Sunday, November 24, 2013

More than one America - American Nations by Colin Woodard

I have just finished reading American Nations by Colin Woodard.  He argues that the United States is not a single nation with one people, which no one would really agree with, but a state consisting of eleven separate American nations, each with its own distinct characteristics and motivations.  He suggests that these nations formed early in the history of the colonization of North America and that they have retained these characteristics over history even as they have expanded across the continent and absorbed wave after wave of immigrants.  After much exposition of the history of the different nations, he outlines a view that the struggles between the two great "superpowers" of these nations,  Yankeedom, centered in New England, and the Deep South and their allies have shaped American politics since even before the brith of the United States.

I think his thesis is plausible and the supporting comments in the text and the copious footlights seem to imply there is proof, but I would have liked to see more statistics or demographic maps to be convinced.  Perhaps even demographic, electoral or statistical maps and data throughout history to show that these regions really are different and have remained coherent over time.  

I also imagine that even within the different nations there are further divisions due to race or socio-economic differences.  While I agree that the white leaders of the Deep South have one agenda, the African American populace in that region has a different one and their growing political power will have implications.  I could use Philiadelphia and it's environs, the birthplace of the Midlands, as an example of how demographics and socioeconomic status can have an effect within regions.  Philadelphia often votes very differently from its surrounding counties, seemingly making It hard to use the fact that it is in the Midlands to predict an electoral or political outcome.

I recommend the book for its coverage of history, some of it forgotten (several rebellions before the revolutionary war) through a different lense than more traditional histories.  History may well prove Colin Woodard's thesis and predictions correct in the long run.

Pictures of the Minotaur I launch

I was able to get pictures of the Minotaur I launch from NASA Wallops.  I had to use the iPad because I haven't figured out how to have a long exposure with my new camera.

The rocket is the faint dot in the middle of the pictures just above the lights of the water treatment facility.  These pictures were taken from Rock Manor golf course just across the for the water tatement plant and reservoir.  If you stand on top of one of the berms  next to the golf course you can look south southeast and see the Delaware Memorial bridge, which is the right direction for north of Wilmington to see a launch from NASA wallops.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NASA Wallops to launch a Minotaur I tonight!

Another shot at seeing a rocket launch from NASA Wallops tonight between 7:30pm and 9:15pm.  The details are at the Orbital Sciences webpage.

I downloaded the Google Earth data and made another view standing in Rock Manor golf course looking south-south east towards the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

I will try to get a picture of the night launch but I make no promises.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Serious about sola sciptura!

This woman is serious about the scriptures being the sole source of divine revelation (no including tradition, you Catholics). She also doesn't seem to be a big fan of President Obama either.

Don't get me started about how scriptures put together over hundreds of years with the help of church tradition can be understood outside of that context.

 You may wonder if SOLAS 1 though SOLAS 4 license plates in Delaware were taken before this woman applied for her SOLAS 5 or whether a number sticker and license plate are the best vehicles for evangelism.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Partial Solar Eclipse from Sunday Nov 3rd

Got up in time and have actual photographic evidence of the partial solar eclipse for Wilmington, DE on Sunday morning.

It was already in progress at sunrise and I was able to find a spot where I could see it. I stopped by the water treatment plant in Rock Manor golf course, crossed the road and stood up on one of the hills they have to separate the fairway from the road.

The eclipse started obscured by trees and then the clouds a few minutes later, but you can see the shadow of the moon on the sun at the top of the picture. This view is upside down from the view just using your eyes (with protection) because it is reflected on the mirror if the Solarscope.

A couple looking for a good spot to see the eclipse saw me and stopped. I had an extra solar viewer that they could use for eye protection. The eclipse was even easier to see through those. They helped by catching my Solarscope as it repeatedly blew away because of how windy it was and because facing the sun meant that the open part was an effective scoop for the wind. Next time I bring a table and some bungs cords and maybe a rock.

I am declaring this a successful astronomical event viewing with proof.