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One Astronomer's Quest To Reinstate Pluto As a Planet 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the emotional-investment-in-nouns dept.
sarahnaomi writes: Most of us grew up believing that tiny, distant Pluto was the outermost planet in our solar system. Then, one day, the scientific powers that be decreed that it wasn't. But it seems the matter is far from settled. David Weintraub—who describes Pluto's exile as a stunt organized by a "very small clique of Pluto-haters"—would have the dwarf world rejoin the ranks of our Solar System's fully-fledged planets today. But solid evidence that Pluto deserves the title may come in July, when NASA's New Horizons spacecraft slingshots around the icy rock and sends us back a detailed picture of its composition. Pluto's planethood was revoked by majority vote on the final day of the 2006 IAU conference. Over 2,500 astronomers attended the meeting throughout the week, but only 394 votes ultimately decided Pluto's fate: 237 in favor of demoting the planet and 157 against.

Comment: Re:You are free to have killer robots (Score 1) 318

by sd4f (#49132947) Attached to: Only Twice Have Nations Banned a Weapon Before It Was Used; They May Do It Again

Somehow militaries across the world have enforced the policy of not using frangible bullets and blinding lasers. However, more recently snipers have been watering it down at the peripheries by using hollow point match projectiles. While they technically are hollow points, they aren't the same as what most people think are hollow points, in that they are done so because they are consistent and accurate, and aren't designed with terminal ballistics in mind.

Furthermore, frangible projectiles are still manufactured, for hunting, and blinding lazers do exist.

So I'm not sure what you're saying, because I get the feeling that in both those instances, there isn't really any sort of countering technology that could minimise or mitigate against the effects of those weapons.

Comment: Re:You are free to have killer robots (Score 1) 318

This is probably why 'they' would want it banned; purely because it's a weapon that they can't guarantee control over, or can't guarantee that they can counter this technology. So it would make sense to use diplomacy to try to make sure no one uses it.

Comment: MS Translator (Score 1) 60

MS's translator is generally good, I like using it on my phone, the camera translation is a particularly nice feature, but the one language which I'm constantly having to go to google for translations is latin. Why won't they add it in? For a lot of educated disciplines, science, law, latin is a used, and sometimes it's helpful for some decent translating.

Comment: Re:Scores, yes. Reviews, no. (Score 1) 135

by sd4f (#49033957) Attached to: Are Review Scores Pointless?

A big part of the problem recently is that 'consuming opinions' means that you are getting all the internal bias of the reviewer, warts and all. That means if they get all antsy about not having a playable female character, then the game is toast. If the game has been criticised by Anita Sarkeesian (or will be) then it's awful. If it doesn't cater to alphabet soup people, then it's sucking up to the privileged white males and therefore bad.

So when you have opinions, all you end up with is the game 'media' pushing drivel such as depression quest and gone home. While review scores have plenty of problems, it also allows the consumer to also compare review sites. With a subjective opinion piece, where you have plenty of writers who make a point of not being objective, it just becomes a piece on what's bothering the writer this week.

People like totalbiscuit have proven that you can review games, and still be objective and fair. So while reviews are intrinsically an opinion, some are far more valid than others, and most of these game sites, are best forgotten about.

Comment: Re:Meta scores and user's meta scores (Score 1) 135

by sd4f (#49033759) Attached to: Are Review Scores Pointless?

I'm of a similar opinion. Score aggregation is a far more reliable method of determining the quality of a game, very quickly. It's not perfect, but it works rather nicely for me.

The problem that has been happening is the stupid score of 7/10, which demonstrates the stupid offset that game reviewers have been applying to their scores. 7/10 is more or less the average game, and anything below is usually crap (or niche) and anything above is ok. The dumbest thing about it is scores 0-5 essentially are varying levels of garbage. I think some review sites have copped flack over this, as it's rather ridiculous. There has also been pressure to get good reviews, otherwise reviewers get dropped out of the "club", and won't get free review copies, access to people for interviews or taken to junkets.

So while I don't always look at individual scores, because, especially now, they tend to be meaningless on their own, aggregating them makes heaps of sense, that is until many review sites stop providing scores to aggregate. This is what I think it's about. A lot of review sites are being attacked on a couple of fronts, there's the people who don't bother with them, and then there's 'let's plays' on youtube. I guess these websites try to make out that it's their writing which should be consumed. The problem with this is that with the gradual push for yellow journalism in gaming media, it means that they can't be scrutinesed for piling on games that don't fit in with their world view, like polygon did with bayonetta 2. I don't read eurogamer anyway, so it's no problem for me.

Comment: Re:Yes meanwhile.. (Score 2) 167

by sd4f (#48986879) Attached to: Google Quietly Unveils Android 5.1 Lollipop
My first (and only) experience with android was heavily coloured by optus. Similar to telstra, they just don't release updates. What I learnt is, if you buy a carrier locked android phone, you're going to have a bad time. You never ever get a carrier locked android phone, it just adds another piece to the chain, and while the manufacturers are slow to release the updates, the carriers are even worse, and what for? They only install bloatware anyway.

Comment: Re:"equal treatment" (Score 1) 779

by sd4f (#48963401) Attached to: WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes

The more complex analysis I've been reading about is that this is all stemming from a creep of 'cultural marxism' from academia. The thinking behind much of this is definitely marxist because as you say, it's about equal outcomes. For much of this cultural issues relating to gender or sexuality, the minorities are very much so, minorities, and market forces are essentially forcing them out. People aren't interested in products for that minority, so they don't get made because they don't sell.

Unfortunately what has crept in is the idea that every minority must be represented. This is particularly prominent in the video game industry where there's a race to the bottom to force in various minority figures, not because it makes any artistic sense, but because well, they need to be represented. As a result, we get fairly ridiculously contrived characters that do nothing except pander to those minorities, and generally annoy the mainstream market. A case in point is the developer bioware, who have gone out of their way to force their political viewpoints through their characters, and as a result, they've suffered.

So going back to cultural marxism, it's a case of forcing parity, as you have identified, rather than allowing it happen on its own and stabilise according to market demands. When it comes to something like this topic of male dominance in technical fields, well it's clear, there's absolutely no barrier preventing females from doing CS or programming, or any other male dominated fields, such as engineering. Therefore, the thinking is that clearly, capitalist ideology has failed to achieve their desires, so they need to force competing ideologies to counter it. Marxist ideologies are particularly useful for them because it enables authoritarian attitudes ahead of libertarian ones. They see the privileged people as controlling the means of production (i.e. the majority determine the market) and therefore need to take that away from the majority by making the market pander to the minorities and remove market forces from the equation. This is precisely what we are seeing here; structure things so that the majority can't participate.

Comment: Re:That's like ... (Score 1) 779

by sd4f (#48963223) Attached to: WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes
The thing is, people have researched the topic in more depth, and you can find that while girls do play games, the games they do play are not the same as boys. This is why, in spite of this 50% are female, the main market is the one dominated by males, which is why the industry works quite hard in targeting that audience.

Comment: Re:Double Irish (Score 1) 825

by sd4f (#48954043) Attached to: Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas
I get the feeling that maybe because there is worldwide pressure to do something about tax issues where money earned in one jurisdiction is taxed (at a lower rate) in another. This may be a case of the US government trying to tax it so that they get the money, and fight off other countries from having access to these funds. Ultimately I don't know, but one of our more colourful Australian politicians has a saying which I can probably change one word so that it applies in all cases; Never get in between a politician and a bucket of money...

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas