Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Lets simplify this... (Score 1) 150

Thanks for the informative response. A couple of thoughts:

As for your example of bays, your logic is faulty. Both can be bays in that circumstance, just like two objects can be moons of the same system, to which both bays are a part of a larger system known as Puget Sound.

So, Shilshole and Elliott can both be "bays", but when it comes to Pluto-Charon (or any system with 2+ self-rounding bodies) only one of them is a "planet"? Hmmm.

At this point, we could consume some time exploring Fishing Bay on the Chesapeake, but I think we'd soon conclude that terms like bay, sea, etc. have been applied pretty loosely and might themselves benefit from a debated and voted definition. My point, though, was this: we want the definition of planet to readily identify a class of objects that are of interest to discuss. Happily either a size + orbital circumstances definition or a size-only definition would do that.

(Planet name) A (n): an object in orbit around a star, of sufficient mass to reach hydrostatic equilibrium, but that has not reached critical mass to achieve stellar fusion, and is the second-most prominent body in its orbit and neighborhood.
. . .
In this circumstance, (Planet name) A is a child object to (Planet name), or more simply, a moon.

Now I see how "most prominent" is a better formulation than "has cleared its orbit" was. As least under "most prominent", one of the bodies is likely to get labeled as a planet.

Well, if they do adopt a definition of planet based upon orbital circumstances, I can see that I'm going to need to find myself a word to describe planet-sized objections irrespective of where they are found. That is, ________: a planet, moon, or other object of similar mass.

Comment Re:Lets simplify this... (Score 1) 150

A planet is any object in orbit around a star, of sufficient mass to reach hydrostatic equilibrium, has not reached critical mass to achieve stellar fusion, and is the most prominent body in its orbit and neighborhood.

A moon is any object in orbit around a planet, of sufficient mass to reach hydrostatic equilibrium, and is the most prominent body in its orbit and neighborhood.

An asteroid is any object in orbit around a star, has not reached critical mass to achieve hydrostatic equilibrium, and is shares its orbit and neighborhood with other objects of similar mass.

What does 'prominence in its orbit and neighborhood' gain us with respect to making the word usable in discussions?

If we drop that criterion, it seems quite wieldy to me to discuss, for instance, binary planets or sibling planets when multiple bodies of sufficient size occupy an orbit. In the same way, we discuss Shilshole Bay and Elliott Bay as two bays in the same neighborhood rather than claim that they aren't bays because they are too close to each other.

Keeping it requires us to say that bodies that look like planets aren't planets when there are two or more of them. Would we rather say, "I'm sorry, Shilshole, you're very bay-like, but until some one backfills Elliott or sinks Magnolia below sea level, you don't qualify as a true "bay"?

So, here is the question: If we keep the neighborhood prominence criterion, what do we call the following object?

________ (n): an object in orbit around a star, of sufficient mass to reach hydrostatic equilibrium, but that has not reached critical mass to achieve stellar fusion, and is the second-most prominent body in its orbit and neighborhood.

Comment Buried the Lead (Score 5, Informative) 150

The proposed definition can be found at words 765-799 of the article.

A planet, he says, is anything massive enough that gravity pulls it into a sphere (a characteristic called “hydrostatic equilibrium"), but not so massive that it starts to undergo nuclear fusion and become a star.

The preceding 764 words are a useless regurgitation of how people feel about definitions in general and Pluto in particular. Spare me.

Comment Re:Projections matter (Score 1) 319

I'm a fan of the Lambert cylindrical equal-area projection, which seems to be geometrically very clear and straightforward . . .

Demanding both that E-W be horizontal and N-S be vertical buys us into some pretty severe distortion towards the poles (at ~50+ degrees lattitude), where Earth does have some populated land masses. I prefer to sacrifice N-S verticality, along with the unhelpful habit of forcing the world to be rectangular, and go with:
Eckert IV,
Robinson, or even
Winkel Tripel.

Comment No, I'm wondering where France really is. (Score 1) 319

Individual schools in the US have used the Peters maps, Scott said, adding: “We believe we are the first public school district in the US to do this.”

You have got to be kidding me. C'mon! Somebody prove that statement wrong. It can't possibly have taken this long* to start fixing this, can it?

*The West Wing, Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail, season 2, episode 16, (February 28, 2001)

Comment Re:The current model is broken (Score 1) 542

It's the beginning of the end for Hollywood, IMO. Their model can only support smash blockbusters . . .

The end won't come for Hollywood until it stops making money. And that won't happen until some one steals their audience. Until then, people will keep on paying for "Crapisode VIII, now in 3D!", so long as it's labeled with the name of some older story that was good once.

Comment Re:Neuromancer (Score 1) 542

I vote for Cryptonomicon.

I love Cryptonomicon (have read it 5+ times now), but it's unmakeable as a feature film, isn't it?

1. Two timelines, each of which has enough events for a feature film.
2. The 1990s timeline lacks action scenes (i.e., explosions, deaths)
3. Goto Dengo's 1940s scenes are almost nothing but deaths (brutal, depressing)
4. Bobby Shaftoe's 1940s scenes require expensive sets / locations
5. The easiest material to cut is Julietta and Ami (which we mustn't do)

Cryptonomicon would do better as a 8-16 hour series. In that format, the lighthearted but unexciting Randy and Lawrence scenes could offer relief from the brutal Goto Dengo stuff. Plus, intersperse some of the romping Bobby Shaftoe stuff to spice it up. Imagine what reading the book would have been like if NS hadn't done that.

Comment Re:Java (Score 1) 383

And Java is also a good example of why it's a terrible idea.

So are cars on the road.

The roads dictate that cars can't be too big/heavy, too long, too light/fragile, too fast, too slow, can't use uncoated steel wheels, etc. And the cars dictate that the road mustn't be too fragile, too steep, too slippery, too narrow, made of rails, mustn't be a series of tubes, etc.

The result has been that the pace of innovation in ground transport has been glacial. So what if all cars operate on all roads? Great! Why are we still using cars? Or roads?

Comment wither the 1st amendment? (Score 1) 183

Part of the reason for the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution was the presumption that good information would conquer bad in the 'marketplace of ideas'. Do you believe that the Earth is round? Or that the Earth orbits the sun? With freedom of speech, you could advocate those ideas and, it was hoped, overcome the flat-earth and geocentric hypotheses.

Then we had superstition, urban myths, and fake news.

Perhaps the truth-will-prevail folks failed to account for some important factors:
1) While people might have limited time to spread falsehoods, computers have overcome that.
2) Controversy sells, particularly in the age of click-advertising.
3) While charlatans used to be identified and shunned, internet anonymity lets them persist and reincarnate themselves.
4) No idea, no matter how bad, ever seems to go away entirely; convincing 'most people' is the best you can do.
5) Many people prefer a falsehood that seems to make them happy to an unpleasant truth.

Is free speech a failed experiment in the service of truth?

Comment Re:If your personal emails are released... (Score 1) 102

Again with the, "Why would you want privacy unless you had something to hide?" argument.

The answer is that even legal, ethical facts can be deeply embarrassing. If you enemy learns such a secret, he can use it to wound you or to turn your neighbors against you. Imagine that you had:
1. divorced a spouse because of their drinking problem or abusiveness
2. had a child who became a felon
3. been bankrupted by medical expenses / job loss

Don't talk to me about illogical. Don't pretend that my new community will treat me with fairness or compassion, or that I can magically find people who will. In real life, people keep secrets for good reasons. Because sometimes you just need a chance to start over and be known for what I am now.

And, don't tell me that I should submit myself to the judgment and compassion of the doxxers. It only takes one doxxer who values his cause more than justice and then the damage will be done.

Comment Re:thoughts: (Score 1) 283

High male-to-female limits sex-per-capita in a couple different ways:

It seems to me that we could do a couple of interesting studies along those lines:
1. Does per-woman* sex/month correlate with male/female** ratio in dating pool?
2. Does per-woman sex/month correlate with average female education level (or some other proxy for intelligence)?
3. Does per-woman sex/month correlate with female income level? with male income level?

*Obviously, per-man sex/month will decrease if there are more males than females.
**We might be able to formulate some non-hetero questions, too.

Comment Where were you, Nintendo? (Score 2) 59

I think I am their target market. Our Wii is aging and my kids are growing but not yet grown (oldest is middle school). I want a console with engaging, playable titles that won't bore them. On the other hand, I'm not ready to immerse them in the apocalyptic nightmare killiastic gore storm that I bathed in throughout my own 20's. Sure, we want all the new, awesome doodads, resolution, headsets, multiplayer, massive multiplayer, etc., but please with a plot that doesn't involve clubbing down either little old ladies or baby seals, or wielding bone saws. Maybe some scheming plumbers and giant megalomaniacal apes?

When I had to settle for a PS4 last year, what I really wanted was the awesome, high-powered, market-leading Nintendo console of my dreams. Where were you, Nintendo?

Comment Re:Its Open Season on the Little Guy (Score 5, Insightful) 197

Let us not forget that his very first executive order jacked up mortgage costs for home buyers. It's hard to find a total price tag reported for that move, but a naive* calculation suggests 750000 loans x $500/year x 30 years = $11 billion on loans taken out in 2017, with more to follow for next year's loans. All of it straight out of the pockets of the little guy.

*I defer to some one who actually understands present value calculations on loans.

Slashdot Top Deals

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe

Working...