The Grumpy Old Astronomer

Is Grumpy



My Travel Mug

My Wife's Travel Mug



Why am I Grumpy?

  • I live in Canada
    • Winter lasts from about October to March Photo - It even snowed on June 6, 2009
    • It's dang cold outdoors - at night - in the snow - for 6 months of the year! Photo
    • Ever had to shovel snow for an hour to get a place to set up your telescope? It's not fun! Photo
    • Your "hobby budget" has to include buying a lot of hand warmers and foot warmers!

  • I live in Calgary
    • A city of about a million people generates a lot of light pollution. 2015 Photo from the ISS
    • So the City Council took our advice and converted all the glaring white mercury vapour street lights to full-cutoff sodium.
    • That was good - I could filter out the single colour of sodium light from my astrophotos.
    • But it was not totally good - they left a lot of "glass bowl" light fixtures on the main roads.
    • And it got even less totally good - the new "ring road" from the south-west all the way around to the north-east used the philosophies of "totally overkill street light numbers" and "to heck with those full-cutoff fixtures"
    • So then the City Council decided to go with LED street lights.
    • That was good - it would save taxpayers money.
    • But it was bad - they chose hugely bright LED lights and not-quite-full-cutoff ones.
    • And it was badder - the white LEDs they chose emit so much light at the blue end of the spectrum they should be classified as hazardous to human health.

  • Calgary is just east of the Rocky Mountains Small Photo   Big Photo
    • Calgary gets occasional warm Chinook winds that raise the temperature in the winter considerably - sometimes high enough to melt the snow.
    • That is good.
    • But Chinooks and downdrafts from the mountain ranges make the weather very unpredictable.
    • That is bad - the weather office in Calgary was faced with trying to predict the unpredictable.
    • So to "improve service" the Government of Canada closed the weather office in Calgary and moved the responsibility to Edmonton.
    • That was bad - a lot of the expertise and knowledge about Calgary weather patterns decided not to move to Edmonton.
    • Then it got badder - the Government of Canada "downsized" the staff count at the Edmonton weather office so there were even fewer knowledgable staff.
    • Then they decided to get a new multi-million dollar supercomputer to predict the weather.
    • That was good - except there's no one left to program the unpredictability of Calgary's weather into the multi-million dollar supercomputer.
    • So - - every day (sometimes twice a day), Environment Canada's supercomputer puts out a weather forecast for Calgary.
    • Then someone at the weather office in Edmonton calls someone in Calgary who looks out the window to determine exactly, to the degree and millimeter, how wrong the forecast is.
    • Then they issue "updates", "warnings" and "alerts" to make their extensive, automatically-updated internet web site agree with what's happening outside.

  • I'm not as young as I used to be.

  • Politicians. ← You can expect these to grow in number from now to the next elections.


SO - - Why just Grumpy and not Angry?




Sorry for the long post - Here's a Potato