re: What's in a Name?

From: Walter Nissen (
Date: Fri Jan 14 2000 - 10:26:01 PST

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    You ask "What's in a Name?"?
    Not much, I am sorry to say. (Ed Cannon) writes:
    > I've found that at least some objects are not as easy to find on the
    > E.A. site as I would expect.
    No kidding ?!! (Troy) writes:
    > why does the Heavens Above web site call this satellite Kiku-6?
    Why not?  Who's going to stop them/him?
    A seemingly endless stream of messages on SeeSat-L making ambiguous
    references to a slew of vulgar names, asking about confused identities,
    lamenting the confusion, etc., led me to post a warning message
    concerning vulgar names, titled 'WARNING on "common name", "proper
    name", "real name"',
    To my regret, this message still seems to represent the state of the
    In it, I wrote:
    >> These terms are dangerous to your data and to your happiness.
    >> I have proposed use of the term "vulgar name" to replace these, because
    >> its negative connotation will serve as fair warning to newbies that
    >> trouble lies ahead.  I don't particularly like "vulgar name", but I
    >> cannot in good conscience use the other terms.  They are too dangerous.
    >> Can you suggest a better term?
    Since the 30+ certified geniuses who occupy our corner of cyberspace
    haven't yet come up with a better term than "vulgar name", I guess we
    are stuck with it, at least for the time being.
    Apparently we are also stuck with the ambiguities, as they persist.
    Recently, there has been a proliferation of "names" which are not names
    at all, but merely descriptions, such as "SL-16 R/B".  Ugh!!
    There are some things that can help.  Programs like QuickSat use the
    catalog number as the primary identity of elsets and predictions.  That
    is helpful.  QuickSat also allows you to make up your own name, imbed it
    in the quicksat.mag file, and receive predictions under that name,
    regardless of what crazy name is used by any elset you stumble across.
    The best advice seems to be always to provide the catalog number and
    COSPAR id when any possible confusion could occur.  I thank all of you,
    who like me, have tried your best to do so.
    Walter Nissen         
    -81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation
    Ambiguity kills data.
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