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

I think that size is sufficient as a beginning point. Linguistically, you want your word to do one thing to keep things simple. Classify all items by size as asteroids or planets. Where they are, the type of orbit (or lack of one), what they are made of should be a qualifier. Otherwise you have to have a different word for a planet based on where you find it. Orbiting a star = planet, orbiting a planet=moon, beyond the Neptune or not having a clear neighborhood=more classifications and words than we can currently foresee. Yet, scientifically, they all have two common characteristics, shape due to size.

Once you want to add an additional characteristic, you should have new words that tell you about that specific characteristic. Ones in the inner solar system are solar planets, those out in the Kuiper belt or Oort cloud are Kuiper planets and Oort planets, and those out between the stars are interstellar planets. Likewise, an asteroid is an asteroid no matter where it is, and you can add any modifiers you need (asteroid moon or moonroid, solo, irregular, rouge or solar asteroid, belted asteroid, Kuiper asteroid, Oort asteroid, interstellar asteroid, etc.). If you want to talk about composition, then you have gas planets (giant ones if desired), rocky planets, ice planets, diamond planets, silicon, iron or any other crazy combination that comes up.

Then, no matter what, you can describe what something is so that most people can understand. Rocky interstellar planet v. rocky solar planet v. gas solar planet v solar belted asteroid v interstellar belted asteroid etc. Have each word do as little as possible, and add a couple of informative words that convey any additional information instead of combining and making thousands of words that try to do 3 things at a time, which implies needing 8 words to tell the story of things that are different on each of the three parts of the definition of a planet from the 2006 definition.

Comment Use a liberal definition of planet (Score 2) 150

I like the definition of planet based upon any body of sufficient mass to be round (or nearly so to some mathematical measurement). That is, it is a planet based on size/mass and what it is within itself, and it is what it is no matter where it is (in the inner solar system or floating between stars).

The definition of having cleared it's neighborhood means that when it first formed, Jupiter wasn't a planet because it hadn't had time to clear it's neighborhood, and obviously this would include all of the other planets during formation. At some point, we'll probably find a distant solar system where there are two planets that orbit each other. Since they wouldn't have cleared their orbit of their twin, could they even be considered a planet under the 2006 definition even if they were far more massive than Earth, and even had an earth like eco-system? Would you like to be the astronomer that had to be pedantic an tell journalists that these weren't planets because it's hadn't eliminated it's binary partner?

So, moons (not counting Mars', perhaps they would be called asteroid moons) are planets (or planetoids) that orbit larger planet. If you want to have a distinction for planets that do what the re-definition did in 2006, add some modifier like solar planet (indicating that the planet is considered to be a part of a star's main planetary system) and give it the additional requirements that were voted on 2006.

Comment Re:The owner should be liable (Score 1) 250

And this is why most people will probably have a ride sharing membership with some sort of millage allotment with Uber, Lyft, Google, Apple, Chevy, Ford, Nissan, Lexus, etc. I will pay the company for 1000 miles of transportation about what my cost of owning the same vehicle will be. (There will be lots of competition, there will be a lot of incentive to undercut competitors for market share, so the price should be about the same as owning my own vehicle.) I'll never have to stop for gas, take it in for maintenance or repairs, park it myself at my destination, pay for parking, have a garage, worry about break-ins or theft. I'll never need to worry about the vehicle breaking down, because if it does, the service will send a replacement car and have their tow service take care of it.

And the company will be responsible for the insurance and any liability for operational error.

If somebody owns their own car, it will come with a disclaimer that if you modify the auto-driving system, and it malfunctions and causes a wreck, then you better have insurance that will have had a clause that prevents you from messing with said system, which means you will be paying the rate you would if you were operating the vehicle instead of the rate for your car using the manufacturer's auto-drive system.

For self owned cars, it should suffice that there is a warning signal that indicates a problem with the car, and when an error occurs, the vehicle move to a safe location (if needed), and the owner either can call for assistance, take manual control, or reboot to see if the fault is corrected. The system must refuse to drive the vehicle if there is a problem with the auto-drive, and the user will be forced to manually drive until such time as they get the problem with the auto-drive corrected.

Comment Re:Republican fails econ 101, shock! (Score 1) 445

Are most of the existing laws on the books preferred by Republicans or Democrats? Since the Republicans can't actually overturn the laws that are causing many of the problems (for example, the (Un)Affordable Care Act), perhaps we don't really have a good way to conclusively tell which side would really have a good chance at ruling this country better since many bad laws get on the books and never get overturned, not to mention all of the regulations put in place by Democrat friendly bureaucrats in the various departments of the various governments.

Comment Re:Heat alarm on car seats (Score 1) 76

Won't work. Newer cars have the LATCH system, in which case the seat belt isn't used when a child is secured in a car seat (not a booster). If the regular car seat is buckled in order to secure the infant seat, it's always buckled except on a rare day when you need to remove the seat (I only do this about 2 times a year) and would always trigger the alarm above the trigger temperature.

Comment Re:Falling problems (Score 1) 117

But 99% (my estimate) of flying happens outside of occupied locations. Few people are flying from one side of a metro area to the other. If you fly from NYC to Buffalo, most of your air time is over unpopulated farmland in upstate New York. If you eliminate most of the flight time that happens outside of metro areas, the number of accidents per mile are probably not so insignificant as the statistics indicate.

Comment Re:Stupid predictions (Score 1) 224

The ability to identify a problem spontaneously (for instance, identifying and understanding that there is a problem in politics), having the necessary logic to look at the problem from multiple points of view, realizing things about a variety of issues (scarcity v private ownership, self interest v selflessness, freedom v the common good, etc.), realizing that maybe there is no 'right answer', but trying to do a better job than most media folks of identifying the issues, and articulating some ways that we could adjust our politics that would make things better.

But the computer must be intelligent enough to identify the problem (self directed instead of programmed) and come to it's own conclusions. An AI should be capable of working in the abstract, thinking philosophically, and understanding all sorts of things. Just because I can calculate doesn't mean that a device that calculates or simulates things is intelligent. It has no understanding, and therefore has no actual intelligence. Frankly, I don't think this is something computer science will ever overcome, and I'm OK with that.

Comment Re:What about Scientology, then? (Score 1) 527

Has anybody put their money where their mouth is and built a worship space for the FSM? Have people then made a time commitment to attending this space for worship on some defined schedule? Have there been any serious books published about what the existence of the FSM means for human existence, and do it in a way that some significant portion of humanity would consider it better than all of the alternatives?

Comment Re:Safely??? (Score 3, Insightful) 101

Earth is moving about 20% faster than Mars. What this means is that the optimal time to launch from Earth to Mars is when Earth is behind Mars. The space ship will continue to have a speed advantage which will have to be negated. Now, the travel time from Earth to Mars is so long that Earth will long pass Mars by the time the spacecraft reaches Mars. Now, since the Earth will be ahead and getting farther away, to catch the Earth before it goes around the Sun, the space craft would have to speed up the difference plus even more to actually catch up. Fuel efficiency wise, the mission will have to last about half a year before the astronauts have an opportunity to launch and head fly on an intercept course with Earth.

Comment Re:First grade? (Score 1) 145

You might be interested in Thomas Jefferson Education. They advise a phased learning system, love of learning, reading great books, and a variety of other concepts that you might be interested in.

First, they recommend letting kids learn through playing and having fun. Then, when they are ready, you start them on a Core, rather like the old reading, writing and arithmetic, although they recommend a character/religion component depending on your values. They don't proscribe what you use for materials, so if you want to use a mental math program, they would say go for it.

The second phase is love of learning, so children are recommended to explore what they are interested in. So if she is interested in science, find some books on experiments and others that relate to what they are interested in exploring, then explore them together. If that leads to an interest in a related subject or a new interest comes about, follow where the child leads, and they will lead themselves to a great education.

The final phase, begins in junior high or early high school and runs through college and can last rest of their life, and is called scholar phase. In this phase, the scholar structures their education with more rigor, and there are specific subjects that should be covered, like making sure any holes from their love of learning phase are covered.

My primary role in my children's education is to read to them on a regular basis. I've made a list of a couple of thousand books that are considered classics (I do have a website for this called Fanatics 4 Classics), and I pick and choose things that I think they are ready for based on their interests. So, in the past few years, we've read a lot of Roald Dahl because the kids laugh and giggle at the silly things that happen in his stories. Finding ways to make reading enjoyable is one of the most important things to get a child interested in books and learning. My second daughter has especially liked reading the Ramona Quimby stories, and my son has found he loves the Prydain novels even though he didn't care for the Disney Black Cauldron movie. (This is also great because I get to read the stuff I never had access to when I was younger.)

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