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Comment: Re:I still think Pluto is a planet (Score 1) 170

by jc42 (#48842381) Attached to: Analysis Suggests Solar System Contains Massive Trans-Neptunian Objects

The most likely result will be that astronomers will eventually reject the term "planet" entirely. Sorta like how, a few centuries back, they rejected the older term "astrology", due to all its baggage and mis-use by pseudo-scientists and charlatans.

You realize that you are implying that the astronomers who voted in the current astronomical definition of planet are all either psuedo-scientists or charlatans?

That raises some very serious thought-provoking questions. IMHO, using only common sense and no optical assistance mechanisms, it looks to me like they are probably pseudo-scientists, and not charlatans.

Well, they apparently spent some time in meetings of an international organization discussing the definition of "planet", when they could have been doing actual scientific work. ;-)

Of course, sometimes terminology is important scientifically, and it's worthwhile spending time to get it right. But they were mocked by other actual astronomers pointing out that any term that includes both Mercury and Jupiter but not some objects with intermediate properties must be an absolutely worthless term for any scientific purposes. So, at least during the time they spent in such discussions of the definition of "planet", they weren't functioning as scientists. But they were pretending that the terminology involved had scientific value, so it probably did qualify for the term "pseudo-science", in at least one of its common meanings.

Comment: Re:I still think Pluto is a planet (Score 2) 170

by jc42 (#48840213) Attached to: Analysis Suggests Solar System Contains Massive Trans-Neptunian Objects

It has not cleared it's orbit of debris and Eris is in the same boat yet LARGER than Pluto.... how is Pluto a planet then?

Neither has Earth; there's a rather large, bright rock visible in our sky about half the time. ;-)

Seriously, though, it's probably just a matter of time before a rock bigger than Earth is discovered out in the Kuiper belt and/or the Oort Cloud, and chances are pretty slim that its orbit will be "cleared" of rubble. This will either put an end to the current (somewhat bogus) definition of "planet", or it will cause the debate over what's a planet and what's not to bumble on indefinitely.

The most likely result will be that astronomers will eventually reject the term "planet" entirely. Sorta like how, a few centuries back, they rejected the older term "astrology", due to all its baggage and mis-use by pseudo-scientists and charlatans.

In any case, the big rocks in the sky don't really care how we classify them. They just go about their orbiting, occasionally bashing into each other (and occasionally us) at widely-spaced intervals.

Comment: Re:call me skeptical (Score 2) 357

by jc42 (#48835589) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Is it monthly averages that they average for the year? Is it daily data that is averaged for the whole year?

Are you really not aware that those are the same number?

If so, well it's good that you seem to realize that you truly do not belong in this discussion.

Actually, it's quite common for local weather data to play fast-and-loose with the concept of "average" in ways that produce such anomalous results.

Thus, it's common to record the "average" temperature for a day by averaging the high and low temperature. It should be fairly obvious how this can produce days that are mostly below (or above) average, like when a front moves through and produces a peak high or low that's very different from most of the day. Similarly, I've seen the "average" monthly highs and lows calculated by taking four numbers (the min/max of the daily highs/lows) and doing similarly misleading averaging.

Actually, meteorologists typically record such things on an hourly basis, and do averaging across all of them. You still run into questions like whether the results are means or medians. But it's not unusual for the politically inclined to ignore such data (which is often only available by grovelling through the databases), using an "average" of only a small set of highs and lows.

Yes, these should average out over the long run. But we've seen so much "cherry picking" in this subject area that one should be skeptical of all the data until you've verified that the writers aren't trying to pull a fast one to support their religious/political/economic theories.

Comment: Re:Interesting to note... (Score 1) 357

by jc42 (#48835231) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Last winter was the coldest one on record around here, in over 100 years of record keeping... Pipes were freezing everywhere

Well, which was it... "around here", or "everywhere"? You do know there is a difference, right?

You must speak a rather restrictive dialect of English. In my native dialect (US West Coast), the phrase "everywhere around here" is quite normal, and you can figure out its meaning by inserting "that's" in the right place. The first quote above used the two halves of the phrase in a common way, and speakers of such dialects will automatically carry the "around here" over to the second sentence.

So what dialect do you speak, for which this isn't true. Online linguists studying English dialects are curious ...

Comment: Re:Stop trying to win this politically (Score 0) 786

by jcr (#48783649) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

he blew it by thinking that attacking guns in the middle of a presidential election was a good idea.

I'd say that Bubba blew that election for him, frankly. After the Clinton regime, Bush was able to play "Mr. Clean", and Al didn't dare denounce Bubba the Slut for fear of pissing off the Democrats.

-jcr

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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