from the i'd-like-you-to-meet-a-giant-space-rock dept.
ewhac writes "The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the new Trans-Neptunian objects mentioned in the press earlier this year are being formally announced this week at a planetary conference in Cambridge, England. Bearing the extremely temporary names 'Xena,' 'Santa,' and 'Easterbunny,' the new objects are quite interesting in their own right (Santa is cigar-shaped, rotates end-over-end every four hours, and has a 60-mile-diameter moon). However, even more interesting is the intrigue behind the press conferences revealing Xena earlier this year. It seems that, using the astronomers' own observation logs (publicly available over the Web) and some key details inadvertently revealed in earlier announcements, someone was planning on 'discovering' the objects first and claiming credit. This was why the scientists 'pre-announced' the existence of Xena back in July, to establish priority. The conference in Cambridge represents the first formal, scientific disclosure of the objects."
"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few
simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'."