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What a tremendous and wholly unexpected reaction to my “Five Reasons” post last Friday. To everyone who commented, “Liked” or shared my entry I would like to thank you all.

The entry had been in the works over several weeks due a renewed interest in astronomy caused in no small part by a recent visit to some huge meteorite craters in Germany. I had refrained from posting it earlier because of some problems with wording. I certainly didn’t expect it to get much of a reaction because my posting has been quite sporadic lately and comments tended to be few and far between.

How wrong I was. The entry was placed in a prominent position on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page, and the numbers began to shoot up immediately. My initial reaction was that I was the victim of a spam attack, but after reading the comments I was delighted to discover that something entirely different was happening. My site got thousands of hits over the weekend with over 120 comments to the entry at the time of writing, many of them very positive and supportive.

Some of the commenters were exceptionally kind. Many of you share my love of the stars and planets and the sense of wonder it creates. A few of you lamented the lack of light available in urban areas – a concern I share too. Here is a small selection of comments from you that I thought I would respond to.

Ishana wrote:

Nothing is more fascinating than that which we cannot obtain.

Very true. But who knows what awaits us in the future? Arthur C. Clarke once said that when a distinguished but elderly scientist declares that something is impossible, he is probably wrong. I think we have a lot to learn yet, but yes, it seems there will always be an “unobtainable” when it comes to the vastness of the Universe.

CommentatorandPoet said some particularly nice things about my use of the English language, and I would like to thank him for this. If only I could always be so fluent, as it often takes quite a bit of work for me to come up with the right words.

Nora Weston said

“Every time I venture into virtual space to find information and photographs…I’m left in awe”

A great point Nora. Astronomy is not just about what we can see, but what these amazing instruments such as Hubble can perceive. We can experience so much just sitting at our desktops now.

Pduan quoted Carl Sagan, one of the foremost science communicators of the last century.

“every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

This piece of writing should be on the desk of every politician and religious leader in the world.

Rebelliousvanilla said

“I was laying on my back on the grass during the night and looking at the stars and thinking that if a civilization advanced enough to see details on Earth’s surface will look this way from Andromeda in 2 million years, they will see me, laying on the grass, looking towards them.”

You never know. Keep having weird thoughts, RV.

Chemical Marriage said

“Plus, IT IS HUGE! Space is a never ending hill to look over.”

Spot on and well said. I just quoted five reasons. I’m sure there are hundreds.

mndals said

“The universe is indeed filled with wonders and the more we learn about it the more wondrous it becomes.”

So true. We are only now beginning to learn about planets around nearby stars, and their strange and wonderful ways. What next? Life?

Last but not least, Tom Baker said

“I think my favorite heavenly body is my wife, but next to her is the Horsehead Nebula.”

Thanks Tom! That brought a smile to my face.

These are just a selection of the comments. I will try to visit as many of your blogs as possible over the coming days to see what I can find.

Thanks again for all your kind words.

I’m not sure about you, but my blog account is stuffed with a ton of half-finished draft postings that have yet to see the light of day. Among them are the following: 

1) A thought that if business people are looking towards technology for the answers to their business problems, then they are looking in the wrong place. Technology has already provided most of the big benefits. It’s all about strategy and process now.

2) Googlehoaxing: an idea, born out of a Bigfoot story some weeks back, that people might start making serious money by staging a hoax (no matter how pathetic), publishing it on the Internet and benefitting from the AdWords revenue.

3) A poem, written after waking up at an ungodly hour and looking at an unflattering image of me in the mirror. I haven’t given up yet, but it’s painfully slow.

4) Some thoughts about the practical management of risk on projects. Project management is all about managing risk, and yet the mechanisms in place for doing it are often woefully inadequate. I have some thoughts on this.

5) Mass-customisation and prison: is tailor designing a sentence for your personality, background and genetic make-up the future of criminology?

6) A somewhat conflicted article on the importance of consumer trust to Google. I’m not sure if this one will be published any time soon.

That’s a sample. There are plenty more.

Am I alone in having all these limboed postings floating around? Do you have any postings that have somehow got lost in the Drafts section your Blog?

I’m like a little kid at the moment. I’ve just recieved an iPhone and I have been busy over the last two days tinkering around with it. It’s an incredible little box of tricks.

The basic features of the phone are excellent, what with touchscreen and GPS and the Accellerometer etc.. However, what makes the phone really stand out are the huge number of apps that can be downloaded for it. I have downloaded a few games, installed planetarium software, turned it into a remote control, and I am writing this posting from the new WordPress app despite the fact that I have no connection to the Internet.

And no, I haven’t yet made a phone call with it…

One of the funnier things about blogging on WordPress.com is looking at the search terms people use to find my blog. So, in the spirit of public-mindedness, here are some of the best search terms and my earnest answers to their questions..

“ships budding”: Interesting concept. Lots of water and sun and you never know.

“bog smokers”: This is Ireland. That sort of stuff is banned here.

“what Ruairi did on September 19th”. Went to the shop. Bought a bar of chocolate. Got kicked in the shin by a 5 year old.

“findus och pettson”, “pancake man nordqvist”. Now HOW did my blog get hit by these search terms?

“hate spells” / “HATE SPELLS”. Try “anger management techniques”.

“SPELLS FOR MOTHER IN LAW”. Ah…, The mystery is uncovered..

“west coast of claire”. Clare is a county in Ireland. Claire is a girl’s name. Saying that a girl has a coast is not the best chat-up line in the book..

“man bog take” – man have smelly house, so.

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