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Comment: Re:Not trying hard enough... (Score 1) 441

by White Yeti (#42730827) Attached to: My cumulative GPA, thus far:
I'm pretty sure the "4" comes from mapping the letter grades A, B, C, D, F. "A" has the most points (4) and "F" the least (0). Most of the time -- but not always -- the letter grades have already been mapped from a numerical scale or percentage, e.g., A=[90-100], B=[80-89], C=[70-79], D=[varies?], F=[can't fudge a D].

Comment: Re:Ask Slashdot question in the making... (Score 3, Interesting) 36

by White Yeti (#42562653) Attached to: GRAIL Mission Video Released
I've even heard it more-broadly stated that there are NO long-term stable lunar orbits. It's an issue for orbital debris: since (1) objects don't burn up on entry, and (2) an uncontrolled orbit is impossible to predict in the long term, therefor all lunar orbiters should be removed rather than abandoned and lunar deorbits should be targeted rather than random.

Comment: Re:What are the military applications? (Score 1) 65

by White Yeti (#41480249) Attached to: Air Force Sets First Post In Ambitious Space Fence Project
This is the best reply I've read here. I think that back when they built the current system (article says 1961) the military wanted to know where everything was so they could identify the military threats. (You also don't want to launch your counter-strike when that Russian rocket booster burns up over Alaska.) That's still the case, but the use for collision avoidance is becoming more important now. The data go into real-time calculations and also into long-term environmental models.

The data (sure...minus classified) are already available to the public, with the caveat that these are averaged/low-res data not suitable for collision avoidance.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.