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Contact:

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Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

Norm Sperling’s Great Science Trek: 2014

San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Palm Springs
Death Valley
Tucson
El Paso
Corpus Christi
Baton Rouge
Tampa
Everglades
Key West
Winter Star Party, Scout Key
Miami

MARCH 2014:
up the Eastern seaboard
mid-South

APRIL 2014:
near I-40, I-30, and I-20 westbound

MAY 2014:
near US-101 northbound
May 17-18: Maker Faire, San Mateo
May 23-26: BayCon, Santa Clara

California till midJune

JUNE 2014:
Pacific Northwest

JULY 2014:
Western Canada, eastbound

AUGUST 2014:
near the US/Can border, westbound
August 22-on: UC Berkeley

Speaking engagements welcome!
2014 and 2015 itineraries will probably cross several times.

Historic Rugby, Tennessee

© Norman Sperling, visited April 13, 2014

This village sprouted about 1880 because British author Thomas Hughes (“Tom Brown’s School Days”) sought a fresh-start opportunity for sons of British aristocracy. Only the first son inherited the big estate, and the others had to find something else to do.

This area of Tennessee is indeed lovely, though the soil is shallow. It’s memorably hot in summer and cold in winter.

Hughes and his colonists built Victorian homes and business and public buildings. There isn’t much gingerbread, but some decoration on top of the Victorian layout. A great deal has been restored, and some really nice original furnishings and structures remain.

The historic district does a lot right. A lot of buildings are publicly owned, the whole area is design-protected, there’s good signage, a good map, a nature trail, a video, a guided tour. They host an event every month. The library has all its thousands of original books from the late 1800s. New homes are permitted, but only on the original street plan, and only with compatible design. A few of those sport more gingerbread.

But they could use a lot bigger budget than they have. Big grants seem not to be actively sought. And many money-earning modes aren’t thought of. They could rent selected rare books and periodicals. They could host steampunk conventions, with photographers in the most likely settings with professional lighting already set up, so costumed fans can have their pictures taken really well in a lot of authentic Victorian settings. They could put together a traveling exhibit … keeping it free would encourage wider circulation as an advertisement for tourism. Not to mention using the whole town as a movie set.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

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