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Space

One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the emotional-investment-in-nouns dept.
sarahnaomi writes: Most of us grew up believing that tiny, distant Pluto was the outermost planet in our solar system. Then, one day, the scientific powers that be decreed that it wasn't. But it seems the matter is far from settled. David Weintraub—who describes Pluto's exile as a stunt organized by a "very small clique of Pluto-haters"—would have the dwarf world rejoin the ranks of our Solar System's fully-fledged planets today. But solid evidence that Pluto deserves the title may come in July, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft slingshots around the icy rock and sends us back a detailed picture of its composition. Pluto's planethood was revoked by majority vote on the final day of the 2006 IAU conference. Over 2,500 astronomers attended the meeting throughout the week, but only 394 votes ultimately decided Pluto's fate: 237 in favor of demoting the planet and 157 against.

Comment: Re:Whiteboards and whiteboarding are a bad idea. (Score 1) 141

by Hognoxious (#49155131) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams?

A picture is worth a thousand words

I once got a bug report. It consisted of nothing but four screenshots:
screen 1701 with field alpha having a value of foo
screen 2303 with field bravo having a value of bar
screen 1701 with field alpha having a value of baz
screen 2303 with field bravo having a value of qux.

After much faffing and false starts (and eventually talking to someone else other than the submitter) it turned out that when they change field charlie on screen 666 it should change field alpha on 1701.

How many words were those pictures worth? Zero, maybe less.

Space

Methane-Based Life Possible On Titan 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-life-jim-but-not-as-we-know dept.
Randym writes: With the simultaneous announcement of a possible nitrogen-based, cell-like structure allowing life outside the "liquid water zone" (but within a methane atmosphere) announced by researchers at Cornell (academic paper) and the mystery of fluctuating methane levels on Mars raising the possibility of methane-respiring life, there now exists the possibility of a whole new branch of the tree of life that does not rely on either carbon or oxygen for respiration. We may find evidence of such life here on Earth down in the mantle where "traditional" life cannot survive, but where bacteria has evolved to live off hydrocarbons like methane and benzene.

Comment: Re:Bad usability, man (Score 1) 492

by Hognoxious (#49145325) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

Take a look at these, a couple of links away from TFA. http://dtafalonso.deviantart.c...

They're all fapping off about them, but look how faint some of the differentiators for the folder contents are; several of them look pretty much he same.

Also, why is everything turned as if it's facing someone six feet to my left? Well, actually it's only nearly everything, which is even worse.

The ones they're griping about are better IMO.

Businesses

Teamsters Seek To Unionize More Tech Shuttle Bus Drivers In Silicon Valley 291

Posted by samzenpus
from the shuttle-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about the effort to unionize shuttle drivers in Silicon Valley. "Shuttle bus drivers for five prominent tech companies will decide whether to unionize on Friday in a vote that has the potential to dramatically expand organized labor's territory in Silicon Valley and embolden others in the tech industry's burgeoning class of service workers to demand better working conditions. Drivers who ferry Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, eBay and Zynga workers -- all employed by contractor Compass Transportation -- will decide whether to join the Teamsters union in an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Union leaders say they want to bring the drivers into the fold so they can negotiate better pay and benefits -- as well as relief from a split shift that has the drivers working morning and evening shifts with no pay in between. A contract the Teamsters struck over the weekend for Facebook's shuttle bus drivers, who work for Loop Transportation, offers a glimpse of what may be possible: paid sick and vacation time, full health care coverage and wages of up to $27.50 an hour."

Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.

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