Okay, so BBC News has a piece about the Light Relay that some want to happen on the anniversary of Einstein’s death. Astronomists are upset because of the encouragement of light pollution of the night sky. I happen to agree, though I think honoring Einstein in a big way is also pretty cool.
However, I think it’s stupid since you would have to get a gargantuan number of people to do this in order for it to be seen from space (or even an altitude within the atmostphere). Something like this was attempted after 9/11 with people turning off their lights and walking outside with a lighted candle. That was also poorly planned as it was to happen at 7:00 pm Eastern, which would be 4:00 pm Pacific (well before sundown) and 1:00 pm in Hawaii (and I’m sure the sun is still out at that point). An admirable effort and certainly something to bring people together and give them a means to mourn, but could’ve been done better.
What I find the strangest is the remark about a “flash of darkness” where all the lights of those participating are turned off for ten minutes prior to the relay. It has been suggested that those against the light pollution thing participate only in that. My problem is that I contribute to darkness every single day. There is a point every night when all of the lights in and around my house turn off. So how is this really participating?
I think it’s a good effort, though, and fitting since it’s Einstein. I’ll be interested to see where this one goes.