Watering Hole: Thursday, October 23, 2014 – Quiet Zone

Sometimes quiet can be a good thing.  Here’s a short story about a town in West Virginia that gave up their wireless gadgets.

GREEN BANK, West Virginia—The barrage of noise and distractions that are all but inescapable in most American communities is refreshingly absent in this unassuming hamlet, located in the wooded hills of Pocahontas County, four hours west of Washington, D.C. Here, no cell phones chirp or jingle, and local kids aren’t glued to the glowing screens of their mobile devices. Older residents roll down their car windows to greet each other and leave their front doors unlocked.

But Green Bank, population 143, isn’t a technological backwater. On the contrary, it is the proud home of one of the marvels of the space age: the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or GBT for short. Towering nearly 500 feet above its wide, green valley, with a dish large enough to cradle a football field, the GBT is the world’s biggest fully steerable radio telescope—and one of the largest movable objects anywhere on land. Locals jokingly refer to it as the Great Big Thing.

The GBT and other radio telescopes enable astronomers to detect and study objects in space that give off little visible light but emit naturally occurring radio waves—objects such as pulsars, gas clouds, and distant galaxies.

… etc…

This is our Open Thread.  I do hope that you read the complete article at National Geographic as I only posted the opening three paragraphs.


45 thoughts on “Watering Hole: Thursday, October 23, 2014 – Quiet Zone

  1. It’s concerning how addicted many of us are to our ‘smart’? phones. As I am waiting for a shuttle at my office at minimum 3 out of 4 people waiting with me are reading, playing games or otherwise locked onto their personal toy.

    • I had a deaf visitor yesterday and watched him lean his smart phone on a beer can so the camera recorded him signing. The screen showed what the camera saw. Then he touched the screen and up popped his deaf girlfriend signing her message. I thought it was cool as hell watching them going back and forth having a real time conversation!

      A couple times a year l get a message from my cell carrier advising me to make at least 1 outgoing call a month!

    • I can’t really operate my smartphone well, I haven’t spent much effort to learn. I have a degree in computer science. I give my phone to my son to download apps for me. I am a little ashamed.

    • I have a five year old cell phone, for emergency use only — IF I can remember how to turn it on, and IF I can remember which button to push after I punch in the number.

      Bottom line: I’m a wireless dunce, and proud of it.

    • Our cell phones are our only phones as we don’t have a land line. I would rather have a conversation with strangers or read a book than to play around on my cell phone.

    • Lots of rain clouds here so I don’t expect to see too much. I believe that there will be a total eclipse sometime in September of 2015. Eugene should be in the complete shadow for that one.

  2. Hunting has nothing to do with shooting live pigeons for money. Pigeon shoots are gambling events. The hunters that I know don’t consider hunting a gambling event except that they may or may not come home with a deer.

    A very large majority of Pennsylvanians would love to see an end to live pigeon shoots. However, Tursi (Voter ID, Pennsylvania for Romney) is completely owned by the NRA. So close but no cigar.


    • The needless killing of pigeons indicates those folks need mental health assistance. Killing for killing sake or gambling? That is wrong.

    • Arizona’s heat must fry the ‘brains’ of the RWNJs – to even think, let alone speak, about killing someone exercising their right to vote.

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