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Comment Re:Say this aloud: "It's so massive..." (Score 1) 232

Thoughts on "one of the computer-controlled" scopes : one of my colleagues who has better skies than me for practical astronomy brought a little Meade "goto"scope about a dozen years ago (ETX-80 or ETX-90, I forget ; whichever came first), liked it a lot, and upgraded after a couple of years to the 125mm (4in~) version which he also likes. That and a decent tripod, a few fittings and he's routinely turning out cloud photos (noctilucents in particular), air-show photos, and occasional lunar photos that he's very happy with.

Thank you! This is very useful information.

But I suspect that I'd get more productive use from an account with a Pro-Am telescope that is operated over the Internet. I really should look at that again - not really followed up on it since my last bout of consideration last year.

Ah, a possibility that I had not considered. I will look into that. But the most profound observation I have ever made was seeing the look on a youngster's face after he had directly viewed the moons of Jupiter for the first time. That is the most significant use of a telescope that I have ever done, and I would like to repeat it.

Comment Re:Say this aloud: "It's so massive..." (Score 1) 232

Your guess of my age is off by a little more than 2 decades. It turns out that Charon was discovered much earlier than I had realized (in 1978, not circa 1998 when I became aware of it) during a time in my life when I was concerned with trying to make a 10 acre hobby farm profitable ---or at least a break-even activity--- to the exclusion of my astronomy hobby. With the information I gave you, your estimate of my age was a good one. My facts were wrong.

One of the things I really missed when I moved from the cold, clear winter nights of New England to cloudy skies of western Oregon was star gazing. The four inch reflector telescope that gave me many pleasurable nights in high school did not make the trip out west, but instead went to my brother. Now that I am spending a handful of nights each year under the starry skies of eastern Oregon, I miss it, and I'm thinking of replacing it, perhaps with one of the new-fangled computer driven 'scopes. That would accept a camera. Thoughts on this, anyone?

Comment Re:Say this aloud: "It's so massive..." (Score 1) 232

I'm reaching way back into my long term memory, but IIRC, the existence of Pluto was predicted from disturbances in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. However it was not where astronomers were looking for it, but further from the ecliptic than anyone expected. I believe it was first seen by a comet hunter. So that was a happy accident.

I was taught back in the day that Neptune's existence was first postulated from disturbances in Uranus' orbit, and Pluto was first inferred because Neptune did not account for all of Uranus' deviation from the expected path. I was taught this some 3 or 4 decades before we even knew about Charon. It sounds like we now know that Pluto is not massive enough to account for deviations. So I guess Pluto's discovery was one of those occasions when you look for something, but by accident find something else that at first looks like what you looking for. So that kind of accident.

Comment Re:Say this aloud: "It's so massive..." (Score 4, Interesting) 232

A more careful reading of the article reveals that what is being tilted is the plane of the ecliptic. From a geocentric point of view, that appears to be a tilt of the Sun's axis, but to an observer outside the solar system, it is the plane of the orbits of all the known "non-dwarf" planets that is tilted. (IIRC, Pluto's orbit is outside the plane of the ecliptic-- which is part of the reason it took so long to find it after the maths showed it must exist.)

Do we have enough data to estimate the orbital period of Planet IX? If so, it may be possible to correlate its changing angle to the plane of the ecliptic with long term changes in Earth climates. It would seem that during the thousands of years when Planet IX is near the plane of the ecliptic, the Earth's orbit would become more oval. Currently Earth is closest to the Sun (and moving faster in its orbit) around January 3, give or take a day; and most distant around July 3 (moving most slowly in its orbit). This causes Summer in the northern hemisphere to be around 4 days longer than Summer in the southern hemisphere. If Planet IX can cause a tilt of the planetary orbits at this time, then when it is in line with the plane of the ecliptic the Earth should see northern Summers significantly longer than southern Summers (and southern Winters longer than northern Winters).

Comment Re:It's cool. It's also going to be a while. (Score 1) 88

Flatland is a lot more dangerous than 3D space. So many factors to consider--- is that ball that just bounced across the road ahead being followed by a kid or a dog? Is there an icy patch on that shady curve up ahead? In the air, potential hazards can be spotted long before they become threats and there are a lot more options for avoiding them.

The way to reduce traffic fatalities is to put everyone in the air, but make it so that they have to leave the driving to the AI. The operator's input should be no more than what we tell our Garmen, Tom-Tom, or other GPS to do now: this is where I want to go, show me the alternate routes and I'll pick the one I want.

Comment Re:It's cool. It's also going to be a while. (Score 1) 88

Aside from take-offs and landings, the problems the AI of a flying machine will face are a lot more simple than those an AI of a car must face. Drones show that many flying AI issues are already adequately solved. Issues concerning toddlers chasing after bouncing balls or ice on the shady curve just simply don't exist at flight levels above 10 feet. And take-offs and landings are probably not going to be much of an issue, what with sonar or laser assisted optical rangefinders managing the last little bit.

I look forward to the day when I can call up my personal drone on my smart phone, have it meet me on the rooftop, climb inside and tell it to take me the beach--- by the scenic route. It will join the airborne swarm and the distributed group AI will maintain safe distances between all the personal drones, cargo drones, airliners, and incoming meteors.

I don't think the future is like a flying car. I think the future is like a quadcopter on steroids, with wings for long distance aerodynamic flight.

Comment Re:response (Score 2) 222

Yes, running Linux is still the best option, for most Windows users.

Obviously if you are required to use software that only runs on Windows --perhaps you are a photographer who has to submit his finals in Photoshop format-- then you are stuck in the Microsoft microbiome. Too bad.

But most Windows users are not being coerced into that submissive role; they could switch to something like an Ubuntu LTS and be happy --and more productive at lower long term cost-- than if they continue to pay to be a commodity in an obsolete and slowly failing marketeers' world.

Comment Re:More political redirection (Score -1, Troll) 569

HRC and her team did everything they said they were going to do: they curated the emails, marked the ones that were personal for deletion, then used bleachbit to do the actual deletion. There is nothing new in that story.

But Trey Gowdy has demonstrated an appalling level of ignorance wrt to technology, and to the recent history of Federal level Republican politics. Oliver North, in Reagan's Iran - Contra fiasco, demonstrated full well that when it is expedient to delete something, you better damn well delete it. And not simply mark it as deleted. Gowdy is either an ignorant fool, or a disingenuous fool. But note that "fool" remains a constant with him, in this context.

To repeat: the Clinton team handled the deletions that she said she was doing in a professional manner. Gowdy just thinks that is somehow criminal that HRC is competent at handling sensitive information.

At this point I'm beginning to see a pattern shaping up where HRC is being found to be too competent at what she has been doing for fifty years, and therefore we hates her, we do, yes, we hates how this mere woman who is not a Republican is competent. Yes, we hates her.

Comment Re:Neocon shills (Score 2) 133

The GOP wasn't hacked cuz it was self-destructing on its own and didn't need any help from Russia to fall completely apart.

Also there is this possibility that Trump is a Russian agent, doing what he does best, to be rewarded with ownership of a prime vacation palace on the shores of the Crimea. I'm not saying that's what's going on... I mean you just got to wonder. You know? What with being so chummy with Vladimir. It could be.... we'll have to wait and see where Trump goes after he drops out of the race... but I'm just speculating. You know?

Comment Re:The mandate to change passwords every three mon (Score 2) 211

Passwords in wallets:

Carry a business card (not your own) and steg the password on its back using some variant of the following:

"Ben O. Aronsen: 237 Smith Place #12 Roxbury Vt 05669 ---Sally has phone number". This stegs the password "237SP#12RVt05669" for a Bank Of America account.

Like the Purloined Letter, the password hides in plain sight. Ain't stegging wunnerful?

Comment Re:Rules for thee, not for me (Score 1) 216

That doesn't matter. Until it is demonstrated in court that she does not have standing to press her suit, Getty Images continues to lose credibility and customers. She wins.

And if GI does take it into court and proves that the images are public domain, then its loss is even greater since that would also prove that it had been fraudulently claiming to own the non-existent copyrights. That opens the door for multiple lawsuits from its previous customers. And of course is an admission of violation of USA Federal law.

Checkmate. She wins. Getty Images best course of action is to attempt to liquidate itself while trying to cover the asses of all its highest level executives.

If the FBI is not yet investigating, it will be soon.

Comment Re:Rules for thee, not for me (Score 1) 216

Exactly how she gave the images to the LoC, and exactly what the LoC means when it says the images are now in the public domain, will need to be explored in court. If she transferred the copyrights to the LoC, then she has no standing to sue for copyright violation. So she must be saying that she retained the copyrights and only gave an unlimited use license to everyone.

Getty Images needs to show that she transferred the actual copyrights to the LoC and therefore has no standing. That is likely to be a very tough thing to do.

And frankly I'm not sure that it matters. The photographer is righteously pissed off that Getty Images is making profits off of her work when she intended it to be freely given to everyone. And for as long as this trial makes news, Getty Images is being righteously punished as its name gets dragged through the mud, and potential customers start using the LoC and other resources for stock photos. Which is as it should be.

Getty Images best course of action is to settle quickly and quietly and cut its losses. But it may already be too late: it is clear that G.I. was making false claims of copyright ownership, which violates USA Federal law, and must have involved a conspiracy between the executive officers of the corporation. Since they were either doing this knowingly, or were deliberately grossly, criminally, negligent in failing to search for prior copyright before they claimed they held it.

There should be a story along soon about FBI involvement in this case.

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