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About RonPrice

  • Rank
    Venus Team
  • Birthday 07/23/1944


  • Biography
    married 48 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer & editor for 16, & a Baha'i for 56(in 2015).
  • Location
    George Town Tasmania Australia
  • Interests
    reading and writing in the social sciences and humanities, as well as the physical, biological and a
  • Occupation
    retired teacher & tutor, lecturer & adult educator; now writer & author, poet & publisher, blogger
  • Astronomy Equipment
    I have no special equipment other than: (a) curiosity and (b) reading ability

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  1. It has been several months since I was last on this thread and so I might just add a little something 'astronomical. To read my post readers will have to highlight the space below.-Ron Price, Australia 'INTRODUCTION Part 1: I have posted several times at this site, but I can't find a record of this particular post, but this may be, in part, an old post. I'm not sure. This post is a personal reflection, a personal account, of my experience of astronomy and its study as well as the influences that made for my present interest in this field at the age of 71 in these middle years(65-75) of late adulthood as some human development psychologists call the years from 60 to 80 in the lifespan. I write this partly for myself, since I am a writer and, partly, for the possible interest of others. I don't get to this site as often as I'd like because I post at literally 100s of internet sites and serendipitously select a few sites each day to write on and interact, if timely, with others. The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) was a year-long celebration of astronomy that took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo and the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova in the 17th century. By 2009 I had been collecting astronomy resources in a file for only four years. I had only come to any degree of systematic study of astronomy in the years after my retirement from FT, PT and casual-volunteer work at several stages in the years 1999 to 2005. Part 2: Astronomy has never been part of the formal curriculum at any level of my educational experience. I have known several people personally with an interest in astronomy. My mother?s brother, Harold Cornfield and my maternal grandfather, Alfred Cornfield, had more than a little interest in the subject, an interest I remember them having as far back as the 1950s when I was in primary school and visited by uncle in his large home, and my grandfather in the small room where he lived with his eldest daughter Florence, my mother?s sister. I was exposed to the personality of my grandfather in the years 1944 to 1958 and to 1964 in the case of my uncle. I had contact with my mother?s brother until the age of 23 with only a rare letter after that when I had moved in Australia. He studied astronomy?although I don?t remember ever talking to him about his interests. I have had a fascination with the subject since the start of the space age in the late 1950s and early 1960s and my becoming affiliated with the Bah?'? Faith back in the 1950s during my adolescence. It is difficult not to be interested in the subject being in the first generation to see the movement of man into space in the last five decades. But I have never followed-up that interest in any serious way other than: (a) to attend two or three of those planetariums that dot the landscape of the cities of the world, ( to browse through a few books and © to listen and watch the occasional special on astronomy in the electronic media. Part 3: This file in my study now 10 years in the making marks a beginning point to my own formal study, but it is a study that is largely episodic rather than systematic due to my always wide academic interests. Time will tell how serious this episodic study will become given the variety of my other academic interests. In the first ten years that this file has been in existence, March 2005 to July 2015, I collected more than 30 articles and two lists of journals. A start had been made. In 2009 astronomy was celebrating four centuries of its modern existence, beginning with Galileo in 1609. In December 2010 a National Geographic video-documentary was televised. It was entitled: Journey to the Edge of the Universe. In this first decade of my retirement, 2006 to 2015, there has been an increasing range of stimuli that have turned me toward astronomy. It will be interesting to see the development of this interest in these years of my late adulthood. Ron Price 1/1/'11 to 21/7/'15.
  2. SWALLOWED BY A BLACK HOLE Part 1: In the southern hemisphere's summer of 2014-2015, the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way has been getting ready to feast. I was enjoying the first of the summers which I would have in my life during my 70s. I had taken an early retirement some 15 years before and I was also enjoying the intellectual feast that was prepared for me on the world-wide-web. My three children had all left the family nest, and grand-children occupied space out on the periphery of my universe. I served as the secretary and publicity-officer of the local Baha'i group, went for a walk everyday, and socialized in the main with my wife of 40 years. A gas cloud three times the size of our planet was straying this summer within the gravitational reach of this our nearest super-massive black hole, and was about to be eaten-alive. Across the globe, telescopes were being trained on the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, some 27,000 light years from Earth. Astronomers were living in the expectation of observing this unique spectacle in the cosmos. For cosmic detectives across the Earth, it was a unique opportunity. For the first time in the history of science, they hoped to observe in action the awesome spectacle of a feeding super-massive black hole. Part 1.1: I had just finished my dinner which was about as far from an awesome spectacle as one could get in the evening of my life. I watched a program on SBS TV on 9/2/'15 at 7:30 p.m. entitled: Swallowed By A Black Hole. It helped to have some knowledge of both quasars and black holes to really appreciate this program. It also helped to know something about astronomy and physics, astrophysics and mathematics. Part 2: QUASARS Quasars, or quasi-stellar radio sources, are the most energetic & distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN). Quasars are extremely luminous and were first identified as being high red-shift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that appeared to be similar to stars, rather than extended sources similar to galaxies. Their luminosity can be 100 times greater than that of the Milky Way. A quasar is a compact region in the center of a massive galaxy surrounding a central super-massive black hole. Its size is 10?10,000 times what is called the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole. The energy emitted by a quasar derives from mass falling onto the accretion disc around the black hole. I leave it to readers with the interest to search-out the meaning of terms here which, in all likelihood, they do not understand. Part 2.1: It can be shown that quasars are between 600 million, and 29 billion light-years away. Because of the great distances to the farthest quasars and the finite velocity of light, we see them and their surrounding space as they existed in the very early universe. For more on quasars and AGN, as well as explanations of the many complex terms, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasar Part 3: BLACK HOLES The idea of a body so massive that even light could not escape was first mentioned by John Michell in a letter written to Henry Cavendish in 1783 of the Royal Society. Black holes are mathematically defined regions of space-time exhibiting such a strong gravitational pull that no particle or electromagnetic radiation can escape from it. Black holes, defined and described as regions of space from which nothing can escape, was first published by David Finkelstein in 1958, and black holes became mainstream subjects of research. Part 3.1: After a black hole has formed, it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings. By absorbing other stars and merging with other black holes, super-massive black holes of millions of solar masses may form. There is general consensus that super-massive black holes exist in the centers of most galaxies. The core of the Milky Way contains a super-massive black hole of about 4.3 million solar masses. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform space-time to form a black hole. For more on black holes go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole This subject really requires some knowledge of physics, astrophysics, astronomy and mathematics. The layman and amateur like myself can only grasp the content to a limited extent.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 11/2/'15. Part 4: These are subjects which the average person can't get their head around; the numbers are just too big and the concepts behind the numbers require the study of astronomy and physics, astrophysics, & mathematics. The average punter, occupied as he or she is with the mundane and the quotidian, with a job and family life, with an interest in gardening and sport, perhaps, bush- walking and swimming, is just not on the money for the complex, distant, scientific phenomena at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy at a 27,000 light-year outpost, in a state of utter remoteness. Ron Price 11/2/'15.
  3. Since there have been no responses to my post above in the last 3 years, I'll add some of my thoughts on Stephen Hawking and, in the process, keep this thread alive and well.-Ron Price, Australia -------------------------------------------- Stephen Hawking hosted an epic new kind of cosmology series. Its title was Planet Earth. It took the world's most famous scientific mind and set it free, powered by the limitless possibilities of computer animation. Hawking gave us the ultimate guide to the universe, a ripping yarn based on real science, spanning the whole of space and time. He took us through an examination of the nature of the universe itself, to the chances of alien life, and the real possibility of time travel. ALIENS: Premiered April 25 2011 in Australia Hawking joined science and the imagination to explore one of the most important mysteries facing humankind ? the possibility of alien, intelligent life and the likelihood of future "contact." Hawking took viewers, traveling from the moons of Jupiter to a galaxy maybe not so far, far away, as he introduced us to possible alien life forms. Stunning computer generated imagery was used. The alien forms of life, in all likelihood, face the same universal trials of adaptation and survival as the residents of this Earth. The promise of time travel has long been one of the world's favorite scientific "what-ifs?" Hawking explored all the possibilities, warping the very fabric of time and space as he went. From killing your grandfather to riding a black hole, we learned the pitfalls and the prospects for such a technology. THE STORY OF EVERYTHING: Premiered May 2 2011 in Australia In two mind-blowing hours, Hawking revealed the wonders of the cosmos to a new generation. TV watchers could delve into the mind of the world's most famous living scientist and reveal the splendor and majesty of the universe as never seen before. We were able to see how the universe began, how it created stars, black holes and life ? and how everything might/will end.
  4. ?I don't write science fiction,? said Ray Bradbury(1920-2012) in one of his many interviews. ?I've only done one science fiction book and that's Fahrenheit 451; it?s based on reality,? he continued. The book was given this name because 451 degrees is the temperature at which paper burns. Bradbury started writing in 1937 at the start of a Plan I have been associated with for nearly 60 years.1 He was 13 and he wrote every day for the rest of his life: until the day before yesterday, 5 June 2012.2 For Bradbury science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. ?Ron Price with thanks to 1Wikipedia, 7 June 2012: the Baha?i teaching plan, and 2 Bradbury chose a burial place at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles with a headstone that reads "Author of Fahrenheit 451". You brought sci-fi into the mainstream by writing lyrically & evocatively about the lands of the imagination,1 but my life of reading took me in different directions. Your mind was ignited by reading-fever at the age of 8; my fevers were of the body in sport, playing, fun and games. It would be years before my mind was ignited: my late teens and twenties turned my imagination loose, but not in the direction of sci-fi?.. Mine was the slow working, by sensible and insensible degrees, of my intellect in the wide fields of the social sciences and humanities. As the years went on the biological, & the physical- applied sciences kept my mind on heat?...We occupied such different landscapes you and I, Ray. I wish you well now that you occupy that land of the undiscovered country from which no man returns, a whole new world for you & your imagination, Ray. Go to it with that same fever!! 1 Bradbury is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories. More than eight million copies of his works, published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world. Gerald Jonas, "Ray Bradbury, Master of Science Fiction, Dies at 91," The New York Times, 6 June 2012. Ron Price 7 June 2012
  5. Some Caveats As Chris Harvey writes in his review of the first episode of Brian Cox's new series, Wonders of the Universe (BBC Two): The first law of thermodynamics stipulates that when a TV scientist tries to slip the phrase ?second law of thermodynamics? into a sentence, a large proportion of viewers start wondering what?s happening on MasterChef. "Life as we know it," Professor Cox explained at one point, "is only possible for one thousandth of a billion billion billionth, billion billion billionth, billion billion billionth of a percent" of the lifespan of the universe. And of that barely conceivable fraction, a human life occupies only a tiny space. You wonder whether it's really worth getting up in the morning. At least that is the way which Tom Sutcliffe put it in "Time flies with the star trekker," The Independent, 7 March 2011. I'll let you read the rest of his critique at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...4-2234160.html
  6. I think I'll keep the Brian Cox material on this thread and so, after watching yet another piece last night, I post the following for the possible(hopeful) pleasure of(at least)some readers.-Ron ------------------ TIME Wonders of the Universe is a 2011 television series produced by the BBC and hosted by physicist Brian Cox. Wonders of the Universe was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC2 on 6 March 2011 and in Australia on ABC1 on 19 July.(1) The series comprises four episodes, each of which focuses on an aspect of the universe and features a 'wonder' relevant to the theme. It follows on from Cox's previous series for the BBC, Wonders of the Solar System, which was first broadcast in 2010. Wikipedia informs me that in the UK 6 million watched the first episode. Cox and the BBC are also reportedly responsible for a hike in telescope sales. But, as night follows day or, as a planetary nebula becomes a white dwarf, Cox and the program have its detractors. I’ll let you read about them for they are easily accessible in cyberspace. The universe is filled with over a hundred billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars. In the first episode, the one I watched yesterday evening in the middle of an Australian winter, Cox considered the nature of time in this vastness of billions and billions. He explored, briefly, the cycles of time that astronomers and physicists have now named and described. Cox also discussed the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, its effect on time, and the Heat Death theory concerning the end of the universe. I’ll leave you to google all this to your heart’s content if, indeed, your heart and mind want to get more content, more stimulated or more amazed beyond human understanding.(1)-Ron Price with thanks to (1)ABC1, 19 July 2011, 8:30-9:30 p.m. We all react to different aspects of programs, and that is only saying the obvious, eh, Brian? I was most impressed by the idea of time’s line: the cosmological terms and those many epochs beginning with the Planck epoch, the stages of the early universe, and of structure formation: stars, galaxies, clusters, super-clusters and the ultimate fate of the universe in billions of years.(1) What went on in the first trillionth of a second in that growth from sub-microscopic to astronomical size in the blink of an eye? I’ve had a fascination(2) with time since the ‘50s and those first years of the atomic age when the edge of self-destruction filled our time and I joined a new religion with its cycles & periods, eras & epochs, phases & stages, and plans.(3) 1 Go to this link for the details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Big_Bang 2 See this link: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02EFDE1E31F934A25750C0A9609C8B63&pagewanted=all 3 The Baha’i Faith Ron Price 19 July 2011
  7. It's been nearly two months since I was last at this thread and I can see it has been enriched by some passionate contributions. After living in Australia for 40 years this month(7/'71 to 7/'11) I have come to appreciate: dark humour, humour which as they say Downunder 'takes-the-piss'---to use Aussie vernacular and colloquialism, and just about every other form of humour. But, generally, I find that humour as a genre of life and literature has its limitations. As Gore Vidal, that delightful critic of American society has frequently emphasized: "we in the west have laughing-gas pumped into our lounge-rooms every night." And so it is that I only watch the occasional 'funny-piece' now in the evening of my life, these years of late adulthood(60-80), and old age(80+), if I last that long. I have come to appreciate the Aussie temperament which is so rooted in the cynical and skeptical and humorous side of life. It has helped give balance to my more serious side. And I thank you both for your enjoyable contributions to this thread. May you both have a long and healthy life. Today is the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere; I've had a long day and am about to go to bed at 1 minute to midnight here in Tasmania. I wish you all well from this spot on Earth, this last stop on the way to Antarctica if you take the western-Pacific-rim-route. Over and out for now.-Ron
  8. Iain Stewart(b. 1964-) is a Scottish geologist, television and radio presenter, as well as a professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth. I have just finished watching his epic 5 part series How Earth Made Us.(1) I am twenty years older than Stewart, am a retired teacher and lecturer, now poet and publisher and currently am the secretary of the Baha?i Group of George Town Tasmania, the oldest town in Australia, the oldest continent. Professor Stewarts line of thought reminded me of Ellsworth Huntingtons intellectual mission to determine step by step the process by which geological structure, topographic form and the present and past nature of climate have shaped mans progress, moulded his history, and thus played an incalculable part in the development of a system of thought which could scarcely have arisen under any other physical circumstances.(2) Stewart presents a focus on how the environment has shaped history. While this series was presented on Australian television the Plains Humanities Alliance held a public panel presentation entitled Changing Places: The Geographic Turn in the Digital Humanities.(3) Sometimes called humanities computing this field has focused on the digitization and analysis of materials relating to the traditional humanities disciplines. Digital Humanities currently incorporates digitized materials from the traditional arts and humanities disciplines, such as: history, philosophy, linguistics, literature, art, archaeology, music, and cultural studies. It then combines the methodologies of these disciplines with tools provided by computing such as: data visualisation, data retrieval, computational analysis, digital publishing, and the electronic publication fields. Also relevant to this discussion is geographic information system or geospatial information system(GIS). This is a system that captures, stores, analyses, manages and presents data with reference to geographic location data. It is a critical tool in facilitating a new wave of spatial analysis. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis and database technology. GIS may be used in archaeology, geography, cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management, precision agriculture, photogrammetry, urban planning, emergency management, landscape architecture, navigation, aerial video and localized search engines. GIS allows users to create multiple layers of information that can be aligned on the same map or spatial field. Historical maps can be scanned and geo-referenced, that is, stretched to fit the current map, thus allowing users to combine and overlay various forms of information in order to understand how they relate to one another. -Ron Price with thanks to (1)ABC1 TV, 8 March 2011 to 5 April 2011, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., (2) Ellsworth Huntington, Wikipedia, Aaron Hofer, Geographic Determinism Through the Ages, and Why Did Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents For The Last 13,000 Years, Jared Diamond, (3) Office of University Communications University of Nebraska Lincoln and Tooling Up for Digital Humanities. I think it quite logical, Ellsworth, that there is a step-by-step process by which geologic structure, forms topographic, & the present and past climate have shaped progress, moulded our history, thus playing an incalculable part in the development of systems of thought which could scarcely have arisen under any other physical circumstances.1 I think it quite logical, Samuel,2 that the primary source of conflict in our post-Cold War world is and will be the cultural and religious identities as you formulated in your 1992 lecture at the AEI: American Enterprise Institute.2 And so Professor Stewart, I can agree with your thesis, in part, and I did enjoy your series on TV in this Australian autumn: delightful, Ian, absolutely delightful!!* 1 Ellsworth Huntington(1876-1947) was professor of geology at Yale and known for his studies on climatic determinism. 2 Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, 1996. Ron Price 19 April 2011 Updated for My Astro Space On: 9 June 2011
  9. Part 1: The International Year of Astronomy was a year-long celebration of that field of science. It took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo and the publication in of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia Nova in the 17th century. By 2009 I had been collecting resources for the study of astronomy for four years. I had only come to any degree of what you might call a serious and systematic study of astronomy after my retirement in the years 1999 to 2005 from a working life of FT, PT and casual-volunteer work: 1955 to 2005. So it was that yesterday evening that I gobbled-up Stephen Hawkings Into the Universe, which premiered in the UK and the USA just over a year ago, and now on SBSONE TV. It was a cold night and I was keeping warm in my lounge-room here in Tasmania. Id had had a long day; I had not had my daily sleep and after half an hour of this one hour program I was fast asleep. But I read about it the next day and here I am writing about it and about Stephen Hawking.-Ron Price with thanks to SBSONE TV, 24 and 31 May and 7 and 14 June, 8:30-9:30 p.m., Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking. Part 2: Now in the evening of my life & on my sleep-inducing meds I dropped-off to my heart's ease as Chaucer once wrote, so soft to my eyes and the murmurer of low and tender lullabies, as Keats once wrote, that program not half over. But, still, Stephen, I was able to google the subject and this often makes up for the loss of a visual stimulation/I missed the computer generated imagery of the universe & the symphonic orchestral music. Youve been going strong since 1962, Stephen, the year you got your B.A. and the year I started my travelling & pioneering for the Canadian Bahai community in that town of Dundas Ontario in that Golden Horseshoe!! I?ve got to hand it to you, Stephen, with your motor neuron disease-& how you keep going especially since those books you wrote beginning with A Brief History of Time in 1988 when(1) the Arc Project was just getting started in the port city of Haifa Israel.......You(2) have not been able to even feed yourself since I began my career in 1974 in a post secondary education sector Downunder in Australia, & you could not talk since I moved to Western Australia in remote Pilbara in 1985......How do you do it.... Stephen?......Really, how do you do it? 1 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Dell Pub. Co, 1988. It has sold 10 million copies. 2 In the letter of 30 April 1987 from the Universal House of Justice, while Hawking was writing his book on the subject of time, it was announced to the international Bahai community that the way was now open for the Bahai world to erect the remaining buildings of its Administrative Centre at this climacteric of human history. Ron Price 8 June 2011
  10. More From the Essayist Joseph Epstein As for "celebrity," the standard definition is no longer the dictionary one but rather closer to the one that Daniel Boorstin gave in his book The Image: Or What Happened to the American Dream: "The celebrity," Boorstin wrote, "is a person who is well-known for his well-knownness," which is improved in its frequently misquoted form as "a celebrity is someone famous for being famous." The other standard quotation on this subject is Andy Warhol's "In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes," which also frequently turns up in an improved misquotation as "everyone will have his fifteen minutes of fame." But to say that a celebrity is someone well-known for being well-known, though clever enough, doesn't quite cover it. Not that there is a shortage of such people who seem to be known only for their well-knownness. What do a couple named Sid and Mercedes Bass do, except appear in bold-face in the New York Times "Sunday Styles" section and other such venues (as we now call them) of equally shimmering insignificance, often standing next to Ahmet and Mica Ertegun, also well-known for being well-known? Many moons ago, journalists used to refer to royalty as "face cards"; today celebrities are perhaps best thought of as bold faces, for as such do their names often appear in the press (and in a New York Times column with that very name, Bold Face). The distinction between celebrity and fame is one most dictionaries tend to fudge. I suspect everyone has, or prefers to make, his own. The one I like derives not from Aristotle, who didn't have to trouble with celebrities, but from the career of Ted Williams. A sportswriter once said that he, Williams, wished to be famous but had no interest in being a celebrity. What Ted Williams wanted to be famous for was his hitting. He wanted everyone who cared about baseball to know that he was--as he believed and may well have been--the greatest pure hitter who ever lived. What he didn't want to do was to take on any of the effort off the baseball field involved in making this known. As an active player, Williams gave no interviews, signed no baseballs or photographs, chose not to be obliging in any way to journalists or fans. A rebarbative character, not to mention often a slightly menacing s.o.b., Williams, if you had asked him, would have said that it was enough that he was the last man to hit .400; he did it on the field, and therefore didn't have to sell himself off the field. As for his duty to his fans, he didn't see that he had any. Whether Ted Williams was right or wrong to feel as he did is of less interest than the distinction his example provides, which suggests that fame is something one earns--through talent or achievement of one kind or another--while celebrity is something one cultivates or, possibly, has thrust upon one. The two are not, of course, entirely exclusive. One can be immensely talented and full of achievement and yet wish to broadcast one's fame further through the careful cultivation of celebrity; and one can have the thinnest of achievements and be talentless and yet be made to seem otherwise through the mechanics and dynamics of celebrity-creation, in our day a whole mini-(or maybe not so mini) industry of its own....Celebrity suggests ephemerality, while fame has a chance of lasting, a shot at reaching the happy shores of posterity. Leo Braudy's magnificent book on the history of fame, The Frenzy of Renown, , Which leads one to a very proper suspicion of celebrity. As George Orwell said about saints, so it seems only sensible to say about celebrities: They should all be judged guilty until proven innocent. Guilty of what, precisely? I'd say of the fraudulence (however minor) of inflating their brilliance, accomplishments, worth, of passing themselves off as something they aren't, or at least are not quite. If fraudulence is the crime, publicity is the means by which the caper is brought off. This new ranking--stars, superstars, icons--helps us believe that we live in interesting times. One of the things celebrities do for us is suggest that in their lives they are fulfilling our fantasies. Modern celebrities, along with their fame, tend to be wealthy or, if not themselves beautiful, able to acquire beautiful lovers. Their celebrity makes them, in the view of many, worthy of worship. "So long as man remains free," Dostoyevsky writes in the Grand Inquisitor section of The Brothers Karamazov, "he strives for nothing so incessantly and painfully as to find someone to worship." If contemporary celebrities are the best thing on offer as living gods for us to worship, this is not good news. I close this quoting of Epstein with a final paragraph and trust this rather long post has been of some value to some readers here at My Asto Space Astronomy site: ------------ But the worshipping of celebrities by the public tends to be thin, and not uncommonly it is nicely mixed with loathing. We also, after all, at least partially, like to see our celebrities as frail, ready at all times to crash and burn. Cary Grant once warned the then-young director Peter Bogdanovich, who was at the time living with Cybill Sheppard, to stop telling people he was in love. "And above all," Grant warned, "stop telling them you're happy." When Bogdanovich asked why, Cary Grant answered, "Because they're not in love and they're not happy. . . . Just remember, Peter, people do not like beautiful people." Perhaps Brian Cox is not frail-looking enough and just a little too beautiful.-Ron Price, Australia
  11. Thanks, wingeing Pom Thanks, wingeing Pom. Celebrity is a problem in our age and time. It is used to sell everything from astrophysics to soap and hair spray. Well said! I will post the first two paragraphs of an excellent essay on the subject.-Ron ----------------------------------- The Culture of Celebrity Let us now praise famous airheads. by Joseph Epstein 10/17/2005, Volume 011, Issue 05 CELEBRITY AT THIS MOMENT IN America is epidemic, and it's spreading fast, sometimes seeming as if nearly everyone has got it. Television provides celebrity dance contests, celebrities take part in reality shows, perfumes carry the names not merely of designers but of actors and singers. Without celebrities, whole sections of the New York Times and the Washington Post would have to close down. So pervasive has celebrity become in contemporary American life that one now begins to hear a good deal about a phenomenon known as the Culture of Celebrity. The word "culture" no longer, I suspect, stands in most people's minds for that whole congeries of institutions, relations, kinship patterns, linguistic forms, and the rest for which the early anthropologists meant it to stand. Words, unlike disciplined soldiers, refuse to remain in place and take orders. They insist on being unruly, and slither and slide around, picking up all sorts of slippery and even goofy meanings. An icon, as we shall see, doesn't stay a small picture of a religious personage but usually turns out nowadays to be someone with spectacular grosses. "The language," as Flaubert once protested in his attempt to tell his mistress Louise Colet how much he loved her, "is inept."
  12. Thanks For Your Concern Kokatha man Thanks For Your Concern---Kokatha man. I just got home from my evening walk after a lovely rain today. I saw two specks of light in the night sky. I reflected on your concerned email as I walked along and, also due to your reply this evening, I send this note. I have had an interest in astronomy since I played in my grandfather's study/room back in the 1950s more than half a century ago. One can enjoy astronomy without a telescope and this site welcomes people with such an interest even though they do not have a telescope or even want one. I have written a great deal about astronomy over my years as a writer and editor, poet and publisher, journalist and scholar. Here is a piece below which I trust may move beyond the 'gumpf' you have found my words to be in the last several posts.-Ron in Australia's oldest town--George Town(1804): Sydney and Hobart having become cities. ---------------------------- MANKIND In the century after Columbus arrived in America (1492-1592), the concept of the planet as one system began to take form. It is not the purpose of this prose-poem to outline all the features of this slowly evolving concept of the earth as the heritage of all humankind. The metaphysical poet John Donne(1572-1631) wrote: “All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated.....As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness …No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”--John Donne from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, ‘Meditation XVII’. Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) worked as a jurist in the Dutch Republic. With Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law. He was also a philosopher, theologian, Christian apologist, playwright, and poet. Nicolas Copernicus' epochal book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, published just before his death in 1543, is often regarded as the starting point of modern astronomy and the defining epiphany that began the scientific revolution.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 9 September 2010. So it was by the time Shaykh Ahmad set out to prepare the way for that new spiritual revolution in the middle of the 19th century, the world had been slowly moving toward and seeing itself as one integrated whole, one planetary system. The process has been slowly evolving now over more than five centuries, say, 1492-1992---planetization of mankind. And in the middle of this great, epochal shift, the 600 year period from 1492 to 2092, two precursors and two-god men appeared on history’s stage to provide the key integrating mechanism for the unification of the world in one common faith, one common system, the political and religious unification of the species. This spiritual revolution was universal, out of people’s control…was inevitable for the very survival of humankind was at stake after unity of chiefdoms, clans, tribes, city states and nations had been achieved in the millennia-long history of this planet. This is the road toward which a harrassed humanity, travelling it would seem oft’times at the speed of light, bleeding & wretchedly oblivious of its God from its calvary to its ultimate resurrection. Ours is the duty,…however dismal the scene, to labour serenely now to lend our share to the operation of forces which are leading humanity out of valleys of misery and shame to the loftiest summit of its power and glory in the future years!!(1) (1) Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day Is Come, Baha’i Pub. Trust, New Delhi, 1976(1941), p. 129. Ron Price 9 September 2010 Updated for Kokatha man On: 23/3/'11
  13. Sorry To Disturb Your Astronomical-Literary Tranquillity Sorry To Disturb Your Astronomical-Literary Tranquillity, Kokatha man. In writing, in astronomy, indeed, in life and on the internet, one pleases some of the people some of the time and some of the people never. Thanks for your honest reaction, Kokatha man. I'm happy to look at the sky every night on my daily walk; I'm happy to continue writing. I'm sorry you don't like my "gumpf. Thank you for you offer to send me a telescope. If we don't give up on each other our relationship may prove, in the end, to be useful.-Ron Price, George Town, Tasmania
  14. More On Brian Cox After more than 3 months absence and now that autumn has arrived, I will add another piece on Brian Cox.-Ron ------------------------- Brian Cox was on SBSONE TV again in Australia this week.1 This Part 4 of 5 programs was broadcast in the UK in March 2010 and, as is often the case, programs made and produced in the UK—and the USA--get Downunder about a year later, sometimes more and sometimes less. As I pointed out the last time I wrote about this Brian Cox, he is not the Brian Cox has drunk cheap wine, methylated spirits and aftershave. He's not been in some of what the sociologist Irving Goffman called total institutions: jails, lockups, and padded cells. And so he’s not the Brian Cox who until the age of 49 was a self-confessed and hopeless alcoholic, who turned his life around and is now a man with a mission. He is not the Emmy Award Scottish actor, the independent film director or the English goalkeeper. I want to talk about here in this short prose-poem the delightful astro-physicist. -Ron Price with thanks to (1) SBS1 TV, “Wonders of the Solar System,” 22 March 2011, 8:30-9:30 p.m. As I said the last time I wrote about you, Brian, I had trouble with physics in high school and only got as far as matriculation. You have helped me make up for my ignorance of physics, & astro- physics, astronomy and the study of our universe. As I said 4 months ago: I dropped physics in ’62 for history so that I could go to university and I’ve been into history ever since, Brian. History has as many wonders as astro-physics, Brian. Without physics I could not do medicine, law, engineering, or any of the maths and sciences. So it was into the arts for me and there I have stayed for the last 50 years! Now, in my retirement, I have begun to play at the edges of astrophysics thanks to, by sensible and insensible degrees, a series of media-events, like this Cox chap who could make you feel the wonder and awe of it all: 3 cheers again for Brian Cox!...Hip-hip-hurray! Ron Price 30 December 2010 updated to 24 March 2011
  15. Happy New Year To You All, Too Happy New Year To You All, Too! From Ron Price in George Town, Tasmania. They advertise this town as the oldest in Australia due to the fact that Hobart and Sydney are now cities---while George Town is still a town of about 7000 people.