Monday, 12 September 2016

Toomas Karmo: Minor DDO&P News: (1) Dr R.Chou Now Heads RASC-TC; (2) DND Memo Now Updated

Quality assessment: 

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 4/5. Justification: Kmo had time to do a reasonably complete and (within the framework of the version 1.0.1, 1.0.2, .. process) reasonably polished job. 

Revision history:

  • 20160913T0001Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo uploaded base version. He reserved the right to upload minor (i.e., cosmetic, as opposed to substantive) tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3, ... . 

[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some late points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears.]


In the afternoon of 2016-09-05 (MON), I received, as a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Toronto Centre (RASC-TC), a clear and helpful electronic mail-to-membership, headed "Announcing New President Ralph Chou".

Since my readership at this blog is liable to include some of the decision-makers on the David Dunlap Observatory and Park (DDO&P) heritage-conservation file in the various levels of government, I believe the public interest to be best served by my now reporting on the mail.

Mindful that copyright rests with the mail's creator, I for the most part paraphrase, confining my direct quotations to what is reasonable under the "Fair Use" provisions of copyright law. 

Dr (Prof.-Emeritus) Chou, as author, begins by describing the last few weeks as "turbulent", citing "the sudden resignation of Paul Mortfield" as RASC-TC President and "the uncertainty" about RASC-TC's future DDO role. 

Dr Chou states that he was elected as RASC-TC president on 2016-08-30. He states that he is to serve the remainder of Mr Mortfield's term, which ends with the Annual General Meeting in November. He recalls his previous, i.e. his 1986-1990 and 2008-2012, terms as RASC-TC President, noting that as President in 2012 he  "signed the current lease and purchase agreement with Corsica Development for the DDO". 

From the standpoint of DDO&P decision-makers in government, the key part of Dr Chou's mail is the following (which I quote verbatim, mindful of the Fair-Use doctrine in copyright law): 

Over the next few weeks, the Toronto Centre must prepare for the transfer of ownership from Corsica Development to the Town of Richmond Hill. For the past 8 seasons, the DDO Committee and Council planned the outreach and other activities at the DDO under the assumption that we would have long-term occupancy of the observatory precinct. We have recently restarted discussions with Town officials about our future at the DDO. We have been advised that the Town will be issuing a call for Expressions of Interest for presenting astronomical outreach at the DDO, and that it will involve non-exclusive use of the facilities.  We intend to respond to the call for EOI with the goal of resuming programming as close as possible to what we have been doing recently /.../ 

Dr Chou concisely describes his own professional background in his mail. A more detailed description,  highlighting his contributions in his own principal field of optometry and vision science, can be had from


I have this afternoon, 2016-09-12 (MON), revised my 2016-08-29 or 2016-08-30 posting on this blog, headed "Open Letter re DDO&P DND (Department of National Defence) Implications" (and have made an appropriate entry in the "Revision History" paragraph, near the beginning of the posting). 

I have done this in anticipation of contacting DND this week, through the office of my Member of Parliament. 

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