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M4lcs67

Verdict on Stargazing Live 2012

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Syntarsus    10

Surely if you understand enough of the science to understand why the LHC might create a tiny black hole, you ought to understand enough of the science to see why it wouldn't be an issue?

You don't need to understand any science at all, you only have to have heard about the possibility of the LHC creating black holes. Not understanding the physics of black holes doesn't make anyone thick. It just means they don't know much about one particular subject.

But it wasn't just that comment, I've heard him rail against other groups too recently, eg hippies. Partly of course it comes across as bit funny, but to my ears at least, I get the feeling he really does despise some groups of people. These derogatory comments spoil things for me a bit. They also seem out of place since the whole show is aimed at people with no scientific knowledge. And they also seem unnecessary.

Despite this I think the good he is doing in popularizing science and astronomy far outweighs these flaws which are minor in comparison.

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GJBC    51

bit more practical if possible and it was this time, and it will be spot on, but the opportunity was missed again. if they are going to go down south which i don't mind lets see something try and get some live images. the shots of the southern skies live were disappointing.

but over all i enjoyed 5 out of the six shows last night second bit was poor in my opinion i lost interest very quick when the food and wine came out why was it there no need. I just lost interest once they started talking to themselves instead of the audience out here.

all the other shows were great though so five out of six aint bad and it has had its effect again already hit to our web site is up again already.

Good on the Beeb for doing this.

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BinocularSky    1,654

Let me preface this, though, by acknowledging that Cox's ability to make science "cool" is fundamentally a good thing and that I thought the Stargazing Live programs that I saw (I missed the 2nd one) were generally good and informative. I thought Chris Lintott was outstanding.

Why is it that (some) people want to knock Brian Cox? He is after all trying to teach the public and pass on his knowledge. I have found in life that the people so quick to express these opinions against others are usually jealous (...)
Hmm. That raises a number of points, some of which are:
  • By your logic, they'd be even more jealous of the better presenters/explainers of science but, if you do get criticisms of Al-Khalili, DuSautoy or Mosley that are similar to the criticisms of Cox, I've yet to see it.
  • I think (i.e. this is my opinion only; I don't expect others to agree) it is very dangerous when anybody is lionised to the extent that s/he is held to be beyond criticism.
  • Thirdly, Cox does make some fairly basic errors (in one way this is forgiveable since his speciality is particle physics, not astronomy), but I find it appalling that, in what is essentially a science subject, people can be castigated for correcting errors, as happened last year.
Edited by tetenterre
complete an unfinished sentence

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JamesF    7,675
You don't need to understand any science at all, you only have to have heard about the possibility of the LHC creating black holes. Not understanding the physics of black holes doesn't make anyone thick. It just means they don't know much about one particular subject.

Quite. But if you know you don't know much about a subject, surely you don't just blindly assume that what is reported in the mainstream media is accurate? Most of the reporters, after all, have no real understanding of the science or in some cases any scientific background whatsoever.

But it wasn't just that comment, I've heard him rail against other groups too recently, eg hippies. Partly of course it comes across as bit funny, but to my ears at least, I get the feeling he really does despise some groups of people. These derogatory comments spoil things for me a bit. They also seem out of place since the whole show is aimed at people with no scientific knowledge. And they also seem unnecessary.

I'm really not sure I know what a hippy is these days. I don't think he's referring to the "Make Love Not War" 1960s ones, but rather the ones who believe in healing crystals, homeopathy and other such rubbish. Given that they appear to have willingly abandoned their critical faculties it's hard to see that they really have much cause for complaint. If they will go around insisting that their particular brand of quackery really works then others are absolutely entitled to call them idiots just in case there are people who believe them and die as a result.

James

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Macavity    2,598

Hey, I'm am doubtless, in the Cox worldview, an "[old] hippy" or something? But I am learning to let his non-science "utterances" wash over me... A great (average? typical?) scientist, but with woeful comedic timing. I'd probably laugh more otherwise. :)

If I am to get vaguely serious, working at CERN over several years, taught me a lot about "rubbing along" with others: "Foreigners" (geographically and thought-wise) if you will? LOL. I became more careful about making "smartass" asides - The use of language that MIGHT cause *gratuitous* offense to others. :(

Scientists are often multi-talented, "deeply philosophical" (whatever) people - Artists, musicians etc. At the moment, I don't rate Brian Cox as a notable "thinker". <shrug> I don't know what his hectic, media-driven schedule allows, but maybe ol' Brian needs to revisit CERN (metaphorically too!) more often. :)

P.S. Don't know the guy, but there is something vaguely disquieting... But then the BBC seem "inordinately fond" (c.f. Darwin re. beetles. LOL) of their "Jeremy Clarkson" types. I tend to switch off mentally... :)

Edited by Macavity

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JamesF    7,675
Hey, I'm am doubtless, in the Cox worldview, an "[old] hippy" or something? But I am learning to let his non-science "utterances" wash over me...

I'm sure that when it comes to "alternative medicine" he would argue that its proponents are the ones making unscientific utterances :)

James

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Macavity    2,598
I'm sure that when it comes to "alternative medicine" he would argue that its proponents are the ones making unscientific utterances.
OK then, *irrelevant* (to popularising astronomy) utteraces? But is he REALLY talking about (genuine) iniquities of "alternative medicine"... or is he just a "hippy hater"? <G> Is his "heart in the right place", or is he just a retro-thinker? As he shakes hands with "Archbishops" or invites "Ant and Dec" to CERN, what does he REALLY believe? I sense there is ultimately a significant GULF between (even science!) "celebrities" and the rest of us... Just me being cynical, I suppose! :)

Not unsympathetic, to your cause, but if I want Politics, Philosophy or Religious debate, I'd rather talk (be genuinely interested, listen to etc.) to the "Organ Grinder" than his (even unchained) monkeys. :)

Edited by Macavity

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I may rock the boat here , but I was not very impressed

Lots of stats and grains of sand comments , comments about the tide and gravity :)

Did I miss the stargazing ?

2 clear nights and 1 wet night and hardly any images ?

With remote access to scopes all over the world we needed some images

Maybe its me expecting too much

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oshb5    11
I do think that this could be the perfect opportunity for the Sky At Night to take over where Stargazing Live has left off and move things into the 21st century.

I guess with the fact that it has been running for so long it has been moved to the graveyard shift (middle of the night), but with this newly found exposure/interest with the cosmo it has to be moved to a more prominent slot on the BBC's schedule. I guess when the unthinkable happens and Sir Patrick hangs up his scope for the last time there will be a wealth of possible candidates for the presenters position.

In any case I think if the BBC don't take notice of the impact of Stargazing Live and transfer it to the Sky At Night then it will be an opportunity missed,

I think one of thse two are being gromed to replace poor old Patrick on the SAN as the poor man has nearly past it and it would be nice fr him to and it over "Live" while he still can..

Osh

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oshb5    11
Great program for getting folk interested. unfortunatly an interest in all things astro risks becoming a fashon item. 3 people at work today quizing me about what scope they should buy (so they can brag to there friends about how with the curent scene they are) only for there scopes and interest to fade away as soon as the next big thing is in!!.

will stop there before i go of on a rant about shallow people (who are well known for being so).

That could be a good thing for us hardened astronomers I mean f they want the kit for bragging right it would have to be good top end kit N if the get fed up and move on to the next fashion statement as you suggest then there would be some nice cheap good kit up for grabs Only good can come from this be it bring in other new astronomers so swelling our ranks which will in turn initiate more people to our light pollution plight so every plus in our hobby is a good thing as far as I am concerned.. But as has been suggested why dont they get footage from starpartys to show at the stargazing live shows They could go and film at SGL7 or even Kelling Then possibly local dark sites nearer the time or get society to coincide events with the TV programme. and like on ITV on nature watch they could have extended live viewing after the main shows...LOL..

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Syntarsus    10
Quite. But if you know you don't know much about a subject, surely you don't just blindly assume that what is reported in the mainstream media is accurate?

James

Logically I think that would be sensible but in reality I think it's the other way around. When we DO know something about a subject we tend NOT to trust reporters and when we DON'T know we trust them because we hope/rely that they at least know more than us.

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jabberwocky    453

i enjoyed it but it should have been called 'Not much Stargazing happening here Live'

maybe they should make Sky at night a bit more prime time, spend a bit more money on it

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Caldwell 14    16

I thought it was great. I had a lot of folks well over a hundred and perhaps many more looking though my refractor at Jupiter at the Waters Edge SG live event by the Humber bridge, I felt like I was a part of something rather special. As for Mr Cox, I like him, I like him a lot, he is helping to make astronomy and science popular and accessable, no one else has been able to do that for years. As for hippy bashing, well I like him all the more for it, the man is a scientist after all and astronomy is the oldest science on the planet...Roll on next year.

Has he got the loveliest voice? I dunno, I'm not a lass but he is from the North West so has a decent accent and once discribed Manchester as the greatest city on Earth, so he's ok by me. On a different note it was nice, as a Macc lad, to hear them talking about the sky over Macclesfield, very strange, lots of astro types round Macc, always was, I looked through my first Newtonian aged 11.

Edited by Caldwell 14

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Macavity    2,598

My hope is that future scientists can display a wide VARIETY of traits and beliefs. Pantomime maybe, but I had hoped we'd have moved on from Coxite "hippy hating" - That Theorists were "unworldly", Chemists "inferior", Biologists "imprecise" and "sandal-wearing" etc. LOL. I'll try not to slip into "religion & politics", but it seems to me, "Old Etonians" govern us, BBC "Bad Boy" comedians entertain us and Popular Scientists have to be "outspoken" and "distinguished supporters" of the BHA (link). :)

Congratulations to Alice Roberts as Brum Uni's new (Recent Declared Humanist, naturally?) "Professor of Public Engagement in Science" http://youtu.be/oCyivDUu0A. I just hope that young ASPIRING scientists don't forget that being a rank and file "ordinary" (Apatheist!) scientist is still fairly laudable too? :)

P.S. I was never a pukka hippy (LOL), but if a little 70's "Do your own thing" (Man) aspect were to return, to our present "confrontational" society, I wouldn't object. Maybe if Science Publicist Tweeters promoted *science* rather more than personal beliefs and BOOK sales? An opportunity missed, I feel... :)

Edited by Macavity

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Kopite Al    10

I liked it, especially the Back To Earth show that followed, and it helped me take the plunge from merely reading about astronomy to actually getting out there and looking into the night sky.

In work we normally just talk about the football. Last week for the first time ever it was the moon, black holes etc. Maybe there could have been more actual astronomy but it's helped the subject get a lot more fans (especially if that figure of a 500% increase in UK telescope sales is true) and that can only be a good thing.

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Starstrike    1

I was one of the lucky six to attend the Star Party of the Stargazers Live Show, then the Back to Earth Show on Tuesday as a member of Macclesfield Astronomical Society. There were also members from Liverpool Astronomical Society and several children.

The BBC looked after us with food, security and guides. They made the whole event run like clockwork, very professional indeed.

We were in a field with our scopes looking at an amazingly clear sky only a few hundred yards away from the studio. They made several filming forays to the edge of the star party for various interviews.

I think it would have been nice if they had made more use of the amateur astronomers available with a walkabout amongst the scopes and chats about what people were observing or imaging and what equipment they thought was appropriate. Maybe another time, these events must provide ideas and a learning experience for the BBC that will be useful in future programmes.

It was a privilege to take part in these shows as an amateur astronomer. Dara made a special effort to welcome the amateur astronomers to the show off camera and Brian made the whole experience so easy going. They were both very amusing and down to earth(no pun intended). The other guests seemed so relaxed they put you at ease. It again would have been nice to in some way have been involved in the discussions rather than as a backdrop audience. As far as the drink was concerned I enjoyed the wine, that was a nice touch giving some to the astronomers.

I think the whole experience was amazing and both Dara and Brian should be congratulated on bringing astronomy to the fore.

Edited by Starstrike

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Gonzo    194

I'm quite surprised that they managed to get an entire village to turn off their lights against light pollution, but they couldn't turn off the lights on the radio telescope of the Jodrell Bank Observatory...

Edited by Gonzo

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Luke    2,880

I didn't see it last year, but loved this year's programme. I thought it would be more about looking through scopes, which it wasn't so much, but I found it very up-beat and inspiring!

Thank you, Brian Cox, for getting more people interested in this amazing hobby!

Edited by Luke

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BinocularSky    1,654
I'm quite surprised that they managed to get an entire village to turn off their lights .
They didn't. The cameraperson tried personfully to maintain the illusion, but it was blatantly obvious that there were still lights on.

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Macavity    2,598
They didn't. The cameraperson tried personfully to maintain the illusion, but it was blatantly obvious that there were still lights on.
Probably me. LOL It's an interesting experiment, but if some BBC "TV type" came round and told me to turn off my wretched "Bob Cratchit" economy bulbs, I might have found a new point of insertion. :D

I think the media (TV, tabloids etc.) would achieve more, if they stopped trying to convince us, via POPULAR programs, that we're going to be "murdered in our beds" - on a nightly basis. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure e.g. the "One Show" recently *recommended* the use of outside "security" lighting? :)

Edited by Macavity

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JamesF    7,675

Around here it's widely recognised that having security lighting just draws attention and helps thieves see what they're doing and regardless of the security lights they'll often come back for a second pop a few months after a robbery to see if they can take whatever has been replaced. Lighting certainly isn't considered a deterrent.

An audible alarm, linked to lights and a camera if you're really keen, is probably a far more effective means of preventing burglary.

James

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Sarah    106

I really enjoyed watching it. Didn't see it last year, so can't compare. There was a good mix of stuff and hopefully most people who watched got something out of it. For me, it just wasn't on long enough and I had hoped for a bit more time at the scopes, but overall I thought it was very good. And it can only help increase the popularity of this great hobby.

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