Re-Introduction

I see that several new readers have been visiting. You are all quite welcome to comment or discuss or tell others about this humble blog.

Except for the blurb to the right, I’ve never really introduced myself. So by way of expansion and definition, I present here some pertinent (and some not-so-pertinent) details.

You could probably tell by reading only a few of my entries, but I’ll confirm that I’m a married, middle-middle age and middle-middle class male living on the east coast of the US a bit south of the Mason-Dixon line in Maryland. But I’m no southerner. I was born and raised in Western N.Y. (still a Bills and Sabres fan), went to college at a Catholic university in Pennsylvania, graduate school in Ann Arbor, MI, and taught astronomy and physics for a bit in Kalamazoo. I’ve spent the last 27 or so years here in Maryland working mostly as a contractor and consultant for various companies on jobs associated with the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Applied Physics Lab and with the Space Telescope Science Institute. There have been other projects too, mostly dealing with fairly nondescript government proposals, some of which are more interesting than others.

The AstroWife and I started with two wonderful cats, who lived long and graceful lives, but who have since departed for better things. We have two young katz now, who run the house indirectly by purrs and guile. We have a wonderful granddaughter, who is one year old last week. She is, of course, a little star!

My interests have been described as “eclectic”, which I recognize as a bad buzz-word left over from the ’60s. I have been, in my life, a musician (rhythm guitar in a pretty decent band, for a bunch of old-timers), a martial artist (2nd dan black belt, but that means I’m pretty much dangerous to myself…), an astronomer (as a hobby and vocation, not as a professional, although two of my degrees are in astronomy), and of course, lover and brain surgeon, which makes me the second coming of Buckaroo Bonsai. I lied about the brain surgery.

Of late, I’ve been interested in other questions, many of which can be summed up in one: How do we know what we know? The first time I saw the question addressed intelligently was in a book by Jacob Bronowski, whom you may recognize (if you’re old enough), from his PBS television series The Ascent of Man. I’m sure he was not the first to discuss it.

The question does inform my own beliefs and Catholic upbringing, which I freely discuss here. Needless to say, once you tie astronomy, physics and Catholicism together, questions about Intelligent Design, the Anthropic Principle, Darwin and Global Warming start orbiting the central point like planets around a star. Then topics like education, politics and even environmentalism swoop in like comets, and people start demanding that I stop torturing metaphors like that.

I am one of those alien Linux users (greetings, earthling!) and write about the use and abuse of non-microsoft operating systems from time to time.

Other than that, I am a very happy curmudgeon.

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