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BruceMoomaw
http://sciencedems.house.gov/press/PRArtic...spx?NewsID=1007 :

"[House] Science [Committee] Democrats lauded an agreement reached today on
the Conference Report for S. 1281, the NASA Authorization Act of 2005.
Following today's approval by the conference committee, the legislation is
tentatively scheduled for consideration by the full House this week...

"During the conference, Rep. Jackson-Lee was a strong proponent for... more
educational programs in the sciences for minorities..."

I should hope so, given that she showed up at JPL a few days after the Mars
Pathfinder landing and asked if it could photograph Neil Armstrong's
footprints.
Bill Harris
QUOTE
The Congressional bonehead award goes to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) who, on a visit to JPL, asked if Mars Pathfinder had taken an image of the flag planted there in 1969 by Neil Armstrong!


Close, no cigar...

--Bill
deglr6328
Wow, yeah, there's stupid and then there's mind meltingly idiotic. This of course falls into the latter category I'm afraid.
However, it does not top the time two years ago when I was discussing the successful MER landings with a co-worker when he asked, completely seriously: "oh wow! how many of our astronauts did we send this time?". wacko.gif Its that delightful sort of question that causes your eyes to completely roll back in your head and your bowels to involuntarily empty.
Richard Trigaux
a space education program for majority too would be interesting. and the ideal places for this already exist: they are called schools.

Poor guies, able to subtly analyze a political conflict and manage it for years, but who never raise their eyes to the star strewn sky...
Toma B
QUOTE (deglr6328 @ Dec 16 2005, 09:42 AM)
Wow, yeah, there's stupid and then there's mind meltingly idiotic. This of course falls into the latter category I'm afraid.
However, it does not top the time two years ago when I was discussing the successful MER landings with a co-worker when he asked, completely seriously: "oh wow! how many of our astronauts did we send this time?".  wacko.gif  Its that delightful sort of question that causes your eyes to completely roll back in your head and your bowels to involuntarily empty.
*


Mind meltingly idiotic... biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif
When I was in high school, my friend used to inform me that they saw some spaceship (usually it was Soyuz to Mir space station) launched on the yesterday’s news...
That was the good part.........bad part was when they asking me: "Are they going to the Moon" or "Where they are going (meaning Moon,Mars,Jupiter,Saturn)" which would be more difficult for me because I would have to explain to them what EARTH ORBIT means... mad.gif blink.gif mad.gif sad.gif mad.gif blink.gif
djellison
"Are there any people on it" is the most common question I get asked about just about any spacecraft.

Doug
Richard Trigaux
I remember a story when I was in an UFO association, incredible but true: a guy came to us, telling he was pursued by a round bright spaceship, at night, and from mad terror he speeded up with his car on the small countryside roads, just to find that the "spaceship" was still above him...
After one minute of questionning it appeared that the "spaceship" was just the full Moon...


Still with the Moon, there are still many people here who believe that we cannot see the Moon at day. This is really incredible, they read this into a mickey comic when they are a child, and never raised their nose toward the sky to see it is not true.

That people don't know about basic astronomy is already a problem, but when they even not SEE...
ljk4-1
And we have a former Canadian defense minister who recently declared that the US is planning for an "intergalactic" war as the reason for raising its defense budget.

I've known college-educated people who did not know what stars were, that the Moon had craters, and that the Sun "rose" in the east and "set" in the west.

I've met grown men who not only did not know what sundogs or moon rings were, but when shown them in reality were actually fearful of them. No, I did not time travel to 1305 Europe. I am thinking of ways to make a fortune during the next eclipse, however.

I frequently visit a local university observatory that has open house nights on Fridays. More often than not, it is the little children who know more about the stars and planets than their parents or the students who attend the college (and it ain't no trade school).

I taught an adult ed course on basic astronomy in the 1990s. I once asked my students - all adults - who was the first man to set foot on the Moon. I got mostly blank stares, with one student finally making the guess of John Glenn.

I had a high school student in my class who started out really eager to become an astronomer - until she discovered that there was math involved. I kid you not.

I remember an ABC news correspondent (Lynne Neary or Shear?) asking Carl Sagan when we were going to launch a manned mission to a star that was recently discovered at the time to have a protoplanetary disk.

I watched Charlie Rose interview two of the head managers of the Mars Rovers shortly after Spirit's landing in 2004 and essentially spend most of his time declaring he knew nothing about what NASA did or what was going on with Mars.

I remember either MacNeil or Lehrer (of the PBS MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour) become astonished to learn from someone he was interviewing that geosynchronous communications satellites orbit Earth at 22,000 miles altitude.

I recall the time David Grinspoon of Venus Revealed and Lonely Planet fame being "interviewed" by the DJs of a local Boston radio station who ended up asking him inane questions about global warming and other nonsense and not about Venus, the real reason he was there.

And on and on and on....
MahFL
Untill quite recently my American wife ( who is a teacher ) did not realise Stars were Suns.

pancam.gif
Tom Ames


"When a chance peak over 11-year-old Taylor's shoulder revealed a biology worksheet, she realized a teacher she'd trusted had been secretly teaching her only son about the physical world and its mechanics for almost a year."
JRehling
QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Dec 16 2005, 07:02 AM)
I've known college-educated people who did not know what stars were, that the Moon had craters, and that the Sun "rose" in the east and "set" in the west.
*


Before we draw conclusions from this... do you (any reader in particular) know that some languages have postpositions instead of prepositions? That SVO and SOV are the most common word orders of languages, but all six possible word orders have been know to occur? That languages with postpositions tend to be SOV? That South America has the most native languages of any continent? That Papua New Guinea has more than any other continent? Etc...

There is a whole world of less-obscure to more-obscure knowledge to be known about dozens of different fields. A common trend among people who who have specialized in one is to endlessly tsk-tsk the rest of the world because they haven't also specialized in that field. Probably the number of people who don't know the basics of comparative linguistics is about the same as the number of people who don't know the basics of astronomy. But it's not a reasonable conclusion that both of those population-wide shortcomings is a shame. What would your education consist of: 700 brief introductions to every field?

All told, if someone was going to pick a field not to know anything about, astronomy is a hell of a good choice in terms of day to day usefulness.

For the nth time, I'll say that the "tsk-tsk"ing is not a flattering characteristic of the cognoscenti. We can easily devise basic tests that you, too, would get a zero on.
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (JRehling @ Dec 17 2005, 05:54 PM)
All told, if someone was going to pick a field not to know anything about, astronomy is a hell of a good choice in terms of day to day usefulness.

For the nth time, I'll say that the "tsk-tsk"ing is not a flattering characteristic of the cognoscenti. We can easily devise basic tests that you, too, would get a zero on.
*



We do not speak of specialized knowledge, but of basic/general knowledge. That people don't know the decay mode of Aluminium 27 or calculate an orbit is perfectly understandable. That a guy is not able to recognize the Moon is much less.

Knowing what stars are or what is really going on with space exploration is of high philosophical/ethical/emotionnal signficance for us all: to undertand the world we live in. Yes it does not help to speculate at the stock exchange or things like that, but this does not remove any of its value. The problem is not with stock exchange, it is that people spend their life in the stock exchange and never look at the sky. Poor guies.

By he way I pass a good part of your test (knowing that South America and Papua have the most languages) because knowing other peoples with whom we are living together is ALSO of high philosophical/ethical/emotionnal signficance!
deglr6328
QUOTE (Tom Ames @ Dec 17 2005, 04:09 PM)
"When a chance peak over 11-year-old Taylor's shoulder revealed a biology worksheet, she realized a teacher she'd trusted had been secretly teaching her only son about the physical world and its mechanics for almost a year."
*




Ahhahaha! laugh.gif That is so freakin great! Also check out thier article on the science paparazzi!
TheChemist
Your hilarious onion links led me to :
Coke-Sponsored Rover Finds Evidence Of Dasani On Mars
laugh.gif
RedSky
Here's an example from about 15 years ago on some educational deficiencies (or worse):

In my previous job, I was sort of a liason between the sciences and insurance companies... providing pertinent research and information on meteorology and geology (i.e., hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc). I used to give talks about this at insurance trade seminars. As is typical, I'd open with describing my background and a little joke: My undergraduate degree was in physics and astronomy... but I "came down to earth" and got my masters in meteorology.

Some middle aged woman in the front row, wearing a smart gray business suit... she might have been an executive secretary, a middle manager, or actuary for all I know... asked me: "Does your astrology background help you in your forecasts?" Not sure what she meant, I said that... well, a lot of the physics, math and planetary science in astronomy was applicable in earth science. She replied... "No, I mean did your background in astrology ... forecasting the future by the stars, help in your weather forecasts?"

I could hear some chuckles in the audience... and I didn't really want to embarrass her, so I just said something like.. "If I could really forecast that well, I wouldn't be here." Well, I guess most newspapers do have daily horoscopes.


Similar to the previous post on someone not knowing that stars are "suns": My father was not well educated. Once, as a kid (probably in the mid 1960's), we were watching on TV the old 1950's classic movie "When Worlds Collide". Near then end, when the star Zyra collides with and destroys the earth... he said "Isn't that a bit far fetched: stars are tiny, and fall to the earth as shooting stars." When I said "Gee, Dad, stars are like the sun... some much bigger. Don't you KNOW that!" He seemed quite taken aback and embarrassed by that.

For someone not into science, I could easily see with our educational program here in the U.S. how this fact could be overlooked or forgotten. Especially for those who were not interested, and just sort of slept through 7th grade science (which was the last time in grades K-12 that we dealt with astronomy in my school system).
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (RedSky @ Dec 18 2005, 01:27 AM)
Similar to the previous post on someone not knowing that stars are "suns":  My father was not well educated.  Once, as a kid (probably in the mid 1960's), we were watching on TV the old 1950's classic movie "When Worlds Collide".  Near then end, when the star Zyra collides with and destroys the earth... he said "Isn't that a bit far fetched: stars are tiny, and fall to the earth as shooting stars."  When I said "Gee, Dad, stars are like the sun... some much bigger.  Don't you KNOW that!"  He seemed quite taken aback and embarrassed by that. 

For someone not into science, I could easily see with our educational program here in the U.S. how this fact could be overlooked or forgotten.  Especially for those who were not interested, and just sort of slept through 7th grade science (which was the last time in grades K-12 that we dealt with astronomy in my school system).
*


My father too was thinking that the spots on the Moon were clouds (in our atmosphere).
That in prehistory people were afraid of eclipses is understandable (it is a breathtaking view, and seeing the daylight switching off like a lamp could be really frightening if you don't know what happens). But since at least one century we have SCHOOL with (in theory) basic explanations about what are stars, planets, eclipses, etc. So the problem is
1) either these basic science notions are not really presented in school curicula
2) there are still many persons who are not interested by the world they live in, just into their personnal surrounding.

A third point is about science-fiction, which often presents things in a fancy way, not helping people to sort what is real science extrapolation and what is pure fantazy. For instance a recent movie like "fusion" contains many grossly inexact statements (the solar wind able to melt massive steel structures!), not accounting with enormous calculation mistakes (a machine able to melt millions of tons of rock at a second, powered by a nuclear reactor, and when you remove the plutonium bar of the reactor, it is not so hot that you can touch it! Whooaaaaa!) This does not help to bring basic science education to people.
ljk4-1
In Sunday's Book Review: 'A People's History of Science,'

by Clifford D. Conner
=====================================================

Review by JONATHAN WEINER

Clifford D. Conner thinks snobbery has distorted the writing
of history from ancient times to the present. In writing
about science, for instance, historians celebrate a few great
names - Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein - and neglect the
contributions of common, ordinary people who were not afraid
to get their hands dirty. With "A People's History of
Science," Conner tries to help right the balance. The
triumphs of science rest on a "massive foundation created by
humble laborers," he writes.

Unfortunately, this people's history isn't very good with
people. Conner is too busy counterbalancing the Great Man
theory to tell us about, say, Newton's extraordinary mind.
The Great Man theory may not make a good history of science,
but neither does what you might call the Great Mass theory.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/books/re...html?8bu&emc=bu
Tom Ames
The review that follows, of Chris Mooney's bok The Republican War on Science is also very good.
ljk4-1
QUOTE (JRehling @ Dec 17 2005, 12:54 PM)
Before we draw conclusions from this... do you (any reader in particular) know that some languages have postpositions instead of prepositions? That SVO and SOV are the most common word orders of languages, but all six possible word orders have been know to occur? That languages with postpositions tend to be SOV? That South America has the most native languages of any continent? That Papua New Guinea has more than any other continent? Etc...

There is a whole world of less-obscure to more-obscure knowledge to be known about dozens of different fields. A common trend among people who who have specialized in one is to endlessly tsk-tsk the rest of the world because they haven't also specialized in that field. Probably the number of people who don't know the basics of comparative linguistics is about the same as the number of people who don't know the basics of astronomy. But it's not a reasonable conclusion that both of those population-wide shortcomings is a shame. What would your education consist of: 700 brief introductions to every field?

All told, if someone was going to pick a field not to know anything about, astronomy is a hell of a good choice in terms of day to day usefulness.

For the nth time, I'll say that the "tsk-tsk"ing is not a flattering characteristic of the cognoscenti. We can easily devise basic tests that you, too, would get a zero on.
*


People should have at least a basic knowledge about the wider Universe they live in. They don't need to become astronomers as a result, but I think having a bigger perspective than the one they usually get stuck on this planet and self-centered group of societies will go a long way towards makig things better for all of us in the long run.

Yes, everyone should know that stars are other suns, that we live on a finite planet orbiting a star in a galaxy of stars. That the Universe is composed of billions of galaxies full of such stars. If people don't know what kind of place they really live in, we might as well go back to a Ptolemaic system.

There was a good reason Carl Sagan had the Voyager 1 engineers point the space probe's cameras back at the Sol system in 1990. The engineers objected that nothing could worthwhile could be seen. Sagan said that was the point.
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Dec 18 2005, 09:31 PM)
People should have at least a basic knowledge about the wider Universe they live in.  They don't need to become astronomers as a result, but I think having a bigger perspective than the one they usually get stuck on this planet and self-centered group of societies will go a long way towards makig things better for all of us in the long run.

Yes, everyone should know that stars are other suns, that we live on a finite planet orbiting a star in a galaxy of stars.  That the Universe is composed of billions of galaxies full of such stars.  If people don't know what kind of place they really live in, we might as well go back to a Ptolemaic system.

There was a good reason Carl Sagan had the Voyager 1 engineers point the space probe's cameras back at the Sol system in 1990.  The engineers objected that nothing could worthwhile could be seen.  Sagan said that was the point.
*


Well said, ljk4-1


And if the knowledge of our position in the universe had something to do with the global bettering of the world we see since one century or two (human rights, democracy, abolition of slavery, humanitarian action...)?

I think it has.

If you look right now in the world, you soon notice that violence, fundamentalism and dictatures arise only where there are uneducated people.

However living without knowing about space is exactly like living in a house without windows, not knowing about the sun and sky and other people.
Everybody has the right to a window!!! (knowing the universe through school, correct medias, informed TV broadcast, etc) I do not want to see space-illiterate people!


And at last everybody have some moral duty to look through the window at least once in their lifetime...
Toma B
QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 19 2005, 11:39 AM)
Everybody has the right to a window!!! (knowing the universe through school, correct medias, informed TV broadcast, etc) I do not want to see space-illiterate people!
And at last everybody have some moral duty to look through the window at least once in their lifetime...
*

Many people are just too lazy to learn or just see something for themselves...gosh, they are too lazy to even think for themselves...

One of many examples:
There was Solar eclipse lately, visible from where I live as a partial SE...I was at work at that time so I told my co-workers what’s happening and result was that ONE of mine 10 co-workers decided to stand up from his desk for about 10-20 seconds, take Solar Eclipse sun glasses that I brought with me and look at some 80-90% eclipsed Sun.
-How about that "look through the window" Richard?

Some people are just so blind to all the beauty, and so happy about it...and when they grow old they complain that they didn't see much in their lifetime...I hate that kind of people... mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif
BTW that's why I love this forum soo much... smile.gif
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (Toma B @ Dec 19 2005, 09:07 AM)
Many people are just too lazy to learn or just see something for themselves...gosh, they are too lazy to even think for themselves...

One of many examples:
There was Solar eclipse lately, visible from where I live as a partial SE...I was at work at that time so I told my co-workers what’s happening and result was that ONE of mine 10 co-workers  decided to stand up from his desk for about 10-20 seconds, take Solar Eclipse sun glasses that I brought with me and look at some 80-90% eclipsed Sun.
-How about that "look through the window" Richard?

Some people are just so blind to all the beauty, and so happy about it...and when they grow old they complain that they didn't see much in their lifetime...I hate that kind of people... mad.gif  mad.gif  mad.gif
BTW that's why I love this forum soo much... smile.gif
*


To us to share our love of space... what do I say, it is even not love, it is just basic involvement into life. We sew seeds for centuries to come, an unrewarding process. But I would never abandon it.

I France in the last total eclipse in 1998, there was ten of thousands of people gathered all along the central line. Pity that there was clouds. (I rather choose to study the meteo from myself, and try to find a good place, somewhere between Normandy and Bayern. My weather prediction was good, I found one of the very few places with some holes in the clouds). This reminds me of an eclipse in the early 20th century where children at school were FORBIDDEN to look at the eclipse!! So there is some progress. Slow, but it is.
Toma B
QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 19 2005, 12:50 PM)
I France in the last total eclipse in 1998, there was ten of thousands of people gathered all along the central line. Pity that there was clouds. (I rather choose to study the meteo from myself, and try to find a good place, somewhere between Normandy and Bayern. My weather prediction was good, I found one of the very few places with some holes in the clouds).  This reminds me of an eclipse in the early 20th century where children at school were FORBIDDEN to look at the eclipse!! So there is some progress. Slow, but it is.
*


That was 11th August 1999 isn't it? I saw it too...one of the most exiting moments of my life that was smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif ...it was BEAUTIFULL!!!
I am ashamed to speak here about media lies that precluded eclipse but I will...
It was something like "DON"T LOOK AT THE SUN OR YOU WILL GET PEMANENTLY BLIND AND YOU WILL DIE IF YOU WANDER OUTSIDE OF YOUR PROPERLY DARKENED ROOM...BECAUSE OF ALL THAT RADIATION wacko.gif !!!"
...and this wasn't begining of 20th century but end of it... mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif
mellow.gif I SWEAR IT WAS IN STATE NEWS!!! mellow.gif
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (Toma B @ Dec 19 2005, 10:40 AM)
That was 11th August 1999 isn't it? I saw it too...one of the most exiting moments of my life that was smile.gif  smile.gif  smile.gif ...it was BEAUTIFULL!!!
I am ashamed to speak here about media lies that precluded eclipse but I will...
It was something like "DON"T LOOK AT THE SUN OR YOU WILL GET PEMANENTLY BLIND AND YOU WILL DIE IF YOU WANDER OUTSIDE OF YOUR PROPERLY DARKENED ROOM...BECAUSE OF ALL THAT RADIATION wacko.gif !!!"
...and this wasn't begining of 20th century but end of it... mad.gif  mad.gif  mad.gif
      mellow.gif  I SWEAR IT WAS IN STATE NEWS!!! mellow.gif
*


Looking the sun in front IS dangerous, I think. I did myself when I was a child, and had no problem afterward. But others had, there was cases of unrecoverable severe loss or blindness. So, even if the result depends on the person, it is rather unpredictable and I would strongly unadvise anybody to look at the sun in front. Anyway it is much more pleasant to look at it through specially designed glasses, the best are dark polymer sheets, and if we have not, black films are the best.
But:
1) during totality there are no danger at all
2) there is no need to protect from any radiation: during an eclipse there are LESS radiations than otherwise!!

This is simple to understand, but even simple things can be distorted...

Medias often play a shameful role about hiding or distorting basic science facts. However any news person should INFORM OF WHAT IS in place of "showing the image people expect"
chris
QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 19 2005, 11:48 AM)
2) there is no need to protect from any radiation: during an eclipse there are LESS radiations than otherwise!!


Its actually MORE dangerous!

As the sun approaches totality, the total amount of light entering the eye is is equivalent to twilight, so the pupil opens a lot. Even with 99% of the sun obscured, the exposed crescent of the sun is still at full brightness, and when your lens focusses its image on your retina, you will get crescent shaped retinal burns. The retina feels no pain, and the damage can take a few hours to take full effect, at which point you've irreversibly damaged your sight.

NASA page here with references.

I found this information when I was looking for how to go about observing the sun during the transit of Venus.

Chris

edit: typos
ljk4-1
QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 19 2005, 03:39 AM)
Well said, ljk4-1
And if the knowledge of our position in the universe had something to do with the global bettering of the world we see since one century or two (human rights, democracy, abolition of slavery, humanitarian action...)?

I think it has.

If you look right now in the world, you soon notice that violence, fundamentalism and dictatures arise only where there are uneducated people.

However living without knowing about space is exactly like living in a house without windows, not knowing about the sun and sky and other people.
Everybody has the right to a window!!! (knowing the universe through school, correct medias, informed TV broadcast, etc) I do not want to see space-illiterate people!
And at last everybody have some moral duty to look through the window at least once in their lifetime...
*


Also well said, Richard. Your analogy is what I often say to people, that we are like young children living in a room with closed windows, and few are encouraged or inclined to open them and look out at the wider reality.

I think everyone needs to take some form of the Red Pill.

http://www.arrod.co.uk/essays/matrix.php

http://www.whysanity.net/monos/matrix3.html
JRehling
QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Dec 18 2005, 01:31 PM)
People should have at least a basic knowledge about the wider Universe they live in.
*


Of course, but consider which definition of "Universe" you mean.

I remember a sign in a chemistry classroom that asked rhetorically, "What in the world isn't chemistry?" Of course, just about everything *is* chemistry, on some level, but chemistry isn't a useful way to think of a labor strike. In like fashion, everything in the world is economics, everything in the world is fashion, everything in the world is design. Clearly not everything in the world is architecture or music, but those things are nice, too.

There is a rich and rewarding philosophical pathway that depends upon astronomy, but having seen it, I don't know that I would call it a Required Course for all mankind given the 7,000 other things they could pursue, knowing that only 20 are reasonable to assign. And while people should understand that the Earth orbits the Sun, this thread had extended into a gripe that people don't know that the Moon has impact craters or how numerous galaxies are. Well, I don't see any particular harm in someone knowing that -- I love to show people the Moon through my telescope and tell them what those holes are. But it's another thing to get preachy about how bad it is when people don't know. Show me anyone, and I can set up a quiz that you'll score zero on, with information that is no less essential than the prevalence of impact craters on the Moon. This is not a moral issue for people to know those things.

On Internet astronomy-themed boards, the topic of the Great Unwashed always comes up. It's a great opportunity to feel superior to people who have different priorities.

It's actually quite ironic. If astronomy has taught us anything, it's that what we thought was The Universe is a very small part of it. But some people who study astronomy forget that the study of the Universe is a very small part of life.

I think a board like this should be an opportunity to enjoy a mutual interest -- not to dissect the problem of people who don't have the interest.
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (JRehling @ Dec 21 2005, 04:49 PM)
*


When I see somebody who don't know that stars are suns, I don't feel superior (and I think the same goes for most members of this forum) I just feel rather sad that they don't know for such basic life facts. Eventually I had to explain these facts to third world people, who had some excuse to be ignorant; so I learned them readily. But when I see people who HAD MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO KNOW, especially politicians or media people, (who are so often telling us what we must do or not, and how we must live) or people who REFUSE TO KNOW because they are full of prejudices of ideologies, I think there is somewhere a gross failure.

7000 basic topics to know? Yes we live in a difficult world, where we must fight every hour of the day and every day of the life to obtain tiny pieces of understanding, even of very useful and relevant understanding, a world where laziness and feeling unconcerned are the worse mistakes. But we are not 5 years old, we are all grown up, and had several years of school. If you divide all these hours of studying by 7000, that still makes 70 minutes which are enough to understand basic astronomy facts, and basic facts about many things else.

The problem is that, since the school is mandatory, we all had more or less lessons on basic astronomy facts, and basic facts on many other subject. But there are people who were not interested by knowing the universe, just by their egocentric gesticulations.

I think for instance to city gangs, who had the same school opportunities than us, but who rejected everything, just holding the walls all the night long, without even noticing these tiny specs of light (often only messengers of hope in the ghettos). I think at all these people interested into egocentered strategies to grab favours or money, I think to all these people who were skilful enough to gather our votes or to get the best audimat, and who now keep with a great smile spreading their ignorancce of so many basic facts (not just astronomy, thoroughly all the 7000 without any exception).

That all does makes me feel superior, I just feel sad for them. sad.gif
JRehling
QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 21 2005, 09:50 AM)
When I see somebody who don't know that stars are suns, I don't feel superior (and I think the same goes for most members of this forum) I just feel rather sad that they don't know for such basic life facts.
*


I allow that what stars are, and what object the Earth orbits are now basic life facts. The presence of Moon craters is not, any more or less than the top ten fashion designers active today comprise a basic life fact. Nor is it a basic life fact how many galaxies there are (even that there are more than ten).

I think a basic Internet truism is that you know you have a good argument when people argue against some trumped-up version of what you are saying instead of what you have actually said.

QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 21 2005, 09:50 AM)
I think for instance to city gangs, who had the same school opportunities than us, but who rejected everything, just holding the walls all the night long, without even noticing these tiny specs of light (often only messengers of hope in the ghettos). I think at all these people interested into egocentered strategies to grab favours or money, I think to all these people who were skilful enough to gather our votes or to get the best audimat, and who now keep with a great smile spreading their ignorancce of so many basic facts (not just astronomy, thoroughly all the 7000 without any exception). 

That all does makes me feel superior, I just feel sad for them.  sad.gif
*


I am reminded of an episode of thirtySomething in which a successful adult remembered the "city gang" members at his school, and what it was like when they were all 15 years old. He said, "I got to be Class President and they got to have sex." Don't be so sure that all of the city gang members are missing life while all of the Class Presidents are experiencing life fully.

Pretend for a moment that astronomy and academia are the world you live on, and consider visiting other people's worlds, not just as you see them from 35,000,000 km away.
Richard Trigaux
QUOTE (JRehling @ Dec 21 2005, 07:48 PM)
I allow that what stars are, and what object the Earth orbits are now basic life facts. The presence of Moon craters is not, any more or less than the top ten fashion designers active today comprise a basic life fact. Nor is it a basic life fact how many galaxies there are (even that there are more than ten).

I think a basic Internet truism is that you know you have a good argument when people argue against some trumped-up version of what you are saying instead of what you have actually said.
I am reminded of an episode of thirtySomething in which a successful adult remembered the "city gang" members at his school, and what it was like when they were all 15 years old. He said, "I got to be Class President and they got to have sex." Don't be so sure that all of the city gang members are missing life while all of the Class Presidents are experiencing life fully.

Pretend for a moment that astronomy and academia are the world you live on, and consider visiting other people's worlds, not just as you see them from 35,000,000 km away.
*



????? blink.gif ??? blink.gif I must confess I am a bit lost in your argumentation, and I especially don't see where is the point. I just reply this time to say that:
1) I said nothing about sex
2) I was never class president. Anyway this would not have avoided me to have sex.
3) I never leaved this world since my birth.
4) Especially I never went so far than 35 000 000 kms, no more than 11kms (in airliners).
5) If I had went in another world, I think I would have told everybody for long ago.
6) If I had told, nobody would have believed me, hahahaha laugh.gif
ljk4-1
QUOTE (JRehling @ Dec 21 2005, 02:48 PM)
I allow that what stars are, and what object the Earth orbits are now basic life facts. The presence of Moon craters is not, any more or less than the top ten fashion designers active today comprise a basic life fact. Nor is it a basic life fact how many galaxies there are (even that there are more than ten).

I think a basic Internet truism is that you know you have a good argument when people argue against some trumped-up version of what you are saying instead of what you have actually said.
I am reminded of an episode of thirtySomething in which a successful adult remembered the "city gang" members at his school, and what it was like when they were all 15 years old. He said, "I got to be Class President and they got to have sex." Don't be so sure that all of the city gang members are missing life while all of the Class Presidents are experiencing life fully.

Pretend for a moment that astronomy and academia are the world you live on, and consider visiting other people's worlds, not just as you see them from 35,000,000 km away.
*


You know that interest in astronomy and space science is still a minority in this world. Which is even more ironic when you realize how vast the Universe is compared to us wee little bugs on one tiny little dust mote.

And if you are concerned about some of us not having any interests or knowledge beyond those two fields, fear not. I have many interests, but this forum is focused on space, so that is what I discuss (mainly). And as far as I am concerned, the Universe and all its implications are most important for humanity in terms of our survival and growth. As Richard T. said, when I hear someone spouting ignorance about the Cosmos, I am saddened, not amused.

As for the fear of what science ignorance could bring for society, read this quote from George Orwell's 1984 between Winston Smith and O'Brien:

'But you do not! You are not even masters of this planet. What about Eurasia and Eastasia? You have not conquered them yet.'

'Unimportant. We shall conquer them when it suits us. And if we did not, what difference would it make? We can shut them out of existence. Oceania is the world.'

'But the world itself is only a speck of dust. And man is tiny helpless! How long has he been in existence? For millions of years the earth was uninhabited.'

'Nonsense. The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists except through human consciousness.'

'But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals -- mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which lived here long before man was ever heard of.'

'Have you ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not. Nineteenth-century biologists invented them. Before man there was nothing. After man, if he could come to an end, there would be nothing. Outside man there is nothing.'

'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.'

'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.'

Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say anything. O'Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection:

'For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?'

Winston shrank back upon the bed. Whatever he said, the swift answer crushed him like a bludgeon. And yet he knew, he knew, that he was in the right. The belief that nothing exists outside your own mind -- surely there must be some way of demonstrating that it was false? Had it not been exposed long ago as a fallacy? There was even a name for it, which he had forgotten. A faint smile twitched the corners of O'Brien's mouth as he looked down at him.

'I told you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different thing: in fact, the opposite thing. All this is a digression,' he added in a different tone. 'The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.'

The entire novel is online here:

http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

If you think this is an exagerration or paranoia, just see some of the recent news.
Richard Trigaux
Thanks ljk4-1 for alway quoting interesting science articles!
JRehling
QUOTE (Richard Trigaux @ Dec 21 2005, 12:11 PM)
????? blink.gif ??? blink.gif  I must confess I am a bit lost in your argumentation, and I especially don't see where is the point.
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It's odd, then, that you have been trying to rebut what I am saying.

I'm saying that people are listing long complaints of all of the astronomical trivia that regular people often don't know. And while the lists include some very basic things, they also include things that, honestly, it is not important that every person know. Great if they do, fine if they don't.
djellison
Boys - dont make me come in here!!! I've delted a few posts that were all rant-like and silly.

BEHAVE

Doug (with stern look on face)
hugh
I thought that JRehling was reacting to the faintly smug attitude of some of the posts earlier in the thread. My grandmother had only the vaguest idea what a star was, but I didn’t consider her an idiot.
Admittedly, for a politician to think Neil Armstrong landed on Mars is pretty sad, but not necessarily more disturbing than for one (nobody specific, you understand) to believe the earth is 6000 years old.
But on the subject of ignorant politicians, my homeland of New Zealand once had a Prime Minister (one George Forbes) who insisted during a cabinet meeting that two-thirds of something was more than three-quarters. And this was during the Great Depression, when it would have been helpful to have a leader who understood basic arithmetic…
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