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View Full Version : Say it's not so- Bad Astronomy in the NY Times



KaiYeves
2007-Dec-13, 10:42 PM
That instructions on how to celebrate Ramadan on ISS were under the heading "Interstellar Ramadan".
Interstellar? Not even close, just Earth orbit.
Everybody's got the right to be wrong, I guess.

vonmazur
2007-Dec-13, 10:49 PM
The NYT published an apology/retraction after Apollo 11....The once made a comment that rockets won't operate in space, "Because they have nothing to push against...." I think the original comment was against Robert Goddard in the 1920's....In any case, I do not think they have anything but Journalism School Grads working there....Maybe someday they will get an advisor or someone like that with a real degree.....

Dale

grant hutchison
2007-Dec-13, 10:49 PM
Link to article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/magazine/09interstellar.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/G/Guevara,%20Ernesto)

I suppose the instructions are at least applicable in a real interstellar setting: "Face towards Earth; if you can't find Earth, you may face in any direction," some guidance on how to make the prayer movements in free fall, and what to do if washing water is not accessible.

Grant Hutchison

Noclevername
2007-Dec-13, 11:23 PM
Keep in mind that the headlines are not written by the reporters who write the story, but by bored desk-jockies.

Gillianren
2007-Dec-14, 04:23 AM
"It's." I had a professor in college who threatened to give the next paper with that error in it back in a baggie.

Noclevername
2007-Dec-14, 04:28 AM
In interstellar space, facing Sol means you're also facing Earth. So face towards the back of the ship until turnover/deceleration, then face the front.

HenrikOlsen
2007-Dec-15, 01:16 PM
"It's." I had a professor in college who threatened to give the next paper with that error in it back in a baggie.
Thread title fixed.

Gillianren
2007-Dec-15, 05:57 PM
Thank you, Henrik! I let that one go a lot, but I can't ignore it in a thread title, I'm afraid.

Chuck
2007-Dec-15, 10:41 PM
It will be more of a problem when we can upload our minds into computers to escape death. A computer construct has no physical body and can't face in any direction in the real world. But on the bright side, it can't really eat so it will always be fasting. A pilgrimage will be easy when you can email yourself to a computer in your destination city.

HenrikOlsen
2007-Dec-15, 11:17 PM
A pilgrimage will be easy when you can email yourself to a computer in your destination city.
Better read up on RFC-1437 when sending yourself as an email attachment.

grant hutchison
2007-Dec-15, 11:30 PM
Better read up on RFC-1437 when sending yourself as an email attachment.And expect a significant period of lost consciousness if you're on dial-up.

Grant Hutchison

Noclevername
2007-Dec-16, 12:15 AM
It will be more of a problem when we can upload our minds into computers to escape death. A computer construct has no physical body and can't face in any direction in the real world. But on the bright side, it can't really eat so it will always be fasting. A pilgrimage will be easy when you can email yourself to a computer in your destination city.

When? If. Not when.

And even if, a human mind in an artificial structure might be more like non-transferable, hardwired solid-state Mask-ROM than e-mail. No way to know yet.

Ilya
2007-Dec-17, 02:25 PM
"It's." I had a professor in college who threatened to give the next paper with that error in it back in a baggie.

Best put-down from a college professor I ever heard of (and no, I was not the student involved):

"I am returning you this perfectly good typing paper because somebody scribbled gibberish all over it and put your name on top."

mike alexander
2007-Dec-17, 02:51 PM
Which sounds like a book review given by Ambrose Bierce:

"The covers of this book are too far apart."

Gillianren
2007-Dec-17, 07:06 PM
I don't remember who said it, but there's the classic, "I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review in front of me. I am about to have it behind me."

Dave J
2007-Dec-17, 08:18 PM
When with AWACS in Saudi Arabia, we would take Saudi controllers up with us on the 14 hour sorties. We spent the vast majority of the time in "orbit", a big racetrack pattern. When prayer time came the Saudi would ask someone the direction to Mecca at that time, and that would determine the orientation of his prayer rug for the duration of prayers despite our turns.
It's the thought that counts, I suppose.

KaiYeves
2007-Dec-17, 11:01 PM
The NYT published an apology/retraction after Apollo 11....The once made a comment that rockets won't operate in space, "Because they have nothing to push against...." I think the original comment was against Robert Goddard in the 1920's....In any case, I do not think they have anything but Journalism School Grads working there....Maybe someday they will get an advisor or someone like that with a real degree.....
Not to mention what their brilliant reviewer said about Star Wars in 1977: "You could write the plot of Star Wars on the head of a pin and have room for the Bible."
I wonder when the appology for that one came?

mike alexander
2007-Dec-18, 06:42 PM
Well... the reviewer was probably right. It was just irrelevant.

See the review of "2001" when it first came out by Lester del Rey.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0045.html

KaiYeves
2007-Dec-18, 11:54 PM
See the review of "2001" when it first came out by Lester del Rey.
http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0045.html
Gosh, and then they went and beat up on Star Wars ten years later. Maybe reviewers just don't like space.

mike alexander
2007-Dec-19, 12:01 AM
And Lester del Rey was an SF author/publisher for 50+ years.

Van Rijn
2007-Dec-19, 12:07 AM
Gosh, and then they went and beat up on Star Wars ten years later. Maybe reviewers just don't like space.

Heh. Lester del Rey was a rather well known science fiction writer, and wrote a fair few books with space themes. And then there is Del Rey Books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Rey_Books). In my opinion, though, he was something of a second tier author, behind Anderson, Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Niven and a few others.

Funny thing, I didn't like most of the "New Wave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Wave_(science_fiction))" either, but I didn't count 2001 in that.

KaiYeves
2007-Dec-19, 12:19 AM
I was kind of being sarcastic back there, hence the italics...

Noclevername
2007-Dec-19, 12:26 AM
I was kind of being sarcastic back there, hence the italics...

I've used italics when I'm not being sarcastic. Both times, in fact.