I get email. Lots of email. Lots and LOTS and LOTS of email.
Most of it is spam, of course (I now get 100 an hour, yes,
per hour), but something about this site
really gets people fired up to send me email. I really like hearing from readers,
and it's fun to reply. But the sheer number of real emails (between 40 - 100 per day)
makes it very hard/impossible to answer
them all. Lately, I find I have less time to answer them.
If you want to email me, great! But be aware that it may take me a month or more to answer.
Also, if you do email me, please keep in mind the things that follow. Some may sound harsh,
but believe me, when your email queue is 500 messages long, you get a little desperate. :-)
Make the subject line clear! I have an aggressive spam filter. If you put the
word "viagra" in the subject line, or anywhere in the email,
I'll never see it. HTML coding also makes the spam detector twitchy. Don't put
"hi" or "hello" in the subject line, or anything else that you see is in
the subject lines of all the spam you get yourself.
Speaking of which, search Google
first as well. I get emails asking me about space history, or
how many galaxies there are, or things
like that, all of which can be answered more quickly using a web search. I know
that sounds obvious, but really about half my email are questions like
that. It has gotten so bad I now routinely delete emails when I think they can be answered
using Google. I hate doing that, but I have little choice.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME BINARY ATTACHMENTS. I absolutely
100% completely and positively will not look at them. Opening attachments
is how computers get destroyed. If you have an image you want me to see, then
send me a link to it. There are lots of free photo-hosting websites you can use
for stuff like that.
If, after all this, you still want to get in touch with me, my
email address is thebadastronomer "at" gmail.com. Obviously,
replace "at" with the "at" symbol. I write it that way to
prevent spammers from using robots to get my email address. Grrrr.
I have been giving public talks for the past several years, and it's one
of my favorite things to do. The talks use PowerPoint and generally have images, sounds,
video clips, and lots of jokes. I love to talk about astronomy and get the audience
laughing, and it amazes me that the two really do mix well! I have several talks
"Bad Astronomy": Still a favorite after five years (and I update it when I can),
this talk starts off with me standing an egg on end and discussing
this legend and using
it to talk about misconceptions in general. The talk then branches off into a dissection
of Hollywood movies, using specific clips from well-known movies.
"The Moon Hoax Hoax":
Yes, the silly idea that NASA faked the Apollo missions is still around. This
talk basically rips the hoax arguments to shreds. I use clips from the Fox
TV show and go point-by-point through much of it, gleefully showing just why these
arguments are wrong. I have given this talk at
NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
(or you can
click here for a personal account of that trip), the
Space Telescope Science Institute,
and many other locations. It's a favorite.
"Seven Ways a Black Hole Can Kill You": this is about, well, seven ways a
black hole can kill you! It's my most recently developed talk, and has lots
of fun and gruesome ideas about all the ways a black hole can ruin your day. It's
based on solid science, but uses humor to teach people about what black holes
are and how they work.
Although I don't have specific talks developed for these topics, I can talk about:
The Hubble Space Telescope
Careers in astronomy (generally for high school students)
Upcoming astronomical events (meteor showers, the occasional bright
Anything else you can think of!
For more information about arranging a speaking engagement,
please contact Beth Quittman at 206-529-4711 or info @ samaralectures.com.