Saturday, March 17, 2012
The Vine That Ate an Observatory
I heard once that the origin of the non-migratory geese was a government farm in New Jersey where they were raised to supply hunters with targets. Then, when the farm closed, the geese were released, having lost the habit of long-distance migration. This explanation, having long hidden out in the pre-google part of my brain, has in the process of being written down just now caught the attention of newer, post-google brain cells that immediately called for a search to check its validity. Turns out that at least part of the story may be true. According to a post by someone with Connecticut Audubon, a non-migratory subspecies was discovered in Missouri in 1962. Government breeding programs helped increase the population to better insure its survival, and then spread them all over the country. That last part may be where good intentions went wrong.
observing nights the astronomy department holds for the public are now conducted elsewhere on campus.
A website offers a link to the Friends of FitzRandolph Observatory, which leads to a blank page. Either the future hasn't been written yet, or the writing is on the wall.
By coincidence, Princeton Future had a meeting this morning about repurposing various buildings in town, though university buildings weren't included. Another building, county-owned, that sits quietly growing vines is the Veblen House. It at least has a few of us friends trying to give it a new life.