Wednesday, October 2, 2013


           What I really want to write about today is politics.  I know I’m not supposed to, and I agree that we should keep this blog relatively light and humorous.  It’s just that when you see so much stupid doing so much harm, well, it’s hard not to talk about it.
            What I would like to talk about, if I could get away with it, is this budget impasse and how each side in Washington thinks it has an imperative which it gives it the right to not compromise.  Like how the right thinks it is always morally superior, and therefore can get away with trying to thwart the democratic will of the nation, when in reality it is just a bunch of crackers who can’t get over the fact that a black man won the presidential election.  Or how the left thinks it is always intellectually superior, and therefore does not need to talk to the dumber people on the right, when in reality it is just a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals who won’t admit that they can be, and frequently are, wrong.
            But if I said all that someone would get offended, and truthfully someone should be offended, because (okay, okay, take a deep breath and calm down . . . you can do this) oh, because nothing.  Let’s not talk about politics.
            You know what would be cool?  What if we could create the largest telescope in the world by using amateur photographers, specialized software and the internet?  (How’s that for a seamless transition?) 
            No, seriously, why can’t we do the following?  Have everyone with an amateur telescope hook that telescope up to their home computers with specialized software that allows all the images to be sent through the internet and then combined in one location, like at a planetarium somewhere.  So all those Meade and Celestron telescopes could all be focused on the same celestial object at the same time, and the same device that allows you to process the image through your computer so you can print a picture of it could be used to send that image to your computer and then over the internet to one central location.  Then at that location all those images could be added together into one incredible image.
            Why wouldn’t that work?  If we had a thousand people with five inch lenses on their telescopes, and we combined all the images taken on those telescopes together, would that not create the same image that would have been taken with one five thousand inch telescope?  Imagine, a five thousand inch telescope.  We could get a clear image of Pluto, or see planets in other star systems.
            It is beyond our technological ability to build a five thousand inch reflecting mirror type telescope.  A five thousand inch mirror is about equal to a 127 meter mirror; by comparison, the largest telescope today is the 10.4 meter Gran Telescopio Canarias.  
             And, with more amateurs, we could increase the effective size of our cyber telescope.  Double the number of people participating and it becomes a 254 meter mirror.  Four times that, (40,000 amateur astronomers participating) and we would have a 1,000 meter mirror telescope.
            That would be freakin’ amazing!  Imagine what we could discover!
            See?  See what can be done with a little creativity and cooperation?  I guess maybe this is still all about politics.  Well, to quote comedian Ron White, “you can’t fix stupid”. 
            I hold out more hope for our amateur astronomers than I do for our professional politicians.

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