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Comment Re:Think horses, not zebras (Score 1) 339

If you read the articles, this is the approach both the original research authors and Phil Plait have taken. It's most likely something mundane that we haven't seen before, but unlike most of what we observe, it's unusual enough that we can't yet rule out something more exotic. While no doubt silly people will misinterpret this, to me, the actual scientists who have commented on this have done so responsibly.

Comment Re:Oh dear god..... (Score 1) 339

... and if the star had one significantly sized periodic dip in it's luminosity, that would be a plausible explanation. However, that's not what we see. We see a lot of different sized dips with no apparent periodicity so far. It's not one brown dwarf. Do you honestly think that professional astronomers wouldn't have considered this possibility before publishing their findings?

Comment Re: Journalists doing all of the speculating (Score 1) 339

Cepheids (and other variables) have well known and well studied light curves (luminosity as a function of time). This star's light curve shows no resemblance to any type of pulsating variable star. It's not a Cepeid. It's also not an RR Lyrae, RV Tauri, or Mira type variable star. So, it's not surprising that nobody has suggested this is a Cepheid.

Comment Re:Lots of other possibilities (Score 1) 339

True, but for there to be frequent occultations, there would then need to be a lot of these chunks, much larger and denser than we see in our own asteroid belt, Kuiper belt, or Oort cloud. While this is certainly theoretically possible, it's hard to imagine how so much mass could form in such a configuration.

Comment Password updating (Score 5, Insightful) 150

Okay, the bit about how many folks wouldn't report a security breach is disturbing, but what's the fixation with updating passwords? I've been working in computer security for decades, and I almost never update passwords unless I'm required to or there is an incident. I'd much rather have my users pick strong passwords and not change them often than pick weak passwords because I insist they change them often. Sure, it's not just an either/or, but on the list of my concerns about system security, how frequently users update their passwords ranks WAAAAY down on the list.

Submission + - Seed from ancient extinct plant planted and brought back to life

schwit1 writes: Israeli scientists have successfully gotten a 2000-year-old seed of an extinct date plant to grow and now reproduce.

Methuselah sprouted back in 2005, when agriculture expert Solowey germinated his antique seed. It had been pulled from the remains of Masada, an ancient fortification perched on a rock plateau in southern Israel, and at the time, no one could be sure that the plant would thrive. But he has, and his recent reproductive feat helps prove just how well he’s doing.

For a while, the Judean date palm was the sole representative of his kind: Methuselah’s variety was reportedly wiped out around 500 A.D. But Solowey has continued to grow date palms from ancient seeds discovered in the region, and she tells National Geographic that she is “trying to figure out how to plant an ancient date grove.” Doing so would allow researchers to better understand exactly what earlier peoples of the region were eating and how it tasted.

Comment Re:Entitlement (Score 4, Insightful) 325

Not so easy. What if Apple is adding wasted space to their OS distributions in order to coerce/trick customers into upgrading the older, lower capacity devices? Bear in mind that I don't know that they are, but I think it's certainly okay to pose the question if the larger space required by the newer operating systems is actually being used by new features or not. It may not be illegal for them to do so, but it's certainly morally questionable, and if they're doing this, I'd at least like to know.

Comment Better than not providing any support whatsoever. (Score 3, Informative) 253

Everything you say is true, but at least having such a forum where one can get some support is better than not, and better than having that pseudo-support scattered across a dozen boards over the Internet. Doesn't excuse such lazy behavior, of course. Generally, if a company is providing an expensive product for which I need support, and then provides crappy support, I'll be looking for an excuse to try a competitor's product next time out. You might think that this would lead companies to upgrade their support, but it doesn't seem to. One of the big problems is that most of that company's customers are idiots, so it's a huge money sink to constantly answer their silly questions with expensive, highly trained support people. So, if a producer is using the forum to weed out the Tier 1 "Would it work better if I plug it in?" crowd while jumping in and helping out when someone has a real problem, then I guess I don't have a problem with it. If such a forum is viewed as a replacement for support, then I'll likely be looking at competing products next time.

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