Category: Astronomy


My prior post (“Cross-hairs, targets, and surveyor symbols…”) has generated a bit of interest.  I originally started composing that post on my Facebook account and parts of it got picked up by Dana Loesch and pushed up to Big Journalism.  (That was cool!)

Blogging for me is just a way to let me record thoughts that I suspect I may want to refer to in future conversations because I dislike repeating myself.  It’s easier to throw a link at someone and let them read what I’ve written previously.  Regardless, I don’t expect my posts to go anywhere but I’m amused that this one did because many people have fallen into a logic trap in it.  And I REALLY love it when that happens…especially when they trap up the faux-intellectual like this one did.  This trap wasn’t intentionally set…this time…but originated from my desire to keep the post brief.

Here’s the trap: Cross-hairs are a component of surveyor symbols.  Now that the trap has been set…albeit, unintentionally…let’s spring it.

What this all comes down to may be summed up in a phrase that faux-intellectuals like to quote frequently: “Correlation does not imply Causation”.  You see, it’s a matter of which came first: cross-hairs in surveying or cross-hairs on weapons?

Surveying has been around since at least as long as recorded history…more than 5,000 years…and cross-hairs (more precisely, Reticles) have been used in surveying for some time as well.  I believe the origin of Reticles comes from an instrument known as a Theodolite, which itself dates back to at least A.D. 1512.  The Theodolite itself owes it’s existence to instruments such as the Astrolabe (150 B.C.).  So, when were Reticles first used on firearms?  That would be sometime between 1835 and 1840 when the telescopic sight (a.k.a., Scope) was invented for the rifle.

So what we have here is an instance of cross-application of technology.  Cross-hairs are not violent, they’re just cross-hairs.  So where does this association with cross-hairs and violence come from?  Well, let’s look to Hollywood where the use of a view through a scope has been used as a dramatic device for some time.  The leap from cinematic device to symbol of violence, however, exists only in the mind of the individual.  History doesn’t make that connection.

So what’s the bottom-line here?  The bottom-line is that how a person reacts to a symbol is a view into the mind of the person and not a commentary on the value of the symbol, nor the use of the symbol, nor on the state of mind of the person who utilizes the symbol.  If you look upon a symbol and see violence, then the violence is in your mind…not in the symbol or the person who used it.  This is a Rorschach Test and a lot of people failed it.

**UPDATE**  Oh, and for those who still disagree, please uninstall any graphics programs you may have on your computer, such as Paint.  Scary cross-hairs are frequently used for things such as the Select tool.

Advertisements

The night before Christmas is a magical time for me most years. The holidays are typically a mad rush of preparations, parties, and activities up until Christmas Eve. But on this night, after a candlelight service with the church, the festive foods from a late dinner are put away, when the kids are in bed and the wife is winding down her last minute wrapping of gifts and stuffing the stockings, everything slows down and I can just reflect.  (A rare luxury for me indeed.)  Tonight, my reflections are on ghosts and spirits of Christmases past.

Ghosts of Christmases Past

The Daily Mail out of the UK had an interesting article today about photos just released of Christmas celebrations on December 18, 1941, by Hitler and members of his SS officers and Nazi party.  This may seem like an odd item of reflection on this night but read the article and bear with me…I’ll explain my musings.

The Nazis were pretenders…usurpers more precisely…and ironically that hasn’t changed when it comes to how they’re thought of in the public consciousness today.  Hitler brought his Nazi party into power by promising great things without explaining how these things would be achieved and the German people, hungry for relief from tough economic times, didn’t really ask any questions: neither when power was being seized nor when their government was transformed to Socialism.  Yes, Nazis are Socialists and therefore kin to Communists.  The word ‘Nazi’ is a German abbreviation of ‘National Socialists’.  (There are some well-researched and documented videos online that can give you a much further explanation if you’re interested, so I won’t reinvent the wheel in this post.)  But today most people associate Nazism and Fascism with right-wing ideology.  The truth is, they’re actually leftist ideologically…the other side of the leaf with Communism on the same branch of the tree of governmental systems.

So, what does this have to do with Christmases past?  Easy…Hitler and the Nazis stole (or, rather, attempted to steal) Christmas.  The meaning of Christmas was incompatible with their ideology, as was Christianity in general.  (No, John Q. Public, the Nazis and Hitler were not Christians.  A cursory examination of history makes that quite apparent.)  But it’s rarely possible to suddenly change a culture so they donned the sheep’s clothing, went through the motions, and injected their own symbology, meanings, and traditions to usurp it.  So read the article, look at the pictures, and see what’s in their faces.  If you see anything familiar in the faces, take a look at yourself and then determine if your Christmas has been usurped.

Spirits of Christmases Past

The best defense against a lie is the truth.  But truth isn’t always easily found and proofs for those truths can be elusive.  The ultimate truth, in fact, isn’t really provable.  For those who are scientifically-minded like myself, this fact can be nearly insurmountable.  Faith and logic aren’t incompatible…actually, they’re quite compatible…but the process of becoming an adult typically sees the individual finding a means of ordering their world and, fallible as we are, we usually end up focusing on one or a few characteristics/abilities and structuring our world around them.  The unfortunate part of this is that the things upon which we order our life frequently blind us to other possibilities.  But at times a light shines brightly enough to allow us to see around our blind spots.

Perhaps my favorite bright light is the proofs around the star of Bethlehem.  The explanation in the article is long but well-documented and a worthy read.  Scientifically and historically, it’s quite compelling. But even a message written with the celestial bodies of the heavens themselves won’t be sufficient proof of any ultimate truth; that still takes faith, which you may or may not find.

So, in the spirit of Christmases past, I leave this bright light as a gift for you.  Do with it as you please.

Merry Christmas!