Goodbye, Good Riddance

Sean O’Keefe, the administrator of NASA, announced that he is resigning to take a higher-paying job as chancellor of Louisiana State University.
NASA has been a shambles, and part of the responsibility is O’Keefe’s: the shuttle Columbia disaster happened over a year after his appointment. An independent agency report laid the blame in part on “slipshod” management.
His departure comes at a particularly good time for supporters of the Hubble Space Telescope. O’Keefe had refused to approve any additional missions to keep the Hubble in repair “for safety reasons”. This was a killing blow to researchers who had spent years preparing Hubble-related experiments, and it was seen as yet one more assault by the Bush administration on the scientific community.
Last week, the National Academy of Sciences released a report stating that NASA should use astronauts to keep the Hubble in orbit. This is supported by members of Congress like Senator Barbara Mikulski, who was instrumental in getting $300 million earmarked for the Hubble in NASA’s current budget.
Exploration of the cosmos may be the most meaningful legacy our incomprehensibly corrupt government leaves to future generations. Let’s hope that the next person at the helm at NASA is committed to the advancement of scientific knowledge instead of marking time until a better-paying job comes along.

I’m a Lumberjack

For reasons unknown, when I’m on a coding jag, my body temperature plummets.
Added to this, we had an especially cold day yesterday, so I threw on a red and black plaid flannel on the way to the office.
I’m lucky to work in exceptionally nice digs, the ground floor of a huge lakeside house, with hardwood floors, a bank of working windows, and a gorgeous view.
Because it’s so close to the lake, though, the office does tend to be on the chilly side.

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The local paper had a special insert this week, a report on the FY 2005 property valuations in Mashpee. This provoked a lively discussion at work, with joy on the part of homeowners not on fixed incomes, and consternation from those not yet in the housing market.

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Holiday Village

Last night, the grandkids and I went to the Holiday Village at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds across the street from my neighborhood.
It was a delightful visit that (incredibly) all 3 of them enjoyed, and I’m glad we went. It was the first year for this particular event, and I hope it’s successful enough to be repeated.
The Fairgrounds is owned by the Barnstable County Agricultural Society Inc. and the Holiday Village is sponsored the Barnstable County Cooperative Extension.

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Gardener’s Diary

Bob and I raked leaves last weekend, which is just as well, it’s much colder today and wouldn’t be as much fun, even though we had a stiff wind.
In these short days to Winter Solstice, I put up the tree and the Christmas decorations a little early, including a beautiful grapevine, cedar and arbor vitae wreath from this year’s Woods Hole Village Renaissance Fair.
The three grands did make it to the house for dinner the other night, and the younger two helped decorate the tree, while I hooked up the DVD player so they could watch a movie. We postponed the visit to the Holiday Village until tonight after supper, but the youngest was so upset about missing the “Cwistmas lights” that we drove by so that he could see them.

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