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Comment Re:Idiocracy doubles down (Score 1) 112

Why do you want access to *the* filesystem?

So I can control and organize my data.

If you don't like iCloud Drive, you can use Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and a few others. I believe all of the rest of them give you the ability to use folders.

I don't want to give my data to a third party. I want to be able to control my own data. I have plenty of local storage, and no need or desire whatsoever to place my information in someone else's hands. If you want to do so, of course, by all means. For myself, I'd just as soon not enter into the lottery of "which cloud service will suffer a security breach next", or the lottery of "which cloud service is sharing data with government / corporations / hackers / employees", or the lottery of "geee, the Intertubes are down, I guess I can't get at my data", or the "you must look at ads or pay a fee to get at your data lottery", or the "I'm on a plane and so I can't get at my data lottery", etc., etc., etc.

It's up to you to decide which documents will be stored locally on the device.

Indeed it is. And the answer is "all of them", except where I have also stored them on some other device I own and wholly control.

Comment The free market, pizza, and sneakers (Score 2) 116

Why is this not happening with pizzerias or sneakers?

It most definitely is. A decent quality pizza worth less than $2.00 (I make them from scratch, and that's what they cost me in low quantity in a relatively isolated region where raw materials prices are high, so I'm quite sure of the number) often costs well over $10.00. Sneakers worth about $8.00 can cost far, far more than that -- no more than a little bit of canvas, plastic and metal off a mass production line. The gouging is blatant and obvious. The fact that you are willing to actually write as if it wasn't reveals that you have no actual sense of the economics of either matter.

Why am I paying the same price for 75 Mbps up/down today, that I used to pay for 35 Mpbs up/down 6 years ago?

Because US broadband is lagging far behind the state of the art, and prices are far too high. You should be running much faster, and paying much less. Same was true six years ago. And you are not even at the bottom of the low performance / high price heap. In many places, it's worse.

The answer: competition.

No, the answer is collusion.

Comment The frictionless slope (Score 2) 116

The Federal Communications Commission plans to halt implementation of a privacy rule that requires ISPs to protect the security of its customers' personal information.

Not that the FCC was ever very much more than a corporate puppet, but it's fascinating to watch them, and the government in general, find ways to be of even less service to the people.

So far, in just a couple months, we've seen the elimination of the requirement that energy companies must disclose royalties and government payments; the elimination of rules preventing dumping of coal mining waste into rivers and streams; the funneling of even more money into our "only more costly than the next eight countries put together" military; assertion that we need more and better nuclear weapons; suspension of an insurance rate cut for new Federal Housing Administration loans; completely unjustified disruption of already-issued visas; the installation of a white supremacist on the national security council; an order to "review" a rule requiring financial managers to act in their clients' best interests when handling retirement accounts; an "easing" of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010; amplification of the drug war; amplification of the war against personal and consensual sexual choices; partisan filtering of the Whitehouse press pool; anti-free-press agitprop straight from the president... all this, along with a great deal of additional rhetoric that indicates more of this nature is likely on the way.

We no longer need turn to dystopian fiction to see just how badly our government can act out. A dystopian reality is rapidly establishing itself. The indicators are so strong at this point that some of the "peppers" are actually beginning to look like forward-thinkers.

I wonder just how much of this kind of damage the country can suffer before it undergoes some kind of seismic shift, or, if it will just deliquesce into a fully classist, corporatist nightmare.

I prefer to hope that the complacent have had a wake up call as to just how foolish and blind large segments of our population actually is; that they now understand that it is possible that without their active resistance, both at the voting booth and in general, all of this will continue apace while every tweet from President Trump, every bit of nonsense from Spicer and Conway, every craven abrogation of responsibility by congress, every unwise and harmful regulatory alteration, will be met with a blinkered nod-and-drool from the very people that saw to it that he reached the Oval Office — and that this will outright determine the future course of the country along these same destructive lines.

These are such very interesting times. We know we're not 1940's Germans; but we're finally going to get an answer as to whether we are better — or worse. I see little reason for optimism in this regard at this point in time, either.

Submission + - White House blocks news organizations from press briefing (cnn.com)

ClickOnThis writes: CNN reports that it, along with several other major news organizations, were blocked from attending a press briefing at the White House today. From the article:

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were also excluded from the meeting, which is known as a gaggle and is less formal than the televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room. The gaggle was held by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

In a brief statement defending the move, administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the White House "had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today."

The pool usually includes a representative from one television network and one print outlet. In this case, four of the five major television networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News — were invited and attended the meeting, while only CNN was blocked.

And while The New York Times was kept out, conservative media organizations Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One America News Network were also allowed in.

Comment Re: Fake News (Score 1) 270

1. That was just an old theory, and not a widely accepted one.

2. Given what we've just seen, it demonstrably isn't.

That doesn't mean that there aren't compounds formed at great pressure that can remain stable at moderate pressures and represent very dense energy sources - there surely are. Metastability is a very real thing. But apparently not in the case of metallic hydrogen at ~STP.

Assuming that this actually even was metallic hydrogen; even that is somewhat in dispute.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 204

Indeed, on both counts. And in particular I like the word "rogue planet". Again you have an adjective imparting additional information about another object ("Rogue X"), "rogue" can be readily quantified ("Not in a stable orbit around any particular star or cluster of stars"), and it's a very evocative term. And rogue planets are absolutely expected according to our current models. They'll be incredibly difficult to find, but they're out there.

We're also coming to the realization that there's a lot of objects, potentially including large ones, that are only tenuously bound to our solar system. And it's likely that we readily exchange this mass with other nearby stars over cosmologic timescales; parts of our solar system (primarily distant ones) likely formed by other stars, and things that condensed during the formation of our star system are likely now orbiting other stars.

Comment Travel mode, AKA... (Score 1) 143

My phone has a global "travel mode", AKA "Airplane mode."

IOW, I just disconnect when traveling. Also when sleeping. And working.

The Internet in all its various forms and guises serves me. Not the other way around. If it's not that way for you, you need to stop selling death-sticks, go home, and rethink your life. Go on. Go.

Comment Idiocracy doubles down (Score 1) 112

You've really missed the point.

No, I really have not.

You are after complexity of the OS so that you can do complicated things with the OS.

I just want bloody subfolders and the ability to get at the filesystem. I don't care if I have to turn it on specially. I don't care if your snowflake pilots can't see it. I just want it to really work without having to root the bloody phone.

You think you're arguing for sophistication and intellect

Good grief, no. I'm arguing for pre-1990 levels, almost prehistoric levels by computing standards, of organizing capacity. There's nothing wrong with most user's intellects -- other than the intellects behind the reasoning that says "one level is all you get", now those intellects are simply downright crippled.

Your use cases differ wildly from most of the billions of the users of iOS devices in where you feel the need for complexity.

Yeah, my use case incorporates the concept of organization far beyond what these crippled devices allow, and yes, I readily admit this is beyond most phone-only users comprehension at the moment (although not if they have ever used a desktop or laptop computer), but just as you said, they (you mentioned pilots, I'd add four-year-olds) could cope with it if it was there. I don't even think they they should have to; I just think I should be able to.

The idea that everyone must suffer because pilots - or whomever - want simple is nothing less than anathema to me. I despise it, and I despise its proponents, and I find their reasoning (which is being far too generous) to be unworthy of serious consideration.

Filesystems promote organization. Single level folders went out of use in the 1980's, and the reason they did is because they are insufficient to organize any amount of data beyond a cupful. And no, "search" is not a valid replacement, before anyone tries to jump into that moldy old corner. The very fact that my home screen overflows onto additional pages and I am unable to properly, reasonably, organize my apps and data is a huge red flag that the system itself is deficient. Multiple cores, GHz+ clock speeds, gigs of ram and storage... and I can't have bleeding subfolders? Jesus. Hosiphat. Christ.

And the Long-Dong-Silver sized irony here is that if you DO dig into the actual systems underneath the sadly flattened icons to see how the phone actually works, what will you find? YOU. WILL. FIND. SUBFOLDERS.

There's simply no adequate justification for the intentional, irreversible crippling that's been done to end-user level of these devices. None.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 204

The short of it, Jupiter moves things around; it's very good at scattering other bodies, even large ones. First it dragged outer populations into the inner solar system, then scattered inner solar system material out, and then on its retreat pulled outer solar system material back in. It's actually a very big deal that it did that, as it brought ice into the inner solar system.

Comment Idiocracy (Score 2) 112

the vast majority of the tablet/phone purchasing world has no clue what you mean by that statement. They. Don't. Care.

That's exactly right. And because these devices are designed down to the level of the ignorant, rather than uplifting them, they don't have to learn. And those of us who could use these devices to a much greater extent remain reined in by this pandering to market. Subfolders are too complicated, the apologists tell us. There's no saving people too stupid to learn what a subfolder is/does. But those who are simply ignorant can learn in seconds. The insistence that this is "too much" is utterly pitiful to hear.

In the end, dumbing everything down is the surest way to the market consisting of the broadest portion of the Gaussian, and therefore, their money. That's why this is happening.

Time to watch the intro to Idiocracy again to remind ourselves why pandering to the lowest common denominator is a really, really bad idea.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 2) 204

1. "Adjective nouns" need to have similarity to "noun" but aren't necessarily a subset. Gummy bears aren't a subset of bears either.

Gummy bears are not a scientific term. Besides, the IAU itself already uses the word dwarf in this manner. Dwarf stars, dwarf galaxies... but carved out an inexplicable exception for dwarf planets.

I'd like to see a citation on this. I highly doubt that you can simulate the formation of a solar system where multiple Mars analogues can coexist in the same orbit

False equivalency. There's a difference between "two Mars sized planets existing in the same orbit" and "Mars' orbit having been cleared". And more to the point, the biggest problem with the concept of Mars clearing its orbit is that its orbit was already largely cleared when it formed. According to our best models, Jupiter reached all the way in to around where Mars' orbit is today, and had cleared almost everything to around 1 AU. Earth and Venus accreted from planetesimals between each other. Mars accreted from planetary embryos ejected to the space in-between Earth and Jupiter. Without Jupiter's migration, simulations produce an Earth-sized Mars and several planetary embryos in the asteroid belt on eccentric / high inclination orbits, something akin to the situation between Neptune and Pluto - except with the embryos nearly Mars-sized.

3. In a geological sense yes. But the current definition of planets is based on orbital mechanics, after which Earth is a lot closer to Jupiter than to Ceres/Pluto.

Huh? By what aspect of orbital mechanics? By semimajor axis and velocity, Earth is much closer to Ceres than Jupiter. Are you talking inclination and eccentricity? Then we should boot Mars in favour of low inclination / eccentricity asteroids.

4. Hydro-static equilibrium as a dividing line is way worse. There are roughly 100 TNOs where we don't really know whether they are elliptical.

Hydrostatic equilibrium can be very easily estimated based on mass, which can be approximately deduced within a range of feasible albedos and densities, and very accurately deduced if the body has a moon. By contrast, it's almost impossible to estimate neighborhood clearing to any distance beyond Neptune, or at all in the case of extrasolar planets. Which, to reiterate, the IAU definition says aren't planets, even though they have an extrasolar planet working group.

We'd have to visit each and every one of them with a probe just to put them in the proper category.

This is utter nonsense.

Meanwhile, it's completely clear which bodies qualify for the "clearing its orbit" rule.

No, it's not. We have virtually no clue what lies in the outer reach of our solar system. As we speak there's a search for a new planet that could be as big as an ice giant. It's a huge open question as to whether it would have cleared its neighborhood, and it will be very difficult to ascertain.

All currently qualifying planets have roughly 99% or more of the mass in their orbit in themselves. Ceres has 30%.

You seem to have some weird concept going on that "semimajor axis = orbit". Ceres has nothing of significance in its orbit. The asteroids are not all in the same orbit. They're certainly more likely to cross each others orbits, but that's not the same thing.

And again, since you apparently missed it: the reason that the inner solar system is largely cleared except for the asteroid belt (and the reason that the latter exists) is Jupiter. Mars did not clear its own neighborhood.

5. The definition should be mutable. Why should a planet that gets ejected keep counting as a planet?

You seriously have to ask why something that hasn't changed but is in a different location shouldn't suddenly be declared to be something entirely different? If you take a rabbit to Canada does it suddenly become a dwarf rabbit?

6. I highly doubt life could form in a non-cleared orbit.

Once again, you're stuck on this misconception that the only orbital parameter that exists is the semimajor axis. And also apparently a notion that stable orbital resonances don't exist.

Orbits can come in a wide range of forms. If you want to see how crazy they get, check out Epimetheus and Janus ;)

As for a life bearing celestial in orbit around another (gas giant) planet: I don't think anybody feels bad about calling that one a moon? As in "Yavin 4".

The funny point with your example being, that whenever you illustrate a large round (hydrostatic equilibrium) moon in sci-fi - Star Wars, Star Trek, Avatar, whatever - people invariably keep calling it a planet and having to correct themselves. We inherently recognize "large, round object with relevant gravity = planet", and have to shoehorn our minds into not using that term.

7. "Within each other's periapsis and apoapsis" seems like a reasonable enough definition that neither Ceres nor Pluto qualify for.

Once again, you ignore most orbital elements (seriously, stop right now and go read the Wikipedia article on orbital elements). We don't live in a 2D solar system. And your notion is oversimplified even for 2D.

All of this, let alone other aspects such as mass ratios, resonance, metastability, etc. And it gets even more complicated when you view the solar system not as a 2-body problem but a multi-body problem. Then things like horseshoe orbits, Lagrangian points, etc come into play.

8. Yes that's silly but that'll probably be changed easily enough and has no effect on Pluto.

1) It's over a decade later. Where's the fix?
2) It's just a symptom of how horribly hasty and ill-thought-out their action was.

9. How are you planning to ascertain hydro-static equilibrium for an exoplanet if we can't even do it for Varuna.

What are you talking about? Varuna is the size of Ceres. The fact that it hasn't been declared a dwarf planet by the IAU is again a symptom of the IAU's dysfunction on this issue. See #18. By contrast, we'd have no snowball's chance in hell of identifying all potential orbit crossers for it.

The fact that you bring up Varuna makes me think that you feel it shouldn't be a planet because it's an oblate spheroid. If so, that just reveals yet another problem with your understanding: you need to go look up the definition of hydrostatic equilibrium. Hint: if Varuna wasn't an oblate spheroid, then it wouldn't be in hydrostatic equilibrium.

Comment Re:TL;DR something you claim is cogent...? (Score 5, Informative) 204

The IAU spend months in total hashing out this issue and three days talking in meetings before the vote

That's just the issue: that's not what happened. The IAU discussion was a disaster. Here's the timeline:

2005: The IAU appoints a committee to investigate the issue and generate a proposal. The committee investigated the issue for a year.

The IAU meeting is scheduled from 14-25 August 2006.

16 August: The committee recommends a definition based on hydrostatic equilibrium. No "cleared the neighborhood" nonsense. They publish their draft proposal.

18 August: The IAU division of planetary sciences (aka, the people who actually deal with planets) endorses the proposal.

Also 18 August: A subgroup of the IAU formed which opposed the proposal. An astronomer in the group (aka, someone who studies stars, not planets) - Julio Ángel Fernández - made up his own "cleared the neighborhood" definition. While most of the membership starts to trickle away over the next week, they remain determined to change the definition.

22 August: The original, hydrostatic equilibrium draft continued to be the basis for discussion. There were some tweaks made (some name changes and adjusting the double-planet definition), but it remained largely the same.

Late on 22 August: Fernández's group manages to get to just over half of the attendance at the (open) drafting meeting, leading to a very "heated" debate between the two sides.

22 to 24 August: The drafting group begins to meet and negotiate in secret. The last that the general attendance of the conference knew, they'll either end up with a vote on a purely hydrostatic definition, or (more likely) no vote at all due to the chaos. Attendence continues to dwindle, particularly among those who are okay with either a hydrostatic definition or none at all.

24 August: The current "cleared the neighborhood" definition is suddenly proposed and voted on on the same day. Only 10% of the conference attendance (4-5% of the IAU membership) is still present, mainly those who had been hanging on trying to get their definition through. They pass the new definition.

It's not generally laypeople who are upset about how it went down, it's IAU members. Many have complained bitterly about it to the press. The IAU's own committee of experts was ignored, in favour of a definition written in secret meetings and voted on by a small, very much nonrandom fraction of people, the vast majority of whom do not study planets.

If there's one thing I hate, it's people who pretend that anyone who opposes the IAU definition does so because they're ignorant morons overcome by some emotional attachment to Pluto, when in reality it's been planetary scientists themselves who have been the definition's harshest critics, because it's an internally self-inconsistent, linguistically flawed, false-premise-based definition that leads to all sorts of absurd results and contradicts terminology that was already in widespread use in the scientific literature.

Comment Re:The definition is fine (Score 1) 204

Exactly. I think Stern's always been on the right side of this. The original paper that the Stern-Levison parameter comes from has a great system laid out, where you have a bunch of adjectives that you can apply to different bodies based on their varying physical (composition, size) and orbital parameters, and you can use any combination of them as needed. Which seems to me to be so obviously the right solution.

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