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Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 213

So, so very much is wrong with this.

The IAU vote was narrow,

Really? Their notes from conference indicate that the resolution "was passed with a great majority.":

1. Nomenclature: An "adjective-noun" should always be a subset of "noun". A "dwarf planet" should be no less seen as a type of planet than a "dwarf star" is seen as a type of star by the IAU.

No. A dry lake is not a type of lake, for example. "adjective-noun" can mean "something in the category described by adjective but resembling the nouns". You can't make Pluto a planet by playing a cheap word game.

2. Erroneous foundation: Current research agrees that most planets did not clear their own neighborhoods

Nothing from the IAU's resolution indicates a purpose to consider the historical conditions. Your objection is semantic pedantry and can easily be fixed by wording the requirement as "has a cleared neighborhood". Also, yes Mars and Neptune vary in Stern-Levison values by 300x. That doesn't make the value unhelpful. And it doesn't change the fact that there's a gap of 10 orders of magnitude between any of the planets and the high Stern-Levison value of any dwarf planet (Pluto).

3. Comparative inconsistency: Earth is far more like Ceres and Pluto than it is like Jupiter, yet these very dissimilar groups - gas giants and terrestrial planets - are lumped together as "planets" while dwarfs are excluded.

Since was grouping of astronomical objects done by atmospheric similarity? That would be the worst rule yet.

4. Poor choice of dividing line: While defining objects inherently requires drawing lines between groups, the chosen line has been poorly selected. Achieving a rough hydrostatic equilibrium is a very meaningful dividing line - it means differentiation, mineralization processes, alteration of primordial materials, and so forth. It's also often associated with internal heat and, increasingly as we're realizing, a common association with subsurface fluids.

You are describing differentiation for a different purpose than the IAU's planet definition and then jumping to the claim that it is better. Your answer begs the question of what the purpose is for distinguishing a planet.

5. Mutability: Under the IA definition, what an object is declared as can be altered without any of the properties of the object changing simply by its "neighborhood" changing in any of countless ways.

Yes, we live in an evolving and mutating universe. Each of these planets came into existence at one point, so any definition involves some mutability unless you believe in a static, eternal universe.

6. Situational inconsistency: (Related) An exact copy of Earth (what the vast majority of people would consider the prototype for what a planet should be), identical down to all of the life on its surface, would not be considered a planet if orbiting in the habitable zone of a significantly larger star (harder to clear zone), or a young star (insufficient time to clear), a star without a Jupiter equivalent (no assistance in clearing), or so forth.

The definition is aimed at defining planets within our own solar system and not intended to be applied to exoplanets. You abuse this same limitation in another point below.

7. Ambiguous definition: There is still no consensus on what defines having "cleared the neighborhood" - in particular, what the "neighborhood" is.

While it's true that Resolution 5a didn't specify which discriminant to use, that doesn't make it ambiguous. There are multiple discriminants, and a common theme of all of them is that the 8 planets have discriminant values much closer to each other than to other objects in our solar system. For example, both Margots and and Soter's discriminants show a larger gap between Mars and Ceres than the full range of values from Mars all the way to Jupiter. These 8 planets are clearly a class of objects separate from others which orbit our Sun. There are also classes within our planets (gas giants vs rocky), but that doesn't prevent the usage of the term "planet" to apply to the class which clearly consists of these 8 objects.

That's as much of your Gish Gallop of misinformation that I have time to tackle.

Comment Re:Browsers are NOT slow (Score 1) 766

Good point. Another item is the above list should be:

- API servers which have become unacceptably slow

We think of Google as fast because loads quickly. But most other google APIs (including auth, the list of links which show on the new tab, profile info, etc) are extremely slow. I've been recording them lately and I routinely see 1000 ms response times from google on queries as simple as fetching the profile pic.

Comment click-through is meaningless (Score 1) 285

This might obfuscate the meaning of the clicks, but what if it just encourages the ad sellers to claim even higher click-through rates as a selling point?

As someone who has worked at companies using ads, I can assure you that click-through rate is fully meaningless. Customer Lifetime Value per ad acquired user, or revenue per ad channel, or some similar meaningful metric will be used. Dead clicks will not give ad sellers any fuel for their cause.
Role Playing (Games)

Can a Video Game Solve Hunger, Disease and Poverty? 72

destinyland writes "Dr. Jane McGonigal of the RAND Corporation's Institute for the Future has created a game described as 'a crash course in changing the world.' Developed for the World Bank's 'capacity development' branch, EVOKE has already gathered more than 10,000 potential solutions from participants, including executives from Procter & Gamble and Kraft. '[Dr. McGonigal] takes threats to human existence — global food shortage, fuel wars, pandemic, refugee crisis, and upended democracy — and asks the gaming public to collaborate on how to avoid these all too possible futures.' And by completing its 10 missions, you too can become a World Bank Institute certified EVOKE social innovator. (The game designer's web site lays out her ambitious philosophy. 'Reality is broken,' but 'game designers can fix it.')"

EVE Online Battle Breaks Records (And Servers) 308

captainktainer writes "In one of the largest tests of EVE Online's new player sovereignty system in the Dominion expansion pack, a fleet of ships attempting to retake a lost star system was effectively annihilated amidst controversy. Defenders IT Alliance, a coalition succeeding the infamous Band of Brothers alliance (whose disbanding was covered in a previous story), effectively annihilated the enemy fleet, destroying thousands of dollars' worth of in-game assets. A representative of the alliance claimed to have destroyed a minimum of four, possibly five or more of the game's most expensive and powerful ship class, known as Titans. Both official and unofficial forums are filled with debate about whether the one-sided battle was due to difference in player skill or the well-known network failures after the release of the expansion. One of the attackers, a member of the GoonSwarm alliance, claims that because of bad coding, 'Only 5% of [the attackers] loaded,' meaning that lag prevented the attackers from using their ships, even as the defenders were able to destroy those ships unopposed. Even members of the victorious IT Alliance expressed disappointment at the outcome of the battle. CCP, EVE Online's publisher, has recently acknowledged poor network performance, especially in the advertised 'large fleet battles' that Dominion was supposed to encourage, and has asked players to help them stress test their code on Tuesday. Despite the admitted network failure, leaders of the attacking force do not expect CCP to replace lost ships, claiming that it was their own fault for not accounting for server failures. The incident raises questions about CCP's ability to cope with the increased network use associated with their rapid growth in subscriptions."

Garlic Farmer Wards Off High-Speed Internet 475

DocVM writes "A Nova Scotia farmer is opposing the construction of a microwave tower for fear it will eventually mutate his organic garlic crop. Lenny Levine, who has been planting and harvesting garlic by hand on his Annapolis Valley land since the 1970s, is afraid his organic crop could be irradiated if EastLink builds a microwave tower for wireless high-speed internet access a few hundred meters from his farm."

Submission + - How To Go To MIT For Free

theodp writes: "Can't scrape up the bucks for junior college tuition? Don't worry, there's always MIT. By the end of 2007, the contents of all 1,800 courses taught at MIT will be available online to anyone in the world, anywhere in the world thanks to OpenCourseWare (OCW). Learners won't have to register for the classes, and everyone is accepted. The cost? It's all free of charge."

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.