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Rodina
2002-Dec-11, 03:50 AM
I was just channel surfing when I passed upon a telescope for sale on QVC. Knowing the Bad Astronomer's previous comments about their sales pitch (it was HSN (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/hsn.html) but my point remains), I decided to see how long it would take before they said something ridiculous.

I wasn't disappointed.

Within ten seconds, one of the hucksters said, "I remember that from science class that the motion in the sky is called retrograde motion."

Well, some motion in the sky is called retrograde motion, but surely not all of it.

About ten seconds more and they were praising, rightly, the Starry Night software and showed an occulation of Saturn by the Moon and said, "Saturn passing behind the Moon is something that happens only every few months."

Well, I don't know how often it happens - and I shant look it up right now - but even if our solar system were perfectly flat, it'd happen no more frequently than every 54 weeks or so.

Anyway, if it got worse, I don't know cuz I turned it off.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rodina on 2002-12-10 22:51 ]</font>

Rodina
2002-Dec-11, 03:56 AM
On 2002-12-10 22:50, Rodina wrote:
I was just channel surfing when I passed upon a telescope for sale on QVC. Knowing the Bad Astronomer's previous comments about their sales pitch (it was HSN (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/hsn.html) but my point remains), I decided to see how long it would take before they said something ridiculous.

I wasn't disappointed.

Within ten seconds, one of the hucksters said, "I remember that from science class that the motion in the sky is called retrograde motion."

Well, some motion in the sky is called retrograde motion, but surely not all of it.

About ten seconds more and they were praising, rightly, the Starry Night software and showed an occulation of Saturn by the Moon and said, "Saturn passing behind the Moon is something that happens only every few months."

Well, I don't know how often it happens - and I shant look it up right now - but even if our solar system were perfectly flat, it'd happen no more frequently than every 54 weeks or so. [Later note - Okay, it might happen more often than that if the solar system were flat, I was thinking of behind the full moon, but you know what I'm talking about]. I think these guys just make it up as they go, I can't even blame a bad script.

Anyway, if it got worse, I don't know cuz I turned it off.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rodina on 2002-12-10 22:51 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Dec-11, 07:10 AM
On 2002-12-10 22:50, Rodina wrote:
Well, I don't know how often it happens - and I shant look it up right now - but even if our solar system were perfectly flat, it'd happen no more frequently than every 54 weeks or so.
You were right about the use of "retrograde", but I'm not sure what you're getting at here. It would seem to me that under those conditions the moon (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap021209.html) would pass in front of Saturn every four weeks, instead of 54. Four weeks is how long it takes the moon to complete its passage through the zodiac.

RichField
2002-Dec-11, 03:04 PM
Since the topic is already started, I was also surfing last night and found QVC selling a <bold>675x</bold> 4.5" (900 mm)Reflecting EQ Bushnell scope.
I watched as the two salesmen extolled the virtues off all that power, especially with the included 3x barlow lens.
What really bothered me was that they took a caller on-air who was ordering a telescope. She was a mother of two, her sons were both around 20. She was ordering two scopes and thought they would be the perfect gift. The salesmen agreed wholeheartedly. She then went on to say that her younger son already had a telescope and that the family thought it was a piece of junk. You could actually see the salesmen cringe in fear of what was coming next. They both visibly let out a sigh of relief when she said that it was purchased someplace else and "didn't look as nice as the one on TV". The "astronomer" salesman jumped in assuring her that "this is exactly the scope that you're looking for" and that "Bushnell is absolutely top of the line".
Quick math says that the maximum useful power of this scope is 225. And that 675x requires not only the 3x barlow but also a 4mm EP with the quality of both being somewhat in question.
I'm not saying that this scope is completely worthless. It was just over $150 with the mount (unknown quality) and may be very workable if the actual limitations are understood and the person is willing to invest some time.
It's sad that this family had already gotten burned by one trash scope and appeared to by on the way to its 2nd and 3rd.

darkhunter
2002-Dec-11, 03:14 PM
On 2002-12-11 10:04, RichField wrote:
What really bothered me was that they took a caller on-air who was ordering a telescope. She was a mother of two, her sons were both around 20. She was ordering two scopes and thought they would be the perfect gift. The salesmen agreed wholeheartedly. She then went on to say that her younger son already had a telescope and that the family thought it was a piece of junk. You could actually see the salesmen cringe in fear of what was coming next. They both visibly let out a sigh of relief when she said that it was purchased someplace else and "didn't look as nice as the one on TV".

So the family thought it was a piece of junk...we don't know how much the younger one is into astronomy. I've had well meaning family members give me tools as gifts "because they looked nice and don't cost too much". They don't usually live as long as when I go ahead and spend out on a good set from a reputable manufacturer...could be the same thing here--he's gotten a good telescope that works like a champ, but isn't much to look at. I prefer ugly but funtional over pretty but usless any day.

_________________
Words define reality, but they can't alter it.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: darkhunter on 2002-12-11 10:26 ]</font>

David Hall
2002-Dec-11, 03:49 PM
On 2002-12-11 10:14, darkhunter wrote:

I've had well meaning family members give me tools as gifts "because they looked nice and don't cost too much".

Let this be a warning to would-be gift-givers. Never, NEVER, try to buy technical or specialist equipment as a gift unless you know 100% that this is exactly what the recipient wants. If you try to give an enthusiast something like telescope or photography equipment, specialist tools, or anything else related to an interest they have but you know little about, you will only be giving them something they can't use and/or don't really want, but will be honor-bound to act appreciative anyway. I can't say how many times I've gotten gifts because "I know you're interested in 'X', and I thought of you when I saw this...". I'm telling you, it just ain't worth it (Especially if you buy it on a shopping channel).

A much better idea is to give the person gift certificates of some kind from his favorite shop. Or better yet, offer to take him on a shopping trip where you can actually watch him happily getting what he really wants and needs.

Just a suggestion for happier relations. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rodina
2002-Dec-11, 06:22 PM
Quite right, David. This is actually true for anyone with a serious collection of -anything- really.

>> You were right about the use of "retrograde", but I'm not sure what you're getting at here. It would seem to me that under those conditions the moon would pass in front of Saturn every four weeks, instead of 54. Four weeks is how long it takes the moon to complete its passage through the zodiac.

Anyway, Grapes - you are quite right, look at my second post (I quoted, rather than edited my original) and realized that I was thinking only of when Saturn was in opposition (about every 54 weeks, yes?) so it would pass behind the full moon in my hypothetically flat solar system.

Anyway, just rambling about how they just seemed to be making it up as they went - or using a really bad script - and that they seemed not to appreciate that one of the beauties of astronomy is that lots of the events we get to see (Shoemaker-Levy 9; Hale-Bopp, Transits of Venus) are very rare events that you are luck to see in your lifetime, let alone "every few months."

To me one of the great things -about- amateur astronomy (eye-ball only and otherwise) is that I have very distinct memories of certain moments in my life - clocked by these astronomical events, and these hucksters sell marginal optics to an unsuspecting public who think this stuff is more or less like a game console (oooo! entertainment!) and get ripped off.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Rodina on 2002-12-11 13:23 ]</font>

NEOWatcher
2015-Jan-16, 06:45 PM
Over 12 years later since QVC's issues with retrograde motion, and it seems as though they didn't learn.
In fact, their knowledge is in retrograde.

What is the moon and the sun (http://fox8.com/2015/01/16/isaac-mizrahi-on-the-moon-its-a-planet/)?

I guess it's OK since my perception of most of QVC's audience is that they wouldn't understand anyway.

Jim
2015-Jan-16, 07:14 PM
"Best new thing in the world today."

Watch the reaction of the model in pink in the background. She gets it.

novaderrik
2015-Jan-17, 04:55 AM
so, is the moon a planet?

solitonmanny
2015-Jan-17, 12:42 PM
:rofl:

...really..c'mon guys!

regards,

Manny

NEOWatcher
2015-Jan-17, 03:10 PM
so, is the moon a planet?
Of course not, she says it's a star. :rolleyes:

Swift
2015-Jan-18, 04:46 PM
Over 12 years later since QVC's issues with retrograde motion, and it seems as though they didn't learn.
In fact, their knowledge is in retrograde.

What is the moon and the sun (http://fox8.com/2015/01/16/isaac-mizrahi-on-the-moon-its-a-planet/)?

I guess it's OK since my perception of most of QVC's audience is that they wouldn't understand anyway.
It was one of the Daily Show's "Moments of Zen" last week.

Noclevername
2015-Jan-18, 07:00 PM
Is QVC really where you'd look to learn astronomy terms? Isn't it just one big long commercial without shows in between?

NEOWatcher
2015-Jan-18, 07:37 PM
Is QVC really where you'd look to learn astronomy terms? Isn't it just one big long commercial without shows in between?
Astronomy terms are one thing, but this is elementary school knowledge. Do you really trust a salesman who doesn't even have grade school knowledge?

Noclevername
2015-Jan-19, 03:33 AM
Astronomy terms are one thing, but this is elementary school knowledge. Do you really trust a salesman who doesn't even have grade school knowledge?

If I judged products by the trust I have in salesmen, I'd never buy anything.

schlaugh
2015-Jan-19, 03:42 AM
Astronomy terms are one thing, but this is elementary school knowledge. Do you really trust a salesman who doesn't even have grade school knowledge?

I've worked with highly-intelligent people who hold MBAs from good schools and who did not know that the sun was a star.

It's not what you are taught but what you retain.

novaderrik
2015-Jan-19, 03:57 AM
i once worked with a guy that didn't understand how Taiwan could have an earthquake since it's an island..

Gillianren
2015-Jan-19, 04:42 AM
If I judged products by the trust I have in salesmen, I'd never buy anything.

You'd have to buy jewelry at faire, if you came to faire, though. You can trust the salespeople in at least one booth. Take my word for it.

Noclevername
2015-Jan-19, 05:55 AM
You'd have to buy jewelry at faire, if you came to faire, though. You can trust the salespeople in at least one booth. Take my word for it.

If I'm ever there at Faire time, I'll definitely stop in and buy something.

Trebuchet
2015-Jan-19, 04:13 PM
Just don't depend on fashion designers for your science. Or politicians.

Swift
2015-Jan-19, 04:27 PM
Just don't depend on fashion designers for your science. Or politicians.
I don't think anyone (at least here on CQ) is depending upon fashion designers to teach science. But such blatantly incorrect statements deserve the ridicule they are receiving, IMO.

Noclevername
2015-Jan-19, 05:03 PM
I don't think anyone (at least here on CQ) is depending upon fashion designers to teach science. But such blatantly incorrect statements deserve the ridicule they are receiving, IMO.

Oh, by all means let the mocking commence. I did not mean to imply that it was okay for even hawkers of marginal goods to be ignorant.