Nothing More Vital To A Functioning Democracy Than Print Journalism

One of the good reads today.   This story hit all my chords today.

This fall, Mercer, a 179-year-old former Baptist school, is starting an ambitious $5.6 million project to try to save local journalism by inviting both the Macon newspaper and a Georgia Public Radio station onto its campus.       

Reporters and editors for the 186-year-old paper The Telegraph and the radio station will work out of the campus’s new journalism center, alongside students whom the university expects will do legwork for newspaper and public radio reports, with guidance from their professors and working journalists.       

It’s a plan born in part of desperation. Like many newspapers, The Telegraph has lost circulation and advertising revenue in the last decade, and the public radio station was forced to trim down to one staff member during the recession.

William D. Underwood, Mercer’s president, expects that by applying what he calls a medical residency model to journalism, all of these players may give the struggling industry a chance to stay alive.

Look East In Pre-Dawn Sky September 11th For A Dazzling Sight!

I wrote about my Copernicus moment earlier today and now can report for all to know and enjoy……

For several days, the moon has been moving between two dazzling morning planets, Venus and Jupiter.  Venus is the one closer to the horizon.  Jupiter is above.  The moon, Jupiter and Venus have made a “line” in the predawn sky.  Look east!  On Tuesday morning, September 11, early morning risers will be additionally rewarded with a glimpse of the waning crescent moon in close vicinity to the Gemini twin stars, Castor and Pollux. Although Castor and Pollux are respectfully bright stars, they pale in contrast to Venus and Jupiter.  Still, you’ll enjoy picking them out.  Castor and Pollux are noticeable on the sky’s dome for being bright and close together.

Castor and Pollux depict the heads of the mythological twins, the sons of Zeus and Leda. The two stars are similar in brightness, though Pollux is actually the brighter of the two. Castor is magnitude 1.58 and Pollux is magnitude 1.16. (The brighter a star, the lower its magnitude – aka apparent magnitude – value.) These two stars have been labeled as twins throughout history. The Arabs referred to them as the “two peacocks” and the Hindus as the “twin deities.”

“I Am Not Copernicus, Now Let’s Go To Bed”

This is my way of asking what was that bright planet in the early morning sky this morning?

Early this morning (4:00 A.M.) I was aware of a low rumbling noise that sounded like a helicopter off in the distance.  The noise just continued, and never got closer.  I stayed in bed, and was in and out of sleep until 4:30 when I got up to try and determine what I was hearing.

The floors in some of the rooms in our Victorian have that soft creaking sound, and were just loud enough to wake my better half.

“What are you doing?”

Strangely at that hour James sounded more accusatory than inquisitive.

While he could not really hear anything I headed into various rooms to locate the continuing sound.  Finally I told him I was headed out onto the front stoop to listen.

Once on the stoop it was very clear that the loud rumble was coming from the Capitol area, only a few blocks away.  I determined that the work crews must be clearing away the massive placements from the Iron Man Competition which was held Sunday.

One mystery solved, but another was about to begin.

Looking towards the eastern sky I was just amazed at the precise and stark nature of the stars, moon, and one very bright planet.  It was all so clear.

The night sky resembled what I had seen out west where the atmosphere is better suited for stargazing.  It was as if I could reach out and touch the objects.

It might be that is how the sky looks at 4:30 A.M.  every morning.  I can assure my readers I am not about to find out.

James came out to see what amused me at that hour, and I pointed to the large planet that demanded to be viewed.

In spite of my awe over the sight he had one comment with perfect comedy timing, “I am not Copernicus, now let’s go to bed”. (He is usually more curious about things.)

Back in bed I was not able to sleep, and soon heard the thud of one of the daily papers hit against the front door and land on the stoop.  I should have waited a bit longer, and asked the man who delivers the paper.  After all, he sees the night sky all the time.