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ngunn
No. Originally boffins were much rspected and were people you relied on to sort things out. They would have included people like Alan Turing, Bernard Lovell, Arthur C Clarke (and Quatermass and Doctor Who smile.gif ). Boffins only got a bad name when antiscience took hold.
ElkGroveDan
Apparently Sunspot has been associating with the wrong sort of boffin.
JohnVV

QUOTE
used infrared light beams

??
used MOLA ????
tedstryk
Despite spending (collectively) about a year of my life in the UK, until recently I always thought it was just a different way of saying buffoon. rolleyes.gif
djellison
Nope - Boffin really means adult geek/nerd. Normally middle aged, preferably with patched elbows on his jacket.
ngunn
The word is a relic of British social attitudes in the mid twentieth century. The ruling elite was educated almost exclusively in private schools each of which had its own peculiar schoolboy slang. Science was not among the branches of learning most highly valued in these institutions. Nevertheless the second world war and the new world it ushered in required people who could break a code or build a radar. The classically educated toffs (now there's another one) needed a handy word for these fixers.
stevesliva
While it would seem the exact etymology is different (From the Eton, boffin, meaning vocational loser) the social attitudes aren't that different... as Doug pointed out, we've got "geek."
tedstryk
This requires reinterpretation of so many conversations I've had and things I've read.
Stu
In an effort to help settle this very debate, the IAU recently held a conference to discuss adopting an official classification. Here's what they came up with:

Click to view attachment
gwiz
Here's a book that might help clarify matters:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Backroom-Boys-Secr...0420&sr=8-1

Covers a variety of topics including the UK space programme.
Decepticon
Since Betelgeuse has been brought up, does anyone know the correct way of saying "Betelgeuse"

I get irritated when its pronounced "beetlejuice". mad.gif

My understanding is Belt-ta-gus. Am I wrong?! blink.gif
Stu
I usually call it "Beetlejuice" smile.gif Habit.

Also heard it pronounced as "Bett-ell-gurz" and even "Beetlejuicy". Which is just... wrong.
nprev
Good question, Decep. I've never known, either.

Stu: laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
Mongo
Well, the first European version of the Arabic name yad al-jawz’ is the French Bételgeuse, pronounced Bay-tell-goose
helvick
I'm not really bothered by the various Betelgeuse pronunciations that I've heard but I've never heard it pronounced "Belt - ta - gus", that really doesn't sound right to me.

I pronounce it with a shorter initial "e" sound (like Bet) and the final part like "jews".


ElkGroveDan
QUOTE (Stu @ Mar 27 2011, 01:12 AM) *
the IAU recently held a conference to discuss adopting an official classification. Here's what they came up with:

Win.
Syrinx
bettle-jews
--or--
beetle-jews

I think.

The info box at Wikipedia lists the pronunciations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betelgeuse
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:IPA_for_English
MahFL
I just saw this headline from the AP.

"NASA: Mars rover, phone home after yearlong sleep."

And no she did not phone....sad.gif.

Grrrr.
nprev
(sigh)...prepare for bizarre questions about Mars & nuclear explosions from friends, family & neighbors, all. This is wrong on so many levels I don't wanna even think about it, but of course it's getting media coverage...Google News picked it up.
Syrinx
Well I'm glad I finally know why Mars is red!
stevesliva
QUOTE (nprev @ Apr 5 2011, 08:21 AM) *
(sigh)...prepare for bizarre questions about Mars & nuclear explosions from friends, family & neighbors, all. This is wrong on so many levels I don't wanna even think about it, but of course it's getting media coverage...Google News picked it up.


Natural fission explosions are all the rage:
http://www.physorg.com/news183884450.html
ilbasso
Another great headline today, "Aussie Student Find's Universe's Missing Mass." Well, turns out it's not all of the missing mass, just some of the "regular" matter, lurking in intergalactic filaments. And didn't I read about that somewhere else in a popular magazine in the past month?
Astro0
Damn Aussies ... first we found Australia that Aborigines knew of before and now we've found some missing universe that some astronomer had found before laugh.gif
Stu
Yeah, but Skippy always found those stupid kids who fell down wells long before the rescue teams did... laugh.gif
Astro0
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo always had a copy of the episode's script in her pouch. So of course she knew! laugh.gif
machi
Skippy was even capable of skipping over the Iron Curtain smile.gif
ElkGroveDan
Sadly, as often happens when young stars rise to success and fame too quickly, after the show ended poor old Skippy let herself fall into a life of wild parties and drinking that would embarrass Lindsay Lohan.
centsworth_II
And I thought the "truth" about Lassie was disillusioning!

Kangaroos are by common consent “dumber than sheep” and
can’t be trained to do anything, even to stay on set. The
solution was to have at least a dozen on hand at all times –
which is why Skippy often changes size, shape and colour.

“The kangaroos,” Goddard remembers, “were always bogging off
into the bush, and there was a prize for whoever captured the
most Skippies at the end of each day.
[Telegraph]
Stu
That explains a lot. Damned unreliable creatures, kangaroos.

You always know exactly where you stand with a Dalek.

Not so good at the "getting kids out of wells" thing tho, has to be said.
AndyG
Here's a very lazy headline, courtesy of space.com

Unusual Total Lunar Eclipse Coincides with Full Moon Tonight

That could have been worded so much better.

Andy
volcanopele
I'd like to see a "usual" total lunar eclipse that DOESN'T coincide with a full moon... rolleyes.gif
Stu
Sadly we didn't see anything of the lunar eclipse from here in Cumbria, too much cloud and crud, but we still had a hugely enjoyable public event up at the castle...

Click to view attachment
djellison
Two posts that gratuitously broke the no politics rule deleted.
nprev
(sigh)...It's times like this when we REALLY need a "facepalm" emoticon... rolleyes.gif
djellison
The HRSC team have already debunked that. IT's the result of a map projected on a serious of hot/dark pixels -
http://hrscview.fu-berlin.de/5620_0000_artefact.html
http://hrscview.fu-berlin.de/cgi-bin/ion-p...ATE=Update+view
Juramike
CNN linking to a Time magazine article on the Dawn mission with a link to Saturn images:

QUOTE
All that made Vesta eminently worth visiting, but the job of getting there would not be easy. Dawn, launched in 2007, went first into solar orbit, then began a widening spiral that took it by Mars, where it picked up a gravity boost, and finally to Vesta, where it eased into orbit on Sunday. (See stunning pictures of Saturn.)


....Maybe 'cause Vesta images aren't so numerous?
Juramike
CNN finally reports on Dawn mission (and messes it up): http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/01/dawn.spacecraft/index.html?
QUOTE
(CNN) -- The Dawn spacecraft mission could answer some of the big questions about the Big Bang, NASA scientists said Monday as they released the latest images from the mission.


Would that be the Big Bang that made the Big Crater at the South Pole?
Explorer1
Pfft, solar system, universe, whatever! Not all is lost; they do mention the early solar system in the quotes and captions.
stevesliva
QUOTE (Juramike @ Aug 1 2011, 10:21 PM) *
CNN finally reports on Dawn mission (and messes it up): http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/01/dawn.spacecraft/index.html?


Would that be the Big Bang that made the Big Crater at the South Pole?


Terrible.

Yet I feel like the gamma ray / neutron detector experiment could somehow be related to the big bang in some fashion. Ya know, background radiation and all that.
Syrinx
What that sentence has incorrect:
1. Big Bang?
2. NASA scientists did not say that!
3. And not the most recent images!

What that sentence has correct:
1. It was Monday.
Exploitcorporations
Facepalm.

I wouldn't normally pick on something like this, but the realization that this person or thing has a job reporting on such things nearly caused a stroke.
Stu
Wow... I mean... wow...

I've taken screengrabs of that, cos they're bound to take it down once all the comments start coming in...! laugh.gif
Explorer1
One of the article comments makes a good point, it could be interpreted as Mars being the final resting place, not Endeavour.
Could still be worded a lot better though!
Stu
Wow... we thought MSL was a badass... the Russians are planning a SUN rover!!

http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/199714.html

laugh.gif
Explorer1
They should make sure to land at night....
Paolo
from Aviation Week (but I have seen this story elsewhere on the internet and I suspect that the origin of the sloppy reporting is a NASA site)
Juno Probe Launched From Cape Canaveral

QUOTE
Upon arrival in 2016, the solar-powered Juno will be hurtling along at 160,000 mph, the fastest man-made object in history.


for us poor metric system oriented humans, that's 71.5 km/s. From the context I take it to be the speed relative to Jupiter at periapsis and orbit insertion. What they mean is that this is faster than Helios 2, which reached 70 km/s at perihelion...
wait a moment... they are comparing apples (71.5 km/s in a Jovian reference frame) with oranges (70 km/s in a heliocentric frame)!
based on this sloppy reasoning, I could say that my top biking speed is 29.8 km/s (Earth's average heliocentric speed)...
ugordan
Not to mention the speed at perijove won't be 160 000 mph, but kph...
centsworth_II
QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Aug 8 2011, 12:13 PM) *
One of the article comments makes a good point, it could be interpreted as Mars being the final resting place, not Endeavour.
Could still be worded a lot better though!
The article says: "...Opportunity will revisit the rim of Endeavour crater on Mars, where its rover twin Spirit finished its 6-year-long mission in May."

Another comment makes a better point: How can Opportunity "revisit" Endeavour without Spirit having been there first (in the mind of the reporter)?
Big_Gazza
Oh dear, Time Science has dropped the ball...

Apparently Mercury is tidally locked and always presents one face to the sun...

Planetary Mystery: How in the World Did Mercury Form?

QUOTE
For all its bland, moon-like appearance, Mercury is a very quirky place. Gravitationally locked so that its rate of revolution matches its rate of rotation, it keeps one side permanently turned toward the sun, in the same way our moon never turns its far side our way. On the sunward half, Mercury thus sizzles at a temperature of 950°F (510°C), while its night side maintains a brisk -346°F (-210°C)
blink.gif

Maybe Mr Kluger should reconsider his choice of vocation? laugh.gif
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