Sarah went in to work this afternoon, so I took a bus up to the Chabot Space andScience Center in the Oakland Hills. The Center has the largesttelescope in the West (20" mirror; Palomar has a 200" mirror bycomparison) that is regularly open to the public, an Omni theatre, aplanetarium, and numerous interesting exhibits. For a public structurein Oakland, this was a really neat place.
On my way back from the Space Center, I stopped off in one of the localused book stores to add to my collection. While I was in there, one ofthe local residents and the proprietor of the book store decided topublicly, and loudly, display their "deep" knowledge ofAfghanistan, Islam, terrorism as a form of political and economic speech,and conflict management. Does anyone else find it irritating that somany people style themselves as experts in these topics of late? Theremust be 10 million self-proclaimed experts on these topics in America rightnow. Where were all these people before 11 Sep 01? If thecountry was stocked with so many people who all "understand" whatled to the country's current situation, we wouldn't be in Afghanistan rightnow. So, if you're one of these Afghanistan experts, please keep it toyourself. The rest of us get enough news and analysis and we don'tneed anybody else spouting off loudly and unsolicited in public. Tonight, Sarah and I drove up to the Lawrence Hall of Science at UCBerkeley where several astronomers had their telescopes out for a publicviewing session. The fog was rolling in, so our viewing was limited,but we were able to see the rings of Saturn and three moons of Saturnthrough one telescope. Through another we were able to see some ofJupiter's bands, as well as four moons. This was reallycool. I'd never seen a planet through a really nice telescope before(or even through a less-than-really-nice telescope before, for that matter)and it was amazing to actually see the planets move across the telescopesfield of view.