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A book to show that astronomy can save the world through a shared interest & engaging learning experience; emancipation via education.
A book to show that astronomy can save the world through a shared interest & engaging learning experience; emancipation via education.
A book to show that astronomy can save the world through a shared interest & engaging learning experience; emancipation via education.
207 backers pledged $11,726 to help bring this project to life.

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Astronomy Saves the World - the book.

$11,726

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Backers will receive the Kickstarter limited edition of Astronomy Saves the World in electronic and/or high quality hardback formats. A package of astronomy related supporting stickers is also available. Backers also have the opportunity to become part of the book as a beta-reader (providing acknowledged feedback), and to help support the spread of secular education.

Astronomy Saves the World is a book that shows how this fundamental, yet relatively simple, subject can be used to entice people into science. It is not just about stopping earth shattering asteroids from hitting us. It shows how the accessibility of astronomy can promote learning. A better informed and scientifically literate society will help support the future development of the human race.

The Introduction and Chapter 1 are available to read now at danielbatcheldor.com

STRETCH GOALS:

The original $3500 funding goal covered the basic printing costs for a limited run. We've reached that, and now it's time to make Astronomy Saves the World that little bit more special. Every new pledge means that all backers are getting more out of this project. It ensures the margin for errors goes down AND that the originally intended quality of product is maintained or exceeded. 

Stretch goals.
Stretch goals.

Stretch goal 1) $5000 - Graphics designer for the cover art!

MADE IT - The cover art is currently being worked on by a talented graphics designer and will be unveiled very soon!

Stretch goal 2) $6500 - Graphic designer to improve the Mount Astronomore picture. 

MADE IT - Lets face it, the idea is good but the art needs more improvement than I have the skills to provide. This image is also now being worked on by our graphics designer. 

Stretch goal 3) $8000 - Custom one-off bookmarks for all sticker and book awards. 

MADE IT - The book mark design is based on the new cover art arriving soon. These will be included will all sticker and book awards at no extra cost.

Stretch goal 4) $9500 - A $250 donation (16% of pledges over $8000) will be made to the Secular Student Alliance.

MATE IT -  We are now helping to fund travel grants for secular students to attend an SSA conference! Most likely this will be for the July 8th - 10th conference in Columbus, Ohio. 

Stretch goal 5) $11,000 - A further $500 donation ($750 total, 30% of pledges over $9500) will be made to the Secular Student Alliance.

MADE IT - A massive thank you to all of the pledges! Reaching the fifth stretch goal has been amazing, and happened faster than I had expected. The next stretch goal will be announced soon! 

Why write this book?

(Video transcript). Astronomy. It is the science we’ve been doing since becoming human. It is the science that guides us towards our origins. It is the science that propels us towards our future.

In a society torn apart by redundant theologies and maniacal egos, astronomy humbles us, inspires us, enlightens us, and binds us. It shows us the fragility of our home world and the fatuity of neglecting its future.

Our thin intellectual veneer is repeatedly punctured by fatal ignorance. And yet our understanding of our universe is profound, our technology progressive. Never again should our planet experience a catastrophic cosmic impact, and those ancient harbingers of death have now become rich resources waiting to be reaped.

Sticker 1: Hubble Hugging Home.
Sticker 1: Hubble Hugging Home.

We are on the cusp of becoming a multi-planet species. We are ready to start populating the rest of our solar system. But our future, and the future of our children, is hopeless without a well informed and cohesive global society. A global society that raises reason over revelation and is insulated against anti-intellectualism. A global society that has the universal right to a free and secular education, and the motivation to take it.

Astronomy is the great educational motivator. It drives a love of learning and a passion for knowledge. It is rich with history, science, art, engineering, music, and mathematics. It is the lesson for all humankind.

Astronomy can raise us above belief based homicidal squabbles. Astronomy can be the key to comprehensive emancipation via education. Astronomy can provide us a globally united path into the deep future. Astronomy can save the world.

Sticker 2: Johannes Qapla'.
Sticker 2: Johannes Qapla'.

What is in this book?

Astronomy Saves the World presents the basic mathematics, physics, and evidence behind a selection of the most profound discoveries we have made about our universe. It is aimed at anyone that understands only basic algebra, but I hope that people from all backgrounds will find something new and interesting inside. By the end I hope the reader will be left with an understanding of how we know about the things that make our universe a truly astonishing place, and how these things can be used to bring the whole world together for the betterment of humanity.

Ideas are spread through communications, and one of the best ways to do that is with a book. By supporting this Kickstarter you can help refine and distribute these ideas. In return, you have the opportunity get a first edition of the book, a supporting sticker pack that you can deploy in tactical locations, and public event opportunities where these ideas can be presented and discussed in an open forum.

The book will be a 6"x9" hardback with backcloth, foil stamping, and full color gloss dustcover. It will be printed by Gorham Printing with a turn around time of 6-7 weeks. It is being edited by AW Editing. The stickers will be printed using PsPrint.

How is this book coming to life? The need for Kickstarter.

Self publishing is an expensive and risky business, but for new authors it is fast becoming the go-to method for "kickstarting" the process. It provides the opportunity to share the idea, generate feedback, and offset the costs. All of these reduce the risks involved. If the idea and materials suck, there aren't enough backers, and the author gets the message. If there are enough backers then the pre-sale absorbs the financial risk, demonstrates the interest needed, and the project can move forward with confidence.

Sticker 3: We don't need nose.
Sticker 3: We don't need nose.

The Rewards

This project is about spreading the value of astronomy. The social media, video, book, and stickers are all part of this. However, here is a breakdown of the rewards. For more details please review the descriptions in the rewards list, and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Rewards
Rewards

Current Book Status

A first draft of the book is complete right now. It just needs some feedback from impartial beta readers (some of you), editing, laying out, possibly a bit more graphic design, and then to be printed. It is about 80,000 words, which at 250 words per page means it might weigh in somewhere around 320 pages.

Sticker 4: No more mass extinctions.
Sticker 4: No more mass extinctions.

Contents

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction

You can read the Introduction and Chapter 1 at danielbatcheldor.com.

Chapter 1. The troubles, the struggles.

Chapter 2. Astronomers are really good at staring.

Chapter 3. The scale of the problem.

Chapter 4. Fair and balanced.

Chapter 5. You’re not old.

Chapter 6. A close shave, or a punch in the face?

Chapter 7. Rock to rock.

Chapter 8. Emancipation through education.

Sticker 5: Shaving bullshit.
Sticker 5: Shaving bullshit.

Approximate Timeline

March 14th: Pledging ends.

Beta readers chapter timeline:

  • Chapter 2, received March 14th. 
  • Chapter 3, received March 21st. 
  • Chapter 4, received March 28th. 
  • Chapter 5, received April 4th. 
  • Chapter 6, received April 11th. 
  • Chapter 7, received April 18th. 
  • Chapter 8, received April 25th.

May: Draft sent for editing.

June: Last edits made and final draft produced. Layout and graphics finalized.

July: Printing.

August: Shipping.

The Costs

The funding goal is set to the point where the printing, postage, and production costs break even. I'm covering the editing costs myself.

  • Printing: 48% 
  • Postage: 26% 
  • Fees: 8%
  • Just in case: 5%. I've added this in because things can go wrong or change, and having a buffer would help in those cases. 
  • Production: 13%. This is the cost of licenses for the shutterstock materials using the video, and the set up costs of the book like securing URLs, website hosting, and purchasing ISBNs.
Sticker 6: Mount Astronomore.
Sticker 6: Mount Astronomore.

Easter Eggs

Littered throughout the text are some obvious, and not so obvious, lyrical easter eggs from various artists including Pink Floyd, Metallica, The Flaming Lips, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, and more. As I was writing the first draft these lyrics fairly naturally fitted right in with the points being made. Considering the amount of music out there that has an astronomical theme this was hardly surprising. I'm sure that many of you have some lyrics in mind that are astronomy related, and so the "Globular Cluster" reward level offers you the opportunity to put your suggestion into the book (assuming it is actually astronomy related and not inappropriate).

About the Video

The images and video clips are used under license from shutterstock.com. This licensing was an upfront expense needed to produce the video. The weirdness in my voice is because I'm English, because it was processed with Johhnie Walker, and I used an iPhone. The video was edited using Adobe Premier Pro.

About the Sticker Images

All image processing was achieved using the GNU Image Manipulation Package (GIMP).

1) Hubble Hugging Home.

This is also the chosen design for the book cover. The Hubble Space Telescope is the iconic millennium straddling astronomical instrument responsible for some of the most profound discoveries that have enlightened us about our place in our universe. Hubble huggers are basically people who love the Hubble Space Telescope, and the earth is typically seen dwarfing the telescope. However, Hubble has clearly had an impact on scientific life on the earth itself, so it is not difficult to reflect the Hubble hugging paradigm. The picture itself is made from a processed photo of a Skilcraft Hubble Space Telescope model I made. It is not a great model and not a great picture. The earth is simply a processed version of a Google Earth image. Ideally I'd like to work on it a bit more. Help with graphic design is an intended stretch goal, should they be needed.

2) Johannes Qapla'.

My apologies. Geek comedy. This is a classic image of Johannes Kepler (pron. Ke-pla), but this one has Worf's forehead (from Star Trek: TNG) pasted on. Qapla' (pron. Ka-pla) apparently means "success" in the Klingon language. Kepler's success was in shifting people's thinking away from perfect circular planetary orbits to elliptical ones. For that he had a space telescope named after him, and we can now determine properties of planets around other stars.

3) We Don't Need Nose.

Kepler's mentor was possibly the most bizarre astronomer. Tycho Brahe had an artificial nose because of a quarrel, and suffered from a fatal bladder issue. Nevertheless, he produced the most accurate records of planet positions of the time. This enabled Kepler to make his mark. He was the astronomical Doc Brown to the astronomical Marty McFly, and he didn't need a nose (roads). This is an edited image from a wax bust of Brahe in the London "Ripley's Believe it or Not" to include Doc Brown's futuristic (for 1984) sun glasses. If you're still wondering it's from the movie Back to the Future.

4) No More Mass Extinctions.

We have the technology to avert any more major impacts by comets or asteroids on our planet. We can find them, we can land on them (sort of), so all that is left to do it nudge them a little. This is simply an image of George Herman Ruth with a telescope in place of a bat, and a meteor in place of a ball. The sporting power that personified Babe Ruth is the cosmic power that we almost have today. We have the know-how and the technology. We just need the right people to commit the financial resources.

5) Shaving Bulls*t.

The merit of Occum's razor is often overstated. Truth can be double edged. Something that sounds implausible is unlikely to be true, but sometimes the truth will seem implausible. What moves things along is reliable data and a reasonable mind. Despite this, the principle of Occum's razor - the simplest explanation being the most likely - it an excellent way to sort out ideas. One could go so far as to call William Ockham's idea a BS sorter.

6) Mount Astronomore.

Another poor pun, but getting a little more serious. Just like there are some rightful giants in the history of many countries, there are some giants in the history of astronomy. Brahe and Kepler have already been touched upon, but building on Kepler's work Newton was able to make even more fundamental realizations. Perhaps the ultimate realization about our universe came from the data gathered by Edwin Hubble. This image needs some work, but the point stands (I think). It is my hand drawn attempts at posing sculptures of these well known astronomers into those of the former US presidents depicted at Mount Rushmore. Like the cover image, this one would be improved with any potential graphical design stretch goals.

7) Astronomers.

Sticker 7: Astronomers.
Sticker 7: Astronomers.

Top row, from left to right: Maria Margarethe Kirsch (1670-1720), Sophia Brahe (1556-1643), Agnes Mary Clerke (1842-1907), Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), Mary Somerville (1780-1872), Hypatia (~415 AD).

Bottom row, from left to right: Ruby Payne-Scott (1912-1981), Beatrice Tinsley (1941-1981), Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921), Dorothea Klumpke Roberts (1861-1942), Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941), Antonia Maury (1866-1952), Charlotte Moore Sitterly (1898-1990), Williamina Stevens Fleming (1857-1911), Dorrit Hoffleit (1907-2007), Helen Sawyer Hogg (1905-1993), Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979).

Risks and challenges

Things could go wrong that I haven't been able to anticipate. I've been generous (I think) with the timeline, and realistic (I think) on the goal budget. Nevertheless, if I've made some errors the timeline could slip or the quality of the book could be lower due to increased costs, or shipping, or whatever. But, the book is scheduled for editing, and the printers are chosen and can turn around the project in the timeline presented.

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    Asteroid.

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    Dwarf Planet.

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    Terrestrial Planet.

    Hardcover copy of 'Astronomy Saves the World'. 6"x9" backcloth with foil stamping and full color gloss dustcover.

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    Jovian Planet.

    Hardcover copy of 'Astronomy Saves the World'. 6"x9" backcloth with foil stamping and full color gloss dustcover. PLUS full PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI text emailed directly to you once editing is complete.

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    Brown Dwarf.

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    Star.

    Hardcover copy of 'Astronomy Saves the World'. 6"x9" backcloth with foil stamping and full color gloss dustcover. PLUS #astworld 7-pack of stickers. PLUS full PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI text emailed directly to you once editing is complete.

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    Massive Star.

    Signed and numbered (26-225) hardcover copy of 'Astronomy Saves the World'. 6"x9" backcloth with foil stamping and full color gloss dustcover. PLUS #astworld 7-pack of stickers. PLUS full PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI text emailed directly to you once editing is complete.

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    Open Cluster.

    Beta-reader. Receive a new PDF chapter each week in March and April, provide feedback, and get a credit in the acknowledgements for your valuable help.

    PLUS signed, personalized gratitude message, and numbered (6-25) hardcover copy of 'Astronomy Saves the World'. 6"x9" backcloth with foil stamping and full color gloss dustcover. PLUS #astworld 7-pack of stickers. PLUS full PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI text emailed directly to you once editing is complete.

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    Globular Cluster.

    Beta-reader with your astronomy related song lyric "easter-egg" inserted into the text*. Receive a new PDF chapter each week in March and April, provide feedback, and get a credit in the acknowledgements for your valuable help.

    PLUS signed, personalized gratitude message, and numbered (1-5) hardcover copy of 'Astronomy Saves the World'. 6"x9" backcloth with foil stamping and full color gloss dustcover. PLUS #astworld 7-pack of stickers. PLUS full PDF, EPUB, and/or MOBI text emailed directly to you once editing is complete.

    * Note that the suggested lyrics must be astronomy related and not inappropriate. I reserve the right to ask you for alternative suggestions if I deem the lyric unsuitable.

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    Galaxy.

    Participation in your Florida based public event. Lecture, interview, conversation, book signing, or something else we can agree on. You choose. Plus TEN of the signed "Star" reward levels. Includes travel. Mutually conducive dates in August 2016 and onwards, but before December 2017.

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    Galaxy Cluster.

    Participation in your US based public event. Lecture, interview, conversation, book signing, or something else we can agree on. You choose. Plus TEN of the signed "Star" reward levels. Includes travel. Mutually conducive dates in August 2016 and onwards, but before December 2017.

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Funding period

- (33 days)