Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just Teaching the Controversy

Maintaining a commitment to Young Earth Creationism must be a lot of work...

Refuting their pseudoscience, not so much.

Thanks to Jerry Coyne at WhyEvolutionIsTrue for the links.

Respond to Terrorism

Not with fear but with indomitability...

So reads the conclusion of an excellent post by Bruce Schneier recapitulating his online debate with former TSA administrator Kip Hawley.  The Economist hosted the discussion at their website (interesting format).  It's worth your time.

Refuse the terror.

This Could Be Habit-Forming

I took took my new Dobsonian telescope for a spin around the early night sky...

This month, the last of my 53rd year, I spent some of my holiday gift money on something I've long thought about buying - a telescope.  The Bushnell ARES 5 inch Compact Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope had many nice reviews for a starter scope and the price was very nice at OpticsPlanet.  Everything cheaper was smaller and had fewer features.  Everything more expensive was a lot more expensive.

I adjusted the collimation of the secondary and primary mirrors with a home made tool this evening and took it outside a little after sunset.  I used the moon as a target to zero the red dot finder scope (I ran out of adjustment; it'll need a shim).  The moon filled the eyepiece and the craters looked like I could reach out and touch them.  By then Venus was shining.  It is almost annoyingly bright and it was only quarter phase.  Then a pinprick of light appeared a fist width below it in the darkening sky.  Yes, it was Jupiter and its four Galilean moons.  I could make out bands of color.  I invited the folks to come have a look and then texted the kids and my sister-in-law, whose gift funded this neat purchase.  As Jupiter descended into the trees to the west Mars was rising above the trees to the east.  I reoriented my little Dobs and had a look at the small orange dot.  Not a bad start for my first night observing the sky in the light polluted suburbs.  This telescope will be a hoot at the cabin this summer.  Fun, fun, fun.