Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Never Ask a Rocket Scientist a Simple Question


So it was a beautiful evening on the 25th of June, (Monday instant), I decided to step outside for to observe Nature in her splendor. Behold, there to the south is a nearly full moon and a most interesting (and lovely) bunch of clouds. (I dunno, is "bunch of clouds" the correct astronomical term? Hhmm...)

Lo and behold, there's also a planet there in the gloaming, off there to the right. A little voice in my head said, "I think that's Jupiter." Right after that the little voice (which had now become a wee sma' voice), suggested that a Belhaven Scottish ale would be most delightful and... oops, digressed there, didn't I? Why yes, yes I did.

Now I have had a bit of training in observing the heavens at night, as there is much to see there, but it has been quite some time since I gazed aloft and tried to identify things twinkling, shining, and reflecting. I mean, hey look, it's the Moon, is a fairly easy one. (Good thing we only have one moon, imagine trying to keep track of the moons of those gas giants! Like Jupiter.)

So, I snapped a couple of photos with the cell phone, the one at top was the pick of the litter - Ansel Adams I'm not, and I thought I would do a quick look up of which planet that was.

So Google, "What planet was in the sky with the Moon last night?"

The first page of the search yielded this -


Hitting each of those in succession did not yield the answer I was looking for, though I suppose that if I had spent a modicum of time carefully reading each article, and chasing links to the various star charts and the like, then I quite possibly might have deduced exactly which planet that was. (And you probably would be reading a rerun right now.)

I did note that Saturn stands in opposition to the Sun right now. I didn't even know they were mad at each other.



Anyhoo, I came to the conclusion that one shouldn't ask a rocket scientist (most of the articles having been written by very smart people, folks I refer to as "rocket scientists" when I'm in a good mood, as "freaking poindexters" or "squints" - the latter term I got from the TV show Bones, an old favorite - when I'm not happy with those types. As in my query as to "What planet was in the sky with the Moon last night?"

Simple answer? Not to be had I guess, then I thought, "I know! I'll do a Juvat! I won't 'Google' it, I'll 'Bing' it!" And, the rest, as they say is history...

The same search using Bing -

Freaking Jupiter! I knew it!

So I'm guessing it wasn't the poindexters who write articles about the night sky I should be mad at, nope, it's the poindexters who wrote Google's search algorithms.

Dang!

So perhaps the post title should have been, "Never Ask a Google a Simple Question, Check with Bing First." But that's a bit unwieldy dontcha think?

It could have been worse, I could have asked Cliff Clavin for the answer...



Though his answer makes perfect sense...



42 comments:

  1. The good news is that you weren't looking at (you know where this is going) Uranus.

    To the folks who tell me I am either not acting my age, or that I am acting childish I tell them, I am acting my mental age, and the childish thing isn't an act.



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  2. Try, duckduckgo., And never hit goog's " I'm m feeling lucky" you will be looking for hours.

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    1. Duckduckgo - tired it, haven't switched yet, not sure I will.

      I never, ever, "feel lucky" with Google.

      Delete
  3. Ok, I'm totally confused, what was it you saw? A moon, a star, a rocket scientist? Yes, I'm trying ( very ) to be funny. Thanks for all the links.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  4. A friend into astrology is all atwitter about how many planets are now, or will be, in retrograde whatever that means. Maybe I'll try Bing. Much faster than her explanations I suspect.

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    1. Astrology?

      Wow. Not judging, just wow, didn't know such folks still existed.

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    2. I seem to collect oddballs. Astrologist, Wicccans, etc. Don't know if it is because of my rugged good looks, amazing personality, or I'm am a dumb ass sucker.

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    3. C. All of the above?

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    4. WSF - Collecting oddballs sounds like a cool hobby. Stick with that, we're not judgmental. ;)

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  5. A bigger bunch of clouds would have limited you to looking for a weather forecast

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    1. Hahaha!

      And as all good bloggers know, when in doubt, talk about the weather.

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  6. If you have a program on your computer that will give you azimuth and elevation of a celestial object from a given point on earth and you enter that point, say a point in the ocean a couple of hundred miles from the nearest light source and then go to that point at night, turn out all the lights while cruising at about 45000' and then turn to that heading and pull up to the elevation, you can see quite a lot of details about Saturn with the naked eye.

    Just sayin'

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    1. That would have been awesome.

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    2. Juvat - damn but that sounds incredible.

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    3. John - I would've gone with awesome, but you already did, so I went with incredible.

      But yeah, I can almost picture it. (Oddly enough I can hear it as well, the rumble of the engines, the sound of my breathing in the mask, not to mention the smell of the cockpit. Damn, just damn.)

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    4. Especially if persons performing that action just might have a tradition of possessing superior eyesight. What grand sights you must have in the memory banks.

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    5. Hadn't thought of it that way, but wow, you're right Ron!

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    6. In '77 or '78 my can was operating as part of our destroyer squadron and I came off the midwatch and headed aft to M & B berthing, I stopped by the open hatch of the thwart ship passageway where the ship's store was and glanced out at the ocean.
      The sea was about as calm as I have ever seen it, and the full moon cast a reflection on the water that looked much like a solid white highway line, as I was taking it in a couple of the other cans slowly passed between me and the moon and the ships were briefly silhouetted.

      Breathtakingly beautiful, and if I had not stopped to glance out the hatch, I would have missed it all.

      Delete
  7. I went completely Google-free in 2008 when I tried to find negative articles about the Demoncratic presidential candidates and positive articles about the Republican presidential candidates, and found it was nie unto impossible to google either types of articles. I kept trying the 'G' off and on but when Sarah Palin's name was announced, there was definitely a slant (near to vertical) against said lady. Going from Bing to Google and back, wow, interesting, such a political bias on Bezos' cash cow. Hmmm, where's the lever, elbows in, Eject Eject Eject! Bye-bye, burning Google ship!

    I only go to Google when I need to search pictures, as for some reason my computer does not like Bing for searching pictures. Or, Blogger. Grrrr that Google controls Blogger, but what canna ye do? Maybe some Levelers will attack the mother-ship and suddenly she'll pick up a list to the right.




    (Levelers.... keeping with the Scottish theme.... you know, radical people's religious/economic movement, socialism before Marx stuff???)

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    1. Yeah, some topics for search on Google yield results that would've made Goebbels blush. Slanted? Yeah, just a bit of a list to port.

      Bing doesn't seem to like good pictures, not sure why.

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    2. Can you imagine a search engine run by Chanters? 1/10th of the results of anything would be airplane pictures, 1/10th would be obscure historical facts, 1/10th would be other weapons/vehicles of war, 1/10th would be weird stories from people's past... Hey, I'm just trying to get a Snickerdoodle recipe here...

      My Bing was great for pictures, and then about 2 years ago Microserf did an update on Bing and now all it does when you try an image search is flash reload the page over and over and over again, forcing me to.... grrrrr.. go to Gaggle. Duck-Duck-Go just doesn't return as large a return as Bing or Gababble does, unfortunately. So.... Bleh.... Grackle it is. For now. (Subtle hint, Microserf. Check your emails that I keep sending you and quit telling me to refresh Bzing as I am smart enough to do that before complaining to you that your product isn't producing.)

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    3. I'm guessing that customer service ain't one of Microlimp's strong points.

      So for now, Google it is, even with their doodles of the birthdays of people you've never heard of.

      Sigh...

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    4. Oh, I've heard of some of them. Grrrr. Tired of Socialists and Communists getting all the positive attention. Grrrrrr…

      Wait, what was that I just heard? The sound of millions of minds, triggered by Justice Kennedy retiring? Ah, schadenfreude, sweet sweet schadenfreude. How very Schadenfreudentastic. It's raining sweet, sweet schadenfreudilistic tears. I've got a schaden… bone... rrrr….. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      Was that subtle enough? If not, I can try again.

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    5. Hahaha!

      I think you got your point across. Kinda reminds one of Spock being able to sense "the death scream of four hundred Vulcan minds crying out over the distance between us."

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    6. Or for the younger generation, Obi Wan Kenobi commenting on the loss of some stupid planet I'm not going to look up.

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  8. Oh, and nice picture. All I've been seeing at night are stormclouds.

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    1. Florida. Summer. Storm clouds.

      Yeah, I get that. Must suck.

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    2. Not really. I like it when it's storming outside, well, as long as it is staying under Tropical Storm levels of storming. Afternoon or evening storms are nice, as they cool the attic space off right nicely so you don't get the heat from the attic being pushed into the house at 2am from that whole heat inversion thingy that happens.

      Florida. Summer. No storm clouds. That suuuuucks. Humidity, shiny glowing orb of pain during day, humidity, oppressive heat at night.

      Storm clouds are indications of wind. Most of Florida does not get coastal breezes, which means if no storms, then no wind, then stagnant hot humid bleh air. And I mean Bleh as in imagine a hot humid dumpster Bleh. Bleh. Where you mildew because your sweat just is plastered to you and doesn't have anywhere to go. (Imagine a hot humid day in zero-g, your sweat would just eventually turn into a giant blob of water with you in it. Yeah. That humid.)

      Love thunder, rain, storms, reasonable amount of winds. Blessed cool and dryer air (weird, but true.)

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    3. Ah yes, I get that. I'm remembering my days in Florida (Ft Walton Beach area) where every afternoon there were torrential downpours which managed to raise the humidity levels to murderous levels.

      On those days I would go to the beach and submerge myself in the waters of the Gulf. Then go home and consume prodigious amounts of beverages made with barley and hops. It's how I deal with humidity.

      After spending three months over Biloxi way, from May to August, I understand, and have experienced, the hot, humid dumpster.

      So yeah, feeling your pain.

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    4. Bleh, the panhandle area, bleh. Yeah, the oppressive heat there does just suuuuuuuck. Even on the coast as winds go east/west, not north/south usually. Bleh.

      1st SCA Gulf Wars was in June, north of Gulfport. In June. And one of the battles was a Woods Battle. In June. With no wind. I left the woods after getting killed, walked directly towards the pool, took off my helmet and jumped in. And then took off the rest of the armor and the boots. Ahhhhhhhh.. At the time I had made big arsed Hammer pants to wear under my armor, and I filled the legs with air and just... floated. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.. Ahhhhhhh..

      The next year they moved SCA Gulf Wars to mid-March.

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    5. North of Gulfport? In June? How did you not die?

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    6. Uh, I was 'killed' in every battle...

      But maybe the fact that I lived, trained and fought mostly in Florida, where two of the main 'kingdom' events are over Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, and I went to practice most Sunday afternoons. You get used to it, or you stop doing it.

      It's not bad as long as I can keep hydrated and pouring water on myself.

      Gulf Wars I was just bad because there was no air movement in the woods. It wasn't bad on open fields or under trees that were in grassy fields. Just, a tight southern oak forest. Not a good place to play in the middle of the summer heat.

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    7. No, not at all!

      You do get used to it. Living in Long Beach, MS I had to be out and about every day. I got used to it, staying hydrated and not mind sweating, it is what it is.

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  9. ...a good web site is Heavens-Above...you enter your location and it gives more info than you can use...planet-direction and elevation...my favorites are Iridium flares...

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  10. I like to go out at night, especially when taking out the garbage on Wednesdays, and look up to see what is up there that I can see. Can usually find the north star and the big dipper. A few times a year we go out and see the space station going by over head. That is pretty cool. They announce it on the weather forecast if it is due and when so we know when to go step outside and see if we can find it.
    Bing is great!! I like to look every morning and see what their picture is and see if I can get the quiz right or not. No politics, no slantedness, just a neat picture first thing in the morning. Much nicer than the big G.

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    1. Yeah, Bing is more American, Google is so EU.

      When I was a smoker I was outside at night a lot. I was always looking to the sky (to save me) and loved it. Now I have to remind myself to just go outside, and look up.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)