Since 1926, amateur telescope makers and astronomers have gathered at Stellafane in Springfield, Vermont, to compare notes, compete for awards for the best home-built 'scopes, and enjoy rural Vermont's dark skies. This year the convention will be held July 25-27, and registration is now open; you can download a brochure here.
Obviously I have neglected this, my erstwhile blog, for nearly a year—but I can't fail to note here that the 2013 Stellafane Convention will be held August 8-11, and that you can download a brochure about it here. Please see also the Stellafane Website. Convention registration will begin in early May. If you are an amateur telescope maker or astronomer, you do not want to miss this legendary gathering, held at the birthplace of amateur telescope making in America.
My occupation, communication design, and my avocation, amateur telescope making, have finally converged in the form of a small brochure for The Stellafane Convention, a gathering of amateur astronomers and telescope makers held on Breezy Hill in Springfield, Vermont since 1926. You can download a pdf here.
It looks like the online community has won, for the time being, the battle to stop SOPA and PIPA. The online protests—including the one-day shutdown of Wikipedia and other big sites—generated so much heat that key House and Senate supporters of the bills backed away.
We'd better be prepared for ever fiercer attacks on freedom of information on the internet. The bills ostensibly were written to protect “Intellectual Property,” but could all too easily have been used to shut down speech that corporations don't like. The corporatocracy cannot maintain control over American government and American life if the internet is allowed to continue to evolve ever more powerful ways for people to communicate, debate, and organize politically.
Statist regimes like China and theocracies like Iran heavily censor internet communications. In this country the constitution makes it hard for government to censor internet postings directly—although with this Supreme Court, anything is possible—but Sopa and Pipa get around this by essentially privatizing censorship.
Internet freedom is the only barrier to corporate feudalism in this country. That this attack was partially authored by Pat Leahy, our supposedly liberal Senator, is doubly troubling, as is the apparent fact that campaign money from Hollywood blinds him to how easily and insidiously his law could be abused.
...how exactly will those TV Muslims in Dearborn institute Sharia Law in the U.S? There are really only three ways they can accomplish the aim of their stealth jihad.
One way would be to convince American voters to elect Sharia-endorsing senators and representatives until they achieve a majority in both houses of Congress—in fact a 60% supermajority in the Senate, because that’s what it takes to bring anything to a vote these days. Congress could then pass the whole Sharia shebang into law. Of course they would need to elect a president who would not veto the legislation (unless they can get this done before our current secret Muslim president leaves office), and take their chances in the Supreme Court, which might indeed uphold the constitutionality of flogging as punishment for driving while female or of stoning-to-death for homosexuality. Surely you can see how that kind of strictness would appeal to Scalia, Alito, Roberts, and Thomas at least.
The second way to institute Sharia would be violently to overthrow the most powerful and heavily armed government in the history of the world, overcoming all resistance by sheer force of numbers and the huge cache of Weapons of Mass Destruction that the Muslims have hidden in abandoned libraries and theaters in Detroit.
The third way is, of course, to simply wait, while politicians and their useful idiots dismantle our constitutional principles and civil liberties, eventually leading to the collapse of constitutional government in the U.S. Then anything goes, and if the Sharia contingent is the most organized and determined, they'll get their way. They'll have to defeat the Wall Street feudalists, though, so it won't be easy.
As the entire internet has by now noticed, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post heard that a high-school kid sassed a Republican governor on Twitter; that the governor's staff, which apparently spends considerable time searching the social media for unfavorable references to said governor, proceeded to contact her school's administration and complain; and that said administration then called the kid on the carpet and demanded that she apologize in writing to the governor.
Three people: a kid who doesn't like her governor, a governor who uses his office to hassle kids who don't like him, and a school principal who thinks it's his job to protect the governor's ego.
Three issues: a teenager’s “bad” manners, unconstitutional misuse of the powers of public office, and narrow minded authoritarianism on the part of school administrators. Which of these strikes Marcus as worthy of a nationally syndicated rant? Right.
“The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that.”
—Larry Kudlow, CNBC, on the Japanese catastrophe,
quoted (with video evidence) at Vanity Fair.