Tag Archive for public

Public Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory

Friday, May 17th, 2013 — 7:00 – 11:00 PM

Little Thompson Observatory

Little Thompson Observatory

Public Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory, 850 Spartan Ave at Berthoud High School (park east of the high school; directions are posted on our website, www.starkids.org).

Our guest speakers are William Murtagh and David Stone, from the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO. The title of their talk will be: “Space Weather Storms: Are we ready for a ‘Space Katrina’”.

Our Nation is embarking on ambitious plans to modernize infrastructure which will be based on advanced technological resources vulnerable to space weather. Space weather impacts everyday life, including national security, emergency response, electric power grids, aviation, communications, global positioning system (GPS) applications, and satellite operations – technology we have come to rely on for our day-to-day activities. These recent advances in our technological infrastructure drive emerging space weather service needs undreamed of just a decade ago.

Extreme space weather

Extreme space weather

Extreme space weather storms are rare, but these low frequency events have significant consequences. Recent reports suggest the greatest natural disaster perhaps facing the Nation would be an intense geomagnetic storm. In December 2012, the U.S. National Intelligence Council presented solar geomagnetic storms as an event that could change the future course of human history. Building hazard-resilient communities is a national priority, but can we ensure the security of our high-tech community during an extreme space weather storm?

Bill Murtagh is the Program Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado. He is NOAA’s space weather lead in coordinating preparedness and response efforts with industry, national and international agencies, emergency managers, and government officials around the world.

Bill is a member of the White House Working Group on geomagnetic disturbances, guiding national policy in response to space weather storms. He regularly briefs the White House and members of Congress and their staff on vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure. He is a regular guest speaker at universities, government agencies, and national and international conferences. Bill has provided numerous interviews to major media outlets and is featured in several TV documentaries on space weather, most recently on the Discovery Channel ‘Sun Storm’, and the NOVA show ‘Secrets of the Sun’.

Solar weather forecasting

Solar weather forecasting

Before joining NOAA, Bill was a meteorologist and space weather forecaster in the U.S. Air Force. He coordinated and provided meteorological support for national security interests around the world. Bill transferred to the SWPC in 1997 as a space weather forecaster and liaison between NOAA and the U.S. Air Force. He joined NOAA in 2003 after retiring from the Air Force with 23 years of military service.

David Stone is responsible for developing the software which currently ingests and processes the GOES-13/14/15 telemetry and creates the space weather instrument data plots and imagery that is used by Space Weather Forecasters.  Modeled after NASA/JPL’s Mars Rover ingest architecture, the success and complexity of this system earned him an Outstanding Performance Award from the University of Colorado.

As a PMP certified project manager, he now leads software development teams at SWPC developing critical forecaster tools and transitioning space weather models into operational weather products.  His latest team efforts focus on designing, implementing and re-hosting a new public Space Weather website for SWPC – targeting growth from the current 5 million visitors per day to over 50 million. He has a BS – Computer Science from USMA, West Point (1989) and a MS – Computer Science (in Artificial Intelligence) from Stanford (1996).

The doors will open at 7:00pm and the presentation will start at 7:30pm.  Weather permitting after the presentation (around 8:30 PM), visitors will be invited to observe various celestial objects through our 6” Astro-Physics Refractor, and 18” Tinsley and 24” Cole Reflector telescopes.

Public star nights at LTO are held the third Friday of each month (except July, when we are closed for annual maintenance). No reservations are necessary for these nights. Just come and join us for the talk and some observing afterwards.

If you have any questions, please call the observatory information line at 970-613-7793 or check the LTO web site at: www.starkids.org

Public Star Nights at the Pioneer Museum, 224 Mountain Avenue in Berthoud, home of the historical 6” Brashear Refractor from John Bunyan, are held on the first Friday of each month. If you have any questions, please call the Bunyan observatory information line at 970-532-2147 or check the museum web site at: http://www.berthoudhistoricalsociety.org/bunyan.htm

 

Sincerely,

Meinte Veldhuis, President, Little Thompson Science Foundation

Public invited to be silent

Mayor and Council members:

Baum's loss has taught them nothing.

Longmont city council member Katie Witt

When I was interrupted tonight by Council Member Witt (who said I had disrespected and verbally attacked Council Member Santos), I did not get my full three minutes. I should have been compensated for that time so I could finish my speech. What I shared tonight was not an attack, but a fact — and as a citizen of Longmont, I’m allowed to question the behavior of my public servants. Being shut down like this sets a dangerous precedent. I hope that council will not continue to muzzle its constituents from speaking the facts. The fact is, Mr. Santos gave me back the TEDX DVD that I had given him. Not wanting to learn about the dangers of fracking chemicals makes me feel concerned whether or not he can make good decisions on my behalf and on behalf of all Longmont residents for whom he represents. Furthermore, I am also concerned that Council member Finley brought forth a motion to keep the initial PITBH to 30 minutes at the beginning of the meeting. This is further evidence that the priorities of certain Council members are skewed. Council members are public servants and are elected to serve the public as well as conducting City business.

Thank you,

Teresa Foster

I am submitting my speech here for the public record.

Dear Mayor and Council Members,

It has been 3 weeks since I had given you a copy of the DVD titled “What You Need to Know About Natural Gas Production”, narrated by scientist and environmental analyst, Dr. Theo Colborn.” Have you had a chance to watch it? Would you be concerned about the fact one member of the Council refused his copy of the DVD and handed it back to me after the December 20, 2011, Council meeting? How can he make informed decisions without first considering all sides of an issue? Does he have the health, well being, and safety of his constituents in mind? My guess is his constituents would want him to be extremely well versed on this topic.

I’d like to ask Council more questions:

  1. Considering the toxicity of the chemicals and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that result from drilling for natural gas (which includes drilling, fracking, processing, waste handling, and ongoing gas collection), how comfortable are you having these chemicals and VOCs released into your neighborhood? Would you consider the COGCC mandate of 350 feet to be a safe setback distance? If you allow natural gas drilling in Longmont, would you be willing to move next to a drilling site to show the citizens it is safe? Would you allow your children or grandchildren to go to school next to a drilling site?
  2. Had you ever heard about the health effects that occur from exposure to fracking chemicals and volatile organic compounds produced from natural gas drilling before watching the video? COGA and COGCC claim this technology is safe, but let me assure you it isn’t. Here are some of the effects from exposure: Burning skin, nausea, headaches, sensitization, fatigue, dizziness, tingling in the extremities that can lead to permanent nerve damage, gastrointestinal problems, endocrine disorders, cancer, death. Dr. Colburn states that 43% of the ‘known’ chemicals disrupt the endocrine system (and, by the way, we aren’t privy to this information until April 2012 here in CO). Exposure during pregnancy can interfere with the development of the fetus, causing irreversible lifetime changes in their health and how they function later in life. Further, Dr. Colburn mentions that health issues may not show up until months and/or years after exposure that can never directly be traced to industrial exposure. So that means once the drillers are gone, and months later you get really sick, then you’re out of luck? Who pays the price for the industry’s folly? Why, the citizens of Longmont.
  3. Based on what you now know after viewing the DVD, are you willing to go to any lengths to protect the residents of Longmont according to the oath you signed when you came into office? That would mean you pass regulations that are far stricter than the COGCC rules.

Bringing this kind of industrial activity into the city is far too risky. I ask you to support an actual ban under our Home Rule provision, where our rights as citizens supersede those of the State of Colorado.