Michael A. Covington    Michael A. Covington, Ph.D.
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Popular topics on this page:
The Russian e-mailed bomb threat
#MeToo for Christians
Hints for polar scope users
Comet 46P/Wirtanen
Comet 46P/Wirtanen
Comet 46P/Wirtanen with Pleiades and meteor
Comet 46P/Wirtanen near Capella
Comet 46P/Wirtanen at Christmas
M1 (Crab Nebula)
M42 (Orion Nebula)
M45 (Pleiades)
M78 and absence of McNeil's Nebula
M78 and absence of McNeil's Nebula
NGC 253
NGC 2244 (Rosette Nebula)
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Melody and rhythm, episode 2

Friday, December 28, the day that began with the predawn furniture delivery, also ended in an unexpected way. Melody got an upset stomach during the afternoon, and it upset her heart rhythm. So around 10 p.m. I took her to the emergency department of Piedmont Athens Regional, and this morning, December 31, she had catheter ablation of both atria for atrial flutter. She will come home tomorrow. She is feeling much better already.

We have seen the new year in every year since 1977, but this time we celebrated it according to Greenwich Mean Time, as we also had done in 2017, because I couldn't be with her at local midnight. So, for me, it's already 2019 (what an inflated-looking number!).

I had dinner and, to celebrate Melody's recovery and the new year, I treated myself to a Good Humor King Cone for dessert. Fifty-seven years ago, when I was four years old and living in Columbus (Ga.), an ice cream truck came by and I chose a King Cone, I think mainly because I could read both words of its name. Tonight I chose it because I liked it, and my diet allows me one about every ten years.


Home Depot's pre-dawn furniture delivery

December 28 began strangely, with the telephone ringing at 6 a.m. They're lucky I answered it, because (to foil robocallers) the telephones don't ring in our bedroom; they only light up. Nonetheless I happened to be awakened by the light.

It was a delivery driver for Home Depot, and at 6:30 a.m., in the dark and in the rain, they brought a piece of furniture that Sharon had ordered.

It was an unassembled TV stand, in two boxes, and they could have brought it in the smallest of pickup trucks, or even a station wagon.

But they brought it on a 10-wheeler flatbed truck with a forklift attached to the back of its trailer.

It was the only thing on the truck.

The driver pulled up in front of the house, undocked the forklift, and used it to bring the two boxes up the driveway, beeping loudly all the way. Then he carried it into the house.

And that was how Home Depot delivers furniture to a residence (and wakes up the neighborhood).

The back story is even stranger. The delivery had been scheduled for a few days ago, and we got a call that they couldn't make it because the driver had gotten a ticket for trying to bring a truck into a residential neighborhood. (Timothy Road is indeed "no trucks," but local deliveries are an exception.) So we expected a smaller truck this time. No; just a more determined driver.


Christmas came


We had a low-energy Christmas (all suffering from bad colds) but a good one. Melody made the traditional lasagna, and then we exchanged presents around the dinner table, with a rosemary plant doing service as the Christmas tree.


Melody gave me a historic astronomy book, E. C. Slipher's book of Mars photographs published by Lowell Observatory with the assistance of the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory. This isn't just any copy of it — it's one that was in the library of the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory itself, and the tipped-in photographic print is perfectly intact.

This book is the culmination of Lowell's and his successors' work on Mars, based on the theory that there are "canals" (narrow streaks) crisscrossing its surface. The photographs are remarkably good for the time (no digital image processing) and are almost as good as I now get with my 8-inch telescope. They are at just the right resolution to support the "canals" — if they were appreciably sharper, we would see (as we did see from space probes in the late 1960s) that Antoniadi was right, there are no "canals," there are just irregular spots that seem to join up when blurred together.


Sharon gave me something much more récherché — an electronic component that was on my wish list 50 years ago, and which I never managed to get. It's a General Electric AR-1 light bulb; it makes light by passing electricity through low pressure argon gas rather than by heating up a filament.


At the time, the AR-1 was marketed as a cheap source of weak ultraviolet light and as an indicator lamp or night light. It had a neon counterpart, the NE-34, which I had, and which glowed orange. The positively charged electrode glows; operating on alternating current, the two electrodes actually alternate glowing. The required current is small, and the lamp can be controlled easily by a vacuum tube or thyratron, hence its use as an indicator. Its rated life is actually not any longer than a conventional light bulb, so it wasn't a very good night light, and I never saw it used as such.


I'll use this as a display piece. With a diode, resistor, and capacitor, or a more complex circuit, it can be made to blink on and off. Curiously, it arrived with the electrodes slightly bent out of place and shorted together; fortunately I noticed, and by just banging it around a bit (gently!) I was able to get them to separate. They are bent down at the outside but should be flat (in the same plane, like a flat disk with a slot in it). Now to find an NE-34 and make some kind of gadget to display them both...


Feast day of the Nativity of Our Lord

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour,
for He has looked upon the lowly estate of his servant.
Behold, from now on every generation will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.

                     Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-49)
                     my translation


The Christmas comet


Yes, we have a comet in the sky on Christmas night. It's probably visible to the unaided eye if you are out in the country; in town, I saw it with 10x42 binoculars. It's north and a bit east of the star Capella, the conspicuous bright star in the northeast.

I photographed it about an hour ago, before the moon rose, making it harder to see. Single 56-second exposure, Canon 60Da at ISO 800, Sigma 105-mm lens at f/4.


A small blue planet


Do you remember Christmas 1968? I remember vividly being at my grandparents' house and spending time with cousins, and following the progress of Apollo 8, which orbited the moon but did not land on it.

Although personally we were doing OK, it had been a terrible year for the United States, with bitter division over the Vietnam War and other issues. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated — two in one year. There were race riots, and an overt racist ran for President and placed third.

But many of us were looking to the future and to outer space. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out that year; different people got different things out of it, but the most important is awareness of our small place in a big universe. Star Trek was by far the best thing on television. And at the end of the year, Apollo 8 gave us the picture reproduced above, the picture that, for many citizens of many countries, signaled an opportunity to step back and look at our small blue planet as a whole, and wish for unity and peace.

Unlike many, I don't find Star Trek or 2001 or technological optimism or scientific discovery to be a sufficient philosophy of life. So I was especially glad that the astronauts read Bible verses in a spirit of thanking God for His creation.

We wish all our fellow inhabitants of this small blue planet a blessed Christmas and a successful and prosperous New Year.

Christmas links

Astronomy and the Star of Bethlehem (follow a chain of links from here)

Santa Claus and St. Nicholas

What is Christmas, and is it under attack?


H$liday $hopping $ea$on

More than any time I can remember in recent decades, our town is having a full-on 1960s-style "Christmas Rush" making it, at times, almost impossible to get into stores or shopping districts. I'm thankful for the prosperity that must be resulting from it, but at the same time a bit inconvenienced; I'm doing a few things other than "Holiday Shopping" and don't want to have to stop in my tracks!

Melody, Sharon, and I are aiming for a low-key Christmas. Melody and I have bad colds; we all feel the need to slow down and rest; family members are far away; consulting business is booming and I don't want to be away from it more than a couple of days; so we're going to have a good Christmas but not an elaborate one. Our main presents to each other for the past several weeks have been improvements to the house and yard: major yard work; pressure washing and painting the outside; and converting Cathy's old bedroom into a second room for Sharon. So you may not see a lot of decorations here, but we are enjoying being together.

Speaking of shopping, yesterday I was in a major chain Christian bookstore for the first time in a while and was pleased to find it operating on a higher intellectual level than formerly. There wasn't much shallow entertainment. Theology and apologetics were prominent. Churches are finally starting to realize that college-educated people need more than "Bible stories" or "experiential" religion; systematic theology isn't just for pastors; anybody smart enough to know what a logarithm is should also know what is meant by (for example) Pelagianism.

I was a little disconcerted that "Women's Bible Study" is such a big genre. I'm glad women study the Bible but wonder why their books have to be tagged "for women" as if they couldn't just do plain Bible Study. (Marketing, like "software for girls" in pink boxes?) But the only thing in the store that really struck me as incongruous was a Bible illustrated by Thomas Kinkade. I didn't open it up and look inside.

Comet and Capella in moonlight


Last night Comet Wirtanen was close to the star Capella in Auriga, but the full moon was high in the sky, quite close to it. Here is a single 10-second exposure with a Canon 60Da and Zuiko 200-mm f/5 lens on my iOptron SkyTracker. The three stars other than the brightest one are a group called "the kids," Capella being mythologically a goat.

Hint for polar scope users


I recently figured out why my polar alignment scope wasn't helping me align my AVX to the earth's axis as accurately as it should.

It turned out that, looking into the eyepiece with my head tilted, I was having trouble judging which way was up. I was systematically about 30 degrees off, which meant that at this time of year, Polaris was ending up about 20 arc-minutes to the left of where it ought to be.

And I found a simple cure. Use the altitude knob to see which direction is up. Center Polaris, then use the altitude knob to move it straight down (it has to be straight down if you don't touch the azimuth knobs), and go from there.

Solid-state disk comes to Covington Innovations


Finally I'm entering the 21st Century, with solid state disk (SSD) storage in one of my computers (the small laptop I use for telescope control). I'll convert the main laptop and desktop soon.

Here you see the original Hitachi disk drive being "cloned" onto an SSD drive. The Sandisk drive here is not a rotating magnetic disk; it uses integrated circuits just like a flash memory card or thumb drive. But, electrically, it is a plug-in replacement for the disk drive. The contents of the drive are being copied by a Kingwin disk-copying device; no computer is involved; the cable is only for power.

The operation was a success. The laptop now boots much faster (important because I alternately boot Windows and Linux on it) and other software packages load faster. I haven't tested performance in any detail yet.


Comet, meteor, and star cluster

Others, especially those who could wait for the moon to set, have gotten much better pictures of Comet Wirtanen passing near the Pleiades, but I didn't come away empty-handed; in fact my picture also includes a meteor.


Single 30-second exposure, Canon 60Da, Sigma 105/2.8 lens at f/4, AVX mount.


Comet Wirtanen

Tonight (Dec. 16), Comet Wirtanen is making its closest pass to earth, and other people are getting beautiful pictures of it next to the Pleiades star cluster. Not, however, me. We have thin, high clouds, and the moon is high in the sky. The moon is far enough away from the comet that some people are going to get to wait until after moonset; they will get much better pictures.

I, however, am going to show you pictures I got in a clear, moonless sky on December 11 (12th Greenwich Mean Time). This is a stack of twenty 1-minute exposures with an AT65EDQ refractor (6.5 cm f/6.5) and Nikon D5300 camera. They are aligned on the comet, which was moving, so the stars are streaks, and faint ones at that.


This picture conveys what a comet is — a rocky, icy core that emits gas in all directions when it gets close enough to the sun to melt the ice. Of course, the spot in the center is not the core itself, but rather the dense middle of the gas cloud.

The asymmetrical effect of the solar wind causes most comets to grow tails by driving gas away in a specific direction, away from the sun. This comet doesn't have much of a tail. This reinforces the fact that it is a small comet that happens to be rather near us (still 30 times as far as the moon), not a large comet with a tail extending millions of miles. But there is a tail.

Here you see the same picture as above, reduced, and then a copy of it processed with much higher contrast. There are streaks representing the trailed images of stars, and there is indeed a tail pointing to the upper left.

Picture Picture

The Crab Nebula at low magnification


This low-magnification image gives a good impression of how the Crab Nebula (M1) looks in a small telescope, except that it's not as bright in real life as in the picture. It was discovered in the 1700s by John Bevis, and at the time it must have been brighter than now, because it was only 3/4 of its present age and hence was more compact. It is the remnant of a supernova that was seen in the year 1054 A.D.

Of course, it really happened long before 1054 A.D., but the point is, the delay affected its entire history the same way, so as seen from earth, it really looked only 3/4 as old in the 1700s as today.



The Rosette Nebula, which surrounds the star cluster NGC 2244, is almost invisible with a telescope; we have to rely on the camera to accumulate light. Even so, photographing it in town (in a sky brightened by city lights) with an unmodified DSLR (not sensitive to hydrogen-alpha) is a challenge. This is a stack of seventeen 1-minute exposures with the same AT65EDQ refractor and Nikon D5300 camera as the other pictures I've posted here recently.


How I responded to the Russian e-mailed bomb threat


Like many Americans, I received an e-mailed bomb threat today. I was apparently one of the first, receiving it at 12:45 EST. I did some quick investigating and shared my results with the local police, who got another report of it from elsewhere in town right afterward. I hope I was able to help by giving them some analysis. Here's what I did and how you can protect yourself in similar situations in the future.

Looking at the message, I asked myself the key questions about suspicious e-mail:

(0) Does it ask me to click on anything (link, file, URL, etc.)? If so, DON'T!

In this case the message contained nothing to click on. But malicious e-mails often do, and it important not to click on anything in them, because when you do, you're sending your computer to a malicious web site or executing a malicious piece of software.

(1) Do they really know who I am and where I am?

Apparently not; they worded it as if I were in an office building open to the public. I am not. They called it "your building" and showed no knowledge of any specific place. Remember, "we know where you live" is not true just because someone says it!

(2) Could they be sending the same threatening message to a lot of people?

Definitely, yes. It contained nothing specific to me.

(3) From the criminal's point of view, does the crime make sense? Could it work?

Here, also, I saw problems. They didn't know if the e-mail even reached me. Some people are out of town or don't check their e-mail often. Some e-mail gets lost in transit or eaten by spam filters. The threatening message could — but did not — include a return receipt request, to make my mailreader tell theirs that I had opened it and seen it.

Would they blow up buildings without knowing whether anyone in them even got the threat in the first place?

And if I paid the ransom, would the bomber really come and remove the bomb (and get caught)? What incentive would he have to really do it? How would he prove he had done it? The proper response to a credible bomb threat is to call the local bomb squad, not pay a large amount of money to a complete stranger.

Another way in which the crime would not work is that they can't keep victims from hearing from each other. Within minutes of the mass mailing, some of us knew it was a mass mailing. And we're not going to believe that someone would plant hundreds of bombs all over the country, with the same threat attached to all of them. One bomb might be real; a hundred bombs certainly are not.

Granted, there is no limit to how dumb criminals can be, so this is not conclusive by itself. But it did weigh with other considerations to tell me that the message was probably a hoax, designed to create panic and cost, or possibly a dodge to draw attention and police away from a real crime other than what it described.

(4) Are they pretending to be someone else?

Not really relevant because they weren't pretending to be anyone specific to being with, but if e-mail ever claims to be from any kind of authority (FBI, IRS, bank, or company), this is the question you should ask. See also: warning signs of fake e-mail.

Investigation: After sizing up the threat, the next thing I did was analyze the header and then do a traceroute to find out the path to the site the message came from. In fact, the header was short and simple — they usually are, nowadays — and the site was quite clearly in Russia (unless there was another level of fakery, which seems possible, but not consistent with the overall style). If they had claimed to be from somewhere recognizable, then I'd suspect more fakery, but they didn't.

With all those things in mind, after a brief consultation with the police, I decided not to evacuate the place or even have it searched for bombs. I knew that nobody could have gotten in to plant anything; it is not a public place.

And sure enough, nothing has blown up.

One last thought. I think we need to look closely at Bitcoin because it provides a completely private, secure way for people to pay ransoms, and thus creates new risks. I predict that things like this will lead to heavy legal restrictions on Bitcoin.


Comet 46P/Wirtanen

The brightest comet in several years is currently in the evening sky just west of southern Orion. See this map if you want to look for it. It will be brightest December 16, but the moon will then be high in the sky, so it's probably better to look for it as soon as you can. It's faintly visible to the unaided eye in a dark country sky; in town, I need binoculars to see it.

The following two pictures are each a stack of twenty 1-minute exposures through an AT65EDQ 6.5-cm f/6.5 refractor. The stack is aligned on the comet, which is moving, so the stars are faint, blurry streaks. You can see that the comet is developing a short tail, which points to the upper left (northeast).



I haven't tried to calibrate the scale of these pictures, but the comet covers about the same area of sky as the full moon. It is of course much larger and farther away. Like all comets, it consists of a rocky or icy core and a large shroud of gas released by the core as the sun warms it.

Galaxy NGC 253


On the evening of December 4 (December 5 UT), I also grabbed this image of the galaxy NGC 253 in the constellation Sculptor, which was rather low in the sky. I need to come back and photograph it with my 8-inch. Notice the amount of detail that the 6.5-cm (2.6-inch) telescope captured. Like several recent pictures, this is a stack of twenty 1-minute exposures with an AT65EDQ and Nikon D5300.

The nebula that still isn't there


This is a picture of the field of the nebula M78, very similar to the one I took on December 2 (December 3 UT; scroll down for it). You can see other nebulae, especially a bright one to the upper left, but also some wisps to the lower right of M78. What you can't see is McNeil's Variable Nebula, which has faded from view. It should be just to the right of the double star that is to the lower right of M78. Other wisps are visible that are comparable to the normal brightness of McNeil's, but McNeil's itself isn't there.



The Pleiades, a prominent star cluster in Taurus easily visible to the naked eye, are embedded in interstellar dust, which aligns in long streaks because of the stars' magnetic fields. This is one of my best pictures of the Pleiades ever. Stack of twenty 1-minute exposures, AT65EDQ 6.5-cm f/6.5 refractor, Nikon D5300 at ISO 200, AVX mount, PEC, no guiding corrections.

Apart from being a beautiful and astrophysically interesting picture, this is also confirmation that the AT65EDQ is free of internal reflections. That means it is suitable for photographing faint objects near bright stars, and also total solar eclipses, which involve faint corona and bright corona in the same picture.


Orion Nebula in HDR


Unlike the astrophotos below, this one is just a pretty picture. The Orion Nebula is one of the easiest celestial objects to photograph well, and I've photographed it many times. This one is a stack of twenty 1-minute exposures through an AT65EDQ 6.5-cm f/6.5 refractor and a Nikon D5300 at ISO 200. Taking advantage of the camera's large dynamic range, I used the HDR processing tool in PixInsight to preserve detail in areas that would otherwise have been overexposed.

Heavy-handed HDR is overused in astrophotography, and I was hesitant to use it. But PixInsight's tool is not heavy-handed, and in this case it brought out genuine detail in the image.

M77 with no supernova

Now for some real astronomy — some pictures that reveal recent changes in distant parts of the universe.



The first picture shows the galaxy M77 (bright and round), the edge-on galaxy NGC 1055, and the star Delta Ceti. The second is an enlarged and brightened area of the same picture, showing that the supernova recently reported in M77 is not there — it must be fainter than 17th or 18th magnitude now. The stars visible superimposed on the galaxy in this picture are the ones that have been there a long time; they are in the foreground.

Stack of twenty 1-minute exposures, AT65EDQ 6.5-cm f/6.5 refractor, Nikon D5300 at ISO 200.

M78 still without McNeil's Nebula


M78 is a reflection nebula illuminated by stars in Orion. To the upper left of it is a similar, smaller object, NGC 2017, and to the lower right, some fainter wisps.

What I want you to notice in this wide-field view is not only the two bright blobs, but also the relative lack of stars all through the middle of the picture, compared to the periphery. That nebula is big and is mostly a dark nebula, a cloud of gas and dust that hides distant stars. A few stars embedded in it illuminate their neighborhoods, and that gives us M78 and NGC 2017.

Now zoom in on the nebulae:


That's actually a portion of the same picture, enlarged and brightened. Crucially, McNeil's variable nebula is not there. It's a wisp that should be just to the right of the double star toward the lower right. The star that illuminates it has apparently faded.

Stack of twenty-one 1-minute exposures (yes, twenty-one; one was a test, but all were good, so I used them) with an AT65EDQ 6.5-cm f/6.5 refractor and Nikon D5300 at ISO 200.


Baby, it's contentious outside...

The latest thing we're supposed to be divided about is the song "Baby, it's cold outside."

People on both sides are arguing more forcefully than the subject deserves. This isn't the clearest thing in the world, nor the most important.

Added confusion comes from the word "ban" in some headlines. All I've really heard is that some radio stations have stopped playing it. Can't a privately owned radio station stop playing anything it wants to stop playing? If they hadn't said they were responding to complaints (requests), nobody would even have noticed.

I know the song originated in the 1940s as a skit about a married couple trying to decide whether it's time to go home from a party. And that it was in a movie. These things give it an official innocent interpretation.

All the early performances, and some recent ones, include a good bit of humor. The funniest is a new one that uses video trickery to show Trump and Clinton performing it during their debate.

But to modern ears, at least some performances of the song sound remarkably like a seduction or date rape situation, and people find it creepy. I know I did, the first time I heard it, long before the #MeToo movement.

It has had a surge of popularity in the past few years, and I'm sure most of the people making it popular today don't know the history. That, too, is creepy. Maybe they like it for the same reason I don't like it.

I am not sure the innocent interpretation was the only one even back in the 1940s. I can't start a new career researching the song, but I wonder if there was a double interpretation possible from the beginning (and taken, initially, as humorous).

In any case, let's not start using this song as a litmus test for whether people are "liberal" or "conservative." Don't tell me I've been infected by "the extremes of the #MeToo movement" or "neo-Victorian progressive prudery" if the song makes me uneasy. I don't like the song, and no amount of political stigma will make me like it.

But on the other hand, if someone likes the song, that doesn't mean they wholeheartedly endorse "rape culture" either. It's a song, and it has been interpreted and performed more than one way.

If "#MeToo" puts you off, please scroll down and keep reading.



#MeToo and Christian Values

I recently had a conversation with an unfortunate fellow Christian who didn't know what the #MeToo hashtag meant, and thought it was some kind of left-wing fad — maybe a feminist demand for power, maybe a matter of "political correctness."

No, no, no.

The #MeToo movement is a long-overdue uprising against behavior that we Christians have always known was wrong. For example:

(1) Man takes woman out on date, and forces her to have sexual intercourse with him, or tries to.

(2) Man takes woman out on date, and gives her a spiked drink or drugs in order to take advantage of her sexually, or tries to.

(3) Man works with woman in office, and grabs, hugs, or kisses her when they are alone together, against her wishes (she has shown no interest in him).

(4) Man in management position expects sexual favors from female subordinates or rewards them with job advancement.

And so on. The #MeToo hashtag means, "Somebody has done or tried to do something like that to me."

Its purpose is to raise awareness that these incidents are not rare and need to be opposed systematically. Because they happen in secret, it's easy for the victims to imagine that they are much less common than they really are. And perpetrators often intimidate people into not speaking up. We must be careful not to cooperate with the intimidation.

We're not talking about misconstrued friendly gestures or momentary verbal blunders. We're talking about things that are deliberate, offensive, and wrong.

I know that if you scour the world, you can find examples of people saying unreasonable things with a #MeToo hashtag. But that doesn't invalidate the basic concept. I also know that most of the #MeToo movement are not Christians and not 100% in line with our beliefs about morality, nor 100% consistent with each other. But on the major points they have raised concern about, they are doing the right thing, and we should support them.

The notion that #MeToo is something untrustworthy and left-wing reminds me of the bad old days (I can remember them!) when people tried to tell me Christians were supposed to be against racial equality because it was left-wing or socialistic.

Sadly, you can get some naive Christians to oppose anything by branding it "liberal." I do not think God is in favor of that kind of shoddy thinking.

See also this link.


George H. W. Bush, 1924-2018

We mourn the passing of the President who gave us the phrases "kinder, gentler nation," "compassionate conservatism," and "a thousand points of light."

There has never been a perfect President, and I'm sure some things could be said in criticism of this one. But it's remarkable how he contrasts with the style in which conservatism is practiced and advocated today.

Major computer museum coming to Atlanta


Atlanta is getting a major computer museum. On Friday I was privileged to get a preview of The Computer Museum of America, which is being built in Roswell Town Center Mall near Atlanta. The founder has been collecting computer artifacts in a big way for a long time — not just old home computers and the like — I found myself standing a room full of Cray supercomputers!

The plan is to make this a gathering place for computer enthusiasts around Atlanta, with rentable meeting spaces, a snack bar, and other attractions besides just the museum exhibits.

I wish them success — if carried out as planned, this will be the biggest computer museum in the world.

Short notes

Territorial expansion of Sharonland: When they were little, Cathy and Sharon used to pretend that their bedrooms where principalities called Cathyland and Sharonland. Now that Cathy has been married and out of the house for several years, her old room is being repurposed so Sharon can have a two-room set. It's being painted today. Given that it's an expansion of Sharonland, I wonder if there should also be a flag-raising ceremony or something.

In re John Chau: Whatever you think of John Chau's tragically failed attempt to evangelize the Sentinel Islanders, you should know that initial press reports were false in several particulars. He was not untrained or unsponsored. If you're still following the incident, you owe it to yourself to look at currently available information. The dust hasn't finished settling.

Busy time: Between my thriving consulting business, the territorial expansion of Sharonland, and other things, I've been too busy to write Notebook entries for several days. But now I'm back. Look for societal commentary and also astronomical photographs in the next few days.

If what you are looking for is not here, please look at previous months .