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Comment: Re:What's the big deal, anyway? (Score 4, Interesting) 188

by confused one (#49156271) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

That's the general idea. You have to add all the objects that meet the criteria. The current criteria does not depend on characteristics of the object itself; the definition includes characteristics of the surrounding objects as well. I tend to agree with the argument that the current definition is wrong, for this reason.

The Kuiper belt and scattered disk are where all the remaining stuff left over from the formation of the solar system ended up. It was pushed out there by the larger planets. Unless the body is very large, for example like Uranus, it's not going to be able to "clear it's orbit" in that region of the solar system. If another large planet did exist out there, it would probably scatter everything in it's orbit, effectively pushing the Kuiper belt and scattered disk further out. Any smaller body, perhaps even an Earth sized body, would be unable to clear it's orbit. So, if the Earth's double was found out there, you would have to call it a "dwarf planet" by the current definition. That doesn't make sense.

Comment: Re:It's never going back to nine planets... (Score 3, Informative) 188

by confused one (#49156163) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet
it would be much more than 10 or 11. There are 4 other objects that have been recognized by the IAU, Haumaea, Makemake, Eris, and Sedna. There are a number of others which have been observed but have not been recognized yet by IAU. The number could easily be > 20.

Comment: Not all that dangerous (Score 1) 286

by confused one (#49076527) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum
You can, like, pick up uranium ore from the ground. If you happen to be standing in the right place. *picks up rock* Look, it's uranium ore. And you're surrounded by all kinds of radiation sources. Bricks. Bananas. Smoke detectors. Sunlight. Horror. The Geiger counter is there to help the child understand what they're holding, not for parents to measure how contaminated their child has become. Please... Let's over-react some more.

Comment: Re:A precaution when done ahead of time. (Score 1, Interesting) 311

by confused one (#49064073) Attached to: Nuclear Plant Taken Down In Anticipation of Snowstorm
That's basically the idea. Shut down now, and use grid power to bring it down in a controlled fashion... Or, shut down later, and rely on the diesel backup generators to bring it down in a controlled fashion. Either works. Either is safe. Using grid power is safer.

Comment: Re:Nice! (Score 3, Informative) 75

The imagery was supposed to be live streamed to the internet, for one thing. Most of the climate or weather satellites are in Earth orbit, between 350 and 23,000 miles up. This will be all the way out at L1. Being at L1, there will always be a sunlit Earth image and you'll always see the a full hemisphere. Don't know that it will actually end up implemented like that, but that was the intent.

Comment: Re:Nice! (Score 4, Informative) 75

It was nicknamed Goresat by it's detractors for two reasons. One of the primary payloads is designed to monitor albedo, which is there to support global climate research. A secondary payload is a camera, supposedly requested by Gore. The camera was to provide high definition, continuous real-time imagery of the entire Earth -- a full sunlit globe. The Wikipedia description matches my memory of the debate: " Gore hoped not only to advance science with these images, but also to raise awareness of the Earth itself, updating the influential The Blue Marble photograph taken by Apollo 17"

Comment: technology resulting in lax behavior (Score 1) 304

by confused one (#48893703) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

background information: I own and personally drive both ends of the spectrum, a 2014 model car and a 1970 model year truck. The 2014 has all the available electronics features. The 1970... the only electronic device in that vehicle is the ignition module; and, that was an upgrade (I hate setting points). The 1970 truck doesn't even have power brakes. I'm not a luddite. Hell, I make a living as an engineer working for a company that designs and manufactures sensors; I'm not going to argue against technology.

To the point: I read this discussion and I listen to people talking about the active cruise control and collision avoidance systems in their cars and I come to an unfortunate conclusion... These systems can and do lead to people becoming less attentive while they drive. I totally get that these systems save lives. It's just that I see people becoming dependent on these systems and not using them as they are intended.

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