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hometown: Denver, United States
career: I say that ideation is my primary function. Other's say I'm lazy and need to get a job.
workplace: Computer Chair
Computers are amazing things. We can do so much with them! This, of course, is an opening that is about as clichéd as starting out with ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. Nevertheless, we can truly do some amazing things with them. From conducting whole sky surveys to finding obscure patterns in light curves to creating amazing digital compilations of planets, computers rock. What’s more, computers have opened up whole new vistas of participation for people. Cheap digital cameras, cheap (even free) photo editing software, and a profundity of ‘amateur’ astronomers producing awe inspiring work are creating an opportunity for people to go back to their roots and become reacquainted with the sky. When I look at a computer generated image, no matter how breathtaking that image is, I am looking at a computer generated image. Even if that image is an exact replica of what I would see with the naked eye, that light was generated here, at my computer. I love reality and I wish to know as much about it as possible. I know that in order to do so I have to use technology and computers, I have to surround myself with machines, and I have to work with data that was collected by machines and processed by machines. But I also like to go outside and revel in nature. I like to let the wind push against me and let the waves carry me. I enjoy the triumphant symphony of a thunderstorm and the serene bliss of a calm meadow at midday in spring. I love how awesome the world is, and how much we have been able to figure out about it. But I never forget the difference between data and experience. When I look up at the sky I know that the light I see was born in the fiery heart of some distant star. The image I see looking through that eyepiece, or even in just looking up, is real in a way no computer image can be. I know of no more visceral connection to the cosmos than this: The light from a distant star has traveled across the universe so that I may gaze in rapt wonder at the beauty that surrounds us.