Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 22, 2010


The World Around Us

 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 22, 2010

Arc to Arcturus

OF THE 2,000 OR SO STARS that are visible 
to the unaided eye (or would be, in a dark sky far 
from city lights), only a relative few are known 
by name. The brightest ones have names given 
to them many centuries ago, mostly by Greek, 
Babylonian, Roman, or Arab starwatchers—
names full of history and lore, like Arcturus 
(Greek for “bear-guard”), Betelgeuse (Babylonian 
for “armpit”), Capella (Latin for “little she-goat”), 
and Deneb (Arabic for “tail”). 

 Probably no one star has a more celebrated history 
than Arcturus, and the name is even mentioned 
in the Bible, in the book of Job. Arcturus is the 
fourth-brightest star in the entire sky (after Sirius, 
Canopus, and Alpha Centauri), and is easily 
visible in our city sky. This golden-orange star can 
be seen high in the east in the early evening, the 
brightest object to be seen in that area. The best 
way to find it is to look for the curving handle of 
the Big Dipper, now high in the northeastern sky, 
and then “arc to Arcturus”—extend the dipper’s 
curve southward until you come to a bright star, 
which will be Arcturus. 

 To help in pinning down the locations of 
stars, the ancients created constellations, and 
they placed Arcturus in the constellation of 
Boötes, the Herdsman. Boötes is just south of 
the constellation of the Big Bear (of which the 
Big Dipper is a part)—and Arcturus’ name is 
derived from the ancient Greek arktos, bear, and 
rus, guard. One can imagine this bright star 
protecting the Herdsman’s lambs from the ravages 
of the Great Bear of the north.

 I love to watch for the return of Arcturus to 
our evening sky each year, because it is the 
surest sign of spring. This star is also a part of 
my memories of early childhood, when I lived 
with my grandparents on the grounds of Yerkes 
Observatory in southern Wisconsin.

 When Chicago’s “Century of Progress” World’s 
Fair opened in May 1933, the giant 40-inch 
refractor telescope at Yerkes Observatory 
was pointed to Arcturus, and the star’s 
light, shining on a photocell, tripped 
a switch that turned on the fair’s lights. 
The idea was to open the 1933 fair with 
a beam of starlight that had left its parent 
star 40 years earlier, in the year of the 
previous Chicago World’s Fair—the 1893 
Columbian Exposition. 

 It was an intriguing idea, and Arcturus 
was chosen because it was thought to 
be 40 light-years from Earth. Later, 
more accurate measurements showed 
the star’s distance to be actually a little 
less—36 light-years, or about 200 trillion 
miles—but the point was well made, and 
the event became an enduring footnote 
in the history of 

 Two hundred 
trillion miles. 
When I reflect 
on the long 
emptiness of the 
space between 
us and the stars, 
I experience a 
profound and 
lonely sense of how far 
apart things are. Could a 
photon of light, I wonder, 
have any awareness of 
all the empty space it has 
passed through?


In the May evening,

Could a photon be lonely,

So far from its home?

Out from Arcturus

200 trillion long miles,

And no turning back.

 Poem Copyright 2010 by Robert L. Eklund.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@

The Big Dipper

 It often happens that if one looks at a lot of 
something long enough, it may eventually 
appear not to be as much of the thing 
as it was at first glance. Even if the actual 
number or size of the observed object never 
varies, over time the senses of the observer 
become accustomed to the presented 
quantity and a sort of dissonance can set 
in, and the original scene lacks the power 
to move the viewer the way it once did. This 
tendency to view what once was considered 
to be an extraordinary quantity or quality 
as commonplace after a sense of familiarity 
sets in is so common that, when it happens, 
sometimes the best chance of detecting 
when it happens is through hindsight. 

 When I began my career as a Computer 
Professional, one of the first machines I was 
trained on had a 5 Megabyte Hard Drive. 
At the time, that was considered huge for a 
hard drive. Anytime a command was run on 
the computer and the 
drive began to search 
itself for the requested 
data, the entire table 
shook and this really 
cool red light on the 
front panel would 
flash and signal to the 
outside world that the 
business of computing 
was going on inside 
this beast. The drive 
itself took up about a third of the available 
space inside the case and looked more 
like a mini-tank rather than the seriously 
hi-tech (at the time) piece of equipment 
that it actually was. There weren’t many 
commercially-available programs written 
for the personal computer at that time, and 
the ones that were available weren’t that big 
and it took more than a few of them to fill 
up a drive of even that small size. 

 Things have changed considerably since 
that time. The cell phone I carry now has 
several orders of magnitude more storage 
space than that first hard drive I met way 
back then, and I have a thumb drive on my 
key chain that has 4 Gigabytes of storage 
space. Just in case. In today’s hi-tech world 
professionals and non-professionals alike 
have become accustomed to working with 
technology that is on an ever-increasing 
upwards ramp in terms of power, speed and 
access. Today’s Computer- Professional-
In-Training is playing on a wider multi-
dimensional field that is in a current state 
of self-creation and re-invention on several 
levels. Even beyond the basic mastery of 
today’s existing technology, and the very 
real possibility of having to deal with 
issues concerning legacy systems that the 
budding Computer Professional is sure to 
come across, success in his or her chosen 
profession now requires new thinking 
about the issues of scale when it comes 
to today’s computing enterprise. Social 
networking giant Facebook processes up 
to 40 Billion user photos, while Google 
routinely churns through 20 times that 
amount of information on a daily basis 
just running the data analysis jobs they 
use to fine tune the services they provide 
to their world-wide customer base. While 
these may be two extreme examples of 
modern data management challenges, 
they only represent the extremes of today. 
If the current prevailing trends toward 
greater capacity and large data storage 
scenarios continue, these examples may 
well be moving more towards the center 
of the data processing norm. In addition 
to thinking outside the box, the Computer 
Professionals of tomorrow would do well to 
make sure that they consider the challenge 
of scale in their calculations.

Visual Artists Guild’s

Annual Tiananmen 
Commemoration & 

Award Dinner 

Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 5:00 p.m. 
Golden Dragon Restaurant, 960 
North Broadway, Los Angeles, Ca. 


Esha Momemi

A women's rights defender who 
was imprisoned in Iran. 

She has been released.

Tan Zuoren

Activist for victims of Sichuan 
earthquake; currently imprisoned 
in China

with entertainment by 

Ariana Delawari

 Featured in Los Angeles Times 
with her album "Lion of Panjshir",

a psychedelic folk journey recorded 
in both Kabul and Los Angeles.

Special Guest, Fang Zheng

Visual Artists Guild’s 2009 
Champion of Freedom of Speech 

The Scale of IT


Nicole DeWeese: Portrait of a Humanitarian 

By Christopher Nyerges 

[Nyerges writes about noteworthy people around 
town. He is the author of "Self-Sufficient Home" 
and other book. For information about his blog, 
books, or classes, go to www.ChristopherNyerges.
com or write to Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 


The violin music of Nicole DeWeese was 
other-worldly, uplifting, and inviting as 
I approached the local outdoor memorial 
service. The music was beautiful, and sent 
my spirit soaring. It was most appropriate 
for the occasion. Though this was 
DeWeese’s first "fauneral" performance (a 
funeral for a dog), she’s played for the past 
39 years at graduations, weddings, funerals, 
bar mitzvahs, and private parties, often as 
the one-woman musical entertainment. 


DeWeese’s performance brought together 
many of her diverse passions: her lifelong 
love of music and the arts, community 
outreach, love for the outdoors, love of 
animals, and her deep affinity for the 


Lifelong violinist

DeWeese, who is a Pasadena resident, 
played the violin since the age of seven. 
A Suzuki violin concert at Forest Lawn in 
Glendale inspired her to begin what has 
become a life-long passion. 

"When I first beheld 300 Japanese violinists 
performing in unison at Forest Lawn, 
it took my breath away," said DeWeese. 
"Never before had I witnessed such unity, 
performing excellence and astounding 
creativity. My mother allowed me to start 
playing the violin and I haven’t been able 
to put is down since then." 


Volunteer Work

DeWeese also has a long history of 
involvement in volunteer organizations, 
including Christmas in April and Habitat 
for Humanity. 

More recently, she has been a member of 
the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, 
for which she has been a member for the 
past 10 years. The Pasadena Showcase 
House for the Arts has donated over 3 
million to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, 
as well as directly supporting the Los 
Angeles Philharmonic and other charities 
in Pasadena . 

The 2010 Showcase House was the Old 
American Red Cross Building in Pasadena, 
which just closed to the public Sunday, 
May 16.


Love for the Outdoors

Though she seems "high-society," looks 
can be deceiving, as DeWeese is always 
outdoors and is an avid cyclist. She likes to 
point out that she can ride better and faster 
than most men in her age bracket. On one 
occasion, during one of her 50 mile rides in 
Mexico , she raced past several male cyclists. 
"I’ll never forget the four letter superlatives 
that flew from their lips as I competitively 
passed them up," says DeWeese with a 
laugh. "I actually received a compliment 
from one of the male competitors at the 
end of the ride, who said, ‘For a woman. 
that was very well done’." 


As a traveler, she loves Hawaii , and has an 
aunt who lives there. During DeWeese’s 
last trip to Hawaii , she and a friend 
backpacked for a week on Maui and made 
an informal survey of some of the plant life 
and archaeological and geological features 
along the way, eventually writing a feature 
article for Wilderness Way magazine. 

"My friend Jessica and I flew from LAX to 
Kahalui airport last June. My pack weighed 
in at 26 pounds. The idea of exploring the 
island in a more primitive fashion appealed 
to our survival and wilderness instincts," 
explained DeWeese. "Perhaps all those 
months of survival training were about 
ready to pay off."

Though DeWeese has long been a writer, 
she had taken it a bit more seriously lately 
now that several of her articles have been 
appearing in Wilderness Way magazine, 
including an article about outdoor 
cooking and another on the weaponry 
of past cultures. To enhance her outdoor 
experience, DeWeese has taken classes 
in wilderness survival and wild plant 
identification during the past two years. 


Human Development and Psychology

Her latest writing accomplishment was the 
thesis that she wrote as part of her Masters 
degree work which she recently finished 
at Pacific Oaks in Pasadena – she just 
graduated on May 15.

"I chose the area of Human Development," 
said DeWeese, "because I want to work with 
adolescent girls and help them through the 
unique problems that they face today in 
our society. For as long as I can remember, 
I have had an unquenchable thirst for 
understanding the human heart."


The thesis work focused upon the 
relationship of 5 girls and their mothers, 
along with an analysis and suggestions for 
healthier family dynamics. "I really want 
to establish my own clinic eventually," says 
DeWeese, "where I can integrate many of 
the skills that I take for granted." Referring, 
of course, to the use of music, and art, 
and exercise (hiking, backpacking) as 
therapeutic devices used for allowing the 
young girls to increase their self-esteem 
and grow into balanced beings. 


"Of course, there would be a spiritual focus 
too, though it is not my intent to impose 
my religious beliefs onto the clients, I’d like 
to incorporate the power of prayer into my 
approach to the individual as a whole."


Her latest endeavor is to now attend 
Pacifica Graduate Institute to study in-
depth psychology and obtain a Masters in 
Counseling Psychology. 

Nicole DeWeese can be reached at

The Friends of 
The Altadena Library 
The First Annual• Millionaire’s Food Courtfeaturing a taste of Altadena 
from many of your favorite 
restaurants like:
Amy’s Patio CafeBills’ Chicken • Bulgarini’s 
Martin’s BBQThe Coffee GalleryThe Park Bench Deliand others.for more information:
call 626-798-0833 email: mtkomai@altadenalibrary.orgfees and comissions will benefit the Altadena LibrarySaturday 
June 5th 201010AM until 6PMSaturday 
June 5th 201010AM until 6PMat the Altadena Library600 East Mariposa, Altadena, CA 91001Fun for the whole family. 
Make a day of it.
• Delicious food• Art Festival featuring 
local artists• Juried Salon Exhibit• Fantastic Art Installationcreated by children 
attending the event
Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website:

MVNews this week:  Page 8