How to tell if you or a loved one has Silicaparabolopticism



Also known as SPOD, or, SilicaParabolOptic Disorder, it was discovered by Matt Terry, and further investigated by James Lerch, both of the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club, co-authors of this report.


The physical symptoms are:


#1 Chronic lower back pain

#2 Increased muscular mass of the triceps, forearm, chest and shoulders

#3 Frequent and reoccurring blisters of the hands and fingers

#4 Loss of fingerprints and skin on the outer parts of the pinky fingers and elsewhere


Tell-tale clues your loved one has SPOD are:


#1 White to light grey powdery residue found under the fingernails and splattered on clothes and throughout the garage.

#2 The overwhelming need to consider anything on a store shelf as components of an optical system.

#3 An obsession with thick glass table tops, doors, walls, and bank teller windows.

#4 Unconsciously stopping in mid-stride to stare at the night sky (chronic sufferers may actually attempt to continue forward travel while staring at the sky and injure themselves by walking into something, stumbling or wandering onto a road)

#5 Frequent and unsuccessful attempts to lead social gathering conversations to the topic of optical design, construction and testing.  Key words and phrases to listen for as your loved one babbles are:

        5.1 Parabolic

        5.2 Figure of Revolution

        5.3 Foucault (pronounced foo-coe)

        5.4 Focal Length

        5.5 Radius of Curvature

        5.6 Turned Down Edge

        5.7 Silicon Dioxide, Cerium or Rouge

        5.8 Strehl Ratio

        5.9 Dob, Dobsonian, or John Dobson


Treating sufferers of Silicaparabolopticism


#1 Under no circumstances should you purchase a silicaparabolopticaholic a department-store telescope.

#2 Reassure them they are a normal person, never mind what your mother or the neighborhood kids may say.

#3 Attempt to listen, because although they often speak to clarify their own thoughts and generally don’t expect a reply, the appearance of attention is helpful.

#4 Encourage participation in some of the following:

        4.1  the ATM list

        4.2  Stellafane

        4.3  local science center or astronomy clubs

        4.4  subscription to Astronomy or Sky and Telescope

        4.6  a local SPOD support group.  A typical 12-step program:

60grit, 120, 220, 320, 25micron, 12m, 9m, CeO, Figuring, Re-figuring, Coating, Observing


“Hello, my name is James, and I can’t stop shaping glass…”



In Conclusion


Silicaparabolopticism is often a sign of genius or insanity.  Take special care to attempt to nurture the genius part and understand that a there is no known cure for this disorder.  Early-stage sufferers of this disorder may recover after a few months; however, if symptoms persist for more than a year or two mirrors, they will most likely have the condition for life, which may yet prove long and productive, despite their unnatural attraction to paraboloids