I love this graph. JUPOS, a crowd-sourced astronomy program to track atmospheric features on Jupiter. Specifically it's a graph of the width and center of the Great Red Spot since 2010, taken from observations from hundreds of astronomers. The project was started in 1975 by an East German astronomer. Over time they've collected historical data back to 1785 and built a network of observers using webcams (!) to take pictures of Jupiter. This graph is a quick view of a well known feature, they also track much more detailed numerical data about Jupiter's atmosphere.
All this end-of-the-world nonsense is a good opportunity to learn a little bit about the Maya codices, the written record of one of the great civilizations of the New World. These tomes date back to the Mayan invention of paper in the 5th century and are a wonderful compendium of religion, science, culture, literature.
Except you can’t study the Maya Codices. Because the fucking Christians burned all of the Maya Codices. Only three have survived and those are only half translated.
There’s lots of blame to go around for this wholesale destruction of a culture, but a particular villain is Bishop Diego de Landa, a Franciscan, who brought the Inquisition to Mexico and tortured a bunch of Catholic Mayans for heresy. He’s a curious one; he was a scholar who spent a lot of time studying Mayans. His treatise on Mayan language and religion is one of the best contemporary ethnographies we have. But apparently all this scholarship was mostly in service to furthering his Christian god.
We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they (the Maya) regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction.It wasn’t enough to slaughter millions of Mayans, steal their land and gold and people. These good men of god had to eradicate an entire culture. Barbarians of the worst kind.
Grass Valley has a good dark night sky so I’ve been learning about backyard astronomy. I’ve found a few things that seem good, maybe some of these make a good gift idea for a friend of yours. I’m a rank beginner; these gifts are probably not appropriate for someone who already knows what they’re doing. Many of my choices came from recommendations from the Heretic’s Guide.