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Posts Made By: Chuck Cunningham

March 13, 2009 03:53 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Venus through the eyepiece

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Great illustration of chromatic aberration!

We've had a series of relatively clear evenings lately, so I have been getting out regularly to watch the disk grow and the crescent shrink as Venus passes between us and the sun. I think I first did that nearly 50 years ago, and haven't had (or taken) the opportunity to watch it in quite a while. A couple neighborhood kids stopped by when I was out last evening, and I had a hard time convincing them that what they saw in the telescope was really not the Moon. I think that by the time they left, they understood why the Moon and Venus both have a crescent phase (one of them finally said, "Oh! Because it's night there."), and had a better grip on the layout of the solar system and how we understand that. They had learned about it in school, but this was a case where they could actually SEE it, and that makes it a lot more REAL.

March 17, 2009 02:51 PM Forum: Politics

A crazy thought....

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

We might even be able to sell them if we stuck China with the same environmental protection requirements that we decided were important for ourselves -- and paid our workers the same wages that China does. But then who could afford to buy anything? The current situation clearly cannot go on indefinitely.

March 23, 2009 02:50 PM Forum: Politics

There goes another 300 jobs...

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

I know you're joking, Mike. I'm sure you are aware that China has probably the most aggressive birth-control policy in the world. While I may not like the way they are going about it, I shudder to think of the consequences if they didn't (come to think of it, I shudder to think of a lot of things about China). India will soon pass China in population.

March 25, 2009 01:19 PM Forum: Politics

GOP=Got 0 Plans

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Naw. It's just more fun -- and a lot easier -- to throw rocks. And if the American public is dumb enough to be satisfied with that...

March 26, 2009 10:23 AM Forum: Politics

Extremists and Their Use of Civil Rights

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Before we start shutting down our rights and freedoms, perhaps we should also consider the degree to which they work to undermine recruiting for extremist causes. How many potential terrorists decide that maybe we've got a pretty good deal going here, and they'd rather partake of it than destroy it? Of course, that's a statistic that never gets measured and reported.

March 30, 2009 09:23 AM Forum: Politics

Barack Il Duche Obama?

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Since the companies admitted they could not survive without billons of dollars of government money?

March 31, 2009 10:51 AM Forum: Politics

The Iranian Response To Obama

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Well, he's put himself in a position where you couldn't really expect them to say anything else.

Just a couple points:
A lot of "diplomacy" is posturing. Public statements have an intended audience. Who is Iran talking to? Who are we talking to? In serious negotiations, the public statements are frequently most heated right before a compromise is accepted so that it feels less like selling out. I'm not sure this is the case here, but I really don't know. Another thing to keep in mind is that it would be good to have as much of the world on the right side as we can on this issue. The farther Iran goes out on its limb, the lonelier it will be. Unfortunately, there is not much of anyone who can bring significant pressure to bear on Iran -- except the Iranian people. And the public statements also speak to the moderates within Iran. There are actually a lot of reasonably well-educated people in Iran who have a lot to lose here. They are proud of their nuclear program, but I don't think their current president's ravings go down all that well. He may not be all that secure. He could get voted out (although the Imams might very well not accept that), but threatening him may only strengthen his position. The way this is presented could make all the difference. And we don't really know what is going on behind the scenes.

March 31, 2009 11:37 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

GUM 18

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Beautiful and mysterious!
But "5900ly away,with an estimated size of 5100ly"?
Wouldn't that stretch across nearly 45 degrees of sky?

April 1, 2009 02:00 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

36" refractor with TV 55mm. Plossl

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

I visited the observatory and saw that scope on August 25, 1961. At that time, Lick had the second largest refractor and second largest relector in the world. I even made the effort to acquire the tickets necessary to have a look through it. And there was a total lunar eclipse that night! But my parents didn't think it was a big enough deal to be worth staying for the evening, so I missed out. I remembered being very bummed out at the time.

April 17, 2009 04:09 PM Forum: Politics

The EPA

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

It's actually behaving like the EPA now, instead of the EEA (Environmental Exploitation Agency).