There’s a constellation in the sky now, about 120 degrees or so from the Big Dipper, to the south around midnight. I call it “The Duck’s Foot.” It’s obviously a real constellation, with a real name that I don’t know. A century or two ago, I’d go to the town expert and ask him what it was and he’d tell me, and he’d be happy to tell me. Nowadays, I can’t do that, because there are so many people that no one’s an expert on anything anymore unless there’s some percentage in being an expert on it.
So now we have the net: the new town expert. It’s a pretty poor expert. I know if I had a burning desire to call the Duck’s Foot by its actual name, I could research it on the web and find my answer— eventually. I’m not going to. I’m going to spanglemake it.
If I didn’t spanglemake it— that is, if I did decide to research it on the web— I’d find the answer. Not immediately, though, and not nearly as quickly as if I could just ask the town expert. The web is not set up to easily answer my question about the Duck’s Foot. It’ll tell me about all the constellations there are in minute detail, but it can’t accompany me to my backyard and look where I point and say “Oh, that’s the XXXXXX constellation,” like the town expert could.
What I want, since I no longer have experts to call in, is a star program in which I can make a crude drawing of what I see, and then the program will churn out one or three likely candidates for it. No star program I know of does this yet. I want it.
It looks exactly like a duck’s foot.