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[DSLF] Digest Number 928



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There are 3 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

      1. Re: Help needed with HB1282 in Arkansas!
           From: patric@ghostriders...
      2. Message from astronaut
           From: Gary Citro <callisto@optonline...>
      3. Re: Message from astronaut
           From: ctstarwchr@aol...


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Message: 1
   Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 21:35:27 -0600
   From: patric@ghostriders...
Subject: Re: Help needed with HB1282 in Arkansas!

Arxaw  wrote:
 > Please help make Arkansas's Night Sky Protection bill become law:
 > http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ftproot/bills/2003/public/HB1282.pdf


I applaud how far you've gotten with the effort, but to help get it 
passed and protect it from enforcement challenges, you should be 
prepared to make some concessions.  Please take these in the spirit they 
are intended:

Be prepared to strike  "8-14-104 (b) No mercury vapor outdoor lighting 
fixtures shall be sold or installed after January 1, 2004."

"8-14-104 (d) This chapter does not apply to: (1)
Incandescent fixtures of one hundred fifty (150) watts or
less, or other light sources of seventy (70) watts or less"
...will bite you in the butt down the road as newer technologies mature 
and your 70 Watts suddenly gets a lot brighter.  Use "Lumens" instead of 
"Watts" to distinguish lamp brightness, and set the unshielded limit at 
1000 or 1800 lumens to exempt grandma's 60-watt porch light.


Exemptions on:
"(6) Outdoor lighting fixtures that are necessary for worker safety at 
farms, ranches, dairies, feedlots or industrial, mining or oil and gas 
facilities."
.... exempts not only the very people that would benefit most from 
glare-free lighting, but lets every ratcheted gas station in the state 
off the hook.

Lastly, Astronomy is a special interest.  Unless you have a big lobby 
group there, donít make it the focus of your push, especially when 
things like glare should be addressed in the interest of public safety, etc.

You might be able to negotiate a better deal by giving them back their 
mercury lights in exchange for requiring recessed lenses on new filling 
station canopies.  I wish you the best, and congratulations on getting 
it this far.
Patric.





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Message: 2
   Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 07:14:20 -0500
   From: Gary Citro <callisto@optonline...>
Subject: Message from astronaut

An excerpt from a message sent by astronaut Kalpana Chawla on
February 21st, 2002 to a Planetarium in New Delhi appears below.
Ms. Chawla was a member of the ill-fated Columbia Shuttle crew.
An example of a minority woman driven to great scientific accomplishment.

>  Growing up in Karnal, India, some of my precious
>  memories are sleeping under the stars in summers and being awed by the
>  majesty of the night sky. My mother pointed out the milky way and some
>  of the constellations; I suspect some times we gazed forever, without
>  blinking for minutes. Something about the night sky causes us all,
>  young and old,  to ponder over the very basic questions. We are inspired
>  and motivated



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Message: 3
   Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 08:23:09 EST
   From: ctstarwchr@aol...
Subject: Re: Message from astronaut

In a message dated 02/10/03 7:19:29 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
callisto@optonline... writes:

> An excerpt from a message sent by astronaut Kalpana Chawla on
> ...<snip>...
> 
> > Growing up in Karnal, India, some of my precious
> > memories are sleeping under the stars in summers
> > and being awed by the majesty of the night sky. My
> > mother pointed out the milky way and some of the
> > constellations; I suspect some times we gazed forever,
> > without blinking for minutes. Something about the night
> > sky causes us all, young and old, to ponder over the
> > very basic questions. We are inspired and motivated

That is a very profound message.  Thank you Gary.  Amazingly, I pointed 
reference to a very similar experience while giving testimony before the CT 
State Legislature this past Friday.  CT has a Bill in the legislature to 
declare the dark night sky as a natural resource.

http://www.cga.state.ct.us/2003/TOB/h/pdf/2003HB-06051-R00-HB.pdf

This is what I told them (in part)...

"When I was seven years old, or thereabouts, my Mom went to let the dog out 
after dinner and raced back into the house somewhat in a panic.  She started 
turning out all of the interior lights without saying a word to the family.  
We wondered what was going on, a bit unnerved because of her unusual 
behavior.  She kept insisting we had to go outside but did not tell us the 
reason why.

We apprehensively followed her into the back yard and she threw down a 
blanket on the summer dew laden ground and told us to lie down on our backs.  
The Milky Way was cutting the night sky in half as splendid as I have ever 
seen and M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) was distinctly visible as a naked eye object 
that did not require averted vision to see.  "Isn't it spectacular?  Just lay 
here for a while and watch it," she said.

The sky was resplendent with stars and so dense with tiny points of light it 
was not possible to count them all, nor was it easy to pick out 
constellations.  After our eyes adapted a tiny spec of yellow light about the 
size of the point on a pin passed slowly overhead.  It was the Russian 
satellite Sputnik according to my Dad, and probably so because that was 
before the magnetosphere became tainted with space junk, Telstar, telecomm 
and other geostationaries.  Today that same back yard well away from the 
outskirts of town only shows 40 visible stars on the clearest of nights.  
Sadly, similar activities are no longer possible for the children or their 
parents to experience today.  The Milky Way is just a sweet wrapper in the 
candy aisles of the local store for most kids today.

The night sky is just as much of a natural resource as water, soil, and air.  
It is the food and fuel of our imagination and innovation.  Were it not for 
Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler and others inventing the 
fundamentals of the Calculus and forming the foundations of modern Physics in 
their attempts to understand and explain the Universe and why celestial 
bodies interact with each other in the manner they do we might not have the 
incredible science, engineering, and technology that has brought us as a 
species to the point where we have evolved to today. 

Both Physics and Calculus are taken for granted as general education 
requirements today, but a mere 250 years ago they hardly existed.  If it were 
not for the dark night sky resplendent with stars I have to wonder what other 
force of innovation and imagination could have ever driven those incredible 
breakthroughs?  That fact above all is the most profound reason to declare 
the dark night sky to be a natural resource worthy of protection for all 
generations to come.

Another reason why it is vital for this Bill pass into law is to raise the 
level of importance so everyone will finally realize why and how it is 
necessary to protect this amazing natural vista that drives imaginations 
beyond all expectations.  It is a view that has enveloped our planet since 
the dawn of time."

Throughout my testimony, winged on the fly with no benefit of written script, 
I could see people's heads nodding up and down in agreement around the room -- 
both Senators, Representatives, and attendants in the gallery.  At the end 
when I was finished speaking the Chairman thanked me for *compelling 
testimony* and then he requested my contact information.  

It was a REALLY fun and productive day for the night sky on Friday.  >:-)  
Oh, did I mention that we were in the middle of a blizzard at the time?  
There was over 8 inches of snow in my driveway by the time I returned home.  
Today four more light pollution Bills are on the block for public comment and 
I'm heading off to the Capitol again in a few minutes to do my best to defend 
them.  CT now has 7 LP bills in the legislature to protect the sky.  Snow is 
on the way again too.  Maybe that's a sign?

Clear skies and good seeing,
Keep looking up!

Cliff Haas
http://members.aol.com/ctstarwchr
http://www.crlaction.org



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