Lost in Space … and more (An Italian in the zoo)
Today’s guest blogger is Half65 from the forum:
More than a year and a half ago an Italian weekly newspaper announced the selling, along with the magazine, of the complete saga of Star Wars in DVD at a very good price. Due to the fact that I’m a sci-fi addict and that I love that saga I decided to buy it. The weekly newspaper is not one of my favourites and I bought it only for the DVD and put the magazine on a table. One day I decided to make a little order and I rediscovered the magazine and I began rapidly to take a look at the pages. Suddenly something attracted my sense and I discovered that inside there was an article about astronomical matters but also a brief part about a project to classify galaxies. Strange thing, I thought at that moment, and I supposed it was something similar to seti@home, could be useful but boring. But the computer was on, as usual, and near me and, absent-mindedly, I began to type in the weird URL, without WWW, with the zoo word mixed with galaxy. I didn’t know, at that time, that I was a few steps from addiction. I read the home page then I began to surf in the various links and then …. I arrived at the tutorial page. And bang. Those pictures were beautiful. In that period I was regaining my astronomy passion and I had began to watch the lecture of Prof. Alexei V. Filippenko of Berkley University on web-cast. I remained captured. I read it all carefully. I made all of the examples and then I tried the entry test. Incredibly my first attempt was successful. “And now.” I was lost in space. I began to classify and, at classification no. 283, had a terrible doubt. Anticlockwise?
“It’s not important!” was my first thought. “They request we don’t agonize over the picture.” I was just a click away from losing a great opportunity to become addicted to another fundamental part of the project: the Forum. “A Forum! I never participated in a forum before. Why start now?” I don’t know why but I pushed the forum button and bang (again). I believed that the forum was a sort of FAQ and when I discovered that it is not and that the solution to my problems was to enter a question and wait for an answer I was lost. “Nothing so difficult,” you can say. Yes.
But the forum was in English, which is not my language. But I gave it a try and I wrote a message in an unreadable blue. Don’t be afraid, I don’t want to bother you with the all story of what happened after that. But I must mention the first member that “talked” to me and said: “Hi welcome to the zoo! i see an anti-clock too, but could you please not use the blue writing? its making my eyes go funny (nothing to do with being past my bed time honest) happy hunting”. And it was fluffyporcupine. Bang (there is a lot in this story). Probably without that gentle approach I would have been out of business. And thanks to that I can know other incredible members.
Alice the most lovely moderator in the known part of the Universe.
Hanny the famous discoverer of “Hanny’s voorwerp”.
NGC3314 my overlapping guru.
waveney Waveney my Perl guru.
Edd the great Administrator.
weezerd my electronic brother.
ElisabethB the great asteroid hunter.
Elizabeth the voice from the other side of the Ocean.
Infinity the secret agent of the forum.
Sorry I can’t mention all the members but that was my intention. And also I discovered a mad passion for topic=6732.0>overlapping galaxies, the Object of the Day and the Perl language. I’m able to participate to this project due to the patience and kindness of the members, especially with newbies (I’m still one). Learn English. Talk with real astronomers. Learn too much more and discovered that there was too much to learn. I was able to put together an Object of the Day collection and with them made little tour of the universe that could be visible with the last version of Google Earth. OK. STOP. I must finish now. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know English very well, if you have no degree, if you think that you can’t be of use to the project, that you can’t do the right thing, that you can’t do that. Stop thinking and go to the project and discover that even with a single classification you could be part of history.
P.S.: This story was made with the kindness and essential help of Alice really the most lovely moderator in the known part of the Universe.