Friday, April 27, 2007

New "habitable" planet

Some astronomers know how to write press releases. Some don't. The European team that announced they had found a small rocky planet knows how to write a press release.

For years the salvation of the transit method of planet discovery (as opposed to the doppler method) was that it could provide the essential information that radial velocity could not: namely, the actual mass of the planet and the radius (essential components for determining if a planet is 5 Earth-masses, small and rocky, or 5 Earth-masses, and big and gassy.)

I know see that we were wasting our time with the transit method, and we should have just stuck with the doppler method and released a press release that says "Habitable planet found!!!1!!" That would have saved some time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wow. Apple does it again.

A lot of people accused Steve Jobs of being disingenuous when he released his "Thoughts on Music", because they said that it was a marketing move that the labels would never allow him to execute (that is, to sell music without the DRM). However, apparently, instead of the music labels calling his bluff, he has brought EMI on board. Now, EMI will release DRM-free, higher quality tracks on the iTunes Store for just $1.29, with a goal of having half the iTunes library DRM-free by the end of the year. Wow. Sometimes I wonder if Apple has any more tricks up its sleeve, and I then realize that it must be a really big sleeve (on a black turtleneck, of course.)