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Posts Made By: K. Michael Malolepszy

October 10, 2005 07:59 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

2003 UB313 ("10th planet") visually observed!

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Everyone,

2003 UB313 has been observed visiually by myself an several other amateurs using the 82 inch Struve reflector at McDonald Observatory in Texas. As far as we and the object's co-discoverer Michael Brown knows, no one has done this yet.

Here's the scope we be used to observe it:

http://www.as.utexas.edu/mcdonald/facilities/2.1m/2.1.html

http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/images/visitors/programpix/82inch_observing.jpg

http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/

More later.

K. Michael Malolepszy

The discovery of 2003 UB313, the 10th planet:

http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/planetlila/index.html



October 21, 2005 11:12 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Terminal Aperture fever

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Terminal Aperture fever has not set in...yet. This is the McDonald Observatory 82 inch that we used to visually observe 2003 UB313 Oct. 9/10, 2005.


K. Michael Malolepszy

October 21, 2005 02:54 PM Forum: Religion

Behe says Astrology is Science

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy


http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8178

Astrology is scientific theory, courtroom told

"Astrology would be considered a scientific theory if judged by the same criteria used by a well-known advocate of Intelligent Design to justify his claim that ID is science, a landmark US trial heard on Tuesday.

Under cross examination, ID proponent Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, admitted his definition of “theory” was so broad it would also include astrology..."

The trial is pitting 11 parents from the small town of Dover, Pennsylvania, against their local school board. The board voted to read a statement during a biology class that casts doubt on Darwinian evolution and suggests ID as an alternative.

The parents claim this was an attempt to introduce creationism into the curriculum and that the school board members were motivated by their evangelical Christian beliefs. It is illegal to teach anything with a primarily religious purpose or effect on pupils in government-funded US schools.

Supporters of ID believe that some things in nature are simply too complex to have evolved by natural selection, and therefore must be the work of an intelligent designer.
Peer review

Behe was called to the stand on Monday by the defence, and testified that ID was a scientific theory, and was not “committed” to religion. His cross examination by the plaintiffs’ attorney, Eric Rothschild of the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, began on Tuesday afternoon.

Rothschild told the court that the US National Academy of Sciences supplies a definition for what constitutes a scientific theory: “Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”

Because ID has been rejected by virtually every scientist and science organisation, and has never once passed the muster of a peer-reviewed journal paper, Behe admitted that the controversial theory would not be included in the NAS definition. “I can’t point to an external community that would agree that this was well substantiated,” he said.

Behe said he had come up with his own “broader” definition of a theory, claiming that this more accurately describes the way theories are actually used by scientists. “The word is used a lot more loosely than the NAS defined it,” he says.
Hypothesis or theory?

Rothschild suggested that Behe’s definition was so loose that astrology would come under this definition as well. He also pointed out that Behe’s definition of theory was almost identical to the NAS’s definition of a hypothesis. Behe agreed with both assertions.

The exchange prompted laughter from the court, which was packed with local members of the public and the school board.

Behe maintains that ID is science: “Under my definition, scientific theory is a proposed explanation which points to physical data and logical inferences.”

“You've got to admire the guy. It’s Daniel in the lion’s den,” says Robert Slade, a local retiree who has been attending the trial because he is interested in science. "But I can’t believe he teaches a college biology class."

The cross examination will continue Wednesday, with the trial expected to finish on 4 November.

October 21, 2005 02:59 PM Forum: Religion

ID & Medicine

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

From the New England Journal of Medicine

Faith Healers and Physicians — Teaching Pseudoscience by Mandate


http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/353/14/1437


Robert S. Schwartz, M.D.


In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, Frank Morgan plays five roles. In one of them, he is a flimflam hawker of trivia traveling across the plains of Kansas in a horse-drawn wagon. In another, he is the wizard who, concealed by a curtain, manipulates a machine that controls all of Oz. Now, more than 65 years later, another pitchman is rolling across Kansas, but unlike Morgan's bumbling peddler of trinkets and dreams, the new one has no interest in such trifles. It is an articulate and sophisticated anti-evolution movement called "intelligent design." At its core is the idea that a supernatural being — a hidden wizard — has a hidden hand in shaping the living world.

The intelligent design movement has attracted support from U.S. politicians at every level of government, from the Dutch minister of education, and from the Roman Catholic archbishop of Vienna, who has determined that the theory of evolution is inconsistent with the teachings of his church. In his objection to evolution, the cardinal joins Joseph Stalin, who forbade its teaching in the Soviet Union. More important than approval from high-profile national and international leaders, however, is the determination by members of public school boards in at least 20 states that intelligent design should be taught in school beginning in the ninth grade. It has been 80 years since the Tennessee legislature passed the Butler Act, which made the teaching of evolution a misdemeanor, and 80 years since John Scopes, a high school science teacher and football coach, was found guilty of violating that law. In the Scopes trial, Clarence Darrow argued, "We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States." Darrow lost his case, and despite all the ensuing decades of science education, the movement to teach intelligent design has spread from school houses to college campuses and university postgraduate programs. I fear that it will soon reach medical schools.

The debate has been prominent in the press and major scientific journals, but it has not been featured in medical journals, nor has it been discussed publicly by leaders of academic medicine or professional medical societies. Some might ask why physicians should care about how we educate our children, and what difference it would make to medicine if we taught children intelligent design as a counterweight to evolution — which, according to the proponents of intelligent design, is a mere theory. But acquiescing to this anti-science movement would have far-reaching consequences for the development of future generations of physicians, for the likelihood of discovering new therapies, and for understanding health and disease.

To understand why intelligent design constitutes an insidious menace to medicine, it is helpful to trace its roots. In part, it evolved from creationism, which takes the Genesis story of creation literally. Creationism has been discredited, however, by indisputable physical evidence — carbon dating, for example. In 1987, the teaching of creationism in public schools was forbidden by the U.S. Supreme Court (Edwards v. Aguillard). Still, a large part of the public believes in creationism and yearns for a return to God in public schools. Opinion pollsters tell us that the public admires scientists but fears godless science that has no place for a Creator. It is mistrust of the very basis of science — especially the biologic sciences — that fuels enthusiasm for a "hidden hand" in the workings of the living world. Detractors of the theory of evolution contend that there are too many holes in it: it is inconsistent with the fossil record, they say, and it fails to fully account for what we see today in the living world. Worse, it cannot tell us about the meaning of life.

At its root, intelligent design is a medieval theological proposition that is based on faith, not logic, and certainly not science. It is theology dressed up as science, but it cannot be easily dismissed. The clever twist is that its proponents do not use such words as "God" or "deity" in public or in their literature, nor do they draw on the Bible to buttress their case. This omission, they believe, permits them to deny that intelligent design is faith-based. But what, then, is the meaning of "hidden hand," "intelligent creator," or "the Designer"? It is this elusiveness about the intelligent creator that gives intelligent design immense appeal: God can be introduced into the school curriculum without any mention of God.

Some of the supporters of intelligent design are knowledgeable and sophisticated. Phillip Johnson, professor emeritus of law at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the founders and financial backers of the intelligent design movement, can accurately pinpoint many problems that the theory of evolution has not come close to solving. His criticisms have merit, and his focus on precisely those things that we do not yet know blocks any rational dialogue. But Johnson and his followers always end up in the same blind alley: the problems are too complex to be explained by any proposition other than the existence of an intelligent designer. They argue, for example, that some organs, such as the eye, are too complex to have arisen by blind chance; hence, the eye must have been designed by an intelligent creator.

The same argument is no doubt applicable to the blood-clotting system: it is too complex to have arisen through mutation and natural selection. Therefore, a hidden hand must have created hemostasis. The promoters of this line of thought do not tell us any more than that about the origins of the hemostatic system — they say only that a complex biologic system demands a creator. But they neglect to tell us that their creator of hemostasis must also be responsible for deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, the natural consequences of a complex system of blood clotting. Clearly, such a worldview could have ramifications for those who would study, elucidate, and treat such disorders.

Indeed, first and foremost, intelligent design should concern physicians because the debate influences education at all levels. Now that Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader and a graduate of Harvard Medical School, has come out in favor of the teaching of intelligent design, medical students may soon be learning that only a hidden hand could be responsible for the complexities of oxidative metabolism in mitochondria. (An intelligent student might ask why the designer made mitochondria in the first place.) Moreover, the confusion between faith and science at the highest levels of public education can hardly be an asset to the pool of applicants to medical schools and graduate schools in the sciences.

What would it mean to take intelligent design seriously at the medical school level? Its proponents tell us that gaps in our knowledge of how living organisms evolved vitiate the theory of evolution. Might we conclude, then, that the cancer cell and its evolution are so complex that a creative designer must be the cause of cancer? But if the designer created cancer, is it against the hidden hand's will to find a cure for cancer? Is it in accord with the plan of the intelligent designer to receive a treatment for cancer? After all, a Jehovah's Witness would rather die than receive a blood transfusion. Yet today more than ever, the profession needs physicians who can channel scientific discoveries to the sick. What effect will pseudoscience-by-fiat have on medical progress?

If we accept the premise that it is not in the long-term interest of medicine to disguise a faith-based belief as a scientific discipline and indoctrinate future physicians and scientists in a creed that thwarts the science of medicine, what can physicians do now? It seems to me that leaders of professional societies and prominent academicians should start speaking up. At the local level, doctors are prominent and respected. They serve on school boards, and some hold public office. They are influential teachers. Many have religious affiliations, and they surely know the difference between faith and science. Engaging in a public debate about intelligent design is probably not a good idea; any debate about faith and belief will surely end inconclusively. More desirable are education and acting to protect the profession and the public from pseudoscience. The main need now is to begin to understand what the debate is about and to consider its consequences for the future of medicine.

The pity of it all is that opponents of the theory of evolution have missed the main point. The central idea of the theory is not the Victorian image of a hairy ape with a human face. On the contrary, the theory unveils the beautiful thought that all living creatures are related — in a sense, we are all one. This concept, if properly understood, can inspire more faith than any hidden Wizard.


Source Information

Dr. Schwartz is a deputy editor of the Journal

October 27, 2005 01:04 PM Forum: Politics

Greetings from Idiot America

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

This is long, but has some good points in it. KMM

------------------


http://www.fraughtwithperil.com/blogs/ryuei/archives/000690.html

Greetings from Idiot America

CREATIONISM. INTELLIGENT DESIGN. FAITH-BASED THIS.
TRUST-YOUR-GUT THAT. THERE'S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME
TO ESPOUSE, PROFIT FROM, AND BELIEVE IN UTTER,
UNADULTERATED CRAP. AND THE CRAP IS RISING SO HIGH,
IT'S GETTING DANGEROUS.

by Charles P. Pierce | Nov 01 '05


February 9, 2006 11:31 AM Forum: Politics

Ex Reagan Navy Secretary runs as Dem

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Ex-Navy Secretary to Run for Va. Seat

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060208/ap_on_el_se/virginia_senate;_ylt=AiHTyDlmZxxfDLhGzE_N22Vp24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA--

RICHMOND, Va. - Former Reagan-era Navy Secretary James Webb said Wednesday he plans to run for the U.S. Senate, seeking to unseat Republican incumbent George Allen in November.

Webb, a Republican-turned-Democrat, said he would file on Thursday, his 60th birthday, then kick off his campaigning next week.

He faces Harris Miller, a leader in Virginia's technology community, in his bid for the nomination.

Webb served as assistant secretary of defense from 1984-87 and Navy secretary until 1988. He said national defense and security would play prominently in his campaign.

"Look at my experience. I've been in the military all my life. I worked overseas as a consultant on base planning. I actually fought in a war," Webb said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

"I've got a lot of different kinds of experience that I think is important in light of our very unfortunate strategy in
Iraq," he said.

Webb said his campaign will also focus on ways to help middle- and low-income families and "restoring the traditional role of Congress" by checking the growth of presidential authority since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

His decision to run won't affect Miller's Senate campaign, said Miller spokesman Brian Cook. "We're still going to keep traveling around Virginia making the case that Washington is broken," Cook said.

Dick Waddams, a political adviser to Allen, said he looks forward to "a spirited Democratic primary."

"We'll run a campaign based on our vision for a competitive and secure America," Waddams said.

This is not Webb's first involvement in a Virginia U.S. Senate race. In 1994, he spoke against his former Naval Academy classmate,
Iran-Contra figure Oliver L. North, when North challenged Sen. Chuck Robb, a Democrat. Webb spoke out after North belittled Robb's service as a Marine in Vietnam.

Six years later, Webb endorsed Allen when the former governor successfully challenged Robb. Along with Warner, Allen is considered a likely contender for president in 2008.

March 30, 2006 09:20 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Solar Eclipse as seen from orbit

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

An unusual vantage for a total solar eclipse - off the
earth completely...

ISS Crew Experiences a Total Solar Eclipse

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/multimedia/ISS_eclipse_03292006.html

The shadow of the moon falls on Earth as seen from the
International Space Station, 230 miles above the
planet, during a total solar eclipse at about 4:50
a.m. CST Wednesday, March 29. This digital photo was
taken by the Expedition 12 crew, Commander Bill
McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, who are
wrapping up a six-month mission on the complex. Part
of the Mediterranean Sea can be seen outside the
shadow.


GEOS image of solar eclipse:

http://www.spaceweather.com/eclipses/29mar06/goes.jpg


More (standard) eclipse images at

http://www.spaceweather.com/eclipses/gallery_29mar06.htm

http://www.spaceweather.com/eclipses/gallery_29mar06_page2.


April 27, 2006 12:29 PM Forum: After Dark

Watch a Disintegrating Comet Tonight

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy


As posted on Spaceweather.com:

-------

COMET NEWS: Dying comet 73P/Schwassmann Wachmann 3

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/24mar_73p.htm

is falling apart with a vengence. Even the fragments are fragmenting. Last night University of Arizona astronomer Carl Hergenrother took this picture of Fragment G, which is now a swarm of more than 15 pieces:

http://www.spaceweather.com/swpod2006/27apr06/hergenrother1.gif


As the comet crumbles, fresh veins of ice and dust are exposed to sunlight, causing the pieces to brighten. Fragment G (mag. 12) is still too faint for most backyard telescopes, but Fragment B (mag. 9) is an easy target--and it is undergoing a similar disruption event.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap060426.html

To see it, point your telescope toward the constellation Corona Borealis in the eastern sky an hour or so after sunset;

http://www.spaceweather.com/images2006/27apr06/skymap_north.gif

----------

I had no problems at all observing comet 73P/Schwassmann Wachmann 3 (Fragment C) from a severely polluted urban
site on saturday night. I setup an 11 inch dobsonian in my back yard in west St. Louis city (under extreme lioght pollution conditions) and had no problem finding and seeing 73P. I could even see a fan shaped tail of fragment C. So even if you're stuck in a light polluted location, get the scope out if it clears up!


This site is updated daily and has good charts for
finding this comet:

http://www.skyhound.com/sh/skyhound.html

The relevant charts and pages are found by navigating
to the "comets' page.

K. Michael Malolepszy
St. Louis Astronomical Society

May 22, 2006 02:56 PM Forum: After Dark

Comet Schwasmann-Wachmann Meteors May 22–23?

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Comet Schwasmann-Wachmann 73P Meteor shower May 22–23?

Extracted From

http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/comets/article_1704_1.asp

Meteor shower May 22–23?

Jack Drummond of the Starfire Optical Range predicts
that debris shed by the comet many years ago (long
before the 1995 breakup) could bring us a meteor
shower on the night of May 22–23. He writes:

"The closest approach of [Fragment C's] orbit to the
Earth, 0.04 astronomical unit, occurs on May 22 at
20:00 UT. Thus the maximum of the meteor shower would
be on May 22 or May 23, with a radiant of right
ascension 208° [13h 52m] and declination +30° [in
Canes Venatici, 12° north-northwest of Arcturus], and
a geocentric velocity of 13.5 km/sec, which is quite
slow." Unlike with many meteor showers, this radiant
is highest in the sky as early in the night as 11 p.m.
daylight saving time — so the meteors would be visible
any time from dusk to dawn.

If the shower does peak around 20:00 May 22 Universal
Time, that would be during the evening of the 22nd for
continental Europe, later at night for western Asia,
and before dawn on the 23rd for Central and South
Asia. But keep watch wherever you are; the shower, if
any, could arrive many hours earlier or later than
that.

July 5, 2006 01:21 PM Forum: After Dark

Re: Track the Space Shuttle

Posted By K. Michael Malolepszy

Heavens-above.com has an STS-121 page:

http://www.heavens-above.com