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Space Twitter Science

Twitter Helps Astronomers Zero-In On M51 Supernova 55

astroengine writes "A tweet about last week's M51 (the 'Whirlpool Galaxy') 14-magnitude bright stellar explosion was picked up by University of California, Berkeley, astronomers... who just so happened to be enjoying some observing time on one of Keck Observatory's monster telescopes. Although the weather wasn't perfect, the Berkeley team were able to quickly observe a spectrum from the M51 brightening to quickly confirm that it was a Type II supernova — the core collapse of a massive star, some 8 times the mass of the sun. 'This is the first time that we've been alerted via a tweet,' Alex Filippenko, lead astronomer of the UC Berkeley team, told Discovery News."
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Twitter Helps Astronomers Zero-In On M51 Supernova

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @07:46PM (#36381952)

    I'm glad Twitter was invented. Remember the dark days when we couldn't communicate with other people using text?

  • OMG (Score:0, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @08:19PM (#36382210)

    OMG, Twitter is just SOOOO amazing!! Like, wow, how did ugly hairless monkeys like us even survive without it?! I just quit college, cuz, like, math and shit is just sooo booorrring (snore), but I still tweet! I twit and tweet and twat and twittle de do da, whooo hooo! I can do ANYTHING with twitter! It's like [], only better! Now I'm going to go tweet about this at my astronomy professor, who's such a dweeb he doesn't even know what twitter is ... AND he's such a dork he wouldn't even raise my grade when I offered him a blow job. What a dumb ass.

  • Twitter is awesome because it combines the immediacy of lurking in an IRC server along with the permanence of IRC chat logs, with the exclusivity and privacy of a proprietary public web service, without all that needless distributed redundancy or openness! Best of all, it's available for free to everyone* -- even the most computer illiterate website visitor can use it!
    * everyone except advertizers or developers who wish to aggregate its data.

    Twitter is similar to IRC, except it's accessible via a web page (like mibbit, or webchat.freenode). Essentially: everyone gets their own IRC channel, and Twitter keeps a massive global chat log. To "follow" someone is to /j [roomname]. Each room is permanently OPd by only one user, and no one can have /mode +v except the op. To have a conversation people have to /join each other's rooms or send /privmsg (dm) to each other.

    Twitter is also similar to IRC in that the implementers agree the system isn't quite as efficient as it should be, and service errors can occur. Except that when a net-split happens (fail-whale), no one can use Twitter whereas some IRC users may be temporarily disconnected, but can still talk.

    Twitter is so much better than IRC, because unlike IRC (or usenet, or a BBS / forum), you are limited to 140 characters, and there is a simple API for advertisers to search a single common database for customer interests and trends. The 140 character limit is neat because it penalizes pompous-assholes that like to use big words like "monosyllabic", and this also promotes URL masking (shortening), so you never know if a link is goatse or not... More importantly the character limit restricts everyone to the lowest common denominator: people sending messages via mobile phones (you know, the dumb phones that don't have an IRC client or Internet capabilities). With Twitter: Now there's no-excuse not to be sharing your most insightful quips with the world at all times!

    Twitter is amazing for famous people because they can point to the number of people idling in their chat room and say, "Look at how much marketing potential I have!" even while most people are AFK.

    Also, (now, this is the most important difference) Twitter is better because anyone can run their own IRC node and start their own social network, but only Twitter can host Twitter!

I've got a bad feeling about this.