Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 26, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wasted Lights and Wasted Nights: Globe at Night Tracks Light Pollution

Poorly aimed and unshielded outdoor lights are 
more than an annoyance. They waste more than $2 
billion (17 billion kilowatt-hours) of energy in the 
United States each year. Poorly shielded roadway 
lights are also a safety and glare hazard, especially 
for older citizens. Under an unpolluted sky we 
ought to see more than 2,000 stars, yet we see less 
than a hundred from many cities. The Milky Way is 
unknown to most city dwellers.

 GLOBE at Night is an international campaign 
run each spring for the last six years by the National 
Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. 
The program invites citizen scientists to track 
outdoor lighting levels and submit their observations 
to a website from a computer or smart phone. The 
campaign runs March 22 through April 4 in the 
northern hemisphere and March 24 through April 6 
in the southern hemisphere.

 Over the last six annual 2-week campaigns, 
citizen scientists from more than 100 nations 
have contributed 61,000 measurements (see the 
accompanying image). The night sky brightness 
can be measured by anyone using a simple star map 
provided by the project. The measurements provide 
a valuable resource for teachers, scientists, city 
planners, and policy makers to track and address 
wasted light/energy issues.

 “Monitoring our night sky by citizen scientists 
is invaluable in identifying areas where the glare of 
unshielded lighting may be hazardous and where 
energy is being wasted,” said GLOBE at Night 
Project Director Dr. Connie Walker of the National 
Optical Astronomy Observatory. “All it takes is a 
few minutes for a family to measure their night sky 
brightness by noting how many stars are missing 
from an easy-to-find constellation like Leo (in the 
northern hemisphere) or Crux (in the southern 
hemisphere). This tells us how much light is directed 
upwards into the sky.”

 Across the country, people are recording the night 
sky brightness level in their neighborhoods. This 
information can be used in local decisions on how 
to increase safety, lower energy consumption, and 
protect human health—areas affected by high levels 
of extraneous light. These observations will also 
help identify parks suitable for urban “sky oases”—
places that can be developed to help city dwellers 
appreciate the night sky from a safe, dark place.

 The GLOBE at Night program motto is “Less 
of Our Light for More Star Light: Saving Energy, 
Saving Our Night Skies.” Walker feels strongly 
that the program is most important in cities far 
from telescopes and observatories. “We need to 
improve our outdoor lighting fixtures and practices; 
many of our current lights waste a tremendous 
amount of valuable energy and the beauty of our 
night sky. Thanks to thousands of citizen scientists 
participating in GLOBE at Night, we are working to 
preserve both of these important resources.”

 GLOBE at Night is an educational program of the 
National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), 
in partnership with the Environmental Systems 
Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), the International 
Dark-Sky Association (IDA), Centro de Apoyo a la 
Didactica de la Astronomia (CADIAS) (Chile) and 
the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the 
Environment (GLOBE) Program. To learn more, 
visit the program’s website: http://www.globeatnight.
org. You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@

Ask jai……

Ask jai is a weekly column that will strive to honestly answer your job search questions relating 
to job searching techniques, networking skills, resume writing and interviewing. The employment 
situation is getting better, however, it is still a challenge finding were the jobs are located and how to 
get pass the “gate-keepers”. As an Executive Recruiter I was privy to working directly with Corporate 
Recruiters and understanding their process in selecting which candidates to interview and hire. I will 
candidly answer your questions, possibly bluntly answering you questions, but I will be totally honest. 
My objective is to help you achieve your employment goal.


Q: I am a waitress and have worked in the same restaurant for over 10 years. I started waitressing when 
my first child was born to help my family financially. I planned on waitressing for a year or two and then 
return to college. That was 8 years ago, and now I have no reason to return to college at this time. I love what 
I do and find it very rewarding. My mom has said she is very disappointed in me for not pursuing a career 
instead of just having a job as a waitress. She puts emphasis on the word job. I really enjoy waitressing and 
now consider it my chosen career. I like meeting people and providing good customer service. I take pride 
in the fact that my customers look forward to coming into the restaurant and having me wait on them. I 
get good tips and the salary is competitive. What is the difference or definition of Career and Job? I really 
do believe I have a career and I am very proud to say I am a waitress. Millicent

Dear Millicent: 

 This question is not an easy one to answer. It seems like everyone will eventually ask this question of career 
coaches and advisors. I have done some research and conducted interviews with Human Resource professional 
and employment counselors to try to answer this question. I searched and read articles on the internet and read 
newspaper columns. It seems like everyone has a different answer. 

 Let me summarize and paraphrase some articles I found about this subject: A career defines you, based 
on your education, transferrable skills and experiences. A career may not always mean stability, because it 
encourages you to take risk to grow or change and take more risk. A career is a commitment and dedication in 
pursing a field, industry or profession about which you are passionate. A career- focused person will develop 
a career plan and path that should eventually lead them towards their intended career goal. A career will 
sometimes define a person’s lifestyle, friends, and family. A career is not always a means to financial stability but 
it might be a way to self-fulfillment. “Do what you love and the money will come”, is not always true. Instead 
it should be, “do what you love and the gratification will come.” Any kind of work you do could be considered 
a career, if you like or love what you do. 

 A job is considered “safe” and you could earn a good living, provide for your family and pay bills. A job does 
not define you. A job is something you know you need to do to survive. A job does not always require special 
education or training before being hired. A job can be long term or short-term. This is where the line becomes 
blurry for me, for many of us career advisors differ. If a job becomes long-term and with the same company or 
industry, is it then considered a career or a job? I say it’s a career. Whether you consider whether you have a 
job or career, it is should be based on your perception of your work, your sense of fulfillment, commitment and 
passion about what you do for a living. Millicent, the answer to your question is…you have a career. I am sure 
career advisors and coaches will take me to task for this answer. I could almost write a book about this subject. 
But then, I am very passionate about what I do for a living and I love it. 

Computer scientists at an Air 
Force research facility have created 
one of the world’s largest, fastest 
and cheapest supercomputers. By 
aggregating 1,716 PlayStation 3’s 
they’ve managed to cobble together 
a supercomputer that excels at 
processing vast amounts of digital 
imagery. This is a task highly useful 
for an organization that is responsible 
for analyzing and interpreting 
visual data gathered during long 
surveillance flights or received from 
reconnaissance satellites. 

 The popular PlayStation 3 is a gaming 
console that is widely lauded for its 
video graphics and as such deemed to 
be the perfect low-cost platform for 
the project. After experimenting with 
a smaller number of units to see if 
the concept of aggregated-processor 
image resolution was even feasible, 
one of the initial challenges of the 
project turned out to be the securing 
of consoles in sufficient numbers 
through existing commercial 
channels. Because of the popularity 
of the PS3 for use in its intended 
capacity, the Air Force simply had to 
wait in line like everyone else who 
wanted one – or a thousand. They 
were able to eventually procure 1,700 
consoles to start the project and 
added the seventeen additional units 
needed to complete the project later. 

By using this method of creating their 

custom supercomputer (named the 
Condor Supercomputer) the Air Force 
was able to complete the project for a 
tenth of what it normally would have 
cost. The Condor Supercomputer also 
provides additional savings to the Air 
Force by using a fraction of the energy 
a conventional supercomputer of 
similar processing power would. 

For all of their efforts the Air Force 
ended up with one of the fastest and 
most powerful computer systems (it’s 
in the Top 40) in the world. 

The Condor system is being used to 
process ground-based radar tracking 
of objects orbiting the Earth with 
extreme clarity. The Condor is also 
highly sought after for its use in 
computational intelligence – a form 
of computer reasoning and decision 
making. In one test the Condor was 
able to scan or process text in any 
language at 20 pages a second, fill in 
missing sections it had never seen 
before with 99.9 percent accuracy, and 
tell the user whether the information 
is important. A job that once took days 
and human intervention was now 
done in seconds and automatically 
thanks to the Condor system. 

The system developers have now 
turned their efforts to using 
smartphone processors to miniaturize 
surveillance drones. 

Everything you ever wanted to know about how to get a job ….but did not know who to ask. ASK jai. Send 
your questions to: or visit website www.resumeandcareerservicesc, or call 


 As a dog-walker and pet sitter, I 
have had many clients ask me which 
is the best type of collar or lead to 
use for walking their dog. Well, to 
be completely honest, I am hesitant 
to respond to that question with full 
confidence until I get to know their 
dog on a personal level. There are so 
many dog walking and training collar 
& lead products on the market these 
days, each with its own specified (even 
patented) technique and philosophy, 
that it can be somewhat confusing 
and rather overwhelming to select the 
proper product for your pet. With so 
many types of collars available today, 
there are equally numerous types of 
dogs, at various developmental levels 
of human bonding and obedience. 
If you take a little time and effort to 
choose the right tools, you are bound 
to find a match in the mix eventually. 
I do not claim to be an expert on the 
subject, however I do know that each 
dog has its own specific needs and it 
is important to use humane handling 
methods to meet those needs, in 
order to foster positive results and 
establish a trusting relationship 
with your pet. It is also important 
to research the philosophy behind a 
dog handling product before putting 
it to use. Having read several articles 
and doing a little research of my own, 
I came up with a list of collar types 
that would most likely be found at 
the local pet supply store today, in 
hopes of informing and helping you 
select the proper lead product for 
your beloved canine companion. 
Be aware that this list is just a good 
start. It does not include every single 
product available in today‘s market, 
and the descriptions are brief, so you 
will want to research each product 
more specifically in consideration of 
your own dog’s needs before making 
a final selection.

 Buckle Collars: These are collars 
that are simply fastened with a 
buckle. They are typically made 
of nylon or leather, and are either 
flat or rolled. Most buckle collars 
are adjustable, but do not tighten 
on the dog’s neck once fastened. 
Rolled leather collars, although 
more expensive, tend to fit more 
comfortably. Adjustable nylon collars 
are recommended for growing pups. 
For the owner whose dog does not 
pull to the point of choking and 
gagging and who also responds well 
when learning commands, the buckle 
collar works fine.

 Body Harness: Harnesses were 
originally designed for sled dogs. 
Pulling is the reaction of about 99% 
of dogs placed on harnesses, so 
unless the goal is to teach a dog to 
pull, it is worthless as a training tool. 
I recommend the harness as a dog 
seatbelt. A leash with a solid brass or 
steel clip strapped around the back of 
the seat and fastened to the harness 
makes a great restraint for a dog 
that might otherwise crash into the 
windshield upon impact.

 Break-away Collars: A special 
quick-release collar that will unfasten 
if a strong pull is placed on the collar. 
However, the collar will not unfasten 
when attached to a leash. This collar 
was designed after the inventor’s dog 
choked to death because its collar got 
caught on something.

 Choke Chains / Slip Collars: Metal 
choke chains are still being used as a 
training tool in traditional methods, 
where the dog is corrected by a quick 
snap of the leash if he doesn’t obey 
a command. Slip collars are similar 
except they are made of soft materials 
such as nylon or cotton. These types 
of collars should never be left on an 
unattended dog, and always removed 
when the leash is removed.

 Electronic Collars: Often called 
remote or e-collars by advocates, and 
shock collars by detractors, these 
devices deliver an electrical stimulus 
causing pain to the dog when given a 
correction. It is my experience, when 
evaluating most dogs who have been 
trained using shock devices, that 
these collars can destroy a dog’s self 
confidence. I would never use nor do 
I advocate the use of shock collars as 
an obedience training device. 

 Head Halters: Head Halters 
are the latest in politically correct, 
morally proper tools that feed 
into owners desire to treat their 
canine companions humanely. The 
halter is very effective in achieving 
compliance and obedience without 
excessive restraint, however some 
feel that the dog’s personality is 
somewhat marginalized by its use. I 
personally feel this tool works better 
than most in controlling a dog’s 
tendency to pull, without choking.

 Prong or Pinch Collars: These 
collars may seem like a kind of 
medieval torture device, but they are 
actually quite humane when used 
properly. They should be used for 
training “Neck Insensitive” dogs only.

 I want to make it clear that this 
article is not meant to advocate the 
use of any particular collar type over 
another. A good pet owner takes the 
time to try to understand how his or 
her dogs thinks, learns and bonds, 
and is the best candidate to determine 
which product works best for their 
pet. No training equipment can ever 
take the place of a strong, mutually 
respectful relationship between a dog 
and his master. Finally, be gentle in 
the way you treat your dog. Lead him 
care and kindness, and your dog will 
respond properly, of that I am sure!

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


 Spring is here at last! Blossoms perfume the air as I walk through our 
beautiful town. And now that Daylight Savings has thankfully arrived, 
I don’t have to walk in the dark after work! While spring is a time for 
celebrating nature’s rebirth, it comes with the ominous raincloud of 
Standardized Testing! I truly feel sorry for high school students facing 
this academic adversary; it seems like competition grows fiercer every 
year. When I was in high school I had a healthy concern about the 
test, but I didn’t give myself an ulcer attending tutoring classes or 
pouring over SAT study guides (okay, I bought one, but I didn’t pour 
over it). What did strike fear in my heart was the dreaded GRE (Graduate Record 
Examination), which all us aspiring college students had to take before entering grad 
school. If you haven’t had the pleasure, the GRE is a sort of SAT on steroids. I’ve tried 
to repress memories of this daunting 
experience, but I still recall the practice 
CD Rom with its algebraic equations and 
writing prompts such as “defend or refute 
the use of trade embargoes.” I frantically 
typed while watching a red time clock 
tick down (because a test is always scarier 
if it’s timed!). I wondered what any of 
this had to do with my application to a 
field in the Health and Human Sciences. 
All’s well that ends well, I think that CD 
eventually found its way into a celebratory bonfire.

 If you have elementary school kids, you’ve probably received newsletters alerting 
you to this upcoming crucial week. Make sure they’re well rested, fed, and at school 
on time! When I was a student, my teachers always stressed having a good breakfast 
on testing days, but I never felt any smarter for it. The truth is, however, that it’s the 
teachers who are really stressing out over these fateful booklets. One careless kid can 
swing the school’s whole API (Academic Performance Index), which in turn can taint 
the district’s AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) report. Next you have home values 
dropping because the neighboring city’s kids did better on this one test, taken one week, 
targeting what is sometimes a very narrow range of skills. Since this test is of supreme 
importance, it necessitates that teachers sign a statement testifying they’ve been trained 
in the handling of test booklets. Every day after school, the booklets are locked in bins 
and stored in a secure location (I kid you not!). Your child’s work will be stowed away 
with the same level of protection given to documents of national security.

 Considering the magnitude of this exam, it is understandable how teachers can 
be tempted to become irate when students casually flip over reading sections, fill in 
random bubbles and turn in a seven-page exam after three minutes. While we all hope 
our kiddos will put their best effort into this ordeal, you can’t help understand why some 
kids burn out after hours of math, science, writing, and reading about gripping topics 
such as mural artists and memoirs of a childhood in England during the Industrial 

 One of my friends in education is fond of telling about one of her students (probably 
nearing middle age by now) who spent a considerable amount of time completing his 
test before turning in a sheet with all the B’s bubbled in except the last item, which was 
left blank. When she asked why he didn’t fill in that one he said, “I didn’t know the 
answer.” Moral of the story: sleep well, eat a good breakfast, and color in a variety of