Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2)

Forums General Discussion Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2)

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    Posted by Callum Potter at 12:08 on 2011 Feb 25

    Hi Steve,try attaching it as a File – .txt or .doc – 120kb or less.I’d suggesting using a .txtIf you tried attaching it as a file before please try again, as there was a buglet which i have now fixed.Thanks,Callum


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 13:58 on 2011 Feb 25

    Nope – still no good. I’ve managed to attach a real JPG image file [now deleted] but trying to attach a text file [ie .txt] does nothing at all.


    Posted by Callum Potter at 14:52 on 2011 Feb 25

    My bad…I had not enabled File uploads for members (in my testing it was working because i am an administrator). I have tested with a members level login now, and below the image file upload, you should now see a file upload field.Sorry for the confusion (i certainly was!).Cheers, Callum


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 15:34 on 2011 Feb 25

    Aha! I hadn’t realised this thread was going to turn into a debugging session as well as a moan at the BBC! Ah well – it’s an ill wind ….So, here at last is the text file giving my complaint and the BBC’s initial reply. Enjoy![N.B. Probably better to download and read offline in MSWord or something as it’s not page-formatted for word-wrap etc.] [file name=BBC_Complaint.txt size=5711]/images_old/fbfiles/files/BBC_Complaint.txt[/file]


    Posted by TonyAngel at 17:07 on 2011 Feb 25

    Was this programme a rip off? I was doing some searches and found that there is an episode of the TV Series The Universe 402"The Day the Moon Was Gone"August 25, 2009A look at the importance of our moon and what the Earth would be like without one, such as a four hours of sunlight, pitch-black nights, 100 MPH winds spawning massive hurricanes, wild fluctuating climate changes as the planet topples on its axis, and the end of complex life forms including humans.I think a friend has the DVD set. I will ask to see it and compare.


    Posted by TonyAngel at 17:39 on 2011 Feb 26

    Thank you Steve. Like you say a weak response. It would be interesting to have the views of a "real" Planetary Scientist 🙂


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 15:36 on 2011 Mar 11

    I’ve just fired off my latest broadside to the BBC, so we’ll see what they make of that!I’ve attached the file below – it’s a straight .TXT again so best to read offline. [file name=BBC_Complaint1.txt size=28062]/images_old/fbfiles/files/BBC_Complaint1.txt[/file]And here it is in .DOC (MSWord97) format, which should make it easier for those who can read it that way. [file name=BBC_Complaint1.doc size=76800]/images_old/fbfiles/files/BBC_Complaint1.doc[/file]


    Posted by TonyAngel at 20:29 on 2011 Mar 11

    Well done!


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 00:11 on 2011 May 23

    After a considerable delay, the BBC have at last responded to my last set of comments. While it is gratifying that they have apparently taken on board some of what I was saying, the response isn’t that encouraging in several key areas. I have thus sent back another fairly voluminous set of comments – we will see what that elicits!I’ve attached their response and my reply below (both in Word97 format). [file name=BBC_Response2.doc size=37376]/images_old/fbfiles/files/BBC_Response2.doc[/file] [file name=BBC_Complaint2.doc size=78336]/images_old/fbfiles/files/BBC_Complaint2.doc[/file]


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 17:05 on 2012 May 11

    Those who were following this saga when the programme was aired the first time round (Feb 2011) might like to know that the revised repeat suddenly popped up on BBC4 last night (10th May). It is further repeated this Saturday (12th May, BBC4, 11:40pm), so don’t miss it – see if you can spot the updates! I shan’t spoil your fun by listing those I noticed, but the new version makes very interesting viewing.


    Posted by Duncan Bryson at 19:02 on 2012 May 11

    Yes-we really need the moon!!!


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 14:25 on 2012 May 18

    I have now posted my follow-up remarks to the BBC. Had to be another complaint, I’m afraid, as you only get 350 words for a "comment"! (1500 with a complaint). Even so, I had to abbreviate my full thoughts somewhat.The text is attached below:- (Word97 format) [file name=BBC_Complaint3.doc size=20992]/images_old/fbfiles/files/BBC_Complaint3.doc[/file]Let’s see what that brings forth – if anything.


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 19:24 on 2012 Jul 25

    Just to draw a line under this one, I eventually received a standard reply of the "thanks for your comments, which have been passed on" sort. Let’s hope the whole saga encourages a more disciplined approach next time!The errors have encouraged me to come up with a better explanation of the phenomena (mis)described, however, which will eventually appear on my website. I am currently working on a magnum opus about the tides – not a straightforward topic!


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 23:37 on 2013 Mar 21

    No, this is not a rhetorical question but the return to life of a thread which attracted mass interest a year or so ago – 859 views! The question in fact refers to an infamous BBC2 programme of the same name which was stuffed with inaccuracies. I was able (after long and detailed discussion with the programme’s producers) to persuade them to correct the worst errors, but not all. In doing so, however, I became so engrossed in the subjects under discussion that I decided to produce full-scale scientific articles about them for publication on my website. As I say in the introduction to them, they are written at a very much higher level than could sensibly have been included in the programme, so I have also added a "60-second summary" of the salient points in each one, to demonstrate that a scientifically accurate but understandable explanation could have been given if the producers had done their research properly.Anyway – the above is really by means of an introduction to the statement that after a very great deal of research the articles are now available for perusal! They can be found on the Astronomical Theory section of my website, which can be accessed by clicking the following link:Astronomical Theory sectionOnce there, the article you want is "Do We Really Need The Moon?" (unsurprisingly enough!). Click on the title to go into the introductory page or on the green cross next to it for a basic index.While you’re in the Theory section you might like to check out the other articles also – the major work on Saros Series contains genuinely novel information, based on my extensive research into the topic, which answers many questions posed by other notable mathematical astronomers including Jean Meeus, and that on Ecliptic Limits finds that the limits for annular and "full" eclipses are different, a fact which I have not seen reported before. If you do browse, please let me know what you think.Steve Holmes


    Posted by TonyAngel at 09:30 on 2013 Dec 12

    I cannot believe it. Maggie Aderin-Pocock is going to be joint running Sky at Night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are at least a dozen top BAA members who are more suited.One viewer lost. 🙁


    Posted by Richard Miles at 11:11 on 2013 Dec 12

    The analogy of the cat amongst the pigeons springs to mind. I see that her Wikipedia profile ias already up to date following the announcement in yesterday’s Guardian that she will be the new S@N TV host (alongside Chris Lintott). See: – I certainly would give her the benefit of the doubt. I do not know her personally and so am wont not to prejudge the matter. The BBC were never going to have a mad-keen amateur fronting up the show, and so long as they invite lots of amateurs with lots of different skills and experiences to participate, then it should work out. Interesting that during the early 1990’s she got involved in another branch of science (tribology) so she may be a good choice for someone who is able to bring together folk from across a variety of disciplines which might help reach new viewers and widen the scope of the programme.Richard


    Posted by TonyAngel at 18:58 on 2013 Dec 12

    Ok Richard I will give it a try. I have to say that I am against "experts" being parachuted in when there are enough people on the ground who have won their spurs many times over. To move away from an Amateur Chairing the programme is quite drastic.


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 18:08 on 2013 Dec 13

    If only she was an "expert" perhaps it wouldn’t be such an issue! Frankly, I feel she has already had the benefit of any doubt I would wish to give her, following the debacle of "DWRNTM" and her other decidedly dumbed-down presentations.Yes, she has been involved in many branches of science but this was many years ago. Her tribology thesis was 1995 and she seems to have done her "hands-on" work developing instruments for satellites in the early 2000’s. There’s then a big gap in her Wikipedia career profile before the "she is now working on and managing" phrase so I guess she’s now more a manager than a scientist as such. She probably currently spends a lot more time "communicating" than researching/developing, in any case. All of which is fine, but there is no "astronomical" qualification there at all! Yes, she may have "wanted to be an astronaut" as a child (didn’t we all?) but even she says she is "committed to inspiring new generations of astronauts, engineers and scientists" – no mention of astronomers there! – and always describes herself as a "space scientist". This lack of an astronomical background (and presumably knowledge base) does not bode well. Her emphasis on children and young people is also worrying: while ‘The Sky At Night’ must of course continue to attract an ongoing audience it is not (and was never intended to be) a "children’s programme". To try to make it so would clearly invite disaster.Her credits are said to include the mini-series ‘Paradox’ (panned by the critics and cancelled after one series); ‘Dr Who Confidential’ (just one appearance, and that as a "space scientist"); the infamous DWRNTM (no further comment needed!), and ‘How Satellites Rule Our World’ (2012): not an impressive list. I think I saw the last one and was not impressed by the level of its content – definitely one for the masses rather than a serious study. Example – when discussing geostationary orbits, did we get an explanation based on the fact that higher orbits take longer to traverse and hence if you go high enough it will take 24hrs = geostationary? No, we got the presenter running round a carousel, trying to keep up with it as it turned and saying you had to go a long way out as "gravity was so weak there" you wouldn’t be pulled back to the earth. Oh dear!As for inviting lots of people with different skills to tell us about their work (as per Sir Patrick’s approach) I have this nasty feeling that Dr A-P will not be able to keep herself in the background long enough for much useful to be said! (as Sir P was very adept at doing). Not sure how much respect such (real) experts would have for a "science populariser" in any case: will they even agree to appear?I fervently hope that our fears for the programme will not be realised but I’m not at all confident. Recruiting Dr A-P and moving to BBC4 may sound the death-knell for TSAN, not herald its salvation – but maybe that’s what the BBC are intending all along??Steve Holmes


    Posted by Grant Privett at 16:09 on 2013 Dec 14

    What was wrong with Dr Lucie Green as the new lead?


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 16:53 on 2013 Dec 14

    She would indeed have been an excellent choice. Superb CV, currently active in astronomy research, interest in science education, passionate to engage the public with space science and astronomy (note!), recipient of an award for excellence in public engagement with science, very pleasant unassuming TV manner, clearly knowledgeable about her subject and interested in those of others …. and one could go on.Problem is, she’s not a "media personality", is she? Yes, I know this is actually greatly to her advantage and would make her a much more appropriate presenter than Dr A-P, but maybe the BBC don’t see things that way. Also, we’re all assuming that the present team in fact want to carry on. It could well be that they were recruited on a strictly temporary basis and are now keen to return to their "day jobs".Of the other presenters, while Chris Lintott seems to have established himself quite happily I’m not sure Messrs Abel and Lawrence could carry the programme effectively in the long term so there’s clearly a need for someone else to at least share the helm. But for goodness sake, even if Lucie Green is not willing to be that person surely there has to be someone better than Dr A-P??Suggestions, anyone?Steve Holmes

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