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[ 20050625 ]

Art, or Science?

"Rammer" of Blog o'RAM directs my attention to stunning imagery from the First Annual Art of Science Competition. Enjoy!

Jay Manifold [5:28 PM]

Recommended Maintenance

At the recommendation of PZ Myers of Pharyngula, welcome Ian Musgrave's Astroblog to the blogroll.

And yes, I have many other changes and additions to make when I get time ...

UPDATE: Fixed the link. Thanks to Ed Hahn for bringing it to my attention.

Jay Manifold [8:57 AM]

[ 20050623 ]

Astrophotography Debut

On Arcturus, I mean; these pictures were taken by ASKC member Gordon Geldhof on the evening of Sat 11 Jun at Powell Observatory, when I happened to be on duty. Uploaded by Leo Johns. Click on the images for larger versions.

Sun with a couple of nice sunspot groups in spite of the current solar minimum.

Jupiter with various cloud belts and zones, and the Great Red Salmon Spot visible near the limb at about the 7 o'clock position.

Five-day-old Moon; craters Hercules and Atlas prominent at top center.

Jay Manifold [7:44 PM]

[ 20050621 ]

The Planets Align ...

Well, some of them, as seen from Earth. While the bogus Mars e-mail circulates, an actual event looms: this coming weekend, Mercury and Venus will be only a fraction of a degree apart, easily visible in the western sky after sunset; and Saturn will be only about a degree away. Sky & Telescope has a graphic and a QuickTime movie (warning: 537 kB).

UPDATE: Michael Lee e-mails, "too bad -- I was hoping Mars would be close enough for me to see the barges in the canals with my 'scope."

Barges?! We don't need no stinkin' ... oh, never mind.

Jay Manifold [7:50 PM]

[ 20050616 ]

Not Coincidentally

Here's the World Summit on Evolution blog, by Ricki Lewis.

Jay Manifold [11:34 AM]

[ 20050615 ]

The Matter With Kansas (VII) - Another Two Cultures

-- are perhaps exemplified by, well, me, as contrasted with the current majority of the Kansas State Board of Education. File-uploader (and 25-year-friend) Leo Johns writes, a bit snarkily: "I will give you $100 if you can show me that Connie Morris [registration] is a Type M or anything close, and therefore qualified to be a policy-maker on this subject," and further adduces this profile, this questionnaire, and this bizarre statement.

For what Leo means by Type M, go back and reread The Two Cultures, a post from August 2003. An important distinction, to be sure, but I'm not sure it applies -- apologies in advance for referencing yet another Arcturus post, Why People Don't Believe the Historical Sciences, from April 2003; those of you who have read Guns, Germs, and Steel may anticipate this argument.

We need another classification, one that expresses the lack of support that some mathematically literate people and even (otherwise) scientifically literate people demonstrate for astronomy, climatology, ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, and paleontology. I propose "Type H" for supporters of the historical sciences, and "Type ^H" (not-H) for the rest (readers old enough to remember when control-H was a code for "backspace" will understand why I chose ^H rather than another letter, as in Jerry King's Type M vs Type N).

As with King's proposal to begin teaching mathematics for its aesthetic value to students who would otherwise never encounter it, we need a way of converting people of Type ^H to Type H. And those of us who are of Type H need to be as patient as the situation requires, a subject I touched on in (last one, I promise) The "Pretense of Precision" Meme (II).

(Previous posts in this series start here.)

Jay Manifold [7:41 PM]

A Public Service

Stuart Kauffman's August 1991 article in Scientific American, Antichaos and Adaptation, disappeared from the Web a few years ago, as this search indicates. I grabbed a copy back in the days when it was still at http://www.sciam.com/explorations/062496kaufman.html and converted it to MS Word format, then saved it as *.htm. Now Leo Johns has added some further readings to the end of the article and uploaded it for me to a slightly unlikely location, which you may reach by clicking the first link in this post.

Jay Manifold [6:22 PM]

[ 20050607 ]

It's My Blog, And I'll Post Sappy, Feel-Good Stories If I Want To

Straight off the ASKC E-Group, David Fox tells the tale of a night of observing gone somewhat awry, but with lifesaving consequences. I have left this entirely unedited except for cleaning up line breaks.

Monday night, I took a short nap before I went.. Ok I wake up the next day -
I guess it's better then sleeping in the mud and yes I must be gettin older..

Tuesday night, I try again - packed up and headed out - I started out down 7 Hwy. Oops did I forget something - I turned off the road about 15 miles out from my home and re-did a inventory check (again) YES, I don't have my Sky Command box(it's on my other scope) . OK, I don't have to have it to use the scope. I start to get back into my truck, but wait what is that sound. I'm off a side road about 2 miles from 7 Hwy and there is no house or barns around anyway.

Mew, Mew.. A baby cat find it's way to me from no way.. It's not wild, it came right to me. (Most likely someone dumped it out here) I call the wife, OK I tell her I have 2 problems, the first is I forget a little computer box for the scope, that's ok, but a 3 to 4 week old baby cat found me. Should I skin and eat it here or do you want me to bring it back to the house? (ok I did not say skin and eat ) ;-)

So to answer you Dick, "No" I have not been able to make it yet. I did take the rat/cat back home and set up the scope in the back yard from 10pm till now 1:12am. Very good night up till the wind started up at 1am. Star clusters were great!! Nubs down to about 11 mag and Gal. well they suck in the back yard any more.

Jay Manifold [5:30 PM]

[ 20050604 ]

Book Tag

Ed "Robot Guy" Minchau just tagged four really smart people, plus me for some reason. I consider this a wonderful opportunity to further offend and reduce my remaining readership, so here goes:

Oops, that's six. Too bad. Now whom shall I tag? ;^)

Jay Manifold [11:38 AM]

[ 20050603 ]


I just spent several days in Ratòn, New Mexico, traveling to and from KC by Amtrak. Thanks to Leo Johns for uploading the following pictures, which I took with the camera he lent me for the trip. Click on the images for larger versions.

The Southwest Chief ascends through Ratòn Pass (185 kB *.jpg; part of Panoramic Aerial Maps of the American West), late morning local time, Fri 27 May.

Downtown Ratòn, with train station just below center, taken from Goat Hill, early afternoon local time, Mon 30 May; compare this postcard.

Double rainbow, looking east, shortly before sunset, Tue 31 May.

Jay Manifold [5:46 PM]