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Comment: Re:And still (Score 1) 178

by donaldm (#49158177) Attached to: One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet

The definition of "planet" is a fucked up mess that a small group of astronomers threw together with the intent of classifying Pluto as not-a-planet without really thinking it through.

Like it or not humans have been classifying things from the beginning of our species. Yes sometime we get it wrong or not quite right but we do try and refine our classifications using scientific principles.

Neither does Jupiter. There are about 100,000 trojan asteroids in Jupiter's orbit, so it fails the third criteria; "cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit."

That is just nit picking and is covered by the quote (see below) from your reference anyway. Basically all of that cosmic rubble (call them asteroids or chunks of rock if you will) are orbit crossing and are tiny in respect to the planet which is significantly different. None of the eight planets cross each others orbit however "Pluto" does cross Neptune's orbit which makes Pluto fall under a different criteria than what we classify as "normal planet orbital behaviour". Oh before I forget Pluto's orbital plane is different form the orbital plane of the other planets, read into that what you will.

As per your reference I quote:

In the end stages of planet formation, a planet will have "cleared the neighbourhood" of its own orbital zone (see below), meaning it has become gravitationally dominant, and there are no other bodies of comparable size other than its own satellites or those otherwise under its gravitational influence. A large body which meets the other criteria for a planet but has not cleared its neighbourhood is classified as a dwarf planet. This includes Pluto, which shares its orbital neighbourhood with Kuiper belt objects such as the plutinos.

Oh well maybe in the future Pluto will cross Neptune's orbit and Neptune will be waiting for it then the debate will be solved. Of course in a few billion years none of this will matter anyway.

Comment: Re:Another Reason Businesses prefer BSD (Score 1) 261

by donaldm (#49112369) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons

The kernel is shipping in every single one of those android phones. If you guys are basing your decision on whether or not to use Linux vs BSD servers based on whether or not the releases are named, I think Linux can probaly do ok without you.

I concur I did not want to comment any further for what I consider a troll. Personally I don't have any issue with BSD Unix since it actually was the first Unix I ever worked on in 1980 but many business or at least those that want to make money want an OS they know is going to be supported and the track record of the company that is going to support that OS.

Comment: Re:Another Reason Businesses prefer BSD (Score 1) 261

by donaldm (#49112265) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons

Ah the troll is strong with this one!

But well, it's just the kernel, so one could just use the number, but damn this sort of stuff is exactly why linux will never be taken that seriously, even if it is free. /rant off

Over one billion android smartphone and tablet users world wide might disagree with you and that is over 65% of the market.

Comment: Re:Linux? Is that still a thing? (Score 1) 261

by donaldm (#49112085) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons

Back when I was reading slashdot in the 90s I was assured it was just weeks away from taking over the world. Now I'm looking for any serious answer as to why it's anything more than "work for embedded device manuafcturers without getting paid."

I suggest you look at your smartphone or tablet, over one billion people might disagree with you.

Comment: Re:New version! (Score 1) 261

by donaldm (#49111745) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons

Yes, exactly. I'm running Debian Jessie and I'm not really comfortable with binary logs.

Have you ever heard to utmp and wtmp they are binary logs?

How do you think you can read an ASCII file since in reality it is a binary file? Don't believe me well try to open an ASCI file without the appropriate software to open that file. Examples of that software are: cat, more, less, pg, view, vi, vim, gvim, emacs, - I could go on if you like. Like it or not ASCII files are a binary file consisting of ones and zeros.

Reading so called binary logs with the appropriate software is no more different than reading an ASCII file with the appropriate software.

Comment: Re:New version! (Score 2, Insightful) 261

by donaldm (#49111587) Attached to: Linux Kernel Switching To Linux v4.0, Coming With Many New Addons

"it does not respect the UNIX way of doing things" IS a valid technical argument.

What pray tell is the UNIX way of doing things?

I have been using Unix (BSD, Ultrix, Tru64, AIX, SunOS, IRIX, HPUX, Solaris, SCO (when they were the good guys) and others) for over 35 years and what you have just said would get you laughed out of a design meeting.

Comment: Re:Cripes, what could possibly go wrong? (Score 2) 421

by donaldm (#49111469) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

There is one thing that could be done. Pull CO2 out of the atmosphere on a large scale. That would take enormous amounts of carbon-free electricity.

Where do you suggest we put all this CO2? Over millions of years the excess CO2 of our planet was removed by plants and safely locked away until we decided to dig it up and released it. What is really needed is a balance but how to determine that balance and even implement it that is the question although planting more trees would help.

Basically we need to be fairly energy neutral and a balance between producing bio-fuels and consuming that fuel is essential. All fossil fuels do is produce more CO2 and other products although even this can be offset with some thought.

Please note I am well aware the pluses and minuses of bio-fuels not to mention some ridicules and possibly criminal choices of the type of fuels for certain areas. It is very important to decide on the appropriate bio-fuel that can be relatively cheap to produce and appropriate for area. In some areas such as those with high population densities growing of bio-fuels impacts on the growing of food so some sort of balance is needed and that is not easy when greed takes over.

Comment: Re:on starting with smaller-scale albedo modificat (Score 3, Interesting) 421

by donaldm (#49111203) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

I suppose the first thing to ask is "What can go wrong?"

Our planet maintains a balance so far and if you start to upset that balance then you are going to have two possibilities. 1) The planet goes through a runaway greenhouse effect and effectively gets far too hot, although probably not as hot as Venus. 2) The planet goes into deep freeze and this has happened before. We can actually thank volcanic action for reversing this process.

I can understand concern over potential global warming and am in favour of reducing green house gas build up or better still to have a balance between consuming liquid fuels (example: practical bio-fuels without the hype) and growing them. Burning fossil fuels without some sort of balance is asking for trouble. Solar energy in all its forms should be seriously considered and the most suitable for each region implemented if possible and practical by all nations, although IMO that is basically asking the impossible but at least first world countries should set the example.

Another area to look at is the design and building of housing that is energy efficient in that there would be less need for heating and cooling. Practical solar solutions should also be considered here as well.

The things I have just mentioned are easily achievable with our current technology and would go a very long way in stabilising the climate of our planet. Of course this is but a pipe dream since we are a short lived species but if our life potential could be made to say 200 or more healthy years then most people in power would realise that they and not just their children are going have to put up with radical changes if they make stupid decisions. Of course human greed and fanaticism can still blind some even in the face of imminent disaster.

+ - An Evidence-Based Approach to Online Dating

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Rachel Nuwer writes in the NYT that Dr. Sameer Chaudhry’s online dating persona was garnering no response from the women he reached out to so he synthesized 86 literature studies on the subject of online dating in the fields of psychology, sociology, and computer, behavioral, and neurocognitive hopes of improving his odds. As it turns out, success begins with picking a user name. While men are drawn to names linked to physical traits (e.g., Cutie), the researchers found, women prefer ones that indicate intelligence (e.g., Cultured). Both sexes respond well to playful names (e.g. Fun2bwith) and shy away from ones with negative connotations (e.g., Bugg). User names that begin with letters from the first half of the alphabet do better than those from the latter half. “As human beings, we have a tendency to give things at the top of a pile more value,” says Khan. As for your profile photo, pick a photo with a genuine smile, one that crinkles the eyes, and with a slight head tilt (it’s linked to attractiveness). And if you’re looking for a male partner, go for that photo of you in siren red—a color that enhances men's attraction to women. "For those attracted to browse into the profile, a description of personal traits increased likeability when it: showed who the dater was and what they were looking for in a 70:30 ratio; stayed close to reality; and employed simple language with humor added. Invitations were most successful in obtaining a response from the potential date when they: were short personalized messages addressing a trait in their profile; rhymed with their screen name or headline message; and extended genuine compliments." And finally, don't wait too long before arranging a face to face meeting."

+ - Ask Slashdot: parental content control for free OSs?

Submitted by m.alessandrini
m.alessandrini (1587467) writes "Children grow up, and inevitably they will start using internet and social networks, both for educational and recreational purposes. And it won't take long to them to learn to be autonomous, especially with all the smartphones and tablets around and your limited time.
Unlike the years of my youth, when internet started to enter our lives gradually, now I'm afraid of the amount of inappropriate contents a child can be exposed to unprepared: porn, scammers, cyberbullies or worse, are just a click away.
For Windows many solutions claim to exist, usually in form of massive antivirus suites. What about GNU/Linux? Or Android? Several solutions rely on setting up a proxy with a whitelist of sites, or similar, but I'm afraid this approach can make internet unusable, or otherwise be easy to bypass. Have you any experiences or suggestions? Do you think software solutions are only a part of the solution, provided children can learn hacking tricks better than us, and if so, what other "human" techniques are most effective?"

+ - What Do Old Techies Do After They Retire?

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Peter T. Kilborn writes in the NYT about the generation of the baby boomer programmers, engineers, and technical people who are now leaving the bosses, bureaucracies, commutes and time clocks of their workaday careers to tackle something consuming and new, whether for material reward or none at all. “Retirement gives them the opportunity to flex their experience,” says Dr. William Winn speaking of a postchildhood, postfamily-rearing, “third age” of “productive aging” and “positive aging.” Nancy K. Schlossberg calls men and women who exploit the skills of their old jobs “continuers" and those who take up something new “adventurers.” Continuers and adventurers make up the vigorous end of Dr. Schlossberg’s retirement spectrum, opposite those she calls “retreaters” who disengage from life and “spectators” who just watch.

For example, 75-year-old Seth R. Goldstein, with four degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from MIT and retired for thirteen years, still calls himself an engineer. But where he was previously a biomedical engineer with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda with 12 patents, he now makes kinetic sculptures in his basement workshop that lack any commercial or functional utility. But his work, some of which is on display at the Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, has purpose. Goldstein is pushing the envelope of engineering and hoping to stir the imaginations of young engineers to push their own envelopes. For example "Why Knot?” a sculpture Goldstein constructed, uses 10 electric motors to drive 10 mechanisms to construct a four-in-hand knot on a necktie that it wraps around its own neck. Grasping, pulling, aligning and winding the lengths of the tie, Mr. Knot can detect the occasional misstep or tear, untie the knot and get it right. Unlike Rube Goldberg’s whimsical contraptions, Mr. Goldstein’s is no mere cartoon. It works, if only for Mr. Knot.

According to Kilborn, people like Goldstein don't fit the traditional definition of retirement, which according to Webster's Dictionary means the "withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life. Retirement implies that you're just leaving something; it doesn't reflect that you're going to something," says Schlossberg. "But it is really a career change. You are leaving something that has been your primary involvement, and you are moving to something else.""

+ - Harvard climate skeptic scientist has made a fortune from corporate interests->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Elected officials who want to block the EPA and legislation on climate change frequently refer to a handful of scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change. One of scientists they quote most often is Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. Newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon has made a fortune from corporate interests. 'He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.' The Koch Brothers are cited as a source of Dr. Soon's funding."
Link to Original Source

+ - Antitrust case against Google thrown out of SF court->

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson (3799011) writes "Just a few days ago Google was threatened with legal action for anti-competitive behavior in Russia. While we don't yet know if that will amount to anything, there has been some better news for the search giant in the US. A San Francisco judge dismissed a case brought against the firm by two men who thought the inclusion of Google services in Android pushed up the prices of their handsets."
Link to Original Source

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