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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948124 - 06/30/13 02:10 PM

Unfortunately, your first two paragraphs are right on. Most people under thirty stare into their phones as though the answer to world peace is in there. A very respected psychologist said that we are becoming a nation of narcissists, our main concern being how many "friends" we have on Facebook. Unfortunately I think he's right. It's hard to find time for astronomy when you're so absorbed in such useless things.

Edited by RodgerHouTex (06/30/13 02:11 PM)


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948172 - 06/30/13 02:47 PM

Quote:




With a few notable exceptions, the majority of the young people of voting age which I encounter today seem to be preoccupied with what would have been termed sloth and degeneracy in an earlier era,




Which is what my parents said about my generation. In fact, Plato said that about the younger generation of his day . My parents and that old Greek were wrong and you are too.

Since I teach at a university, I probably encounter many more kids than you do. I can tell you right now there are plenty of good ones. There are as many smart and engaged kids as there were in my day, or the day before that or the day before that or... And, guess what? With a little exposure to astronomy they become as excited about it as my cohort was.

Astronomy dying? Not hardly.


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jimb1001
sage
*****

Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5948273 - 06/30/13 04:00 PM

Quote:

Quote:




With a few notable exceptions, the majority of the young people of voting age which I encounter today seem to be preoccupied with what would have been termed sloth and degeneracy in an earlier era,




Which is what my parents said about my generation. In fact, Plato said that about the younger generation of his day . My parents and that old Greek were wrong and you are too.

Since I teach at a university, I probably encounter many more kids than you do. I can tell you right now there are plenty of good ones. There are as many smart and engaged kids as there were in my day, or the day before that or the day before that or... And, guess what? With a little exposure to astronomy they become as excited about it as my cohort was.

Astronomy dying? Not hardly.




Meade has the right idea, "plug and play" solutions, but price and QA have let them down. Typical for a company trying to make a complex task simple for the end user, on a shoe string budget.

Sky Safari on a tablet screen on one side, a real time video feed from a telescope with a camera instead of an eyepiece, on the other side, automatic level, north and polar alignment, this would go a long way towards attracting consumers.

The ETX demonstrated how many people would like to enter our hobby if it just wasn't so expensive and complicated to actually see anything but a hard to find, gray, smear.

Lots of people will voice the same criticisms that came with goto. But taking advantage of technology is what we do and those wedded to old technology are free to enjoy whatever it is they like about it but its the past and attracting new people to the hobby is about the present and the future.


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greedyshark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/31/05

Loc: 3rd Rock
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Cotts]
      #5948319 - 06/30/13 04:33 PM

Quote:

Well, in the 1970's, when I began going to club meetings and observing sessions I very much noticed the elderly demographic of people in their 40's through their 70's - exactly like today.




I, too, began observing in the early '70s, and you nailed it. Today's demographic is identical to what it was back then.

Charles


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5948331 - 06/30/13 04:39 PM

Quote:

Quote:

With a few notable exceptions, the majority of the young people of voting age which I encounter today seem to be preoccupied with what would have been termed sloth and degeneracy in an earlier era,



Which is what my parents said about my generation. In fact, Plato said that about the younger generation of his day . My parents and that old Greek were wrong and you are too.

Since I teach at a university, I probably encounter many more kids than you do. I can tell you right now there are plenty of good ones. There are as many smart and engaged kids as there were in my day, or the day before that or the day before that or... And, guess what? With a little exposure to astronomy they become as excited about it as my cohort was.

Astronomy dying? Not hardly.




As no one currently alive was present in Plato's day, no one is qualified to authoritatively comment on what he observed... we have but bits and pieces with which to decode the social fabric of his time. What is certain is that almost all empires end in and via degeneracy, the Greeks being no exception; as for our parents, that generation may have been quite prescient, if the general behavior of my contemporaries over the last few decades is any indication.

In regards to any possibles defects in my arguments, I would posit that clear and unambiguous signs of the irreversible decay of our current civilization are visible to anyone who cares to look for them. Whether the fall takes years or decades to occur is immaterial; we are currently following in the footsteps of the Medes, Persians, Greeks, Romans and any of countless other civilizations which falsely assumed that arrogance and hubris would carry the day for them.

Since universities in general seem no longer to be in the business of teaching young minds to think rationally and independently, but instead appear to be primarily dedicated to promoting political correctness and groupthink, their use as a measuring stick of society's health is suspect, in my opinion; however, I'm willing to accept that the facility you teach at is an exception. Since I don't know them, I can offer no opinion regarding the young people under your tutelage, but I do come into contact with many twenty-somethings that fit my previous comments to a veritable tee; indeed, they are legion.

I am in full agreement with your final statement; astronomy is indeed quite alive and well, at least in a sense; however, the type of astronomy that I pursued and enjoyed as a young man is, with a few notable exceptions, breathing its last.

Fred


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948386 - 06/30/13 05:21 PM

I would have to agree Fred

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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5948464 - 06/30/13 06:24 PM

Ah, but how many more would be involved to the same degree as you or I were their backyard skies filled with stars and the Milky Way, as mine were?

And I thought interest in visual astronomy was rare back then, just as it is rare today. I was only one of a couple people in my whole city interested in viewing through a telescope. The difference is that I think interest in things astronomical is higher today. It's just that the interest in astronomical information doesn't automatically lead to the pursuit of visual astronomy.

Meade and others have tried to attract some of those interested in astronomy but who have not much interest in visual observing by adding some electronic bells and whistles to the process.

Because so many find the electronics intimidating (i.e. you have to do more than turn it on), they even went so far as to make a scope that is ready to use, talks to you, and gives you a tour of the sky with no more action on your part than flipping the on-switch and pressing enter on request.

Reliability was an issue, of course, as has been mentioned. But when such an approach worked, it was easy to use.

Alas, the skies under which these scopes were often used were too bright to allow the newbie observers to see much.

Which is why the most important thing that we, as observers, can do is to lobby for lighting ordinances, and petition for lighting changes, etc. The darker the skies, the more likely for a beginner to stay with astronomy if they go so far as to get a scope. Because, given the number of telescopes sold, I would expect every dark site to have literally hundreds of observers every New Moon instead of the small handful I see (even a hundred or more is a tiny fraction of the number of scopes that have been sold). Which means most telescopes are either not being used at all or are being used only once in a blue moon to see the Moon and planets from severely light-polluted back yards.

Differences in interests notwithstanding, today's young person has the deck stacked against him compared to the beginner of my youth, and yet, interest wasn't really high back then.

If we want amateur astronomy to continue, Meade's demise wouldn't help, but light pollution is the real problem.


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948476 - 06/30/13 06:38 PM

Quote:



As no one currently alive was present in Plato's day, no one is qualified to authoritatively comment on what he observed...




We know pretty much what he thought, so I'll just say, "Oh yes we are!"

When it comes to our kids and what our universities do, you are utterly wrong. Have you talked to many kids? Do you know anyone who teaches at a university? Have you visited your university lately? I simply cannot overemphasize how good most of the youngsters I know and see are, or how dedicated most university faculty are. They don't get paid much, and lately in certain circles they (and public school teachers) are seen as conveniently powerless scapegoats. But they keep plugging away in the trenches anyway.

As for Meade? I think they offered a good mix of beginner/advanced entry level/high tech gear. The problem was the execution of it. However, even now they are still doing well in that regard, with the LX90, one of the best beginner telescopes to come down the pike, and the good old LX200, one of the best "advanced" scopes ever.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5948518 - 06/30/13 07:09 PM

Looks like we're at an impasse, then; we're far too divergent in our opinions on this issue to reach a reasonable nexus. I'm quite willing to agree to disagree, and leave it at that.

Fred


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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948523 - 06/30/13 07:13 PM

+1 for Fred. I too know many 12 to 30 year olds and most (not all, there are always exceptions) stare at their cellphones and do nothing in depth.

To support what I said, go to a movie at a theater. Even though you are supposed to turn your phones off most young people won't. Would hate to miss a call from one of my friends don't you know. Then observe the folks leaving the theater right after the movie lets out. Gotta check the cellphone, gosh knows one of my friends might have called or texted me!

Astronomy requires an extended attention span. Something which most young people don't have.


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amicus sidera
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/14/11

Loc: East of the Sun, West of the M...
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5948532 - 06/30/13 07:21 PM

Quote:

Astronomy requires an extended attention span. Something which most young people don't have.




You hit the nail on the head, Rodger; young people especially can easily become addicted to the rapid mental and visual stimuli presented by the Internet and mass media, leaving them ill-equipped for more contemplative pursuits.

Meade, if it survives its current problems, along with other telescope manufacturers, will have to take stock of these types of social issues if they are to remain viable.

Fred


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5948772 - 06/30/13 10:06 PM

Quote:

+1 for Fred. I too know many 12 to 30 year olds and most (not all, there are always exceptions) stare at their cellphones and do nothing in depth.

To support what I said, go to a movie at a theater. Even though you are supposed to turn your phones off most young people won't. Would hate to miss a call from one of my friends don't you know. Then observe the folks leaving the theater right after the movie lets out. Gotta check the cellphone, gosh knows one of my friends might have called or texted me!

Astronomy requires an extended attention span. Something which most young people don't have.




Hmmm.

I know what you're saying; but it's a cultural thing, same as piercings and extreme tattoos. Young people today are what they were brought up to be, products of the culture they grew up in. Teen-agers used to watch too much TV and hang on the phone all the time. They're generally very social creatures, and the tools for this have become so advanced that, well, we have this situation now. But we can't blame them for it! Young people are action-oriented, not so much contemplative. Remember, we were all regarded as a bit nerdy for our astronomical interests when we were young.

As for attention span, they have plenty of it. Kids will spend hours playing complicated interactive games on the web with other kids in other countries. That takes serious attention span - more than I have! The sensory blitz available all the time via the internet is just so much more appealing to most of them than staring through an eyepiece at a fuzzball.


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5948783 - 06/30/13 10:13 PM

Quote:

Since universities in general seem no longer to be in the business of teaching young minds to think rationally and independently, but instead appear to be primarily dedicated to promoting political correctness and groupthink





It's become the prevailing social disorder of the day . The decay of a once great nation . The disease called PC .


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greedyshark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/31/05

Loc: 3rd Rock
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948807 - 06/30/13 10:24 PM

Quote:

...young people especially can easily become addicted to the rapid mental and visual stimuli presented by the Internet and mass media, leaving them ill-equipped for more contemplative pursuits.




...just as kids were addicted to listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zep, and the Stones back in my day. Laser light shows at our local planetarium (often times enhanced with wisps of marajuana lingering in the air) was our stimuli, not to mention an addiction to Pong and the early Atari video games. We couldn't get enough of all of it. I'm in Rod's camp on this one. In fact, I would argue that the kids who, today, are chin-deep in the technology and present-day stimuli, can easily find enjoyment participating in our ever-evolving techno-world of amateur astronomy.

Charles


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Skyshooter
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/07/08

Loc: S. Utah, U.S.A.
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5948836 - 06/30/13 10:46 PM

I think what fostered interest in the science of Astronomy in the 60's and 70's was our space program. When I was a kid the popularity of the Gemini, Apollo and SkyLab missions generated a lot of interest. I identify with Timothy Ferris' Iconic book and later PBS special called "Seeing in the Dark". I think that there seems to be a lack of interest in Astronomy because it's not as popular as it once was. Heck I started reading books about Astronomy in grade school and got my first scope when I was 13. What is popular now is totally different. Our hobby certainly isn't dead but it does reflect the demographic that was raised during the rise of the space program.

Ed


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) new [Re: rmollise]
      #5948902 - 06/30/13 11:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:



As no one currently alive was present in Plato's day, no one is qualified to authoritatively comment on what he observed...




We know pretty much what he thought, so I'll just say, "Oh yes we are!"

When it comes to our kids and what our universities do, you are utterly wrong. Have you talked to many kids? Do you know anyone who teaches at a university? Have you visited your university lately? I simply cannot overemphasize how good most of the youngsters I know and see are, or how dedicated most university faculty are. They don't get paid much, and lately in certain circles they (and public school teachers) are seen as conveniently powerless scapegoats. But they keep plugging away in the trenches anyway.

As for Meade? I think they offered a good mix of beginner/advanced entry level/high tech gear. The problem was the execution of it. However, even now they are still doing well in that regard, with the LX90, one of the best beginner telescopes to come down the pike, and the good old LX200, one of the best "advanced" scopes ever.




I am with Rod. Us old codgers always seem to think the next generations are going to the dogs, "they didn't have it as tough as we did, they are lazy, good for nothings."

But somehow in spite of those sentiments, those feelings, the world keeps advancing, societies keep advancing, each and every generation is more sophisticated than the previous generation.

I have two friends who are amateur astronomers and in their 30s. Both of them could design and build a GOTO system, one of them could design the chipsets from silicon up.. If you paid them enough.. Right now, Qualcomm is paying them to keep the phones coming and the wireless world advancing. There is no way a company like Meade could pay them enough.. Both are starhoppers but that's neither here no there...

I work at a research university managing a materials science research lab. I spend a lot of time working with Ph.D students as well as professors, researchers as well as those in other research labs. These kids, they are amazing... the reason I keep working, they challenge me, they keep me vital, I have the experience but keeping up with a 25 year old genius... that'll keep you on your toes.

The coming generations, there are plenty who are in the 20s and 30s today who are are hardworking, committed and intelligent. I can add my three sons to that equation...

Old codgers like myself, we can often think the next generations are flakes. What I do, I think back and remember that what a flake I was, what flakes my friends were... how truly clueless I was. And somehow, like magic, I did grow up.. It happens to everyone...

It's been happening since time immemorial. Wisdom, if I only knew then what I know now... as George Bernard Shaw observed, "Youth is wasted on the Young."

Jon


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stevenf
sage


Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Vancouver, BC
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5948925 - 07/01/13 12:07 AM

You know what else is the problem with these damn kids today? Their frisbees and beatle haircuts. And why won't they stay off my lawn?

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mark379
sage
*****

Reged: 02/07/09

Loc: New Jersey
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5948940 - 07/01/13 12:23 AM

Quote:

Quote:



As no one currently alive was present in Plato's day, no one is qualified to authoritatively comment on what he observed...




We know pretty much what he thought, so I'll just say, "Oh yes we are!"

When it comes to our kids and what our universities do, you are utterly wrong. Have you talked to many kids? Do you know anyone who teaches at a university? Have you visited your university lately? I simply cannot overemphasize how good most of the youngsters I know and see are, or how dedicated most university faculty are. They don't get paid much, and lately in certain circles they (and public school teachers) are seen as conveniently powerless scapegoats. But they keep plugging away in the trenches anyway.

As for Meade? I think they offered a good mix of beginner/advanced entry level/high tech gear. The problem was the execution of it. However, even now they are still doing well in that regard, with the LX90, one of the best beginner telescopes to come down the pike, and the good old LX200, one of the best "advanced" scopes ever.




I'm with Rod for the most part as well.
I work in a university myself as a lab tech in a Geosciece department.
I find it is somewhat a mixed bag.
Yes most are stuck in their cell phones,etc. But,
There are a few who really excell, have interest, curiosity, and the will to work at it. I also do outreach at our local astronomy group in another university. We get quite a few who return and even eventually buy scopes themselves. Some even learn the sky the old fashioned way too!

So yes, while many are stuck in social media land and nothing else , one cannot discount those with curiosity and wonder...
Mark


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Hilmi
Post Laureate
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Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: mark379]
      #5948954 - 07/01/13 12:48 AM

I'm in my mid 30's, I grew up playing more computer games than was healthy and never did join the football team. I spend unhealthy amounts of time looking at my cell phone and i have probably spent in the past 7 years close to $30,000 in astronomy related products. I don't fit very well with Freds interpretation of what's going on.

Oh yeah, and just because I was a nerdy computer game enthusiast who spent an unhealthy amount of time in front of a computer, I still had time do lots of weight lifting and I had a real job... I even did some time drilling on an oil rig and getting covered in oil and grease from head to toe. I still stare at my mobile phone, I still play computer game, I still spend an unhealthy amount of time at my telescope and in between all that I have a nice healthy marriage and a 2 year old son that won't let me browse cloudy nights because he wants to look at pictures of the moon and stars on my PC.

The thing about stereotyping is more often than not you end up being wrong.


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jimb1001
sage
*****

Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: amicus sidera]
      #5948961 - 07/01/13 01:01 AM



Quote:





As no one currently alive was present in Plato's day, no one is qualified to authoritatively comment on what he observed... we have but bits and pieces with which to decode the social fabric of his time. What is certain is that almost all empires end in and via degeneracy, the Greeks being no exception; as for our parents, that generation may have been quite prescient, if the general behavior of my contemporaries over the last few decades is any indication.

In regards to any possibles defects in my arguments, I would posit that clear and unambiguous signs of the irreversible decay of our current civilization are visible to anyone who cares to look for them. Whether the fall takes years or decades to occur is immaterial; we are currently following in the footsteps of the Medes, Persians, Greeks, Romans and any of countless other civilizations which falsely assumed that arrogance and hubris would carry the day for them.

Since universities in general seem no longer to be in the business of teaching young minds to think rationally and independently, but instead appear to be primarily dedicated to promoting political correctness and groupthink, their use as a measuring stick of society's health is suspect, in my opinion; however, I'm willing to accept that the facility you teach at is an exception. Since I don't know them, I can offer no opinion regarding the young people under your tutelage, but I do come into contact with many twenty-somethings that fit my previous comments to a veritable tee; indeed, they are legion.

I am in full agreement with your final statement; astronomy is indeed quite alive and well, at least in a sense; however, the type of astronomy that I pursued and enjoyed as a young man is, with a few notable exceptions, breathing its last.

Fred




If you study history a bit more you'll find that societies fall not because people are more cooperative (groupthink) or are more concerned about treating others with respect (what you seem to be calling political correctness), but rather from corruption at the highest levels their institutions.

Bribery, influence peddling, political corruption, etc. end civilizations.

Young people don't kill civilizations, old people with too much money do.


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