Plutoed: Fakename Studies Astronomy

Well, not exactly. 

The occasion for the post is that I’m reading the novel Percival’s Planet; the link is to a review of the book in the Washington Post, and I’d say it’s very accurate.  The book is described as being “inspired by” the true story of the discovery of Pluto in 1930.    The problem with these “based on/inspired by” stories is that unless you know enough about the real story, it’s hard to tell who is a real person and who is fictional, or what really happened or didn’t.  I decided I needed to educate myself further about the real story, and therein lies the problem (math and physics are involved).  So in the process of my online investigation, I found I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but nevertheless, I feel more illuminated anyway.

Try to follow along here with Fakename.  First let’s review the position of the planets: 

Note the absence of Pluto

Pluto isn’t included, because in 2006, Pluto was plutoed.  Plutoed was a new word, designated that same year as the “word of the year” by some organization or another that does that sort of thing.  It means to be “demoted or downgraded in value”.  It went from being a planet to being a dwarf planet, one of five.  The book review notes that the decision by the International Astronomical Union to downgrade Pluto was met by a popular outcry, leading to the creation of several T-shirts, including one that said “That’s OK Pluto.  I’m not a planet either”.  Fakesister told me about one that reads, “Back when I was your age, Pluto was a planet”.

Now we move to the history.  Prior to the discovery of Neptune, it was noted that something seemed to be causing disruptions in the orbit of Uranus (please refer to diagram above).  Neptune was postulated, then found.  Once found, it was determined that Neptune alone was not sufficient to explain the problem with Uranus, so there had to be something else.  That something else was the theoretical “9th planet”, which Percival Lowell, the Percival of the book, called Planet X.  The last years of his life were spent trying to find it, in vain. 

The guy who did discover it did so using something called a “blink comparator”, technology not available to Lowell.  He tried to do it with math.  The comparator process involves taking photographs of the same portion of the sky about a week apart, putting them side by side, then looking at them back and forth rapidly (blinking, I guess) to determine if something seems to have moved.  This seems silly to us today, when you have digital photographs and computer analysis and so on, but to me, that’s what makes the discovery of Pluto all the more amazing.  This guy did it with his eyes and his brain. 

So since 2006, Pluto and it’s largest moon Charon have been designated part of the Kuiper Belt, a ring of stuff outside the solar system.  I’ll spare you from talking about the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) and the centaurs (between the asteroid belt and the Kuiper Belt).  Here’s the position poor little Pluto holds today:

Poor little Pluto, at least it has company

One of the things I discovered is that astronomers are both very whimsical and contentious people.  There are still arguments going on about whether Pluto is a planet or not, and whether or not the Kuiper Belt should really be named after Kuiper.  I think all that math and physics addles their brains.


54 responses to “Plutoed: Fakename Studies Astronomy

  1. Despite the fact that there is healthy disagreement in the Scientific Community on a number of things, Math and Physics do not addle their brains, but are the language that bind physical scientists together. Math and Physics only addles the brains of liberal arts people, the readers of “Scientific American,” and other pseudoscientists who can’t understand science anyways:)

  2. Make that “liberal arts” and “soft science”…being that my degree is in anthropology. (Like that has mattered for years.) That healthy disagreement you speak of leads to rigid adherence to one view or another, based on what they hope to be the case. Of course, that isn’t supposed to happen, but that’s the problem with “hard” science. It’s a disregard for the human factor. In particular, in some cases, the fact that the outcome is influenced by the participation of the observer. Scientists do not easily give up on theories they hold dear, even when their “objective” experiments prove them “wrong”. You for example, deny global warming. Overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it hasn’t been “proved” to your satisfaction.
    I understand the scientific method better than you might think.

  3. Most theories must be evaluated within the context of the cultural environment of the time they are proposed. Unfortunately that’s only easily done in armchair quarterback mode. It’s very hard for most people to be that objective about their own cultural biases.

    Cultural, in this context, including education, social mores, perceived hagiography, etc.

    PS: Does mentioning “armchair quarterback” get me off the hook for this year’s shutdown of American life?

  4. Phyllis, please delete my entire exchange in this thread as a favor to me. I’m not quite myself today and would really appreciate it. It has been a very tough day. Jeff

  5. Well, Jeff, at your request, I only deleted your previous comment. Not the rest, otherwise my own replies would not make sense. It’s completely understandable why you might not be yourself under the circumstances. Plus, I owe you an apology anyway.
    Fakesister, I can’t remember the reference to American life! I will say this…I’ve given you ample opportunity to make the comment we discussed today, and you haven’t taken it 🙂

  6. Phyllis, thank you very much…..No wonder why I can never stay mad at you:)

  7. “This year’s shutdown of American life”, i.e., the SuperBowl.

    Re our previously discussed comment concerning Fakename vs math: sort of like when we were children any creature desirous of taking me out had to come through you first, I have no real intention of belittling you in public that way. Although this comes perilously close! 🙂

  8. Speaking of math, I took 12 quarters of math at college and another 3 quarters of “mathematical statistics”. That latter sounds like an oxymoron but was all about the esoteric math supporting different statistical measures. Differential equations? No sweat. Mathematical statistics? The closest I ever came to failing a class. But only the 3rd one.

    Not that I want to do that stuff without a calculator ever again but orbital mechanics would be a lot of fun. Just don’t ask me to do anything electrical in Real Life – I can do the math!

  9. Lessee…in the process of getting a BA I was required to take two semesters of math (the horror!) For one, I took logic in the philosophy department, which counted, and for the other, I took statistics in the psychology department (NOT the math department!) In the latter, of the 12 people still standing, I made the only A, which remains one of the great mysteries of life. I can do math, but it strains my brain–my brain just doesn’t want to go in that direction.
    This amazes me: my young Assistant Manager is a recent grad of FSU with a BS, with a double major in business and hospitality. (The Dedman school of hospitality at FSU is a well-respected program.) But he did not have to take a language or art or music appreciation, none of the stuff that even to get a BS at my school you would have had to take, although less of it than if you were getting a BA. This is why I am beating the shit out of him on our daily Jeopardy question 🙂 That and being 35 years older than he is 🙂 He is smart as a whip, but so very un-wellrounded. That Jeopardy thing just burns him up. He is very competitive. And speaking of that, he has just landed a second job as the assistant coach of the JV baseball team at Leon High School. So every time I get a question right and he doesn’t, I say, Well–I can’t play baseball 🙂

  10. For my engineering degree, the French I took in high school was accepted for the language requirement. The few non-technical courses that were required were all basic things like English composition (thank the gods I qualified for honors English, I qualified for honors math too but declined – smartly) and economics. Non-tech electives: I took anthropology and political science and raquetball.

    Recognizing that my education is unbalanced, I try to read in a fashion that closes some of those holes.

  11. How odd that our schools had such different requirements even though they were both in Tennessee! The few years difference I don’t think would matter nearly as much as it matters now…things have changed remarkably. I was not required to take economics (more’s the pity) but I did take it in high school. It was a dual course–economics and sociology. Half a year of each. That just amazes me about the language thing. As I dimly recall, I was required to take two years of a language for a BA, but I took three (German). I found it so much easier than French.
    I was also required (!) to take two years (!) of PE. One, a basic course which mainly involved calisthentics. For the other three I took gymnastics…for about two weeks…and golf and tennis. Since I dropped out of gymnastics without officially dropping out (for which I got an F) a question arose about whether or not I could graduate, since I hadn’t really completed my requirements. I had to go talk to the dean, who decided he would give me a break, however, he balked at removing that F from my record 🙂 Would that have been a hoot if I had had to stay in school to take one more semester of PE? So kind souls that they were, they let me go ahead and graduate Magna Cum Laude. Funny how proud I still am of that.
    As for those alleged holes, I don’t think you have any.

  12. As for being proud…it was hard work. Three years of German and umpty-jillion courses in anthropology and philosophy, plus I was working a part-time job the whole time. I was literally up from dawn until almost dawn again. As you would say, thank the gods I don’t have to do that today. Work is so much easier than school.

  13. The year after I enrolled, graduation requirements for all students were altered to require passing drown-proofing. (Did that many of us drown?) I had no PE requirements, again because of what I had done in high school. I took racquetball as an audit, not even Pass/Fail, because I knew my chances of passing were so low. I just wanted to learn to play.

    I was a member of the archery club.

    As you know, I worked alternate quarters so I could carry a full load of classes when I was at school. I so agree with you that work is less taxing than school, mentally and physically.

  14. > “mathematical statistics”

    To distinguish it from “political statistics.”

    For example, under a certain Republican administration, national poverty dropped by a significant percentage. This was accomplished by lowering the the income required to be “poor.” Voila!

    > dwarf planet
    Uh oh…Sarah’s gonna blister you for this very unsensitive description of a “small” planet…. Any retard knows not to use “dwarf”…lol!

  15. I miss college, especially grad school which I gamed and had undergrads do all my research and scut work. School was the best time of my life, bar none. School is for romance, endless philosophical discussions, experimentation, making life long friendships, smoking a lot of dope, and maybe a little classroom learning thrown in. In a way, the best colleges probably have easier curricula than some state colleges, but the only evidence I have of that is Northwestern, Yale, and Cambridge. But then again, those schools only get the cream of the crop so there might be a cultural bias. However, it is pretty self evident that the aforementioned schools are light years ahead in teaching the most important skill, that of critical thinking and wading through all the bullshit they throw at you. Plus, the aforementioned schools all make subjects like language, math, and science a requirement as to create and facilitate better rounded matriculants. I remember in my undergrad school, two weeks before graduation, they had a comprehensive final divided into two parts. The first part was the GRE level 2 exam in your nmajor and the second part was the killer. It was a comprehensive exam of everything they expected a college graduate from that school to know. If you were a hysics major and didn’t know Plutarch, 2 points off and on and on. The insidious fact was that one did not know if they passed the test until graduation night when they handed out the diplomas and you either got a light envelop(fail) or a heavy one with a signed diploma(Pass). We had phi beta kappas fail and all failures had to take a 6 week summer course (at their expense) in order to graduate. I was certain that I had failed, but some kind of miracle occurred and I passed the damn thing and didn’t embarrass my family and future wife. That was so lucky for me as I was able to get up to Chicago right away and start grad school, learn where the best poker rooms were, the best bookies, and find my old friends and make new ones at the track. There are more important things than learning:)

  16. The question of whether or not Pluto is a “planet” is not a scientific question. There is no disagreement about Pluto’s nature – it’s an icy not-quite-round lump with a strange orbit, and made of different “stuff” than the eight inner planets. Pluto’s classification, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, depends on what your definition of “planet” is.

    Some friends who live in Flagstaff said that the locals were upset over Pluto’s downgrade because the “ninth planet” was discovered at their Lowell Observatory. How scientific is THAT sentiment?

    As for math and physics “addling” brains – I think that the opposite is true. Math clarifies the brain, and physics only helps us understand simple phenomena that we experience every day. Our nation suffers from scientific illiteracy and innumeracy, with a large chunk of us considering scientists to be ivory-tower weirdos who warn about global warming, when any damn fool can see that we just had a record snowstorm.

    Math (and science) nphobia seems to be principally a female phenomenon, which is silly – my aunt was a world-renowned math educator, and my wife is a math whiz. Both had a hard time early in their careers from men who thought that women should be in some other field like Home Economics. But they both persevered and succeeded anyway.

    I think that a lot of girls are victimized by adults who convince them that math is “hard” before they ever have a chance to try it. Why do I never hear MEN saying “I was never any good at math”? Machismo?

  17. Jeff, in between, I managed to find some time to engage in the above-mentioned pastimes 🙂 I believe that state schools have so many requirements because they feel they have to play catch-up on the presumed pathetic high schools we attended. And they are probably right. Fortunately, Fakesister and I attended an excellent high school in North Carolina, which placed, at that time, a high value on education.
    My first semester in college, unlike Fakesister, I was rejected for honors English and I was unbelieveably offended. The second semester, they invited me 🙂 I took that one semester and then requested to return to the regular English courses. Then I got to explain to them why I was rejecting them instead of the other way around. It was because everyone thought alike. But picture me being rejected over anything that has to do with the English language or literature. I knew as much and in some cases more by the time I got to college as any of my professors.

  18. As Fakesister can attest, I was a voracious reader (she was too). We lived across the street from the library. It’s just that her tastes ran more to non-fiction, while I was devouring fiction and biographies. With fiction, I was about to run out of titles, so I started choosing books alphabetically by the author’s last name. So first I read all the A’s…etc. Fortunately, that didn’t last long since it got boring. That’s when I started on biographies 🙂

  19. Phylis, there is the little dirty secret that most are not aware of. Beginnng in 9th grade, the best students go to the best prep schools such as (Exeter, Andover, Choate, St. Pauls, etc.) A plurality of those kids end up in the Ivies and top schools in the world. The subject matters taught at these highly selective schools are easily as tough as any state college. Here’s a course catalogue of the school my son went to. These classes are as hard and demanding as any college course, and the competition level is very high. But in view of this type of education it is easy to see that 90% of those kids make it into the top and most selective colleges in the country. Of course, schools of this nature are very exensive and the old saying is “You get what you pay for.” But then again, look up the bio of any major politician, business leader, government leader, cabinet member, federal judge, and you will; probably find one of the aforementioned prep schools and an Ivy or top school in their CV. Plus then you cannot discount the “Old Boy’s Network,” which is very alive and well. That’s just the way it works, has always worked, and will probably work for generations to come. I had to purchase my son’s entree into that rarified world(at a great sacrifice to me), and it was probably the best investment I ever made. One has to take care of their own no matter what:)

  20. Indeed, GC, the question about whether or not Pluto is a planet or not is not a scientific one. It’s semantic. In order to “reclassify” Pluto, the IAU had to come up with a definition of “planet” for the first time. So when you define “planet” as an entity with a mostly circular orbit, which consists of X material, it automatically excludes Pluto. One of the things I found very interesting is that Pluto and its moon Charon are also considered binary bodies, which would make them the only known binary dwarf planet…however, the IAU did not create such a category. Therefore, Pluto remains a dwarf planet, and Charon remains a moon. In other words, it’s words. I’m not defending Pluto 🙂 I don’t really care whether it’s a planet or not 🙂
    My brain-addling comment was mostly a joke, but in this case, the scientists involved were mostly whacked. Single-minded to the point of neglecting or completely not understanding the basics of human interaction. But perhaps that’s what it takes to be a genius.
    Your observation about math and science for women is one I completely agree with. Looking back, I think I was far more affected by that than Fakesister. And I wholeheartedly agree with you about the position of science in our society…Fakesister and I just had a talk about that yesterday. Science no longer holds the respected position it once (and rightfully) held. Now, as I read somewhere, my educated opinion is just as good as your ignorant one. All opinions are equal. The new Dark Ages.

  21. Science doesn’t hold the position it once held because the non-scientists hijacked the term “Intellectual” for their own use. Unflrtunately, the truly smart people, the scientists, lacked the linguistic BS to counter any argument,or perhaps they didn;t care. Good article here that I might have posted before on the intellectual theft.

    This site is very wonderful and is probably one of the 10 best sites on the internet. A good roundtable of some of the best minds on the planet, very engaging.

  22. Jeff, I think I already agreed with you. State schools are playing catch-up. You would be amazed (or maybe not) at the number of applicants I get for minimum wage jobs who cannot pass the simplest of math quizzes, and who are currently college students. We even let them use calculators, which we didn’t used to do, and they still can’t get it right. That, however, is mostly because they can’t read. I am talking about a quiz that says “If you have one ticket at $1.00 and two tickets at $2.00, and five tickets at $5.00″, how much money should you have collected?” You would be amazed at the number of applicants who answer “$8”. Out of 60 applicants, I’m lucky to get 3 who can do this. Then there is a portion of the application which says, “Don’t fill this out unless you are applying for a position which requires this information”. And they do it anyway. And they wonder why they don’t get hired.
    I wonder how these people ever got out of high school, much less into college. And that isn’t being a snob. Sometimes smart people are forced to go to state colleges, though, due to poverty. So you can’t automatically dismiss them, not that I think you were.

  23. The creme will always rise to the crop such as people like Mary Matalin, etc, who went to horrible state schools and ended up in the highest levels of government. I felt bad the other day as a reader of my blog wants to be a trader and has pestered me for a year. I’ve offered him several suggestions, all of which would work(actually take hard work but would meet with success), but he wants to do it his way. His way is to have my friend and associate Vic Niederhoffer take him on as an intern. I forwarded his resume to Vic, and Vic immediately returned it to me saying that it was the most mediocre resume that he had ever seen. He was a grad of Kansas State in Finance, had a 2.75 GPA, in 5 years, but a 3.11 GPA in his Major when he graduated in 2009. He manages his parents nursery and lives at home, yet wants to be a trader. Vic told me that he gets 30 resumes a month from grads of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc, and that he would not consider a kid who’s extracurricular interests are “Playing beer pong, and playing video games.” He put that on his resume, I swear:) Public education is for the birds, at least now. However, I have nothing to compare it to as I only went to private schools, so I might be way out of line. However, a comparison between Sarasota’s best school, Pineview School for the Gifted and Exeter…..the classes aren’t even close, but then again Pineview is free and Exeter will run you $40K+. However, it’s all proirities and what you’re willing to do to ensure your child a place at the table.

  24. Does Jeff really believe that only a scientist can be an “intellectual”? What are scholars of literature and history? Pseudo-intellectuals.

    Sorry – I gotta disagree. If Karen Armstrong doesn’t qualify as an intellectual, then we need a new word for exceptionally smart, exceptionally well-educated people.

    We are definitely sinking into the New Dark Ages when we celebrate ignorance. Joe the Plumber is the most outstanding example yet. Him and a certain former half-term governor I won’t name. I see an alarming amount of anti-intellectualism in America today – and it isn’t all directed against math and science. It’s a tactic to defeat facts with ignorance.

    (Sorry for the political polemic. I’ll stop now.)

  25. Just this past Friday I learned that Pluto has THREE moons – Charon (which I have been mispronouncing – it should be pronounced like the girl’s name “Sharon”), plus two more moons discovered by the Hubble telescope in 2005 – named Nix and Hydra.

  26. Jeff, I think I know you well enough now to know that you aren’t a snob. Okay, well, maybe a little 🙂 That example of the resume was great stuff. How in the hell do you have the hubris to believe that you’re ready to run with the big dogs when you have a GPA of 2.75? When I look at resumes for management or accounting positions, and find similar results, I think…well maybe there were mitigating circumstances. That’s what you find out in an interview. In other words, I’m not entirely about your GPA, but that normally says to me “I wasn’t paying attention and couldn’t be bothered”. But now you will? It’s just like the minimum wage applicants–I’m not bothered nearly as much by their failure on the math quiz as I am by their inablity to read and follow directions.

  27. Greychin, I’ll reserve my true feelings for you in another venue. I will say that I love reading your blog, and everytime I feel too happy, I read your blog and feel like blowing my brains out. You are amont the most pessimistic persons I have ever encountered. They make medications for that you know. Anyways, a PhD in Chemistry or Physics from Northwestern or Harvard is more of an intellectual than a PhD in Media Relations from the University of Colorado. Of course, the guy from Colorado will have a better line of bullshit, but the real intelligence will be from the scientist. Just remember that from Euclid to Plato to DaVinci, to Rutherford, to Kekule, all were as equally adept at the sciences as the arts, the literature. the nerdy scientists are still as adept in the arts and literature, but lose credit from the bullshitters on the other side of the campus. Scientists must come up with exact solutions to problems, whereas liberal arts types can hedge all their proclamations and ideas and avoid responsibility.

  28. Then there is a portion of the application which says, “Don’t fill this out unless you are applying for a position which requires this information”. And they do it anyway. And they wonder why they don’t get hired.

    I might do this myself. Not because I can’t read and follow directions, but because I might want you to consider me for another job that I didn’t apply for. How would you know about my qualifications for that OTHER job if I don’t tell you about them.

    Doesn’t that make sense? It does from an applicant’s point of view.

  29. But if I’d been Vic, I would have done the same thing with that resume…tossed it. I’ve done that a lot, too. And beer pong and video games? Too funny. Maybe he should apply to Microsoft. I get these resumes that have misspelled words and unintelligble cover letters (or none at all…even worse). It disgusts me. Even now, I am reluctant to allow people who work for me to send out business communications without my first reviewing them, at least until I gain some comfort level. Reading and writing are the most important skills you can have, no matter what your occupation.
    Luckily for me, I have somehow finagled my way into getting my Corporate HR department to do the initial screening stuff, so I don’t have to be disgusted nearly as often.

  30. Phyllis, that resume wasn’t my GPA it was the kid’s, , as I carried a 3.89 as an undergrad mostly taking flunk out courses like p-chem, advanced applied, differential equations, topology, Bayesian Statistics, game theory, calculus, inorganic chem, biochem, plus a whole gamut of liberal arts courses to ensure I was sort of well rounded.

  31. Jeff, that is utter nonsense. Any well-educated person needs a good grounding in the physical sciences, but to say that a person who chooses to study English Literature instead of Physics can’t be an intellectual is just… ignorant.

    Do you understand the difference between education from vocational training? “Media Relations” is no more an academic discipline than auto mechanics or real estate law, even if college degrees are awarded in all of those fields. I say the same about marketing, accounting and many others. Vocational training.

    And there is no reason why an auto mechanic – or a plumber – can’t be an intellectual. What did you say your field is?

    My blog is often negative, but never pessimistic. Since you don’t like it, please do us both a favor and stay away from it.

  32. Oh. My. I see that while typing, I missed a lot of comments here. Jeff, of course I knew that GPA was the kid’s. I never suggested otherwise. And GC, no, from my perspective, completing a portion of an application you are specifically directed not to do still speaks to me of an inability to read and/or follow directions. If you wanted to apply for a different position, then that’s what you should have done. Or you could say in an interview, “I’d be willing to take another position if one is available”.
    Now, let’s all be nice. GC, in your absence, in fact BY your absence, you’ve been belatedly sainted on the RL blog. You are fondly remembered now as reasonable.
    And speaking of pronunciation, last week I learned that I’ve been mispronouncing the word “moussaka”, which I’ve been cooking for most of my life.

  33. This thread gives me a headache. The only reason I didn’t fail Statistics is that I dropped it out of desperation……..I was bored to tears with the entire thing. As for Pluto well…….good luck in understanding things that we just don’t understand. Kinda like the dinosaurs and the “science” of Palaeontology is it really a science or bullshit? Who can say for sure? If it feeds your bulldog well then its good to you.

  34. pt, that cracks me up. I found statistics to be oddly interesting, perhaps for the very reason that it was hard for me. I was determined to defeat it 🙂 But then there was that gymnastics thing…You make a point that I can’t help but agree with. Paleontology…we are just speculating. The origins of Pluto…we are just speculating. We will never know because we weren’t there. Or we can just give up and say “God did it”.

  35. If they say anything nice about me at the RL blog, it has to be about how glad they are that they don’t have to read my liberal BS anymore.

    I doubt that I have ever made so many people so happy with so little effort.

    Jeff isn’t so lucky.

  36. Paleontology and origins of would-be planets are more than speculation. Paleontologists dig up mineralized bones and…. there they are!

    And there are some pretty good theories about the origin of the planets – unproven, and subject to change as better evidence and theories come along.

  37. Sheesh. Didn’t I just say, “Be nice”? I don’t want yet another flame war here. Been there, done that.
    At RL, GC, you are remembered fondly because you are gone, and fortunately you didn’t have to die first. HP, whom they regularly reviled and ridiculed, has now been promoted to primary sainthood. We extant people, like me and Yellowdog, are the new enemies of choice. Perhaps when we die, we too will be remembered in the same way. They will remember the good old days.

  38. Well, here I go again. It’s barely February, and here I am arguing with *****s on the internet.

    FN, I like your blog, but it seems that I’m a disruptive influence wherever I go. Best I stay away.

  39. Heads up, Jeff. I deleted more of your comments. I’m begging you to stop this. You’ve now ruined this post, which started out, I thought, being pretty fun. You’ve driven off my friends. I am just sick.

  40. Don’t worry, you’ve just driven off one more. Your wholesale deletion of comments, while biased, is a shame, Your inability to allow opposing views discussed in a civilized manner is reckless and your allowing the liberal element to ratchet things up and hurl insults and strong invective, while blaming me is sad. Remember, in both cases where we had this brouhaha, I was not the one that started the fights, your liberal friends were, but I am willing to go to the mats with logical refutations of virtually every one of their harebrained ideas., However through all of this,, you never, ever jumped to my defense when insulted by your liberal friends, which really speaks volumes as to your character. You never apologised to me for the torture I was put through by your liberal friends, but instead apologised to them. Furthermore, your deletions are made to make me look like an idiot such aswhere you left the part where “I Deny GolbalWarming. I never said or advocated that, and you completely made that up, that’s just another indication of your bias and willingness to stretch the truth to get your point across. You even deleted the post where Graychin asked mewhat my specialty was, and I told him and asked for his CV. you need to find some new, better friends, and perhaps I should do the same.

    The real sad thing is that you will allow our liberal friends to hurl invective my way, but if I respond in kind, I get sent to the corner, Shame on you.
    I expect this to be deleted, as I somehow upset the fantasy world you and your friends seem to think we live in. However, frankly, I don’t care as I’ve been banned from the best of the liberal blogs, and this is just another in a long string of events started way long ago by De. Goebbels. Fact is, as paraphrased by Jack Nicholson, “you can’t handle the truth.”

    No need for condesencion, just enjoy your kumbaya world where everyone agrees and I hope you solve all the world’s problems and even dis Ayn Rand without ever having read her,. It’s been real.

  41. No, Jeff, I’ll let it stand, since the post is dead in the water now anyway. In fact I’ll leave it as a monument. Let’s review: you started this in the comment to Graychin “Every time I feel too happy, I read your blog and want to blow my brains out”. You are the one who can brook no disagreement, and at the slightest perceived insult to…whatever it is…bring out the flame throwers in response to the throwdown of a hankerchief. I’m completely at a loss to understand why you think your discussion is civilized, or why you think I have some obligation to defend you. There was nothing here for you, or me, to defend. It had nothing to do with you defending your intelligence, your education, your qualifications, your wealth, or anything else. You were not being attacked. This was a post about PLUTO, and a book I’m reading about it. Which led to a discussion of education. It was going along fairly well there for a while. It’s your extreme sensitivity that ruined MY post, not your own. And I will truly never understand that. You already know from past encounters that this pains me, but you can’t stop yourself, apparently. This is too bad, because when you have the angel on your shoulder you are a great contributor and fun. But now I don’t think you will ever understand what I’m saying. It’s this simple: you were disrespectful to me and my other friends in my own “house”. What would you do under those circumstances? I know the answer. It really isn’t all about you, Jeff, and what you consider acceptable.

  42. I let the chips fall where they may and allow for discussion in the Franklinian sense in my blog. I don’t censor others opinions to fit some sense of propriety. In fact, your good buddy Graychin said, “FN, I like your blog, but it seems that I’m a disruptive influence wherever I go. Best I stay away”.See, even he knows he has a problem getting along, yet you give him a pass. You said, “No, Jeff, I’ll let it stand, since the post is dead in the water now anyway………….. There was nothing here for you, or me, to defend. It had nothing to do with you defending your intelligence, your education, your qualifications, your wealth, or anything else. You were not being attacked.” My discussion with you, which was civil was rudely interrupted when Graychin threw down the gauntlet and said, “Does Jeff really believe that only a scientist can be an “intellectual”? What are scholars of literature and history? Pseudo-intellectuals.” As a scientist with a verifiable CV, how do you expect me to react to a guy who doesn;’t even have the courage to sign his own name? And why would my perceived wealth, intelligence, qualifications, and education even enter into your response unless you already had verfiable bias against me. Yet. you censor me and accuse me of overkill. That is wrong, you are wrong, and I would think your Southern upbringing would have taught you to negotiate this perilous path with manners, gentility, and without offending either party. The fact that you failed is of no concern to me, although I expected much better from you,but then again whenwe first met online you told me that “Politics was everything with friends.” Funny thing is Graychin got a total pass and he even admitted that he doesn’t get along with people. And since I have an opposing view from you,but have always been respectful to you (not necessarily to some of your commenters), I am the injured party. However, I have pretty broad shoulders and an taking this for what it;s worth. Good luck in the future, and please show more tolerance for your next victim. Jeff

  43. uh.. I read Scientific American. And Science. And Discover. And Foriegn Affairs. And The Economist. And I spent a good part of my life routinely using statistics to define such things as errors, error chains and spherical trigonometry to determine my location.
    I also read a lot of fiction (some of it well written).
    I suspect the tea party advocates would all have decamped for England during the Revolution rather than heave tea overboard.
    I also like opera, blues, and damn near every type of music.
    I dropped out of McCallum High School in the 10th grade and joined the Navy.
    Not sure what any of that means other than categorizing individuals by how they voted, what they read, and whether or not they took math is…hmmm.. pointless?

    Not sure what any of that means other than categorizing people is doomed to failure when you deal with individuals.

  44. And I feel sorry for Pluto… it is sorta like being a Reaganite…
    We went all those years treating Pluto as a planet and it weren’t…
    Reaganites lauded Reagan for being a hero.. and he had Alzheimer’s.

  45. Tcarterwork, I wouldn’t brag about that reading list except that “Foreign Affairs has been known to have a good article once and awhile. As for your quote, “And I spent a good part of my life routinely using statistics to define such things as errors, error chains and spherical trigonometry to determine my location.” I buy my stuff here, and am an avid sailor, albeit without your qualifications.Nothing against an navy guy trying to improve his lot in life, in fact it’s rather admirable. You’re on the path of Jack Aubrey, a lifelong hero of mine,, who’s books I devoured as a pree teen. Tearterwork, no matter what you tried to do or say to discredit me, I raise a hat to you and a dram of gin and salute you. You are a man in full and I respect you as a man in full as you walk the walk while all these other bullshitters talk.

  46. Jeff…you are being so weird. I don’t know what you mean by “man in full” but I’ve seen you use that phrase before. I don’t know what it means. Are there half-men? Is that an Ayn Rand phrase?
    You exasperate me.
    Why must you do this? Why must everyone bow to you? You are righter and smarter than anyone else on the planet. If everyone agreed to worhip you, I guarantee that would still not be enough for you Jeff. Somewhere, somehow, you have to go for an attitude adjustment.

  47. I keep trying to insinuate to you Jeff that the problem is yours. I see I’m not getting through. So, go away. Make good on your promise to leave. You could also stop doing the little diatribes against me on Facebook, but I guess that would be too much to ask. Your neediness and cluelessness and empty threats just make me sad.

    • First of all “Man in Full” is a Thomas Wolfe reference. Second of all, your momma must be rolling in her grave knowing that a Southern woman could be so rude….I’ve never seen such behavior even from the most rude New Yorker. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. And what made me think my post on FB was about you? Rather presumptuous don’t you think…..after all,the whole world is full of crazy liberals, but then again it’s really all about you..

  48. ” You for example, deny global warming. Overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it hasn’t been “proved” to your satisfaction.”
    No legitimate qualified scientists deny global warming – only cranks.

  49. PS Ron Paul is not a planet.

  50. What? Ron Paul is not a planet? I guess that means that Rand Paul is not a planetoid…or a dwarf planet. To be fair, Jeff doesn’t say that global warming doesn’t exist. It’s only the contribution of humans that is in doubt. The Sarah Palin argument.

  51. See Mark Twain…………..

  52. I know, I know, pt. Sigh. It’s some sort of character flaw on my part.

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