Jan 272015

“Super Saturn” Has an Enormous Ring System and Maybe Even Exomoons

J1407 is a fairly bland main sequence star some 434 lightyears away that is orbited at about 3.9 AU’s by a “super Jupiter,” J1407b with a mass of 10 to 40 times that of Jupiter (possibly a brown dwarf). It’s the plant that is of interest: it has a ring system estimated to be 180,000,000 kilometers in diameter. The ring system may mass as much as Earth, and there is a gap indicating an 80%-Earth-sized moon at a radius of about 60 million km. If Saturns rings were replaced with J1407b’s rings, it would be brightly visible in the night sky and larger than the full moon.

J1407b takes about 10 years to orbit J1407; the moon takes about 1.7 years to orbit J1407b.

The actual paper is HERE.

 Posted by at 5:17 pm
Jan 272015

There are two movies that *may* be coming that don’t need to:

New All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’ Cast Chosen

I have no problem with an all-female cast (Melissa McCarthy,  Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon). What does bug me is that this is supposed to be a *reboot.*


The original Ghostbusters was a sort of perfect movie. It doesn’t need to be remade, just as RoboCop didn’t need to be remade. But a *sequel*? Sure, that could work. In the original movie, Venkman pointed out that the franchise rights alone would make them all rich. So… why not a Ghostbusters: Omaha starring the new cast? That would give the movie and any possible sequels *it* generates the possibility of having Dan Akroyd or Ernie Hudson or even Ellen Ripley or Bob McKenzie or Richard Thornburg make an appearance.

And then there’s this:

Disney Eyeing Chris Pratt For Indiana Jones Revival

No. Just… no. Leave poor Indy Alone.

 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Jan 252015

So a New Jersey high school physics teacher confiscates a cell phone from a student during class. Guess what happens next. Go on, guess.

Much to my surprise, it seems Lil’ Dickens here is actually facing consequences: he’s been suspended and is facing third-degree aggravated assault charges.

Sixteen is old enough to know better. Sixteen is old enough to face the consequences. Sixteen is old enough to be *permanently* removed from taxpayer funded public education. Horrible jackholes like this have no place in a classroom.

I like this line:

a disciplinary hearing will determine “an appropriate, educational placement” for the rest of the school year.

I have some suggestions:

You know where he *doesn’t* belong? In civilized society.

 Posted by at 2:38 pm
Jan 242015

US Navy to publicly show their amazing railgun for the first time ever

The US Navy will publicly show their formidable railgun at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington D.C. on February 4.

A little vague on what’s meant by “publicly show.” Somehow I have doubts that this will include “publicly demonstrate by shooting a shell from D.C. into midtown Manhattan.”

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Jan 242015

I’ve mentioned before that I have a bit of a problem with my drafting work: my software works great on Windows XP, but not on Windows 7 and beyond. It’d cost thousands to upgrade to modern versions of AutoCAD… thousands I don’t have. I have one somewhat elderly laptop still running XP; when it inevitably goes down, I’ll be kinda screwed.

I stumbled across a laptop in a pawn shop today that was actually running XP. I’ve been looking in pawn shops for a few years now; it seems to be standard practice for pawn shops to scrape laptops clean and load Windows 7 or later on them. As this laptop was only $70, I bought it with the intention of loading software on it…and then putting it into storage for the day when my good, old laptop take a dirt nap.

The question is: how to store it? First task will be to clean it… run compressed air through it to blow out any dust, and wipe the surface clean to get rid of the blood and other bodily fluids that no doubt coat it (it’s a pawn shop laptop, after all). But beyond that, anybody got any suggestions? Is it best to store laptops with the battery charged, or drained? It’ll have to be stored wrapped in plastic to keep it dry, but maybe also wrapped in foil? Or would that be *worse?*

 Posted by at 7:47 pm