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+ - Earth-sized planet discovered in its star's habitable zone

Submitted by The Bad Astronomer
The Bad Astronomer (563217) writes "Astronomers have announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a very nearly Earth-sized planet in its star's habitable zone. The planet is the fifth in a system of five orbiting a red dwarf star 500 light years away, and is located in the region where liquid water could exist on its surface. It's not know if this planet is Earth-like — that is, with water and air and the potential for life — but it's the closest we've yet seen where one could be like our own planet."

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 4

by mcgrew (#46778449) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

However, if there is anything in which I have confidence, it is this administration's commitment to slow, methodical, blame-laden screwings of the lower- and middle-class.

In what way has the lower and middle class been screwed by the present administration? I'll agree that the previous administration was great for the rich and crappy for everyone else, but I posit it's slowly improving.

The lower and middle classes have been getting royally screwed for at least half my life, and I retired earlier this year. The screwings started with Reagan's Capital Gains cuts, which caused an orgy of hostile corporate takeovers leading to layoffs and lowered hours. I was hurt badly when my employer staved off an attempted corporate pirate raid.

No, that suppository arrives with the Clinton Administration. I reckon she's wreckin'.

I certainly hope so, it would be nice for the US to raise to the level of the rest of the industrialized world from our historically barbaric health care "system". American health care is far from #1 in any measure except cost; ours is the most expensive. It's neither logical nor rational.

As to Clinton, if she's elected and half as good as her husband the country will be in fine shape. It would be incredibly hard for her to be anywhere as bad as George Junior, the worst President in my lifetime (AFAIC we've really only had two good Presidents in my lifetime, Eisenhower and Clinton, and as I was very young I could be wrong about Eisenhower but love that interstate highway system, as well as his cautions about a military industrial complex).

I'm more worried about Illinois. Dillard was Chief of Staff under Thompson and Edgar, and Illinois did pretty good until Ryan got in, and it deteriorated worse under Blago. It hasn't gotten much better under Quinn, but unfortunately Dillard lost the primary and the stupid Republicans nominated the only one of the four candidates that would get me to vote for Quinn.

Comment: Well said. (Score 1) 1

by mcgrew (#46778141) Attached to: Lies, damned lies, and ... oh no, you're going there.

Liars always lie. I think people mistrust statistics because they don't understand statistics, or worse, understand a little, just enough to be dangerous.

I worked with data and statisticians my whole career. I'm not a statistician, but learned a lot about the discipline from working with them. One of my co-workers had written a textbook on the subject that was used in colleges. Very interesting discipline.

Comment: Re:perception (Score 1) 303

Actually, the total tax burden for the working and middle classes in the USA is not that different from much of Europe. If you deduct the amount that the US citizen pays for health insurance from the amount that the EU citizen pays in taxes (while receiving socialised medical coverage), it's often quite a lot more. Part of the reason that the US has what appears from the outside to be an irrational distrust of government is that they get such poor value for money from their taxes. This leads to a nasty feedback loop (population expects the government to be incompetent, so it's hard to get competent people to want to work for the government, so the government becomes more incompetent, so the population expects...).
User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Fifteen

Journal by mcgrew

Cargo
I started the long walk back to the pilot room wishing again for a bicycle or something.
A robot wheeled past. Hell, I should just flag down a robot. But, of course there was a reason for not having transportation; I remembered the climb up the boat when the whores locked me out and how tiring it was. A body needs exercise and the most I was going to get on a boat with two-thirds gravity was walking.

User Journal

Journal: The third time wasn't a charm.

Journal by mcgrew

I've hardly logged on to the internet at all this past week, too busy correcting a mistake software houses frequently do: Trying to rush a project out the door. The fact is, I'm tired of The Paxil Diaries, but I don't want to ship a flawed piece of crap.

Comment: Re:Like "Anansi boys" better than "American Gods" (Score 1) 34

by TheRaven64 (#46744917) Attached to: Neil Gaiman Confirms Movie Talks For Sandman, American Gods
I enjoyed both, but I cringe at the thought of a movie version of either. If you have a description-heavy novel that's about 100 pages long, you can just about cram it into a movie. Anything longer, and you have to be quite aggressive about the cutting. Both Anansi Boys and American Gods have splits that would let them work quite well as a miniseries, but I can't imagine them as films without so much abridgement that they may as well be different stories. I've also not read Sandman, so I can't comment on that.

Comment: Re:I need electricity. I need it for my dreams. (Score 2) 214

Is it to do with wanting to reduce emissions? I'd have thought it was a much more pragmatic requirement. Fossil fuel extraction costs are going to keep increasing. The costs of alternatives are going to keep decreasing. At some point, they will cross over and at this point the value of stocks in a fossil fuels will suddenly drop. Currently, they are quite high and probably will be for quite a few more years (although increased difficulty in extraction is going to make expensive accidents more common, which won't help). Harvard expects endowments to last a period measured in hundreds of years. Now is probably a good time to start selling off the shares in fossil fuel companies, while there are still people who want to buy them at a high price.

Comment: Re:This is how America ceases to be great (Score 2, Insightful) 133

I was thinking about this the other day. The core problem is not lobbying, because it's perfectly sensible that people with an interest in a particular topic would want to talk to their elected representatives about it. The problem is unequal access to lobbying, and that comes from the massive wealth inequality in the USA and the fact that lobbying is expensive. Perhaps a better solution would be for each member of the electorate to have allocated a certain amount of their representatives' time.

For example, each member of the House of Representatives is responsible for approximately 500,000 people. Assume that they spend on average two hours a day talking to their constituents and the rest is spent in committees, or on holidays (since we're talking about an average). That's 2628000 seconds per year, or around 5 seconds per constituent per year (10 seconds per term). If you want to have a five minute conversation with a representative, then you must find 60 people all willing to give you their time allocations. Or 300 all willing to give you 20% of their allocation. If you want to have an hour-long meeting, then that's 720 people who must give up all of their allowance, or 3600 who must give up 20% (or any breakdown).

Comment: Re:Not malicious but not honest? (Score 2) 444

by TheRaven64 (#46723881) Attached to: Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake
I'm not sure what testing OpenSSL does, but most protocol tests include a fuzzing component, and if the fuzzer didn't generate heartbeat packets with an invalid length then it's not doing a good job. This sort of code is routinely run by people outside the OpenSSL team to look for vulnerabilities, so I'd hope that they'd do it themselves. Generally, any field that contains a length is used in guided fuzzing, because it's easy to get wrong.

Comment: Re:Doesn't seem to be on purpose (Score 5, Interesting) 444

by TheRaven64 (#46723849) Attached to: Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake
The date that it was added to the OpenSSL codebase is very close to the time when the leaked NSA documents claim that they had a 'major breakthrough' in decrypting SSL. I would imagine that they are not responsible for introducing it, but do have people doing very careful code review and fuzzing on all changes to common crypto libraries, so I wouldn't be surprised if they'd known about it (and been exploiting it) since it was originally released.

Comment: Re:He's sorry now ... (Score 1) 444

by TheRaven64 (#46723829) Attached to: Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake

It always amuses me when GPL'd software contains a clickthrough insisting that you press an "Agree" button, when the licence specifically says that no such agreement is necessary.

In fact, by placing the requirement that someone agrees to the license before using a derived work of the GPL'd software, they are violating the GPL...

Comment: Re:Sue FSF, relicense all GNU software ... (Score 1) 444

by TheRaven64 (#46723813) Attached to: Heartbleed Coder: Bug In OpenSSL Was an Honest Mistake
The FSF requires copyright assignment for all of their projects, so they do have some quite valuable assets. They provide the original author with a license to sublicense their contributed code under whatever license they choose, but they are the only ones that can relicense the whole. For example, if someone else managed to gain control of the GNU assets then they could legally relicense GCC under an MIT license, allowing its code to be used anywhere.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

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