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Strange New World Discovered: The "Mega Earth"

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the thing-that-should-not-be dept.

Space 147

astroengine (1577233) writes "Meet 'mega-Earth' a souped-up, all-solid planet that, according to theory, should not exist. First spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope, the planet is about 2.3 times larger than Earth. Computer models show planets that big would be more like Neptune or the other gas planets of the outer solar system since they would have the gravitational heft to collect vast amounts of hydrogen and helium from their primordial cradles. But follow-up observations of the planet, designated as Kepler-10c, show it has 17 times as much mass as Earth, meaning it must be filled with rock and other materials much heavier than hydrogen and helium. 'Kepler-10c is a big problem for the theory,' astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, told Discovery News. 'It's nice that we have a solid piece of evidence and measurements for it because that gives motivations to the theorists to improve the theory,' he said."

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PHOTOS: Top Exoplanets for Alien Life (0)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 5 months ago | (#47149957)

See the top locations for making your next interstellar vacation. Now 20% off!

Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual Pain (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47149995)

"2.3 times larger" is grossly ambiguous in at least 2 different ways:

Until we read further, we are left to guess whether that means 2.3 times the diameter, 2.3 times the volume, or what. A few sentences later they clarify a bit, but it's still sloppy writing.

Second, "times larger" is ambiguous in English. If Earth has diameter 1, then a diameter 2.3 times as large would be 2.3. Technically, a diameter 2.3 times larger would be 3.3 (1 + 2.3).

Call that nitpicking if you want, but it's still sloppy writing.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (3)

neminem (561346) | about 5 months ago | (#47150041)

The second one is not at all ambiguous. "2.3 times larger" means "multiply how large the first thing is by 2.3" to absolutely anyone. It's kinda ambiguous when you're talking percent, but not a literal multiplier.

The first one is totally ambiguous, though.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (3, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#47150095)

"The second one is not at all ambiguous. "2.3 times larger" means "multiply how large the first thing is by 2.3" to absolutely anyone."

No, that would 2.3 times the size. 2.3 times *larger* strongly implies the correct answer (for x=1) is 3.3, not 2.3.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 5 months ago | (#47150125)

Funny that we have exactly the same in German. The conclusion from the logical meaning is 3.3, but no one uses it this way. People who value the logical meaning say 2.3 times as large, they just would not use it, and the others use it the way that it is commonly used, although it is illogical.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150271)

In English it's extra confusing, because 50% more always means 1.5x, 30% off means 0.7x, but 200% more should logically mean 3x, but often means 2x.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (3, Funny)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 5 months ago | (#47150517)

It's really a bad stroke of luck for humanity that English is the de facto international language. The English language is pretty messed up in more ways than one. For example, in the English language it's often impossible to know how to properly spell a word without learning it through use and experience. Unlike for example the German language, where you can practically always tell how to spell a word by how it is written.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150669)

I think you meant "where you can practically always tell how to spell a word by how it is pronounced".

Obviously if a word is written you know how it's spelled right?

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 5 months ago | (#47150755)

Riiiiiight! ;)

Obviously, I'm not a native English speaker myself.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 5 months ago | (#47150893)

No, except for that one error there, you are way too concise to be a native English speaker... try tossing a bit of ambiguity and some slang in there once in awhile... or is that "a while"... damn...

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#47151705)

Do you use awhile alot?

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152645)

Obviously if a word is written you know how it's spelled right?

hav u ever lookt at faceblog? u cant now if a werd is corektly speeled from haw it iz writen.

Obvious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150709)

Sorry did you just say you can tell how to SPELL a word ...by how its WRITTEN. Thanks Captain Obvious.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0, Offtopic)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#47150759)

"Unlike for example the German language, where you can practically always tell how to spell a word by how it is written."

I assume you mean by how it is pronounced, not by how it is written (if you see how it is written you also see how it is spelled.)

That said, we should remember that languages that manage to stay close to phonemic (like German, Spanish, etc.) have done that, not by magically being immune to language change, but by enforcing and regularly updating a centralized definition and excluding a lot of their own diversity, whether geographic, socioeconomic, or temporal. Even German has quite a bit of variation as you go from the alps to the Danish border - English is spoken from England to New Zealand by way of India, and by way of New England on the return trip!

And I think a very real part of what makes English attractive IS the fact that it was already too big for any 'national academy' to control and dictate.

Also think about how much you would actually lose by any attempt to make the spelling phonemic. For example homophones are currently only confusing in speech, they would become ambiguous even in writing. To, too, two? Nope, just one word, tu. What about other words where one dialect may preserve a distinction but another does not? Which one will we reflect in writing? And which one is going to get stuck with significantly depressed scores in school as a result?

Peepel tat lrn tu rajt foneemik Eenglish wil av trubel reeding ol buks tu. Tink bowt tat.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47151649)

you mean: piipol tät leern tu wrait foneemik inglish vil hav trable riiding ool buuks tuu. Tink abaut tät.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152757)

Piipl thät löörn to vrait foneemik inglish vill häv trabl riiding ool buks tuu. Think abaut thät. Fiksd it!

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150763)

I don't think you said what you meant to say. Please rephrase, because I suspect you have something of value to share with the community.

In defense of English, I have one word: (4, Insightful)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 5 months ago | (#47150831)

Gender. As in the blessed lack thereof.

Re:In defense of English, I have one word: (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 months ago | (#47152111)

man, she's a real beauty, English is

Re:In defense of English, I have one word: (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#47152539)

English is a monster, but every language allows metaphors. (The gender in English is still so much nicer than, say, Spanish, where even native speakers mess it up sometimes.)

Re:In defense of English, I have one word: (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 5 months ago | (#47152657)

Now cut that out!

Re:In defense of English, I have one word: (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#47152537)

So true

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (3, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 5 months ago | (#47150965)

That's because English took a large number of words from other languages and kept the spelling from the origin language. It's easy to figure out a word in German because the word is German. In English, a word could come from German, or Latin, or French, or Greek, etc.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (3, Interesting)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about 5 months ago | (#47151865)

Humorist P.J. O'Rourke once wrote that English doesn't just take words from other languages; English chases other languages into dark alleys and mugs them for their words.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 5 months ago | (#47152059)

It's more then that, read some older texts, perhaps early 18th century, and you will see many words with legal but different and often variable spelling. Even now what different groups of people consider correct spelling in English varies. "The centre of the grey coloured licence devise had a strange connexion to an organisation that had its dialogue paralysed as if by diarrhoea." Is an example of a correctly spelled nonsensical sentence that could trigger spelling nazis here.
Dictionaries weren't commonly used until the middle of the 18th century and later dictionaries attempted to change various spellings, often for no other reason then nationalism.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 5 months ago | (#47153203)

Apart from "devise" and "connexion" that sentence is perfectly valid British English, which is awesome.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 5 months ago | (#47151885)

Do not different Germans have different pronouncements? Or do Austrians, Swiss, North and South Germans all have the same pronouncement? Just in England there are numerous dialects with someone from the south barely able to understand someone from the north, then there are the Americans who not only have different pronouncements but even spell many words differently, as well as Canadians, Australians, various small Caribbean nations, all who have English as their first language but can barely understand each other if talking fast.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152815)

Do not different Germans have different pronouncements?

Standard Czech spelling is also strictly phonetic. When speakers of some local Czech dialects pronounce a word differently, they also write it differently. Loanwords often get adopted into Czech with their original spelling but the spelling then gradually changes to conform to standard spelling rules. Those spelling changes happen naturally because people simply prefer the standard rules over some weird foreign spelling.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about 5 months ago | (#47152823)

One could argue that your error is not actually an error.

I am a native English speaker, and I know that there are multiple accepted spellings to many words depending on which region you are in, what slang has recently been adopted as common usage, if it's an advertisement or whether or not the writer likes pictures of cats.

So no, in English you cannot always tell how to spell a word by how it is written.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (2)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 5 months ago | (#47151021)

There's one I see regularly that baffles (and disappoints) me: on the top of the flush valve for public urinals (sorry, I'm a compulsive reader) it says "This 1-pint-per-flush valve saves 87% more than standard 1-gallon valves". What the hell does "saves 87% more" mean? Uses 87% less, fine - but saves 87% more??? WTF???

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (2)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#47151229)

"What the hell does "saves 87% more" mean? Uses 87% less, fine - but saves 87% more??? WTF???"

The only way that could make any sense would be if they were measuring the water that does NOT cycle through in a flush, i.e. the amount that is 'saved' between flushes. Since the idea is actually to 'flush' the system saving more in that context would be a bad thing.

They appear to be trying to say that it uses less water, as you say, but the wording is so horribly confused I dont think I would accept it as an English utterance. Those are English words strung together but the sentence as a whole has no meaning.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 5 months ago | (#47151441)

It actually could mean something: if there used to be an older 2-gallon-per-flush valve, then the 1-gallon valves save 1 gallon - and the 1 pint valves saves 1.87 gallons (compared to the 2-gallon valves), which is 87% more than the 1-gallon valves did. But I seriously doubt that's what they mean, and even if they did, do they actually expect people to do that math while they're peeing?

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about 5 months ago | (#47151903)

Marketing people would much rather use the word "more" than the word "less", and bigger numbers rather than fractions. So in trying to say "uses one-eighth as much", it comes out as "saves 87% MORE than".

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Arker (91948) | about 5 months ago | (#47152009)

"Marketing people would much rather use the word "more" than the word "less", and bigger numbers rather than fractions. So in trying to say "uses one-eighth as much", it comes out as "saves 87% MORE than"."

I think you hit the nail on the head, but you are being too kind. We can use fewer words and simply say "marketing lies.'

Re: Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 5 months ago | (#47151837)

The old standard was 1.6 lpf - does that help derive 87?

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 5 months ago | (#47150347)

Same here in Finland, it's an endless battle. One common argument for the "illogical" way is to separate the "larger" and "2.3 times" -- it's larger than the original, and it's 2.3 times the original. Of course, if you want to say "2.3 times the original" then you don't need the extra "larger" qualifier.

My usual argument for the logical way is to ask "what about 50% more". It's obviously not half of the original. The illogicians are quick to point out that the meaning changes when you go below 100%.

For an even worse abuse of linguistic logic, we have a colloquialism (not too common, fortunately) of saying "half more" when meaning "double the original". There is of course some "logic" when considering the inverse number, but now we have three different ways to intepret the same thing >.<

In fact, the case of "double" is interesting in that there is no ambiguity, it's always interpreted as "two times the original". However, Finnish doesn't have a direct native equivalent of "double", so we even get the confusion of someone saying "two times larger" when meaning "two times as large". Fortunately, we do have a loan of "double" ("tupla, tuplasti"), but it hasn't quite replaced the "two times" expressions.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#47151735)

Of course, if you want to say "2.3 times the original" then you don't need the extra "larger" qualifier.

That doesn't work when people say things like "2.3 times smaller". So "2.3 times the size of" is ambiguous if it could be larger or smaller.

I'm not arguing it's correct. I'm arguing that I hear it, thus it's in use.

In fact, the case of "double" is interesting in that there is no ambiguity, it's always interpreted as "two times the original". However, Finnish doesn't have a direct native equivalent of "double", so we even get the confusion of someone saying "two times larger" when meaning "two times as large". Fortunately, we do have a loan of "double" ("tupla, tuplasti"), but it hasn't quite replaced the "two times" expressions.

How odd. In English, we have double, triple, treble, quadruple, quintiple, and so on. I'm not sure how far up it goes, but I can't recall hearing much past triple.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#47150207)

Is that font 2.3 times larger?

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150341)

Is that font 2.3 times larger?

que the squintillionth Arker/font hoo-dee-rah.

FYI, Arker will always post in that douchey format. Even if he later decides that his idiocy is, well...idiocy - he's far too invested in his many defenses of his font lunacy to ever give it up.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150435)

Can't we all agree to down-mod Arker to well-deserved oblivion? It seems like the only decent thing to do.

Re: Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150615)

Second

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 5 months ago | (#47152243)

I always figured he doesn't want anyone to read his posts so I usually just skip them. Much easier then struggling with his weird choice of font.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 5 months ago | (#47151295)

"2.3 times smaller" would mean divide. Larger is directional. I've never heard "times larger" used otherwise. Neither the Charlottean transplants nor my Appalachian relatives were ever confused about that.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47153257)

So when you see 50% larger, you expect something half its usual size?

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47153277)

Sorry, parent should have been in reply to it's GP - my bad...

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47150307)

The second one is not at all ambiguous.

If it's not ambiguous, then it's just wrong.

1 + 1.3 = 2.3. Thus 2.3 is 1.3 more (or larger) than 1.

Similarly, 1 + 2.3 = 3.3. I.e., 3.3 is 2.3 larger than 1.

2.3 is 2.3 times 1. But not "times larger". That confuses addition and multiplation.

If the article had said "2.3 times", and left out "larger", it would have been correct.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#47151747)

And what if it said "2.3 times smaller"? How is "2.3 times" any more unambiguous when "2.3 times smaller" is in common use (even if you don't like it, that doesn't change reality). "2.3 times larger" is unambiguously "2.3 times the original size". At least everywhere I've lived.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

Pfhorrest (545131) | about 5 months ago | (#47152439)

I wouldn't know how to make sense of "2.3 times smaller" in any context. Except maybe... you have things A, B, and C, and B is smaller than A, as is C, and the A-C = 2.3 * A-B. But I wouldn't know what to make of it if you just said "C is 2.3 times smaller than B!" without the comparison to A. And I don't know how you would phrase that comparison... "C is 2.3 times smaller than A than B?" That's just confusing.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#47152613)

Everywhere I've lived, people have used 2.3 times smaller to mean X/2.3. Yes, it's bad English, but it's in common use.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (4, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47150339)

"2.3 times larger" is grossly ambiguous in at least 2 different ways:

Until we read further, we are left to guess whether that means 2.3 times the diameter, 2.3 times the volume, or what. A few sentences later they clarify a bit, but it's still sloppy writing.

Second, "times larger" is ambiguous in English. If Earth has diameter 1, then a diameter 2.3 times as large would be 2.3. Technically, a diameter 2.3 times larger would be 3.3 (1 + 2.3).

Call that nitpicking if you want, but it's still sloppy writing.

Okay from the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K... [wikipedia.org]

The sidebar states 17.2 +/- 1.9 M (M = Earth masses)
It also states that the Radius is aproximately 2.35 R (R = Earth radius)

Surface Gravity is a little over 3x that of Earth.
Unfortunately this probably isn't going to be a liveable world. It's only about a quarter of the distance from its sun that the Earth is. It's mean surface temperature is a whopping 400+ degrees Fahrenheit (so yes, paper would auto-ignite there).

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#47151769)

Thanks for that. I didn't get around to reading yet, but my guess was that it would have been closer. The sun's gravity would pull loose gases, and the atmosphere could be burned or blown off. Leaving the low density gas giants for more remote orbits.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 months ago | (#47150443)

"Times larger" is not ambiguous. "X is Y times larger than Z" means "X is Y times Z larger than Z. "Y times" is in relation to Z. There is no other correct way to interpret it. It's often used and interpreted incorrectly, but that doesn't make it ambiguous - it makes marketers liars and people morons.

Of course, there's the completely senseless uses as well. "X is Y times smaller than Z" where Y is greater than 1 implies a negative sieze for X, and "DSL is 10 times slower than cable" implies a negative speed for DSL (then there's the whole issue of internet "speed" when we're really talking about bandwidth).

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#47151787)

"Times larger" is not ambiguous.

Correct. In unambiguously means "X is Y times Z". The only people who think otherwise 100% understand it as written and object on pedantic grounds. Oh, and someone looked it up, in this case, they said X is 2.3 times larger than Earth, meaning X=2.3*E. So you are not only theoretically wrong, but we can verify this use with actual numbers, and you are provably wrong as well.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47151155)

You're being pedantic.

diameter and volume would be the same since ones used to calculate the other.

"larger" is used to denote size. So it's the correct word to mean a larger diameter/volume

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (4, Informative)

Derec01 (1668942) | about 5 months ago | (#47151279)

A little bit pedantic, but it certainly matters as they vary as different powers of the radius. Having 2.3 times the radius would be almost 12.2 times the volume. If the volume was only 2.3 times the Earth's volume, then the radius would only be 1.32 times larger.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 5 months ago | (#47151637)

Your last phrase proves your point in the way that different people understand things differently. I always thought 2.3 times larger means that whatever the reference is will be multiplied by 2.3, so if reference is 1, then end result is 2.3.

So yeah, point proven: TFS should be referring to absolute numbers and then infer relative numbers from that.

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | about 5 months ago | (#47152259)

The real problem (or interesting thing about this if you don't like "problem") with this is scaling. 2.3^3 = 12.2. If this mystery planet is 2.3 times the size of Earth, one would expect it to have 12.2 (give or take a hair) times the mass of Earth, presuming that it has a similar core structure. It is almost half again more massive. This in turn suggests that the mantel is proportionally less of the total volume of the sphere, or rather, that it has a disproportionately larger core (nickel-iron core densities are 2-3 times the density of the mantel). At a guess, the core alone -- if it is nickel-iron as seems at least moderately reasonable -- is at least half again larger than the size of the Earth. Alternative, its core could contain an admixture of much heavier/denser stuff -- tungsten, lead, gold -- and not be so disproportionate.

rgb

Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 months ago | (#47152577)

The real problem with current planetary formation theory is the silly expectation that catastrophic formation is rare and stable systems within a specific range are the norm. Likely catastrophic impact is the norm and when analysing planetary formation theory to align measured outcome's we have to be able to exclude unusual outcomes and put them down to catastrophic impacts rather than attempt to adjust the theories.

Relative to Earth (2)

jd (1658) | about 5 months ago | (#47152369)

The diameter is 2.3x. The mass is around 20x. The density is about 1.5x. The length of year is a shade under 1/3. The surface temperature is estimated at 10x. The gravity is around 4x. The magnetic field at Earth's current age was probably 3.375x. Tea time is a universal constant.

Remember the state of cosmology (4, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 5 months ago | (#47150037)

The galaxies are ACCELERATING away from each other, and we don't have a real solid answer for why.
Cosmology, the study of where all these planets and stuff came from and how, is still a young field with really big and really interesting discoveries yet to be made.

For all of those people claiming that there's nothing new to discover, point them to the stars and ask how the hell that happened.

And the state of the art is getting to the point where we don't need placeholders to conveniently fill in the gaps.

Exciting times.

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150169)

The galaxies are ACCELERATING away from each other, and we don't have a real solid answer for why.

Yes we do: space is inflating. Why this is happening is the more pertinent question.

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150483)

Why this is happening is the more pertinent question.

Um, why italics are happening?

Young giant space dragons. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150573)

They're like kittens. They're knocking planets about right and left.

Nobody can prove that's not what's behind the expanding universe. Deal with it.

Re: Remember the state of cosmology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152269)

You defined "accelerating away from each other" you did not correct his assertion.

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150285)

We don't even know what's going on right here under our feet, we've only drilled down about 40000 feet and we can barely manage that.

But space elevators and "exploring space" are totally important.

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150359)

Because those things are mutually exclusive, of course. Gosh, if only it was possible to research more than one thing!

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150705)

Thing is, we'll never build a space elevator. Not even a space patio or space deck. Forget it. Move on.

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (3, Insightful)

avgjoe62 (558860) | about 5 months ago | (#47151333)

I also lay aside all ideas of any new works or engines of war, the invention of which long-ago reached its limit, and in which I see no hope for further improvement... - Sextus Julius Frontinus, governor of Britania, 84 C.E.

Mathematics is inadequate to describe the universe, since mathematics is an abstraction from natural phenomena. Also, mathematics may predict things which don't exist, or are impossible in nature. - Ludovico delle Colombe

The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it... Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient. - Dr. Alfred Velpeau

When the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of. - Erasmus Wilson

This `telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us. - Western Union internal memo, 1878

Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia. - Dr. Dionysus Lardner

That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced. - Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909.

There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will. - Albert Einstein

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. - Lord Kelvin, 1895

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. - Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 5 months ago | (#47151733)

The cupola on the ISS is sort of a space patio. Also do ISS and space shuttle decks count?

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150425)

And the state of the art is getting to the point where we don't need placeholders to conveniently fill in the gaps.

Exciting times.

Placeholders meaning 'God' ?

Re:Remember the state of cosmology (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 months ago | (#47150499)

Maybe. There is a theory that time itself is multidimensional which would account for the appearance of red shift we assume is the universe expanding, but might just be the effects of time upon the light as it travels interstellar distances.

Karellan's Home World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150067)

This must be the planet the overlords lived on in "Childhood's End".

Re:Karellan's Home World (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 5 months ago | (#47152861)

I was thinking they had found Majipoor.

It fits MY theory just fine (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150127)

It was craftily designed (intelligently, even) by Satan to trick man into forfeiting God's love for their fickle and impotent mistress, Science.

It's working great!

Re:It fits MY theory just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150667)

I don't need your love [youtube.com]

17 more massive = mega earth? (3, Interesting)

macklin01 (760841) | about 5 months ago | (#47150147)

Shouldn't this be 1.7 decaearths?

Since the sun is about 333 kiloearths in mass, wouldn't a megaearth be about 3 solar masses? :-)

Re:17 more massive = mega earth? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 5 months ago | (#47150407)

Since the sun is about 333 kiloearths in mass, wouldn't a megaearth be about 3 solar masses? :-)

I'm trying to picture 333000 times the collective human stupidity on Earth. But assuming that population scales with the surface area (R^2) instead of mass or volume (R^3) it wouldn't be quite as bad.

Dense (3, Informative)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#47150179)

Something that was 2.3 times the size of the earth would be only about 12 times the mass of the earth if it were the same density
since it is 17 times the mass it must be denser than the earth, presumably more iron/nickel than silicate rock.

way too much gravity for 'life as we know it, Jim'\

Re:Dense (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#47150937)

Life yes. Even fish. Giraffes? Probably not.

Here comes (1)

motorhead (82353) | about 5 months ago | (#47150297)

Thanos

pffff.. (-1, Flamebait)

SuperDre (982372) | about 5 months ago | (#47150309)

And that's the problem with a lot of scientists, they can only think in what already has been theorized and can't look beyond that.. Just like they say 'laws of physics', there are no solid 'laws of physics' as those 'laws' have only been created by man who just doesn't know every little detail.. Ofcourse it's great to have some guidelines, but as I said, a lot of scientists can't see beyond those guidelines and see them as a definite border.. Well, if we all wouldn't see past those 'laws' then we would still believe the earth was flat...

Re:pffff.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150439)

Alright, bitch, how about you step up to the plate and show us how it's done? How about you show us how progressive you really are?
 
It's easy to sit back and talk shit but it takes a bit more to put your own ass out there and make it happen.

Re:pffff.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150463)

I don't need to know the laws of physics to understand that the earth is clearly NOT flat. You just need to take a look at a picture of the earth from the moon to see that. As far as belief goes, I don't need to believe anything when doing sciences, since given enough time, or enough trust in my fellow scientists, I can derive most anything I take for granted from first principals. Belief doesn't even come into it.

Theory is also the top level of science, so to replace an existing theory with a new one and be successful, you new theory must not only bring something new to the table, but must also explain all the previous results, evidence, facts that supported the existing theory you are trying to replace. That's science. And this has happened in the past and will continue to happen as new, better theories are fleshed out. See Newtonian Gravity vs General Relativity for a great example of this. Science does NOT profess to know everything about everything, if it did, we'd be done, and I don't think we ever will be. But to make blanket statements like 'scientists can't look beyond existing theories' is clearly a false statement at best, and a slander at worst.

Re:pffff.. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 months ago | (#47152071)

the picture of the earth from the moon clearly shows the earth is indeed flat, and also round like a plate

Re:pffff.. (3, Insightful)

harperska (1376103) | about 5 months ago | (#47150515)

Not exactly. A reply I made the last time there was a slashdot article about a planet discovered by Kepler that required planet-forming models to be reevaluated is still particularly apropos.

When scientists say "This shouldn't happen according to current models", they are really saying "Holy shit, this is awesome! We get to come up with new models!".

Meanwhile, the mainstream media hears that and reports it either as "Scientists say this shouldn't happen. The universe is fucked up" or "Scientists say this shouldn't happen. Science is fucked up" depending on their political bent.

Re:pffff.. (2)

radtea (464814) | about 5 months ago | (#47150723)

Meanwhile, the mainstream media hears that and reports it either as "Scientists say this shouldn't happen. The universe is fucked up" or "Scientists say this shouldn't happen. Science is fucked up" depending on their political bent.

Also, don't forget the ever-popular, "Scientists are flip-floppers who can't make up their minds, while my ancient religion is always the same, century after century!"

The same strain runs through all of these: the implication that scientists should feel humiliated because what they thought to be highly plausible has turned out to be much less so. So long as people believe this--that being a good Bayesian and adjusting your beliefs in the face of new evidence is somehow shameful and "unmanly"--we will be stuck in this mire of evidence-free policy-making and anti-science gibberish on all sides.

Re:pffff.. (1)

radtea (464814) | about 5 months ago | (#47150775)

And that's the problem with a lot of scientists, they can only think in what already has been theorized and can't look beyond that..

Except, of course, you are commenting on an article that is very literally about scientists "looking beyond" what has been theorized.

Perhaps you mean instead that scientists are rarely given to baseless imaginings that violate current theory when they have no empirical basis for doing so. That is a good thing: people who attempt to understand the world by using their imaginings of how it might be or ought to be as their primary tool are called "philosophers", and they have failed to materially advance our understanding of the world significantly over thousands and thousands of years.

There is a reason for this: despite its many virtues, the human imagination is a terrible instrument of understanding. The world simply does not work in the ways we find it easy to imagine, and we find it hard to image the ways it does. We are incapable of imaging things the way they actually are (quantum spooky actions at a distance) and capable of imagining things that are impossible (perpetual motion machines, flying horses, etc.)

So it isn't a problem that scientists are reticent about using a tool that has proven to be lousy to understand the world. It is a problem that people who know nothing about science keep complaining about that.

Re:pffff.. (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about 5 months ago | (#47152911)

So in summary, you are saying that it is a scientist's job to refine and develop theories as opposed to just knowing and accepting theories as handed down from uhm... I don't know?

Unobtanium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150419)

I vote for the existence of unobtanium on that planet. 2.3 times the size of the Earth? Who cares? The fact that it has a much greater mass means that there has to be something else there (at least in the mind of most scientifically uneducated humans)... :-)

Of course, truth is often much more prosaic and unexciting. Ain't SciFi grand? :lol:

Re:Unobtanium (1, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#47150711)

I vote for the existence of unobtanium on that planet. 2.3 times the size of the Earth?

By golly! You're right. Weren't the Na'vi about 2.3 times the size of humans?

Hah! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150447)

Science cannot explain the existence of this planet, therefore God made it!

Checkmate, atheists!

Planet Scale Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47151703)

If far advanced civilizations do plant scale engineering, maybe we can find the aliens with the new data of exoplanets.

When did popular science articles get so bad? (3, Insightful)

tragedy (27079) | about 5 months ago | (#47151923)

Other people have commented on the lousy "size of Texas"-style "2.3 times larger than Earth" bit, but there's so much more wrong with this. There's the now standard "artists representation" header artwork/slideshow teaser that doesn't even have any sort of disclaimer that it's not a representation of any kind of this planet. There's also an appalling lack of any of the figures people really want to know such as what the surface gravity would be on this planet. I'm getting about 3.3 G based on the diameter and mass they give. Surface area is about 5 times that of Earth. The year is about 1 and a half Earth months. The temperature is over 200 degrees celcius, close to the melting point of tin.

Distance From The Star (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152043)

So, how far from the mother start the planet is? A lightening star should clear those precious gasses around it as it coughs up the first waves of solar wind. Oh, yes a quarter of AU, according to wikipedia. Mystery solved!

Vests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152255)

Vests [slashdot.org] wow~~~good~~

Nothing to be alarmed about. (1)

jd (1658) | about 5 months ago | (#47152349)

At 11 billion years of age, it clearly hosts one of the oldest civilizations in the universe. At an apparent mass of 20x Earth, which is quite impossible for a planet of this vintage, it is clearly a Dyson sphere built round a black hole constructed by the stellar engineer Omega as a power source for Rassilon's space-time capsules.

The reason it is in Draco is that it was shunted from its original universe into ours during the Third Time War.

I don't get the mystery. (2)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 5 months ago | (#47152471)

It's a large planet orbiting a star. It has no massive hydrogen/helium atmosphere, and that's a mystery, WHY? Well, let's see, park a planet about 20 million miles from its host star for ELEVEN BILLION YEARS and see how long the atmosphere hangs around, in the face of ELEVEN BILLION YEARS of stellar evolution, coronal mass ejections, and all the rest of it, and they're PUZZLED as to why it's not hte size of Neptune?WTF? I'm surprised it still exists at all...

Re:I don't get the mystery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152733)

Jinkies!... give him a scooby snack...

Re:I don't get the mystery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47153057)

The mystery is not the size. It's the density. The mystery is that it still exists at all.

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