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|Tuesday, December 10th, 2013|
|Massive planet in unlikely location
Summary LA Times
A massive planet found orbiting a star at a staggeringly great distance is smashing some long-held theories of planetary formation, researchers say.
The planet, according to a study published online Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, is unlike anything in our own solar system.
Eleven times more massive than Jupiter, planet HD 106906 b orbits a single sun-like star at a distance of 60 billion miles - about 650 times the distance Earth is from our own sun.
"This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see," said study coauthor Vanessa Bailey, an astronomy graduate student at the University of Arizona.
Researchers estimate the planet is very young, just 13 million years old, and the residual heat from its formation can be seen from Earth as infrared energy. Researchers used infrared cameras and the Magellan telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile to capture images of the planet.
(Up until recently, astronomers relied on orbiting spacecraft like the Hubble Space Telescope to capture clear images of exoplanets. Now, Earth-based telescopes like Magellan employ new technology to compensate for the distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere.)
Astronomers are puzzled by the planet's existence.
Scientists believe that planets that orbit close to stars are formed from the gas, dust and asteroid-like debris that encircle a young star. They believe also that this process is too slow for extremely large planets to form so far from a star.
Authors of the paper speculate that HD 106906 b and its sun might have begun forming at the same time, in the manner that binary stars form. In this case, however, the massive planet never quite became a star.
Binary star systems are formed when two nearby clumps of gas collapse and form separate stars. Because they are so close, they each exert gravitational force and orbit one another.
"It is possible that in the case of the HD 106906 system the star and planet collapsed independently from clumps of gas, but for some reason the planet's progenitor clump was starved for material and never grew large enough to ignite and become a star," Bailey said.
Blockquote is the whole article at ontd
The thing that caught my eye was that we were actually picking up the heat, but the LA Times didn't mention how distant the planet was-- Wikipedia
to the rescue! It's three hundred light years away, and my sense of wonder is strongly tweaked by the idea of picking up heat from a far distant planet. Yes, I know, infra read astronomy has been around for a long time and analyzing from a telescope isn't like feeling it on your own skin, but still....
As usual, news of this kind makes me miss Poul Anderson, who used astronomical discoveries in his science fiction. So far as I know, no one else is quite doing the same thing-- Kim Stanley Robinson does (especially in 2312
, but he keeps it in the solar system.
There's a petition
to name the planet Gallifrey.
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1029092.html
. Comments are welcome here or there.
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|Monday, December 9th, 2013|
- Sun, 19:49: #YalDawo segregate bpas’a (v., acc. 1) to isolate, segregate or set aside. BPas’aGa (Hon. n. acc. 1) isolation; solitary confinement.
- Sun, 19:53: RT @TheBloggess: "MOM, I FOUND A TARDIS." Me: It's too small. Her: (slightly exasperated) It's bigger on the inside. http://t.co/obBh8JrK…
- Mon, 10:36: Auto Awesome sound like a vile and presumptive program written for people with no aesthetic sense of their own. http://t.co/auVFC6z6Tp
- Mon, 10:53: #YalDawo snow: pwhet’e (v., acc. 1) to precipitate w/ crystallized water. Pwhet’eä (n., collective, acc. 1 & 3) snow, or snowfall.
- Mon, 11:40: TL cover play http://t.co/Njr5xTW5gB
|TL cover play
I've been playing with ideas. Which cover do you prefer?
|My "Ma Mignonne"
I am now not-quite-finished with Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language
, by Douglas Hofstadter. The core of this book is the notion of translating a short French poem written by Clement Marot in 1537. It's a get-well note to a little girl he knows who is sick in bed.
A une Damoyselle malade
Je vous donne
Le bon jour;
Et qu’on sorte
Le vous mande.
De ta bouche,
Qui se couche
Si tu dures
Dieu te doint
someone I stumbled across while googling, Hofstadter uses this notion to "discuss the (im-)possibilities of translation from one language (mental frame, context, moment in time) to another". Early in the book, Hofstadter challenges the reader to make their own translation. He makes the following formal observations about the original, though notes that you don't necessarily need to replicate all of them:
1. It is made up of 28 lines.
2. Each line has 3 syllables.
3. The stress falls on the last of these syllables.
4. It is a series of rhyming couplets (AA BB CC DD…)
5. The semantic couplets are out of phase with the rhyming couplets: A, AB, BC,
6. After line 14 the formal "vous" is replaced by the more colloquial "tu".
7. The last line echoes the first.
8. The poet slips his own name into the poem.
I gave it a little thought, but found the prospect too daunting to make a serious attempt. As I continued through the book, however, and saw just how many ways that the poem could be translated, and how many lenses it could be seen through, my subconscious must have loosened up. Half-awake in bed this morning, I was ambushed by poetry. A first line leapt into my head, followed by several others in quick succession, and a set of images that seemed promising to fill in the rest. An hour of polishing produced this:( Read more...Collapse )
|Vote for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame!
If you've ever wanted a voice in the MLB Hall of Fame election, you're in luck! The website Deadspin has persuaded (read: purchased) a BBWAA voter to vote the way the site's readers tell him to. There are numerous reasons each of them has done this, though the one they go on about is "to make a mockery and farce of the increasingly solemn and absurd election process, and to take some power from the duly appointed custodians of the game's history and turn it over to the public."
Whether you agree or not that the ballot should be mocked (and there are lots of reasons to do so, starting with the fact that many eligible voters no longer actually cover the game), here's your chance to vote for the Deadspin ballot, which (along with its voter) will be revealed only AFTER the results of the HoF election are announced.
If you need lifetime stats for anyone, you can find them at Baseball-Reference
or The Baseball Cube
FWIW, here's my ballot:
Explicitly NOT voting for admitted PED users. (Suspected is a different story. Show me the evidence and I might change my mind.) So no Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, or Mark McGwire.
In another year, I might have voted for Lee Smith or Edgar Martinez. But Frank Thomas is, IMO, a better DH than Martinez -- despite Edgar's also being deserving -- and Smith is probably a borderline yes in a year that doesn't have a dozen or fifteen legitimate candidates. (Personally, I dislike the ten person limit, but it's in place, so there.)
Anyway, go vote
|Sunday, December 8th, 2013|
|first weekend down!
Opening weekend of HMS Pinafore
has been a success! The show's premise for the existence of the entire women's chorus is ridiculous, and the ending plot twist is…kind of squicky, actually…yet the music is so much fun, and my costume and hair are glorious, and I'm going to be sorry when it's over. I mean, I'll be ready for a break, too, but I just love being part of MITG&SP so bloody much.
There are three more performances coming up! Come see and then stick around to say hi to me afterward. :) Shows are taking place this coming Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. (yes, the Saturday show is a matinee; we have to strike the set immediately following our change from costume to civvies). You can reserve, but not pay for, a ticket in advance
. Current Mood: tired but happy
|words, words; they're all we have to go on
So as I mentioned
last month, I unofficially participated in NaNoWriMo this year. And discovered that (a) writing a set number of words every day is really good discipline, (b) dialogue and descriptive lists are really good for using up wordcount, and (c) it is virtually impossible to get much writing done on Fridays when sunset is between 4 and 5 pm. So I decided halfway through the month that I was not going to count Fridays, and that I would instead take four days out of December to make up the 30 days.
And I made my 30K wordcount goal as of December 4. :D
Mind you, I don't actually have a satisfactory end to the story
yet. But I fully intend to keep writing until I've got one. Maybe next year I'll try the full 50K.
, if you're reading this, we should possibly talk about songs.)[This entry was originally posted at http://batyatoon.dreamwidth.org/141135.html. There are comments there.]
|Done this month (20131201 Su - 07 Sa)
Hmm. Is tonight's major psychological breakthrough the fact that I'm feeling
contented, or the fact that I actually noticed it?
My major news for the week is definitely that I had an interview for
going full time at Amazon. And scheduled an interview and a phone screen
for tomorrow. One way or another, I expect to spend the next few years as
a full-time employee. Somewhere.
My major news. THE major news is Nelson Mandela's death. Sadness.
Links in the notes, as usual.
( raw notesCollapse )
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only] Current Mood: content
|Saw Frozen, It was Awesome
Yes, the short before the movie is really, really good and clever. And yes, the actual movie itself is really, really good and clever. A rare occasion where the updating of a classic fairy tale (it is very
loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson's "The Snow Queen") dramatically improves it from the original.
Plus I would gladly listen to anything Idina Menzel sings.
My wife often refers to my videogaming as "killing things" (typical usage: "Are you going to go kill things now?"). This is because many (though by no means all) games follow a basic play loop of "kill things and take their loot".
One of my recent games has been "Batman: Arkham City". I first started playing it about a year ago, but got distracted by other things, and recently re-started it. I should say up front that I think this is an excellent game, even if I am going to proceed to discuss some of its failings.
In Arkham City, you aren't *technically* killing things, 'cause Batman has a code against killing. Instead, you just beat thugs into unconsciousness and/or break their bones and/or leave them dangling helplessly from gargoyles. This sort of thing is dubious enough when it happens in the comics, but in the fiction of this game, it's even worse. Arkham City is a lawless prison, with different criminal gangs in a constant state of warfare. To leave a foe helpless in this environment is "not killing" only by the narrowest of margins.
As many of you know, about a year ago, I started having issues with chronic shoulder pain. This was diagnosed as being due to a combination of years of bad ergonomics with oncoming arthritis. I've been in physical therapy on and off since then. The PT has greatly improved my arm strength and my range of motion. It *was*, after months of work, finally getting the pain down to a reasonable level. But a few weeks ago, I had a major relapse, and am struggling with high pain levels again.
Now, I'm not *certain* what brought on the relapse. It might have been the sudden temperature drop, or a spike in the spiciness of the food I was eating. It could be something I didn't even notice, or a combination of many factors. And, of course, I wouldn't have been vulnerable in the first place without years of prior abuse. But I can't help but notice a correlation between sudden increases in my pain level and playing Batman: Arkham City.
I have reached the sad conclusion that I probably can't play "action" games any more :( They just inflict too much punishment on me to be worth their pleasures. I may still be able to play FPSs, as long as I keep them set to Easy, and stick mostly to sniping.
So now, I empathize more with the ordinary thugs than I do with Batman. To Batman, each individual thug is no more than a minor speed bump in his progression through the game. But to the thug, meeting Batman means suffering serious physical damage, almost always including a concussion, and injuries that may cripple him for a lifetime.
After all, Batman crippled me.
: Soon after i took this I saw a notice from Google about new photos, which I assumed referred to the auto-upload from my Android. Well, yes, but: The page linked to was titled "Auto Awesome photos & movies", and the picture had falling snow in the foreground– falling
, not just flakes in midair.
I clicked on "learn more
Auto Awesome creates fun new versions of your photos and videos. Your photos will be combined into short animations, wide panoramas, or merged into group shots where everyone looks good. You'll know when an Auto Awesome photo or movie has been created by the
This entry was originally posted at http://thnidu.dreamwidth.org/1237724.html. You can comment here, or there using OpenID or your Dreamwidth ID. comments there so far. Current Mood: warm!
Not what I wanted. I'll delete the "awesome" version and turn off Awesome (which is on by default) once I'm sure I'll still have the unanimated picture as she was took.
- Sat, 14:33: #YalDawo Jrethé Saninss'ä (Hon. n.. tech., acc. 1 & 1) Tele-presence; teleconferencing.
- Sat, 14:36: RT @GeorgeTakei: An earworm, and an age test. http://t.co/sGtWAqmc5D
- Sat, 14:52: @GeorgeTakei NOT COOL! The Amish light candles for Christmas. Amish night life would be funnier.
- Sat, 15:14: RT @Elly_Banana: Feminism: What do we want? -Equal treatment as human beings! When do we want it? -Why are we still having this conversatio…
- Sat, 15:17: RT @MercedesBenz: Beauty is in the eye of every single beholder. MT @adityavalent3: My beautiful mercedes-benz E-250 Coupe ///AMG http://t.…
- Sat, 15:17: RT @GeorgeTakei: AUSSIE HISTORY MADE. History was made today with same-sex couples finally allowed to marry in the ACT. Stephen Da... http:…
- Sat, 15:23: RT @GeorgeTakei: Ladies, it this to deter gents from buying? http://t.co/OOgrmzOymz
- Sun, 03:30: Philcon 2013 http://t.co/XuDWVYFQAi
Interview about two methods of interrogation
, an honest meticulous method and the method in common use in the US.Douglas Starr
compares the Reid technique
with the PEACE technique.
Reid is a method of getting confessions-- once the police officer decides (on very little evidence) that the suspect is guilty and ignores all denials. If you suspect you are being subject to the Reid method, try arguing vociferously for an hour-- this may be taken as evidence of innocence. Reid uses people's impulse to be nice and cooperative against them. Reid gets false confessions.
Hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, have been trained to use the Reid technique.
A major part of the Reid technique's reputation was based on getting what turned out to be a false confession.
There's a description of research which find that people (including police) are just plain bad at detecting lies-- and do worse if they focus on body language.
PEACE is a long, dull, open-ended cognitive grind-- an effort to elicit memories and find out whether the details make sense.
I get the impression that trained US military interrogators (not the folks at Abu Graib) use something of the sort.
It's tempting to me to hear about something like the Reid technique and then hate and despise everybody, but the truth is that suspicion of the Reid technique got started when a researcher noticed that confession was a common feature in convictions which got overturned, and scientists looked at it and found that its premises about lying and anxiety weren't sound. The British government developed the PEACE technique after a series of false confession cases. There has been institutional pushback against Reid.
After reading a lot about false confessions, I'd come to the conclusion that confession simply shouldn't be part of the judicial process. However, I also thought that the idea was so radical it couldn't get a hearing. It turns out that the British have given up on using confession-- it's physical evidence or nothing for them.
Unfortunately, the NPR transcript is just highlights, and the New Yorker article it's based on is behind a pay wall. I think hearing the whole interview is worth spending a half hour.
Two accounts of the police getting false confessions: American
This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1028545.html
. Comments are welcome here or there.
comments so far on that entry.
Philcon 2013, a set on Flickr.
I finally got some photo editing done this week.
SJ Tucker and Heather Dale performed wonderfully throughout the weekend. Among my various adventures, I led my first Jedi Light Sabre class for Younglings (kids) and spoke at a number of panels, fought off a cold while trying to sing, and a urinary tract infection that spawned a song; it won a contest. See my post Philcon recovery. written last month.
|Saturday, December 7th, 2013|
|Writers.SE contest ends soon
being run on the Writers Stack Exchange site (focusing on genre-related questions and answers) ends at midnight GMT December 8. (Oops, I thought it was a couple days later -- sorry for the late reminder.) New questions in genre-related tags, and new answers to existing questions, are eligible for prizes, detailed on the linked page.
(Previous post about this contest here