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Are you a science nerd?

Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Read this quote carefully...
Two planets about 300 light years from Earth slammed into each other recently, US astronomers said Tuesday...

article

If you aren't laughing you're either in a bad mood or you need someone to draw you a diagram.



A good workman is known by his tools.
David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

OK, it took me a sec. You could possibly measure someones NQ (nerd quotient) by seeing how long it takes someone (within your current frame of reference, of course)
David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

I found the problem.
The article is dated 23rd September, but doesn't say what year. It could still be valid!
Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3012
    
  10
300 years ago is recently, to astronomers.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61095
    
  66

Yeah, I totally didn't get it because 300 years is a blink of an eye in astronomical terms.


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

So you both believe that the sentence is purposefully redundant just to stress that, astronomically speaking, 300 years ago is recent? C'maaaawwwn!

I have to give it to you guys. The nerdiest response is to kill a joke with science. You get extra credit since the original joke was science-related.


Extra extra credit: If one of those planets had an iPod on it, how long would it take for it to land in our atmosphere?
Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3012
    
  10
[Marc]: So you both believe that the sentence is purposefully redundant just to stress that, astronomically speaking, 300 years ago is recent? C'maaaawwwn!

No, I don't think it's redundant at all. The planets are 300 light years away, and the collision was recent. Those are two separate facts, largely unrelated. Yes, we can infer that the collision was at least 300 years ago. It also could have been 10000 years ago - that would still be recent, astronomically.

There was no joke to kill here. sorry.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14114
    
  16

YES I am absolutely a science nerd and I love it! And I'm especially interested in astronomy and physics!

Here are some great websites for fellow science nerds:

Science Daily - also has the story about the planets
This Week in Science - fun podcast about new science discoveries
Stellarium - great free and open source planetarium program
Astronomy Cast - nice podcast about astrononomy
The Planerary Society - also has a podcast, Planetary Radio
Bad Astronomy Blog - by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer
The Naked Scientists - another nice science podcast
Scientific American - lots of interesting stories (I'm also subscribed to the magazine)
Universe Today


Java Beginners FAQ - JavaRanch SCJP FAQ - The Java Tutorial - Java SE 7 API documentation
Scala Notes - My blog about Scala
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Interesting, that this event should coincide with the Hindenburg disaster. (Give or take.)


"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
sscce.org
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18760
    
  40

Hello !! Isn't anyone else concerned that it is possible for two planets in a stable solar system to collide? This means that it is possible for a planet's orbit to just change -- in fact, the earth's orbit could be changing as I type this !!

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61095
    
  66

No wonder I feel heavier!

Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61095
    
  66

Large asteroid simulation.
Satish Chilukuri
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2005
Posts: 266
Originally posted by Henry Wong:
Hello !! Isn't anyone else concerned that it is possible for two planets in a stable solar system to collide? This means that it is possible for a planet's orbit to just change -- in fact, the earth's orbit could be changing as I type this !!

Henry


There is a hypothesis that the Moon was formed due to a collision of another planet with Earth. But we need not worry about any collisions. We just need to do what these guys did.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61095
    
  66

Originally posted by Satish Chilukuri:
We just need to do what these guys did.
Make a bad movie?




Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:
No wonder I feel heavier!

Just promise us you won't collide into our planet, Bear! I'm not done using it yet.
Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3012
    
  10
It's where I keep all my stuff!
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Henry Wong:
Hello !! Isn't anyone else concerned that it is possible for two planets in a stable solar system to collide? This means that it is possible for a planet's orbit to just change -- in fact, the earth's orbit could be changing as I type this !! ...

That's why we offer a no-fault Planetary Collision Policy (PCP), available in terms of up to 25,000 years. I think you'll find our rates quite reasonable for a planet in your part of the galaxy. Of course, a PCP does not cover damage resulting from impact (or near misses) with planetoids, meteors, meteorites, etc., which is why we recommend a supplemental rider...
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Originally posted by Mike Simmons:
It also could have been 10000 years ago...

Are you suggesting that light beams migrate?

Hey, maybe time and space bend in such funny ways that astronomers just witnessed Earth's future destruction!!!
Mike Simmons
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 3012
    
  10
No, silly. I'm saying that if you read the article, the astronomers did not see the planets appearing as if they're "currently" colliding (i.e. as if they collided 300 years ago and the light just reached us). Rather, the astronomers found two planets and an unusually large amount of dust. The dust implies that sometime more than 300 years ago, there was a big collision between the planets. The article doesn't attempt to say how "recently" this occurred, but really, dust clouds like that do not just vanish overnight. Most of the dust will stay in orbit around the star for a long time, making it hard to tell exactly how long ago the collision occurred.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18760
    
  40

I bet that it is even more indirect. I bet that they are stating that fluctuations in energy is likely due to absorption by dust, which in turn, is likely caused by two planets colliding.

For all we know, it could also be some sort of deep space station (monitoring some wormhole) that is very efficient at absorbing ambient energy.

Henry
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Mike Simmons:
... Most of the dust will stay in orbit around the star for a long time...

And some will be sold on eBay. I recently purchased 2 metric tons of interstellar debris for my collection. Eventually, I'm going to build my own planet.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24183
    
  34

All right, all right already. The guilt is killing me. Yes, fine, it's my fault. There, I said it. Are you happy? It was late, it was raining, I had a lot of groceries to carry, and I forget to set the parking brake on planet Ford. It rolled down the gravity well and crashed into planet Chevy. Whatever. Nobody got hurt, is the important thing.

Man, my insurance premium is going to suck next year.


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Doug Slattery
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 15, 2007
Posts: 294
I have to give it to you guys. The nerdiest response is to kill a joke with science.


I can attest to that. Once long ago, I was scoring points with a cute blonde -- no joke -- no pun intended. I gave an analogy to something we were talking about I can't remember now, that included a spaghetti vacation. She thought it was funny until I explained it to her. All points lost. Note to self after that: "Still be honest, just not so honest."

- Doug
-- Nothing is impossible if I'mPossible
Marc Peabody
pie sneak
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 4727

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
Man, my insurance premium is going to suck next year.

It'll be... astronomical!!!
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24183
    
  34

Originally posted by Doug Slattery:
spaghetti vacation




You can explain this to me as I have no idea what this means and Google failed me...
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
...I forget to set the parking brake on planet Ford. It rolled down the gravity well and crashed into planet Chevy...

I think those scratches could be buffed out with a large enough hurricane.
 
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