Observations From the Eclipse (without actually looking at the sun, of course)

by | Aug 29, 2017 | Priorities | 0 comments

Incidentally, the “x” marks on the image above are the time-lapsed captures of the space station as it transited across the sun at 5 miles per second during the eclipse. Pretty cool!

#Eclipse2017 made for some interesting observations:

Are We Getting Soft? Cancelling school for an eclipse? Seriously? At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, that never would have happened when I was a kid. Besides, it’s such a great teaching opportunity. Something tells me liability drove this decision. (Maybe we’re not getting soft, we’re just getting too litigious…)

Anything Can Be Overhyped. “That was it?!?” was a common response in our area (which didn’t see 100% coverage). The leadership and communication lesson: Be careful hyping things; don’t set people up for a disappointment. Which leads me to another observation…

Media, Media, Media. To maintain credibility, the media should aim for the (sometimes narrow) sweet spot between over-hyping and under-reporting. Admittedly, tough to do. But do we really need reporting like “Let’s talk about how to use the eclipse glasses. First, don’t wear them while you’re driving. And put them on BEFORE you look at the sun, not after.”

People Love Breaks In Routine. The eclipse was a welcome break in the middle of an afternoon work day. Those who weren’t watching the eclipse were watching the people watching the eclipse. A leadership reminder: Sometimes breaking up the grind of work/life for your team with a nonwork-related event can be a good thing.

Having a Hot Sun is Cool. In central Florida, the moon’s coverage of the sun was 81%, and it was still quite bright and hot. I’d guess that if you were working outside and weren’t aware you wouldn’t have noticed it. Our sun is pretty powerful if you can cover 80% of it and it’s still that bright. That’s pretty cool.

You Can Get Too Wrapped Up. Days before the eclipse I happened to check the tracking for an expected package. At the top of the page, I saw this message…

FedEx's overreaction to the eclipse

I have no idea what potential effects an eclipse might have on a package in transit. It looked like PR to me (though, admittedly, I didn’t click on Learn More to find out).

It’s Encouraging to See People Doing Good. Don’t waste your glasses: You can donate them to Astronomers Without Borders. They will distribute them to people in poor countries so they can safely view future solar eclipses. Good for them.

Like Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” What did you see surrounding the eclipse—without looking at the sun—that was interesting?

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