August 1st, 2005


Cleaning Up the Third Floor, Part Two

As regular readers of this blog know, I'm still in New York City, cleaning out the third floor of my Mom's house.

It's been a long process, and I want to give my public thanks to Lois Spangler, batyatoon, and Gabriel L. for helping me out. The third floor of my Mom's house is a dusty place, and there's no air conditioning, so it gets very hot. Even with the one fan we had running, the conditions were not ideal for the manual labor needed to clean out my stuff. But...we did it.

The process went as follows.

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Tomorrow...tomorrow, the junk haulers come. The third floor still contains decrepit old books no one wants, broken furniture and electronics, a dirty rug -- in short, a lot of junk. They'll spend all morning hauling it away, and then, for the first time in over forty years, the entire floor will be empty.

But, in a delicious stroke of irony, Lois, Batya, and Gabriel plan to come back here on Wednesday to move the rescued family heirloom stuff back to the third floor, since we have no better place for it. (We'll also move my unbagged comic books up there, so they don't clutter the living room or the second floor back bedroom.) And then, Thursday, finally, I will return home, and see gnomi again, whom I've missed a great deal.

New Horizons

What with Pluto being in the news recently (mostly due to that pesky possible tenth planet Mike Brown has found), I thought I'd remind my readers of NASA's upcoming New Horizons mission to Pluto.

This will be the "first mission to the last planet," as their webpage puts it, although now they'll probably have to change that statement. They plan to launch the spacecraft in January 2006, and if all goes according to plan, it'll encounter Pluto in July 2015 and then continue on to study the Kuiper Belt. I've actually been waiting for this mission to launch since the 1990s, and I'm glad it's really happening. The spacecraft will get us some fascinating close-up pictures of Pluto and Charon, of course, but the science payload also includes devices to study Pluto's atmosphere and its interaction with the solar wind. Perhaps New Horizons will reveal just how Pluto and Charon were formed in the first place, and settle the question of Pluto's status as a planet once and for all.

And, by the way, New Horizons will be carrying a CD with the names of anyone who signs up to have their names sent to Pluto. Just click here if you want to be a part of it. You'll get a cool certificate you can print out and hang on your wall to show your support of the mission.