Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Oh Groovy!!

It's storming right now!! A thunderstorm in November!!

I love it.

But now the other shoe is around somewhere....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Congress and DST

Proof once again that the people in charge don't have any clue as to reality.

Congress passed changing Daylight Saving Time to start three weeks earlier (March 11th) and end a week later (November 4). They looked at 30+ year old data and said "we can save energy" despite all the current research that shows that we wouldn't save any energy. Just because it gets darker/lighter earlier doesn't mean we're going to change habits of heating our homes or, in this modern era, turning on or off our computers and electronic devices. Congress is simply out of touch with reality on this one.

For astronomers, it’s bad news, as we don’t have enough dark skies during the warmer months, and now we will have a month less. In reality, because we are just "shifting" the hours of daylight forward or backward, we're not actually "losing" anything. It just means starting an hour later each night. But it's a pain, and is unnecessary. But there's nothing we can do. Or is there?

An article that was in the Grand Rapids Press on October 29, 2006 said this…
“Congress passed the changes last year, but lawmakers reserved the right to scrap the new dates; if you don't like them, complain to the Secretary of Energy, who can recommend going back to the old ones.”
The astronomical community as a whole is against the new DST standards, and is speaking out. My astronomy club isn't actively taking sides in this, because it's against their non-partisan rules in their bylaws. So when I tell people to contact the Department of Energy Secretary, I'm just doing it as a "regular" person, and not someone who has any official capacity one way or another.
I think it's s a stupid idea, this change forced on us, and have already written my letter to the Secretary. I just hope enough people do.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Signed by the...

On another forum I (sometimes) frequent, people were listing things that they had autographed. I was trying to remember what I have autographed by famous individuals. Here's a partial list...


Star Trek: The Motion Picture - autographed by Robert Wise (director)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn - autographed by Richardo Montalban (actor)
Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country - autographed by Nicholas Meyer (director)
Superman: The Movie - autographed by Richard Donner (director) and Tom Mankiewicz (writer)


Battlestar Galactica: The Mini-Series - autographed by Richard Gibbs (composer)
Far From Heaven - autographed by Elmer Bernstein (composer)
Serenity - autographed by David Newman (composer)
Superman Returns - autographed by John Ottman (composer)


The Amateur Astronomer's Introduction to the Celestial Sphere - autographed by William C. Millar (author - astronomer)*
Daly Life - autographed by Chuck Daly (author - coach of the Detroit Pistons)
The Elegant Universe - autographed by Dr. Brian Greene (author)
The Fabric of the Cosmos - autographed by Dr. Brian Greene (author)
Standing Firm: A Vice-Presidential Memoir - autographed by Dan Quayle (author - former Vice-President of the USA)


Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Poster) - autographed by Robert Wise (director of the film)

* - Many of my photographs are published in this book, and will be in his future ones.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pen in Hand

I'm currently writing to a friend of mine who is studying overseas for a few months. And by saying "writing" that's what I'm doing.

I've got a pad of paper and a nice pen. No computer, no typewriter, nothing fancy or electronic. Just a good old-fashioned letter.

I used to write my friend Mary like this, but have fallen from doing it. it's strange to actually try to write. Could I be a doctor? My penmanship - which was so great when I was younger - sucks now.

Oh well. But a letter to Thailand is something I've never done. Did many to Australia back in the day, but no where else.

Friday, November 10, 2006

An Anniversary - Pt 2

Tonight, years ago, I saw my first Star Trek episode.

It was The Corbomite Maneuver. I remember sitting on the floor in the living room at my cousin's house, and being scared when the bit "ping pong ball" ship - the Fesarius - approached really close to the Enterprise.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Little Black Spot

Was on the Sun today.

The planet Mercury went across the disc of the Sun today, which it does periodically. I had seen this type of event in 1999, so I wasn't going to be too upset if I didn't see this one. But I managed to.

I used our 4-inch refractor at the observatory, with a Baader solar filter, and was fortunate to have about one-half hour of clear/semi-clear skies to take a few shots with my camera, and with my brother's digital SLR.

I had some equipment problems (focusing) and they didn't turn out as good as they could have. However, I did get a really cute picture of Paula's dog Willy peeking at the eyepiece.