hit-piece (Score 3, Insightful) 324

It's been repeatedly demonstrated that it wasn't, in fact. It was just a better effort than similar devices which preceded it.

Right, but not innovation. That's not what this is about.

Oh please. I hate to defend Apple of all companies, but "innovation" is not being the first to come up with the very first version of something, that's "invention". The two are not the same. Putting together existing parts (and refining them significantly) into a new overall package is innovation; it's really the same thing as engineering, but also combined with design.

I still remember when the iPhone first came out. It was truly intuitive and easy to use for people who hadn't used one before, and it was actually attractive; this just wasn't true for preceding devices with their tiny screens with resistive touchscreens and crappy OSes. Thankfully, Android came along later (though it has major problems too, namely mfgrs abandoning devices quickly), but I have to give credit where it's due. The iPhone is the whole reason everyone has a smartphone now; no one cared about them before because they really weren't easy to use (nor attractive).

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener