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Posts Made By: John Hopkins

March 3, 2003 01:17 PM Forum: Religion

Re: Question for you

Posted By John Hopkins

All three.

While I'm sure someone had it in mind to differentiate according to intention, at the end of the day a good work is a good work and why the person did it is a question for academics.

Now, when a good intention turns into a bad result, that's something else entirely...

March 28, 2003 05:07 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

New Scope Curse, the movie

Posted By John Hopkins

Tracking sources indicate my Nexstar 5i (thank you Anacortes) should be there when I get home today. Consequently, we're starting the day with light rain, predicted to become thunderstorms later, and with a thirty-degree temperature drop there may be snow mixed in before it's over.

The forecast in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times: cloudy thru next Thursday.

My apologies to all in the area. All I wanted to do was look into the damned sky...

April 4, 2003 02:04 PM Forum: Religion

An evolutionary aside

Posted By John Hopkins

Once upon a time we talked about religion & philosophy here -- more or less -- and among the quoted scripture I always meant to inject a little bit of Loren Eiseley, who wrote about evolutionary themes in a beautiful literary style no one else has quite matched. Just because I happened to be reading it again, here's just a couple paragraphs from the first chapter of 'The Invisible Pyramid':

"Restricted and dark were many of these niches, and equally dark and malignant were some of the survivors. The oblique corner with no outlet had narrowed upon them all. Biological evolution could be defined as one long series of specializations -- hoofs that prevented hands, wings that, while opening the wide reaches of the air, prevented the manipulation of tools. The list was endless. Each creature was a tiny fraction of the life force; the greater portion had died with the environments that created them. Others had continued to evolve, but always their transformations seemed to present a more skilled adaptation to an increasingly narrow corridor of existence. Success too frequently meant specialization, and specialization, ironically, was the beginning of the road to extinction. This was the essential theme that time had dramatized upon the giant stage."

"Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin's contemporary, perceived that with the emergence of the human brain, man had, to a previously inconceivable degree, passed out of the domain of the particulate evolution of biological organs and had entered upon what we may call history. Human beings, in whom the power of communication had arisen, were leaving the realm of phylogeny for the realm of history, which was to contain, henceforth, our final destiny. After three billion years of biological effort, man alone had seemingly evaded the oblique trap of biological specialization. He had done so by the development of a specialized organ -- the brain -- whose essential purpose was to evade specialization."

April 17, 2003 01:07 PM Forum: DVDs and Music and Books That You Recommend


Posted By John Hopkins

Strangely enough, my latest two dvd's have the exact same title. The 1926 Fritz Lang classic has finally been done right, with intertitles explaining plot points that were cut out of the movie on its original stateside release and never seen since. Looks gorgeous compared to the previous cheapies.

The other is a Japanese anime feature from last year that could fry your retinae if you sit too close to the screen. But while the city-scapes are dazzling, the human characters look straight out of Astro Boy -- a combo that's natural to Japan audiences and anime fans but seems rather weird to everyone else. And frankly, I couldn't make head or tails out of what the story was driving at...

April 23, 2003 06:37 PM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

Recommendation(s) requested

Posted By John Hopkins

I was thinking of a Maxscope 40, or else a small achromat with a SM40. As to the latter, what would present Coronado users think of an Orion ST80 as a host-scope candidate?

Sticking with cheap achromats, would a 90mm be better or would it not make a difference for solar viewing with the 40? I realize it would be nicer when it doubles as a night scope, but just trying to see if it makes any difference at all with the sun. Finances dictate I stay as cheap as possible if I'm not going to hold out for a solar dedicated Maxscope.


April 28, 2003 10:07 PM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

The 5i

Posted By John Hopkins

Don't have a pic of me with the thing yet, but here it is, less than a month out of the box.

May 5, 2003 11:48 AM Forum: Religion

Re: And you thought only Americans were

Posted By John Hopkins

This just in: WW2 is still over! The shelves are bursting with meticulously hashed-out bombing statistics! Some guys were evil back then! Just as now! The world has learned a lot *and* nothing at the same time! Just ask it!

(Does a media circus have a high wire act?)

May 5, 2003 12:04 PM Forum: Religion

Nietzsche still dead!

Posted By John Hopkins

Someone bothered to find out that his brain was fried by cancer, not syphilis. Apparently in the rush to discredit him after WW2 -- he was blamed for the 'ubermensch' idea by people not inclined to notice how heavily the Nazis modified it -- his descent into dementia was credited to a prostitute.

A bit odd to find anything about a philosopher in the morning paper, but there it was.

May 9, 2003 12:15 PM Forum: Religion

Re: Pot decriminialization in Canada

Posted By John Hopkins

I've been sick as a dog for the past 4 days so 'clear-headed' may or may not be the case --

However, I remember those old Zeppelin-soaked nights fondly, so there's probably a bias remaining. In short, I never understood what the problem was with weed. When drunk people were killing others with their cars, stoned people were merely annoying them by driving 20 mph under the limit.

Later on I read something to the effect that we could thank William R. Hearst's newspapers for demonizing the stuff because of hemp's usefulness in making paper products, and Mr. H. owned lumber mills. Seemed plausible enough but I still don't know how much truth there is in it.

I think the late comedian Bill Hicks was onto something, though, when he said that if he was sent to jail he would come out of it wanting to do more drugs than what got him in trouble in the first place. As always, there's users and then there's abusers. The latter aren't necessarily criminals; sick maybe, but jail won't cure them.

In any case, I didn't stop because it was getting out of hand; I stopped because I got tired of looking over my shoulder all the time. And the interesting thing about that is that it took no discernible will-power to do it, nor did I feel anything approaching 'withdrawals'. Giving up regular tobacco cigarettes, however, was sheer hell.

May 19, 2003 03:43 PM Forum: DVDs and Music and Books That You Recommend

Eddie Izzard, Zeppelin, and etc.

Posted By John Hopkins

Just watched a DVD of his called 'Dress To Kill,' from a 1998 show. Utterly hilarious.

Those who were anticipating Led Zeppelin's CD/DVD thing coming up have good reason to keep doing so. Heard a track on the radio last week that proved Jimmy Page *could* actually do some killer stuff live, as opposed to the horrible trash on Song Remains The Same...

"The Thing" (1951) is scheduled for early August. Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" is supposed to be here at the tail end of this month.

Speaking of which, Kurosawa fans should avoid those DVDs produced in Hong Kong -- the subtitling translations are so bad you won't believe how often you can slap your forehead in a 2-hour period...