Print Story It's the first thing you notice when you look at a planisphere, C'MON.
Logic & Maths
By gzt (Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 12:25:00 PM EST) gzt, shakespeare, chess, training, class, stochastic processes, measure theory, astrology (all tags)
An article is making the rounds pointing out that, because of the precession of the equinoxes, the zodiac signs are off by a month. Well, yeah, that's the first thing you notice when you look at a planisphere, man.

Man, I wish I had a planisphere and could still see stars at night. When I was growing up, you could still sometimes see the Milky Way from our backyard.

The dithering of astrologers about how this was known already to ancient astronomers (sure, Ptolemy was pretty bright, I give him a lot of credit for a lot of things) and that the Western tradition is "really" tropical astronomy and is based on the positions of the equinoxes rather than the constellations, but, then, what's the friggin' relation between Aries (the constellation) and being the astrological sign Aries? Isn't it really just "1st sign after the equinox"? I'm not going to try and make sense of this obviously stupid pseudoscience. However, I do prefer Carl Sagan's method of treating astrology to some others'.

I will say one thing for it: at least it doesn't kill people, like anti-vaccination pseudoscience or "alternative medicine" or "home birth".

Training has been really spotty since the end of November. I'm down at least 10# in bodyweight as a result. I think things will be a bit better. I'm kind of half-considering signing up at the gym at the office (it just opened). I'd still go to the real gym for real training, but I think it would give me some more options when I'm short on time, especially if I switch to a four-day schedule with two upper body days and two lower body days - I could do the upper body days at work for sure.

I hope my textbook arrives before the homework is due. I want to do my homework. I ordered it on Monday, the homework is due on Wednesday.

Speaking of classes, both only have ~10 students. One is the continuation of one of the classes I took last time, one is the stochastic processes class. Only half the people continued on, it seems, which is odd, since the sequence is required for the degree and the second semester is apparently easier than the first. Seems I'm the only one with a background in measure theory in the stochastic class. I covered that in freshman year of undergrad, man. The way the prof is teaching it, it's not necessary, but it helps.

Chess: very rusty on tactics. I think I'll play a G60/5 against the computer tomorrow morning until the wifing unit is up. One thing to do, though, is to remember not to put it into tournament mode, since the computer never resigns and I'm not sure how strong the computer opposition will be. I don't want to have to deal with an annoying situation where the computer drops a piece on move 6 and I'm stuck playing a boring, but won, game for 2 hours. I want to be able to force it to quit or something and start a new game. There has to be a level where you can specify that the computer might drop a pawn and won't let you get away with anything that drops more than a pawn, but plays at a moderate positional level. I remember that every time I tried to tone it down to a "reasonable" level, I had games where the thing would just throw a piece at me. A "1900"-rated personality dropped a knight on move 6. And sometimes the 1400-rated personalities would play extremely accurate combinations. Anyway. Frustrating.

Speaking of which, very rusty on measure theory. Reading up on Caratheory's extension theorem, which is pretty heady to encounter as a freshman, I tell you what, but makes more sense now.

Great, somebody needs information I'm not completely sure I can get directly from a query and needs it by Wednesday, but I have a pile of other stuff to do by then. And we have Monday off. Fortunately, it's about, like 20 people, so the worst case is that I take an hour and look it all up manually. Actually, I might just take that approach in the first place, since I'd rather do that than spend two hours hitting the database with a hammer trying to get the right tables to join... Yeah, this got a little more complicated, they clarified they want data that is harder to find correctly, I'll just look them up by hand. It's 20 people.

Wifing Unit still looking for job-type things.

Which reminded me: Shakespeare got to get paid, son. I should be making more money.

< So Happy It's Thursday | River Views >
It's the first thing you notice when you look at a planisphere, C'MON. | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden)
The economy is turning around by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:33:21 PM EST
Mrs. Ha got two near minimum wage offers.

near? by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #16 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 12:49:52 AM EST

[ Parent ]
$8 an hour by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 09:49:47 AM EST

[ Parent ]
don't forget by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 01:13:17 PM EST
FICA is 2% lower this year.

[ Parent ]
Horoscopes and temperament. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:34:57 PM EST
Doesn't strike me as total rubbish. But it's only related to one star, and how much that's in the sky during early life, if the correlation exists at all.

never thought of it that way by clock (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 01:58:43 PM EST
but i'd buy it.  my mom said it was easier to potty train me than my brother because he was a summer baby and i was a winter.  i was inside most of the time when it was time to learn whereas he was out enjoying the world and didn't want to come in to do his bizness.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
More so in modern times by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 03:02:05 PM EST
Because birth date influences when you start school.

For instance, my son is the oldest in his class.  We could have made a call and had him be the youngest.  Either is going to be a little different from someone born midyear.

My wife has a lot to say about kids going into kindergarten before they are ready.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
right, but what about the planets? by gzt (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 03:05:10 PM EST
their positions are apparently terribly important. particularly mars.

[ Parent ]
Distance from the sun by motty (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 05:40:47 PM EST
As the planets get further from the sun, their influence becomes more generational than personal.

Crap or not, that bit is cute.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T

[ Parent ]
Sorry, I didn't mean astrology. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 08:20:54 PM EST
But it's possible that there might be correlation between personality and month of birth. But yeah, just the earth and the sun.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but they were mistaken by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 10:05:22 AM EST
Aren't most astrological systems predicated on a terra-centric model that posits the moon, then the Sun, then the planets (as stars), and then the other stars in order of distance from the earth? Obviously, they got some of the ordering wrong. So some recalculations are in order now that we can determine the relative distance and mass of the various heavenly bodies. Presumably, their mass and distance would be the two most important considerations in any impact they might have on terrestrial life.

And, at least in the middle eastern systems, they're also predicated on the celestial bodies being intelligences. Some of the old Greek systems, not so much. For example, the Stoics and Epicureans both thought astrology was a matter of physics, the various particles from the heavenly bodies strike the earth and different heavenly bodies give off different types of particles and, therefore, have different effects on earthly beings. But I think the Stoics and Epicureans were exceptions to the view of the celestial bodies as being intelligences. I think far more common were views like Farabi's that each heavenly body had its own celestial sphere that was the material aspect of a celestial intelligence. As you work outward, the influence of each sphere is less direct because it directly influences the sphere before it which, in turn, directly influences the sphere before it. So the agency of all the heavenly hosts on the earth ends up being mediated by the lunar orb.

I don't really know much about Asian systems, though. So maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
The planets by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 04:14:50 PM EST
This article has really, really pissed me off. I have a friend whose husband has a PhD in astrophysics. He's currently working on a very interesting project with the Max Planck Institute. A mutual friend has been spanning Mrs Astrophysics Guy's Facebook wall all day asking her what he thinks about this Very Important Development in astrology as though he wasn't a very clever science guy but actually Russell frigging Grant.

It doesn't matter how many signs of the zodiac there are. It's still a bunch of made up bobbins.

I'm really quite surprised... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 04:30:26 PM EST many people put stock in that crap. I mean, what? There are still people who believe in astrology? This is not something I knew. I guess I had a sheltered upbringing.

[ Parent ]
At least three in my experience. by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #17 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 04:59:31 AM EST
It is unbelievable that in a modern era where we have the capacity to understand the movement of stars and planets and take a stab at the underlying physics of the universe, people are still paying attention to their horoscopes.

One of these people has a masters degree; we shared a student apartment and she is astoundingly smart. And yet she checks her horoscope and has been known to plan travel around auspicious days. It boggles.

[ Parent ]
Why I like the BBC by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #20 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 10:39:18 AM EST
They'll show something like Brian Cox saying astrology is a load of rubbish.

Why I don't like humanity - they follow up with this cargo cult nonsense appropriation of scientific discourse.

[ Parent ]
wake me up when by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #22 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 03:59:44 PM EST
astrologers do a full scale analysis of lunar position to effects on life. Once they can start generating astrological charts with analysis and associated p value, we can take them seriously.

The idea that astrology might have some non-zero value is almost entirely laughable. The idea of taking seriously a discipline that steadfastly remains in the bronze age is entirely laughable.


[ Parent ]
indeed. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #23 Sat Jan 15, 2011 at 08:58:05 PM EST
it's plausible that the moon has some effect because you can go to the coast and see its effect. Ditto for the sun. Everything else, well, gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces, and the wind from my farts at 10 meters exerts more force on you than the gravity of all the planets...

[ Parent ]
right. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 05:04:14 PM EST
so better to not get a measles vaccine.

medical science is not without its problems by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 05:43:12 PM EST
But I'm not so certain that mistakes that arise from horrible penmanship can be laid at the foot of medical science. It isn't the science underlying the prescriptions in question that is the problem but human laziness.

Similarly, what happens to the numbers of deaths caused by doctors if the human errors are removed and only deaths caused by known negative effects of the treatment are considered? That seems to me to be a far better gauge of the issue at hand.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
It's the first thing you notice when you look at a planisphere, C'MON. | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden)