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Thread: The BA speaks at Mt. Tam...8/21/04

  1. #1
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    The BA speaks at Mt. Tam...8/21/04

    As part of "Anniversary Adventure Week" (we celebrated our 29th on the 18th) Mrs. R.A.F. and I decided to attended the BA's "Mars talk" that he gave at Mt. Tamalpais just north of San Francisco.

    We had a great time!! We met Phil before the "show", and talked for about 15 minutes about woowoos and the BABB. (Stuff that I can't really mention here) But we did get some insight into "The Man" and basically why he does what he does. It was very interesting. I even got my picture taken with him...yes, it was cold.

    One of the things that surprised us was the fact that there were about 60 people attending, we expected fewer, because to get to Mt. Tamalpais one must travel up a long, narrow, winding road...those that attended really wanted to be there! There were also quite a few kids in attendence which we thought was great!

    The title of the BA's presentation was Mars Attacks. It basically covered all of the "Hoagland stuff" that is on the main site (the "face", the "glass worm" etc.)...just in a bit more detail. I was most impressed with the "angles" arguments...the BA shot down Hoagland's reasoning that there is some "special significance" to the angles between the Cydonian features...and he did it most convincingly. (But don't take my word on it...read the main site. ) The funniest part of the whole evening was the numerous bad puns liberally sprinkled throughout the presentation...the BA certainly knows how to connect with an audience...he had everyone laughing.

    Unfortunately, the "Star party" that was to follow the presentation had to be cancelled due to clouds and fog. (Picture a combination of the movies The Crawling Eye and The Fog and you'll get the idea.) But, like I said, we had a great time. THANKS PHIL, we're looking forward to "doing it" again.

    Off topic...Just so you all don't get the impression that everything about our trip was "wonderful"...the drive down Mt. Tam was really scary. Visibility was practically zero down a long, narrow, winding road. Getting in and out of the San Francisco area was no "picnic" either. We got "lost" twice, (stupid road signs ) were stuck in no fewer than 5 traffic jams, (one at 11:30 PM) and we had to pay to leave the San Francisco area...at midnight on a Saturday night!
    Last edited by R.A.F.; 2008-Jan-07 at 06:55 PM.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  2. #2
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    You're just trying to make us jealous...


    And it worked.


    One question. Why did you have to pay to leave San Francisco?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SciFi Chick
    You're just trying to make us jealous...


    And it worked.
    Sorry, Sci/Fi Chick...that wasn't my intention.

    Why did you have to pay to leave San Francisco?
    Ya know, I would like the answer to that question, too! There was construction going on everywhere...I guess that that's how they pay for it.

  4. #4
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    Well, golly! Thanks. I had a blast, though I could have hoped for slightly warmer weather. Even in August it gets plenty cold up there.

    I knew more people in the audience than i expected: a reporter friend, RAF, and a guy I haven't seen in 30 years (we went to elementary school together).

    I'm glad the talk went well. I'll be giving it quite a bit over the next few months. I may take out some of the math, and instead put in more pareidolia stuff. I found a wonderful set of examples...

    Anyway, it was great meeting you and the missus, RAF (even if I did say your name incorrectly during the talk)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bad Astronomer
    I'm glad the talk went well. I'll be giving it quite a bit over the next few months.
    Was this a "secret test presentation?" Or did I just miss the announcement?
    I can't find any mention on the website calendar of these talks - would love to make the next one....

  6. #6
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    The BA was in Chicago during the Earthquake, too. For what reason, I don't know.

    I would love to meet the BA in person, though.

    Nice post, R.A.F.! =D>

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    It was on the calendar up until the day after the talk, when I removed it. I want to make the calendar more obvious on the website. A redesign is in the works...

    Candy, I'll be in Chicago again in September, probably to give a talk at AstroFest. I haven't confirmed yet for a number of reasons, but I hope to this week. 8)

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bad Astronomer
    Candy, I'll be in Chicago again in September, probably to give a talk at AstroFest. I haven't confirmed yet for a number of reasons, but I hope to this week. 8)
    I marked my calendar. I still have 2 vacation days not allocated for this year, so this would be great. I hope you can come. In the meantime, I will research Kankakee. I have heard of it, but I am not sure where it is.

    Warning, I am very shy in real life. ops:

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    [quote="Candy"]The BA was in Chicago during the Earthquake, too. For what reason, I don't know.[quote]

    In Chicago and there was an earthquake, in San Fransico and there was fog.....hmmmm Coincidence? I don't think so. Look out Australia.

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    Hmm...the BA has been on the West coast, Chicago and the South. What about the North East, let's say Mass.? How about U Mass at Amherst for a good place to speak? (my kids attend school there so I have an alterior motive for suggesting this!). Just an idea.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bad Astronomer
    I may take out some of the math, and instead put in more pareidolia stuff.
    I kinda liked the math. But you're right. To reach everyone in the audience (including the children, which IMO is very important), it's hard to argue with a potato chip that looks like Abraham Lincoln.

    Anyway, it was great meeting you and the missus, RAF...
    Yeah, we had fun too!

    (even if I did say your name incorrectly during the talk)!
    No worries...there were a number of factors involved with that "mistake". IIRC, your "reporter friend" had that same name, and my Wife mentioned it before your talk. Also the fact that we had just met minutes before. In other words, no big deal.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by N C More
    Hmm...the BA has been on the West coast, Chicago and the South. What about the North East, let's say Mass.? How about U Mass at Amherst for a good place to speak? (my kids attend school there so I have an alterior motive for suggesting this!). Just an idea.
    Agreed. And while he's at it, it'd be nice if he payed us a visit north of the border too.

    We don't bite, however you may get frostbite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bad Astronomer
    and a guy I haven't seen in 30 years (we went to elementary school together).
    Hey that was me! Was great to see you Phil, you really haven't changed a bit! But please, please don't refer to me by my elementary school nickname anymore! I'm even beginning to suspect you are the one who made that name up....

    The talk was great (even though he was preaching to the choir, as far as I was concerned) and very funny. "......or maybeeeee.......IT'S JUST A #$&%ING HILL!!!!!!" Ok I think he refrained from using expletives, but they were implicit.

    BTW, if memory serves, I had the pleasure of looking through the bad astronomer's telescope in his backyard circa 1973. Is that cool or what?

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    WELCOME to the board, Rob!

    So...what other stories can you tell us about the BA's childhood?

    R.A.F. runs and hides.

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    Thanks RAF! Glad to be here. I'll admit I'm not as big on astronomy as some of the other sciences, but skepticism runs in my blood so I can relate to the BA in that respect.

    Stories...hmmm. Well, it was a good while ago....I remember Phil as being a far better behaved kid than myself, but he always had his intellectual sense of humor. We were in a special school, part of the public school system but not the one the "regular kids" went to. I guess it was like a gifted and talented program, something for kids who placed high on an IQ test or something. Which to me seems like a bad idea. I remember learning a lot of stuff (I can still tell you things about the Peloponnesian Wars I learned in 3rd grade), but just being isolated from the kids who lived on your street because you were "smarter" kind of messed some of us up a bit. Phil probably did fine with it, but I ended up bailing on the program after a couple years after I just became a complete troublemaker. I think I mostly straightened out once I got back in the regular school.

    But I really don't remember specific stories about Phil. I know, that's lame....sorry. I do have a picture of him here in our class picture from 73....looks pretty much the same actually! (maybe i need to hook up my scanner and post it....)

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob
    I do have a picture of him here in our class picture from 73....looks pretty much the same actually! (maybe i need to hook up my scanner and post it....)
    OH NOOO...look what I've started!!! Some day I'm gonna learn to keep my big mouth SHUT!

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    Heh. Yeah, it was fairly isolating being in the GATE program, but I still played with kids on my street. But the sense of community in those classes was pretty strong. And I look different now.. I have a beard and a lot less hair. Amazingly, I would have recognized Rob; when I saw him the other day he did look familiar! It makes me wonder if, when I see people I vaguely recognize, they really are people from my distant past.

    Candy, by the way: if I speak at Astrofest, it would be on Saturday September 18 around 8 or so. I have not yet confirmed though.

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    Big Welcome to you Rob. =D>

    Quote Originally Posted by rob
    Thanks RAF! Glad to be here. I'll admit I'm not as big on astronomy as some of the other sciences, but skepticism runs in my blood so I can relate to the BA in that respect.

    Stories...hmmm. Well, it was a good while ago....I remember Phil as being ....
    Yep. I predict you will be real popular around here.

    Nice to have ya.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Re: The BA speaks at Mt. Tam...8/21/04

    R.A.F., thanks for sharing so much. I have enjoyed all these post.

    This comment is intriguing....
    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    The title of the BA's presentation was Mars Attacks.
    There's a contest to name his new book. here He hasn't sanctioned the contest much yet.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Re: The BA speaks at Mt. Tam...8/21/04

    Quote Originally Posted by George
    R.A.F., thanks for sharing so much. I have enjoyed all these post.
    Thank you very much, George...I appreciate that.

  21. #21
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    Phil,

    please let us know if you ever visit the UK, I'd be keen to hear you speak.

    Cheers

  22. #22
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    20040826 (unknown hour min sec & 2*mili



    1 . viewtopic.php?p=321471#321471 is the latest update {thanks C}

    2. Wednesday 8/25/04 sqU/O^ie(A'misH {Perdue Geology}

    3: oppsi I "overrote" the she Cog Go events My My?


    here ? http://www.chicagoastro.org/ once THERE click E_vent

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    Re: 20040826 (unknown hour min sec & 2*mili

    Quote Originally Posted by HUb'


    1 . viewtopic.php?p=321471#321471 is the latest update {thanks C}

    2. Wednesday 8/25/04 sqU/O^ie(A'misH {Perdue Geology}

    3: oppsi I "overrote" the she Cog Go events My My?


    here ? http://www.chicagoastro.org/ once THERE click E_vent
    Thanks HUb', I was able to find a better address to use for Mapquest. It looks like an hour drive.

  24. #24
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    As a veteran of the GATE program myself, I agree with rob. I learned a lot but it was very isolating to be part of a "special program" and leave normal class to go take it.

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    The same thing happened to me when I entered the GATE program. Friends that I had in the past drifted away, but I made a lot of new friends, and I learned a lot more. There are good things and bad things, I guess.

    btw, welcome rob!

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    When I did GATE, I didn't have any friends to lose, so that didn't bother me. I don't remember much of the elementary school stuff other than getting pulled from class a few times. By high school I was pretty much in honors classes, so no biggie.

  27. #27
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    We kinda have something similar in the PA education similar but my sister, who's two years older then me, was 2 points too low to qualify or some such. Seeing as she really is a smart cookie my mom refused for my bro and me to be tested so I was stuck scoring points for the "normal kids" whenever the "smart kids" tried to be condescending.
    Ok, steering back to the original conversation... Phil, any chance you wanna come speak at Case Western? There are a LOT of nerds here who'd be honored to listen to you!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Bad Astronomer
    Candy, by the way: if I speak at Astrofest, it would be on Saturday September 18 around 8 or so. I have not yet confirmed though.
    I put in for the day off, got directions, and will head south for the event after 1pm (after class). I sure hope you make it. The redheaded woman taking massive photos of you while you speak would be me. 8-[

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candy
    I put in for the day off, got directions, and will head south for the event after 1pm (after class).
    Wonderful! I confirmed, too. I'll be giving my Moon Hoax talk at 8:00 p.m. Saturday night. My friend Kelly Beatty from Night Sky/Sky and Telescope magazines will be giving a talk at 6:00 too. I'll have more info up soon on my calendar page.

    Candy, please don't be shy! Just come up and start talking.

  30. #30
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    Candy, make sure you ask him the title of his new book. Then come back and tell us all.

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