Deeds, Not Words

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you think that title might sound heretical coming from a wordsmith, just wait ‘til you read the rest of this column.

Say what you will about former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone (I never thought he was cut out for the job), but he did leave one indelible mark in my brain: “Don’t confuse effort with results.” This was one of the bromides that he posted on the walls of the Ralph Wilson Fieldhouse for all his players (and Bills fans) to stare at. In a nutshell, it’s what Yoda told Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

We’re all told to try our best. That’s fine. But we need to accept that it’s not good enough. When you try something, the result is you either succeed or fail. That’s all there is to it. There is Continue Reading “Deeds, Not Words”

The Daddy-Daughter Talk… About Gravity Waves

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Graphic Source: NASA.gov

Graphic Source: NASA.gov

On the morning of Thursday, February 11, 2016 at a press conference in Washington DC, an international team of scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the discovery of Gravity Waves. Long sought after, this phenomenon was first postulated by Albert Einstein more than a century ago in his seminal 1915 paper on the General Theory of Relativity. While the major media jumped on this “universe changing” story, the reports were not adequate to fully explain the concept of Gravity Waves and the implications of their discovery. Leave it, then, to the innocent questions of a young daughter to her wise father to explain The Facts of Life and Gravity Waves. What follows is the transcript of the actual conversation that occurred through Facebook messaging on Friday, February 12, 2016:

Daughter: [Friday 3:20pm] “Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory” (New York Times, February 12, 2016) “Scientists say they heard the faint chirp of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, fulfilling Einstein’s general theory of relativity.” (nytimes.com, accessed February 12, 2016)… did you see this? A lot of my friends liked this story, but they don’t know what it means.
Daddy: That’s because it’s not something tangible. We can’t really “see” a physical “wave.” What we’re doing is detecting radio waves – i.e., sounds. This branch of astronomy, called “Radio Astronomy” has been around for a while (it took off in the 1960s when a couple of Bell Labs engineers accidentally discovered it wasn’t pigeon poop, but Continue Reading “The Daddy-Daughter Talk… About Gravity Waves”

The Speed of Light

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 11, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259One hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. It takes light about one and one-third seconds to go from the Earth to the Moon. We know this because scientists have shot lasers at the reflectors the Apollo astronauts left on the lunar surface. The Moon orbits at a distance of 240,000 miles from the Earth.

One hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. The light emitted from our Sun has aged a little over eight minutes by the time it hits the Earth. The Earth circles the Sun from a span of 93 million miles away.

One hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. That’s equal to nearly six trillion miles in one year. We refer to this distance as one light-year. The nearest star (Proxima Centauri) looms a mere 4.3 light-years from our Solar System. That translates to just Continue Reading “The Speed of Light”

Day 16 – November 29, 2009 (Sun): Post a Discussion Tweet

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Start of Day Twitter Stats: Follow: 98 Followers: 86 Listed: 5

Missed yesterday? Go here to read what happened on Day 15 – November 28, 2009 (Sat): Post a Link Tweet

twitter_power_joel_comm_150Wow. I blocked my first follower today. I don’t get it. Why do these types of spammers spam? I could understand legitimate businesses. For instance, I must have made a comment on video games on Friday because I got a bunch of gamer followers as a result (as well as @Santaclaus_2012). I’ve heard from others Twitter needs to control spam or face extinction. Hey! That’s a great discussion! I’ll tweet it right now…

(Hours later.) @leedrake was the only response. He brought up a great point. While e-mail is permission based, Twitter is not. In other words, caveat emptor. I’m still not sure what that means in the end for Twitter, because sometimes buyers prefer to embrace laziness. They don’t want to take the time to “beware” and often prefer some middle-man take care of all the nasty stuff.

I did get into an interesting back and forth about Einstein with @susanbeebe. But, that was the extent of my discussions. I guess too many people spent the day watching football. I got a little of the same in (along with some male bonding with my son), but the bulk of the day saw me writing the script for the AstronomyTop100.com official Top Ten Countdown Awards Show scheduled for this coming Friday night.

I’ve now passed the half-way point in this experiment and I can tell you one early conclusion: I possess no desire to fritter my life on Twitter.

How many followers do you think I’ll have after 30 days? Click here to enter your guess on my Survey Monkey survey “Chris Carosa’s 30-Day Plan to Dominate Twitter Experiment.” There’s no prize, but the fan who guesses the closest correct number the earliest will “win” and I’ll mention you if you want me to.

Find out today’s results on Find out today’s results on Day 17 – November 30, 2009 (Mon): Post an Action Tweet