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Point three is why I alway open a brainstorming session with one or two ideas roughly in the theme of “shut it all down”. Sometimes it’s “what if it also poisoned people? Then they can’t complain.” Other times is “we could just not? How bad could it really be?”

It’s important to prevent people thinking their ideas are foolish. Running a good brainstorming session is a skill just like running a good scrum, it’s not just another generic meeting and a lot of people try to think you can “just brainstorm”.

Experience has taught me that first improvisation skills help, because at least when I’m the first idea gathering phase you really need to both “yes, and” all the ideas being presented you also have to try and avoid “shutting down the scene” in that you want a good flow of ideas and until you start trying to select the useful apps you don’t want anyone’s behaviour to steer other people from sharing ideas they may have.

Second, if you’re the only one with any improv skills you’re also the one best equipped to “play the fool” and relentlessly suggest outrageous things and make sure they are placed on the board, to make sure everyone else is more likely to think “my ideas are better than that” and then you can encourage others to share those better ideas.

Also a brainstorming session doesn’t need to be an extrovert party. You can run one semi-asynchronous via slack it just takes longer, the key is involvement and attention. It works better when people pay enough attention and try to think of new ideas instead of doing other things which is harder to be sure of if you don’t bring the group together effectively.


Great article exploring specific colormaps and applications, incl discussion of pros/cons of popular maps [ e.g. Cividis better for color-blind viewing than Viridis, but is a more simplistic blue--yellow scale than others which utilize higher number of colors ]: https://www.kennethmoreland.com/color-advice/

Great, widely-referenced site for quickly generating color scales, w color-blind safe options, and large amount of research behind it: https://colorbrewer2.org/#type=sequential&scheme=BuGn&n=3


I've been shopping for my first telescope for about 18 months now (not entirely my first, I had an ok-quality small refractor as a child.)

Every time I've read so much that I know for sure what type I want, I read something else that makes me question what I want. So it's a complicated decision!

Install http://stellarium.org/ and get to know the stars from your location. Even if you end up getting a "goto mount" (where you enter the desired object and it finds it for you) you still have to align it so you'll still need to know and be able to find the stars it needs! So learning the constellations and stars is a must, you can get started on that before buying anything.

Join https://www.cloudynights.com/ forum and read lots. There's a beginner area there as well. It's a very active forum.

If it wasn't for covid, join a club and go to watch parties to actually test viewing through all kinds of telescopes.

Consider carefully where you'll keep it and where you'll use it. If you have a yard where you can keep it in a shed and roll it a few feet away to use you may not care about size and weight. But if you'll be carrying it down stairs and commuting to a darker view site on a bicycle, priorities are entirely different.

Seems like a Dobsonian is the overwhelming suggestion in this thread. Do consider that for example the Orion 8" Dobsonian is 41 pounds and over 4 feet long. Does that fit with your storage, transport and usage location constraints?

Whatever you buy, don't get something so cheap that the quality is so terrible it makes you give up. What this calls the "category 1": http://www.scopereviews.com/matrix.html

If, against all advice, you want to do astrophotography, this flips some of the requirements. For photos, spend most of your budget on the mount, not the telescope. In fact you don't really need a telescope, just a good mount and a DSLR camera (this is what I've been doing the 18 months I've been shopping for a telescope!)

(I did finally get tired of analysis paralysis and ordered a telescope last month. A StellarVue 80mm triplet refractor. There are long lead times these days for telescopes so it'll be a couple months before I actually receive it.)


This is pretty late in the discussion, but here's my advice: start with a smaller decent quality dob (6") -- we started with an Orion SkyQuest XT6 -- and get 2-3 decent eyepieces (10mm, 25mm, 32mm) and a 2x Barlow. You should be able to get all that for $750. That size scope is easy to carry and setup. With reasonable eyepieces you can do lunar, planetary (Jupiter/Saturn), double stars, star clusters, and nebula. None of it will look like the astrophotography, but seeing it yourself can be so satisfying. If you find you like it, there is no end to how much you improve your tech and how much can spend in the process! Also, check out CN (www.cloudynights.com) for tons of advice.

My favorite story on the topic — https://www.odessa.edu/current-students/_documents/pdfs/a-st...

The following story is one that’s been circulating for awhile. I believe it holds a very important message regarding appropriately setting priorities in our lives.

A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was full.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They chuckled and agreed that it was indeed full this time.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.

If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.

Pay attention to the things in life that are critical to your happiness and well-being. Take time to get medical check- ups, play with your children, go for a run, write your grandmother a letter. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, or fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first – things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.

——

An often seen addition:

A student then walks up to the jar and pours in a beer. It flows into the little gaps between the sand and the pebbles and the rocks.

There’s always time for a beer with friends.


This is a good resource to find such content https://wiby.org/

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