Creating the AstroCalc

My requirements: Being able to do astronomical calculations while observing through my telescope during cold nights while not hurting my night vision.

With a smart phone, I’d have to use touch gloves or take off my gloves to press “buttons” on the screen. And then I’d have the hassle of filter programs to dim the screen and make it red to keep it from impacting my night vision.

With my HP-41, I’d have to use a led light to see the screen.

But with an old red led calculator, I could get all my requirements at once. Except there are few of these old pre-1980 calculators that would be capable of doing all the calculations I need; Date -> Julian Date -> Date, Sun rise/set, Moon rise/set, Moon Phase, Field of View calculations fro various eyepieces, etc. Fiddling with magnetic cards for the HP-67 would not be ideal.

hp-25e

HP-25E to the rescue! Bernhard Emese (Panamatik) has created a true piece of art with his “brain transplant” for the old HP-25 calculators. His HP-25E boast a 100x increase in programming memory, on-board GPS with time, Latitude, Longitude, heading, speed and more as well as a stop watch, chess clock, hexadecimal conversion and much, much more. It’s the ideal calculator for my requirements. Except it still had only 50 program steps memory per program. Although it had the possibility of storing 100 HP-25 programs in a constant memory (not lost when you turn the calc off – unlike the original HP-25), you couldn’t write programs with more than 50 steps. And this was way too small for the programs I need.

Talking to Berhard about the possibility of “stringing together” different “pages” of 50 program steps, we came up with a neat way of solving this issue. By using some available rare codes, the HP-25E can now jump between various programs – potentially creating programs with thousands of programming steps.

hp-25e_open

And so I embarked on the journey of creating the AstroCalc – the ideal tool for the amateur astronomer. So far, the GitHub repository only includes the calculation of Julian Date from a date and time and the backward conversion, from Julian Date to date and time. With the HP-25E’s possibility of constantly updating the time, this makes writing down the exact Julian Date on my observations a breeze.

I will add the Sun/Moon rise/set, Moon Phase and eyepiece calculations soon. Just check my HP-25E_astro Github page for updates.

I fucking love this calc.

The best deal: Everyone first!

Business people, salesmen, game theory mathematicians, Donald Trump and negotiators would advice you to get the best deal possible. And the best deal would often amount to getting the biggest share of the pie that you can possibly get.

While that strategy may get you rich when selling refrigerators to Eskimos, it is not the best long term strategy for a partnership.

salesperson

Whenever you try to get a bigger piece of the pie, the other parties gets less. And their motivation for baking pie suffers proportionally.

Trying to get the “best deal” by getting an unfair portion may be a viable short term strategy. But in the long run it kills partnerships.

The best way to ensure affluent pie making and long term profit is for every party to insist on a fair deal for everyone involved.

The best strategy is not to simply cater for one’s own interests. It is to cater for everyone’s interest. Putting my interest first hurts the other parties’ interests and kills off that much motivation to make the partnership work in the long run.

The best strategy would be to impress as much as you can by delivering value to the partnership as often as you can. Give life to the partnership by continually giving and insisting on a fair deal for everyone involved. Empathy, transparency, putting all cards on the table and dropping all chess gaming are keys to a good partnership. Don’t do tactics. Don’t do strategies. Just ensure everyone succeeds.

Impress!

“I am struggling in my job. I don’t know if I should quit my job or continue. And if I continue, whether I should focus on this or that or the other thing. Is this type of work even for me? I feel exhausted. Not much positive feedback, and I don’t really know if what I’m doing is valuable for the company, for any customers or for other employees. I feel kinda lost. What should I do?”

He looked at me across the table. Across his cup of coffee, and mine. I started out slowly:

“You know, there’s stacks of books written about this, countless methodologies and coaching practices addressing these kinds of issues.”

He looked eagerly at me, waiting for some book or methodology that would match his complex problem. Some kind of intricate way of resolving his issues. But then I went on:

“But really, it boils down to just one simple concept. Just one.”

He looked sorta disappointed. Like I was about to invalidate his complex problem or insult his intelligence.

“You only need to impress.”

Uh?

“Yes, impress your customer, your boss, your colleague, your wife, your kids, yourself. But impress by delivering something of value. Impress your customers in every meeting. Impress your colleagues every workday. Impress your kids by really playing with them when they bring out the Lego. Impress your wife in bed. Impress by delivering. Unconditionally and as much as you can. If you do this, you’ll be doing good. And this is all you need to do.”

creating-value-is-habit-forming

Global Warming deniers: Get a grip

From the data I’ve seen and been able to verify, it does seem that humanity’s greatest challenge is Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW – Humanly caused Global Warming). The data supporting AGW is overwhelming. Still there are those who choose to deny it or remain sceptical.

I can understand and appreciate the sceptics – as long as they make an effort to inform themselves – by being open to the underlying data and science and dig down into the underlying physics and statistics.

But when I encounter deniers, uniformily they come across as very certain that either 1) there is no Global Warming, or 2) the Global Warming is not caused by humans. They also tend to believe that there is some sort of conspiracy to forward the idea of AGW to funnel money into research and green energy. I have yet to meet a denier that has been to areas affected by Global Warming or who has any scientific knowledge to understand the physics or statistics involved.

It seems the belief in conspiracy theories is the driving force for the majority of deniers. They loudly proclaim that one should “follow the money trail”, because money is the driving force of conspiracies. It baffles me how they do not heed their own advice. The amount of money to be gained by oil companies in denying AGW totally dwarves the money gathered into scientific research and Green Energy – by a factor of at least ten. Much, much more is gained by “The Establishment” in lobbying against AGW than for it.

For some deniers, it seems safest to kill AGW at its roots by denying there is any rise in temperatures at all – citing local “cold spots” as evidence, or simply just invent data or opinions to counter facts. This type of deniers are marginalized and may soon find themselves as scarce as the Flat Earthers.

The majority of deniers would admit there is warming going on but deny there is any human connection. Again, the data and science is mounting against this position. The problem is that they almost never try to actually defend their position with any facts. They use opinions, hand waving or Internet memes trying to “discredit” science.

The deniers I’ve met are usually right-wing extremists. Denying AGW seems to be a political position and has very little to do with facts. It is the old conflict between propaganda and science.

It’s strange how people still would defend the fossil energy industry when there are more jobs to be made in the green industry. And wouldn’t the deniers also want cleaner air and water at least? And wouldn’t you rather err with science than take a position that could potentially be catastrophic for mankind?

I have been to the arctic and seen the effects of AGW with my own eyes. I understand the statistics and physics involved. The deniers I’ve met rely on second hand information and none have been able to show any signs of understanding the underlying science. If anything would motivate me to man the barricades, this issue would be it.

On being an introvert

I do talks and speeches to large audiences. I jump up and down, gesticulate and enthusiastically deliver messages on stage. I coach lots of people – from athletes, artists, executives and people off the street. People see me as a highly extrovert personality who loves being in the spotlight and love talking to lots of people.

When Anette got me to answer 20 questions designed to determine if a person is an extrovert or an introvert, I ended up scoring 85% introvert. And it fits perfectly. I am an introvert.

I love being in my own company, doing my own things without interference or external chatter, noise or direction. I love it to bits. Writing books or articles, programming, creating music or digital art, poetry, drawings, stargazing with my telescope or tinkering with my calculator collection. This gives me energy.

introvert

While I also love doing stuff on stage and coach people, it takes energy. But I do love that I get exhausted. Thing is – the things that gives energy is my introverted activities. The stuff that cost me energy is my extroverted activities. I still love doing them, but I need my introverted activities to keep me from burning out. It’s just how it is, really. And I like the mix.

I do not fit in the classical introvert category of thinking a lot, planning carefully, keeping a personal distance to others, etc. I’m an impulsive, anarchistic introvert who don’t mind people getting deep under my skin. Bah, the further I try to pin it down, the harder it becomes – almost like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Maybe trying pin people down by labelling is both an unhealthy and futile activity. I believe people should remain fluid – much like Bruce Lee once said, “Be water, my friend”.