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Comment: Re:Venus isn't Earth's "twin" really at all. (Score 1) 132

by Will.Woodhull (#46814571) Attached to: Venus' Crust Heals Too Fast For Plate Tectonics

The barycenter of any planet and the Sun is far outside the planet's surface. Excepting Jupiter, whose barycenter with the Sun is approximately coincident with the Sun's surface, the barycenters are all deep within the Sun.

This means that the solar induced tides, no matter what their strength might be, do not perturb the planet's orbit. Nor do they distort the planet's shape to the degree that lunar tides distort the Earth's shape (and significantly perturb its solar orbit).

The study of geologic processes on Earth will continue to be significantly incomplete until it is recognized that the Earth and Moon function as a binary planet. Not as bodies that can be understood in isolation.

One would think that the International Astronomy Union and other professional organizations of astronomers would recognize this, but-- alas-- their heads appear to be too full of empty space to concern themselves with what is going on beneath their feet.

Comment: Re:Venus isn't Earth's "twin" really at all. (Score 2) 132

by Will.Woodhull (#46811773) Attached to: Venus' Crust Heals Too Fast For Plate Tectonics

No, you have not missed anything. You are parroting the "logic" of the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union. This is a true committee of fifteen members whose job it has been to decide on definitions of words. There was and is no science here. Nor was there any logic based on science; the logic was that of taxonomy: making pigeonholes to classify stuff. Nor was logic used in making the final determinations; what the pigeonholes were to be called was decided by vote. It was a "let's make new words" party, having nothing to do with astronomy, geology, or selenology. (See? It is both easy and fun to add words to the pseudoscientific jargon. Even scientists can do it!)

The Moon is considered a moon as the barycentre is within the Earth.

The barycenter of the Earth-Moon binary system (and that is a legitimate phrase) is always 1,000 miles below the lithosphere of the Earth, and 3,000 miles above the Earth's core. Quito, Equador, is a city on the equator. When there is a lunar eclipse on either the Spring or Autumn equinox at Quito, an interplanetary voyager arriving from Mars would find that Quito was 1,500 miles closer to the Sun than usual, but 12 hours earlier or later it was almost 1,500 miles further from the Sun than the navigator's first order approximation*. The communications officer of that interplanerary ship had better take into account the way the Earth spins about the barycenter of the binary system if he is to stay in laser beam contact with the Quito space port.

More significantly over the Earth's history is that its rotation around the barycenter raises tides. Not just the noticeable ones in the hydrophere, but large ones in the various layers of the atmosphere, and smaller, but significant, ones in the lithosphere. Geology has yet to develop an effective model on how the tidal strains on the lithosphere affect plate tectonics. But there can be little question that significant tidal forces are at work, alternately stretching and compressing faults.

In retrospect, what this august body of astronomers should probably have done is given their naming problem over to the experts who have recognized degrees in the appropriate field of study: these kinds of taxonomic decisions are better left to the linguists and other language experts. There are probably very few astronomers who have done any study of language arts at all. No wonder they bungled the thing so badly. They probably did not even know they were not doing astronomy any more. *

I would not mind having someone check my geometry here. I think the difference is actually 3,000 miles (displacement of the Earth's center from the barycenter) but I'm going with the more conservative number.

Comment: Re:Venus isn't Earth's "twin" really at all. (Score 2) 132

by Will.Woodhull (#46810297) Attached to: Venus' Crust Heals Too Fast For Plate Tectonics

Is it surprising that there is a difference in the behavioral history of a single planet and a similar planet that happens to be part of a binary planet system?

Hint: Venus does not have tides; has never had tides. Earth tides were a lot larger when Earth was young and the Moon was closer. They are still large enough to put a significant do-si-do waggle in the Earth's orbit about the Sun. Despite what dumb-ass astronomer conventions might say, when a satellite is so large that it deflects its primary from its orbit by 4,000 miles, you have a binary planet.

Why do so many Earth "scientists" fail to see that you cannot talk sensibly about Earth's mechanics without acknowledging the Moon's influence? Of course there is going to be a difference between the pot that sits on the stove undisturbed, and the one that is constantly stirred.


Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 126

by Will.Woodhull (#46798343) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

I guess a lot depends on what you define a "real camera" to be.

For me, any camera body + lens combo that costs more than $750 is unrealistic. That's more than I can afford to replace if I lose it while kayaking. I'm happy with bridge cameras, and there are advantages in being able to go from wide angle to telephoto without swapping lenses. It does mean that you have to rely on the firmware for narrow DOF, etc-- but it is a reasonable trade-off.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 126

by Will.Woodhull (#46796925) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Quality bridge cameras ($300+ models) also have the ability to mimic a narrow depth of field. That can be very useful in wedding party photography, etc, where capturing candid portrait shots is critical to the photographer's success, and he will not have time to swap between lenses on his DSLR.

On my Fuji HS25EXR, the camera identifies the subject with its face recognition technology and takes 2 or 3 shots, The foreground is handled normally but the extra images are used to double or triple expose the background for the shallow DOF effect. Results are often quite good and can reduce the amount of post work by quite a bit.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 4, Insightful) 126

by Will.Woodhull (#46796853) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Why would I want to ruin large parts of a good image with this effect?

Portrait photography.

Or any time when the presence of crap in the background degrades the photo. That candid picture of your Mom sharing a moment with your aunt would look great if it were not for the Ronald McDonald billboard in the background.

Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 1) 630

by Will.Woodhull (#46708085) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

I also think the muzzle flash is from the sabot.

One advantage mentioned in TFA is that there are no combustibles in the ship's magazine. When you can treat your ammo the same way you treat the canned peaches, your ship has an incredible advantage over traditional warships.

Other advantages are longer range, simplified sight picture of a moving target (at 5,000 mph a truck 100 miles away is not going to move very far down the road), and pyrophoric behavior when depleted uranium is used in the projectile (in addition to the kinetic energy, you have the explosive behavior of releasing a burning hot cloud of uranium dust at the point of impact).

This is a truly nasty weapon.

Comment: Re:IANA Physicist, So... (Score 1) 630

by Will.Woodhull (#46707759) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

I'm guessing the muzzle flash is from part of the sabot. Maybe styrofoam peanuts, maybe a big coil of copper wire.

I'm not sure how much of this presentation has been photoshopped. The flight sequence doesn't look right-- if this was going at Mach 7, how come the background looks like something from an airplane at 100 mph?

I'm guessing the projectile is depleted uranium, judging by its behavior on impact. Is there anything new in the unclassified pages about the depleted uranium dust we deployed in Iraq during the Gulf War? Last I heard, the stuff was probably nasty, with effects lasting a decade or more.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

Were they all played with the same catgut strings and horsehair bows? It isn't just the violin, you know.

I was once told that the best violin bows were made from seven year old palomino ponies who were in heat when the hairs were harvested. And the best violin strings were made from the guts of Upper East Side alley cats.

It might be escargot to some, but for me its just a mess of cooked snails.

Comment: Re:software (Score 2) 169

On the contrary, there was lots of reason to suspect old code of being inefficient on new machines.

Much of that old code used clever techniques, highly rewarded when they were developed, to fit the software to the limitations of those ancient machines. When you have 48 K of core, and that is all you've got, you choose algorithms that can be written in tiny loops that will fit, and you use re-entrant techniques so that the code that is already in place for the date calculation can be re-used to calculate part of the return on investment, depending on the state of a one bit flag tucked into some other process. That could save seconds, or even minutes, by avoiding loading new code from tape. You optimize the size of the Hollerith card decks, to decrease the number of boxes that have to be hauled around on hand trucks, and the hours needed to read and compile the cards to tape.

It was much more important that the program could be compiled to tape in the 11 pm to 5:30 am time slot than how efficiently it would perform during the workday. Workday performance enhancements could be added in later revisions.

Comment: Re:WOW! (Score 3, Funny) 132

by Will.Woodhull (#46623133) Attached to: Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

Above post proves that some persons are willing to pay a lot more for the same tools as those who use the best practices of resource management.

And that some people cannot make the distinction between effective workflows and good tools.

It is easy to be inefficient on a Linux box. Move that user to a Mac or Windows box, and a strange thing happens. He will be just as inefficient when measured by time. However he will be much more inefficient when measured by total cost of his output.

In conclusion, the easy way to increase the inefficiency in a workflow is to buy expensive computers for the most inefficient personnel. This stimulates the economy. The cost of this stimulation is borne by the companies that use this tactic and shows up as a decrease in competitive advantages. But it is all done for the greater glory of Apple and Microsoft so it is all good.

Comment: Re:No problem (Score 2) 423

by Will.Woodhull (#46600247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

There are better car analogies.

There are lots of farms that use trucks that were new in the 1950s to haul stuff to and from the fields. I once had a summer job at a seed cleaning plant that used a 2 ton 1938 Ford flatbed truck to move pallets of grass seed from the cleaning operation to the warehouse, a quarter mile away. That truck had not been on a paved road in decades, first and third gear were shot, it was always parked on a hill at overnight because the starting motor was too weak to turn crank the cold engine; it had to be jump started in the morning. We routinely overloaded it with up to 8 tons, but it would chug between the two buildings at all of 5 mph.

Continuing to use WinXP or even Win98 in situations that require nothing more is a no brainer. When the hardware wears out, either placing an order with the local computer refurbisher for a rebuilt box of the same vintage, or jumping to Linux on a new box with the ancient OS and its apps running in a VM, would work just fine.

Comment: Re:No problem (Score 1) 423

by Will.Woodhull (#46600163) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

The magic words in parent post are "via VMware"). Running the original OS in a VM under a solid Linux distro is an inexpensive solution for many upgrade issues. The VM can be set up to keep the WinXP, Win98, or WinNT isolated from sources of infection while distros like RH/Fedora, Debian, or Ubuntu have excellent patch and upgrade management systems.

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