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Updated: 01/04/05

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What's on the nightstand

by Austin Tappan Wright

"War and Peace"
by Leo Tolstoy



Tuesday, 04 January, 2005

They're already planning it. The invasion, I mean. I think they've even figured out where everyone will sleep.

My mother and her sisters are coming.

I don't know that they've decided when - or if they have, they haven't told us yet - but the Roth sisters would like to visit Philly. All six of them. Plus two of my cousins for good measure.

But the nice thing is, The House will currently sleep six guests, and Gary suggested that we get a sofa bed for the study so we should be able to accomodate all comers without the use of air mattresses.

[Mom's note this morning: "Be afraid....be very afraid."]

You gotta love internet shopping. Well, I suppose you don't really, but the ease with which one can now find and buy things is amazing. I decided to get copper switchplates for the kitchen. They didn't have what I wanted at Home Depot so after a bit of surfing and price comparisons, I found a place in Massachusetts that had them for about half the cost of other sites. Ordered them yesterday, standard ground UPS delivery.

They arrived at my office today.


We're trying an experiment today. It's called "Let's test how much/what kind of trash the garbage collectors will pick up." Having been spoiled by a trash room and janitorial staff at the condo for the past ten years, I am being introduced to the horror that is the Philadelphia Department of Streets. I discovered (the hard way) that they won't pick up contractor trash bags that aren't sealed/fastened - they just left them all on the sidewalk. Plus, there are limits as to how much trash they will collect and if you go over the (random) amount, they will not pick up anything. So in an effort to determine the location and amount of trash collection, I divided all of our trash bags (sealed) and cardboard boxes (broken down) and put some out in front of the house, the rowhouse and in the alley.

[I will report back.]

They were only supposed to run for three months, but the Mars rovers are the Energizer Bunnies of space.

The remarkably inexhaustible Mars rovers, built to explore opposite sides of the Red Planet for three months in early 2004 and uncover proof of past water on Earth's neighbor, are still trucking along to the amazement and delight of scientists one year after the adventure began.

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit arrived in the vast Gusev Crater on January 3, 2004, followed three weeks later by the twin craft Opportunity on the expansive plains of Meridiani. The $820 million mission was launched by NASA to scour the landscape and rocks to determine if Mars had a watery history that could have supported life.

Opportunity quickly found evidence that standing water once covered its landing site, answering a fundamental question about the Red Planet. Later, Spirit successfully found water clues at its locale, too.

The whole article is pretty interesting, with some great pictures - like this:

Opportunity leaves Eagle Crater after spending its first two months on Mars studying exposed bedrock and soil samples in the bowl-shaped depression. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell


Quote du jour:

"We are waiting for the long-promised invasion.
So are the fishes."

-- Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) English statesman, author

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