The movers come get my furniture on Friday, but my internet won't be set up in the new house until Sunday. Until it's switched on Sunday, I'll still have access at the old address, but I should be pretty busy unpacking and stuff that I don't think I'm going to sit on the floor at the old house just for the internet.
Then, I'm gone Tuesday through Thursday on a bus trip through the state. After all the packing and moving and unpacking and redecorating and remodeling this week, the idea of spending hours just sitting on a bus to get to some of our tour destinations sounds absolutely blissful! ;D
Ember and I have mostly survived moving. I'm still picking up stuff from the other house though...I only had the movers take the big things. The glass china cabinet I was worried about got through unscathed, but the sofa bed got a big tear in the back of it...and of course I have it in a room where it doesn't fit up against a wall. Nothing else that I really cared about got damaged, though, and the sofa is old now. I'm putting in a claim for it, but I'm not really sure what they can do to repair that short of reupholstering, but I don't think it's possible to get matching fabric anymore. It was a tight squeeze through the doorways, so probably caught on something going through a doorway. But this crew did way better than the ones who moved me into the townhouse. I'm not going to get upset about it since everything else newer and starting out in better condition came through safe and sound.
Ember is starting to figure the new house out. She definitely thought moving day was stressful, and then was really timid in the new house for the first night. She spent most of it hiding under my bed (her usual hiding spot). So far, she's explored the entire upper level, and has begun to brave the lower level (I know because this morning she had one of the new toys I left down there for her). She's still acting more skittish than normal, but last night started to play with her toys more normally. I still am keeping her litterbox in my bedroom for a few more days until I'm sure she's comfortable exploring the rest of the house and I can put it someplace else for her to use. She isn't eating well yet...she's only picked at her dry food. At least she's eating all her wet food, but that's not much. But, I figure as long as she hasn't completely stopped eating, she'll get her appetite back when she's a little more relaxed.
Oh, though I realized that she has never seen a ceiling fan before...and they scare her! The first night, she wouldn't go anywhere unless I carried her, and even then, she'd try to escape back to under the bed. I brought her into the kitchen and sat with her in my lap and she just kept staring at the ceiling fan and then trying to hide further in my lap. Poor baby. It also hasn't helped that I've had other people in and out...like the cable installer and the tree guy who I got to take away the swingset too (he mentioned he had kids, and I asked if he wanted it and then got a big discount on cutting down a second tree that was also dead and in danger of hitting a house if it fell). Got those dead trees out none too soon, too.
I still have a car load of more stuff to unpack, but my legs are so sore from stairs that I'm just enjoying sitting here online for a few minutes. But, I better go get it done. It looks like we might get more rain again and I don't want to be carrying stuff in the rain again.
The worst is that I'm still moving stuff out of the townhouse. Since local moves are paid by the hour, I just had them move everything that won't fit in my car or I can't lift by myself (i.e., furniture), but am moving everything else over the next two weeks. There really isn't that much left, but every car load is painful because there are so many stairs to keep climbing. I remember it being miserable moving into that place too...I had movers bring everything then, since that move was paid by my employer, but I still had a lot of boxes of stuff that were on the wrong floor or just left in the garage because I didn't know where to have them put it then.
As for Ember, I'm just leaving the ceiling fans off for now. I'll let her adjust to everything else, and then start turning them on when everything isn't overwhelming for her. We're in the family room now, and she's discovered there's a ledge that goes around two full walls and has windows along it. I think that's going to be a great place for her to sit and look out windows during the day (I even put her scratching post under the one window the ledge doesn't get to, so she can see out that one too). The first day she seemed terrified, but is now playing like her usual self. She's not eating much, but I suspect it's that she's just too busy exploring and is forgetting. I can't say I've been doing any better with eating proper meals. I finally cooked a meal here tonight (I've made a few TV dinners, but that's about it until tonight)...my kitchen is still a disaster, but I could at least find a small section of countertop and the stove.
I have less cabinets here than in my townhouse, so it's a challenge figuring out where kitchen stuff goes. I've already decided to use the hall linen closet as a pantry, and I've put in extra shelves in the coat closet to hold a few of the larger pots. Fortunately, I've found similar cabinets to what my kitchen has at Lowe's (I'm sure that's where they came from...everything in the house seems like Lowe's builder's specials). Once my credit cards cool off a bit from the abuse this past week (the cashiers at Lowe's have been greeting me with "Hello, again!" I've been there so often this past week), I'll order some additional cabinets to make a peninsula on the one side of the kitchen that is just open, wasted space.
I managed to get rid of the swingset/slide/playset thing. A tree guy was in the area removing some trees from one of the neighbor's yards and saw some dead ones in my yard and asked if I was interested in removing them (I was...I was already worrying a bit about them since they were tall enough that if they fell, they'd hit either my house or the neighbor's house, and they were too tall for me to want to tackle them myself, even if I found helpers). Anyway, as we were talking, I joked that he'd do me a favor if he let one of the trees fall on the playset and knock it down. He has a couple of small kids, just the right age to need a playset, so in the end, I got a discount on the tree removal, and he got a playset. I told him I was going to sell it, but if he spared me the labor of having to take it apart (the more I looked at it, the more I didn't want to do it), he could have it. I still have to deal with the concrete footings that are in the ground, but at least the playset is out of the yard. We decided it was easier for him to just cut the supports at the concrete and to just get a couple more pieces of wood to bolt to them at his place rather than try to dig up the concrete footings...and that meant he was able to take it all in one piece, just tipped onto a truck. I'm not sure how deep the concrete goes. If it's not too deep, I can probably get it out. If it's really deep, I might just have to add soil on top and landscape around them.
I'm really glad I don't have furniture for the living room (its a small living room continuous with the dining room...I'm using the downstairs family room as a living room instead), so the living room is my "staging area" for boxes. Since the bannister/rail over the stairs was wobbly, I pulled that all out before the movers came to make it easier to get stuff in, and will reinstall it with more reinforcement. But, ugh, I know now why that was one of the things the sellers refused to fix when I requested they fix the wobbly rail. Apparently, they've tried before, but never really got to the source of the problem, just made it really difficult to remove to fix the part that needed fixing. It was the bannister itself that needed better support, but you have to remove everything else to unscrew it first. Well, yikes, the rest of the rail was screwed, nailed, stapled, glued, tacked....I kept thinking I had everything out that needed to come out and would find one more thing holding it together. But the real problem was that the bannister was only held in place by about a 1/4" threaded bar thing. I have a 5/8" rod now, ready to try as a replacement. Just waiting until I'm done moving everything else in...it's really convenient not to have to carry boxes up the steps, but just lift them up to the living room floor from the front door, or first step.
I'm just resting now, since I have to work tomorrow. Watching some TV now that I have my cable installed and having a glass of wine to ease the aches and pains so I can sleep.
Wow what a lot of work! That sounds like such an effort. Trust me when I say, I understand. Couldn't you con some local young folks by bribing them with beer and pizza or something and get them to help you cart boxes around? That slow move of the rest of the stuff would eat away me. I'd wind up making one big final push and just getting it over with. Then pay someone to go do the final clean up of the townhouse for you. Trust me again on that one.
This is Ember's first move, right? It's not surprising that's she's nervous. Who would have considered ceiling fans, though? It wouldn't have ever crossed my mind as something they'd even notice. Everything ought to calm down for her fairly quickly. When Bean and I initially moved/wandered around, her first instinct was to head for high ground, rather than hiding under something. For the first few weeks I'd return home and find her on top of the fridge. She'll feel better as long as she has you.
Congratulations on getting this far! Almost done. At this stage of the game, I'd adopt The Little Engine That Could mantra.
I'm adopting the "Ibuprofen is a miracle drug" mantra.
Ember seems her usual self today. I gave her an extra big helping of wet food last night so she at least gets more food into her. She didn't finish that, but did eat more than her usual portion of it. Some of her dry food was definitely eaten overnight too, and she's been off exploring further without me now. She's realized that the back door here is just as good as the one at the old house for birdwatching. And, this morning, when I told her "Breakfast!" she ran to where her food dishes are like she usually does...she just needed some time to figure out that's the spot, and it's not as much fun I guess when the dishes are right in the kitchen and not someplace where she can hide in one of her tunnels to ambush me as I bring her food. Once I have more stuff unpacked, and she's comfortable in other rooms, I'll move her stuff into the small bedroom. She told me that's her room. I put a twin bed in there, and as soon as I had the bed assembled and the bed made, she climbed up under the comforter to claim her bed.
If I don't have everything pretty wrapped up by Friday or Saturday at the old house, I'll call my friend with a pick-up who lives in the same neighborhood and ask him to help after work one day next week just to clear out anything and everything left behind in one load. One other coworker offered to help me move if I needed help, but he's the one who came down with flu two weeks ago, and last I talked to him, he was still very tired...definitely not able to help now.
The final clean-up at the old house isn't something I'd hire someone to do...the whole point is to not have to pay anyone to do any more than I have to so I can save to spend on all the stuff the new house needs. But, it's also that I need to do things like fill the holes from where I had things hung on the walls. There isn't much I can do about some stuff though. The paint in that place is horrid, and it easily gets scuffed up, so looks really dirty in places but if I try to wash off the rub marks, the paint comes off! Still, while I was buying paint, I got a quart of the color that matches the old place to touch up the worst of the spots so it's not obvious and doesn't look bad. Otherwise, it needs a run through with a vacuum and the one bathtub needs to be scrubbed.
Just letting you all know I'm back. I survived three days in the wilderness with about 25 other people and no cell phones or internet service. If anyone ever needs a place to get away from phones, I can recommend some areas of WV that are just for you! It was a really neat trip, but exhausting, so I'm just letting everyone know I'm safe and sound and going to sleep. More details later (no photos though...my camera battery was dead and I couldn't find the charger).
Okay, it was a totally exhausting trip, but very informative and interesting. We traveled to the three most rural counties of the state, and the theme of our trip was tourism, though some of the places we visited really didn't fully fit that theme. The idea was for us to see both tourist attractions (or places they hope will be tourist attractions) as well as things that are considered a detraction from tourism, meet people along the way and think about ways we can help better serve these communities.
I think the first day of our trip was the best, but maybe that's because we weren't all completely exhausted yet. We toured one of the power plants, the largest in the state...the company describes it as the "Cadillac" of their plants. It was neat learning about the scrubbers and environmental issues they are already considering. And, that company also owns half of a nearby windfarm. I didn't even know we had windmills in this state, so it was really amazing to see the windfarm. It was a great use of land. The location is one where there are always winds because of the geography of the mountains and weather patterns there. It's also an area that had been previously strip mined and they needed to do land reclamation. It's almost doubly green with the windmills and then between the windmills they are letting forest grow. The day we were there, the windmills were offline, and they do a census of birds and bats killed when they are both online and offline to study if windmills are really affecting birds and bats. They said they do see some deaths due to the windmills, but so far, not any of the raptors or other protected species, and are working on better ways to prevent that. They think it might be something about the vibration patterns of the windmills that attracts some species, or confuses the bats.
So, that was pretty neat to see. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead, so I have no photos. But, I might get some...one of the people on the trip had a really high quality camera and said she'd send us all copies if we wanted them.
Oh, and for Brian, yes, we were on one of the big WVU buses...that by itself was a neat experience, since it was a very odd sight for people in these very rural counties and we had a lot of people come out of their houses just to watch the bus go by and wave (they couldn't see who was onboard, and many assumed it was the football team...LOL!...I found that out when we stopped in one small town and a couple of us were talking with the clerk in the outpost store and he told us that people in town were asking if the football team was staying in their town).
We also went to a lumber mill type place...not the place that cuts the rough wood, but the place that does the finishing work and turns it into the final product. Really interesting to learn about how they are handling being a small business in this state in such a tough economy. They said it is very stressful, and sometimes have been down to only two orders left before they were going to have to start laying off people, but have managed to always get something lined up just in time. It was also interesting to walk around the mill floor and meet the people working there...they have such monotonous jobs, yet seem so happy in spite of it. That was something I really noticed while traveling through these really rural counties...people there were all very happy and proud of where they lived in spite of the poverty and hard working conditions. The problem they were trying to solve was what to do with their scrap wood. They end up with a lot of small pieces that just get turned into wood chips or sawdust that they'd really like to be able to use for another product, or sell. They've been able to sell some of it to a company in China that makes stair rails...they can glue the little pieces together for the core of the rail, and then cover it with the laminate or veneer, but that's about all they can do with it so far, but better than sending it into the wood chipper.
That day, we also met with some high school students. That was a wonderful opportunity to see where our students are coming from, and to meet some of the students who will be enrolling here in the Fall. I ended up being the "popular" one there, since there were several students all interested in either nursing or dental hygiene, so since I teach both of those groups of students, they all wanted to talk to me. It helps to understand why they sometimes seem so unprepared when you see where they are coming from.
We also visited a fish hatchery that day. It was one run by the DNR for stocking lakes and rivers with trout. I hadn't realized that fishing is actually the state's biggest industry. I thought it was hunting, but the fishing actually slightly outnumbers the hunting. The hatcheries in the state raise rainbow and golden trout. Apparently, golden trout were "created" here in WV. They aren't a distinct species, but a variant of rainbow trout that have been selectively bred here because people like them.
We stopped in a teeny tiny town, and visited their two stores that are the old competing "general stores" on either side of the rail depot. Now, they are mostly selling local crafts. I picked up some hot pepper jelly and salsa from the one...they put out samples for tasting, and they were delicious...the hot pepper jelly gets mixed with cream cheese and was positively addicting as a dip for chips! I might have to take a day trip out there some weekend just to get more of that!
Then, the more disappointing part of the trip was that we headed to a wood working shop. It really seems to be more of the overgrown hobby of the husband of one of the extension agents who helped set up the tours in the area, so that seemed pretty tacky. It would have been fine if it was just a quick stop, but they scheduled about as much time there to see this little garage-sized workshop as they scheduled for us to see the whole power plant.
We had dinner at a B&B way out in the wilderness. Got to see several black bears quite close (though, the owners are a bit nuts and I would not be surprised to read about them in the paper as being mauled by bears some day). The owners are originally from somewhere in southern Africa...one person told me South Africa, another Zimbabwe, so I'm not sure and didn't get a chance to ask them. We then spent the night at cabins in the neighboring area...the owner of the cabins is good friends with the owner of the B&B and they and a couple other people have formed sort of a cooperative to buy a lot of acreage in the area to create a wildlife preserve type area...they prohibit hunting on their lands. I'd recommend the cabins to someone really in need of a getaway, and if you're into the B&B type thing, that was pretty neat too, but I'm not sure I'd recommend the B&B just because those owners seem a bit too comfortable with the bears and I'm not sure that is safe.
Though, the one thing the area is absolutely wonderful for is that there is NO cell phone reception. We knew cell coverage would be unpredictable before heading out, but didn't know it was going to be completely absent starting that first night through the remainder of the trip. This worked out well in the end, because we had to bunk together in cabins and had no cell phone or internet, so everyone had to talk and be social because there was nothing else to do.
The second day, we headed out to see some farms in the area. That part wasn't as interesting as I had hoped, since they were just pointed out from the bus rather than actually getting out and touring the farm. But, at least I got a little perspective on the agricultural products in the state and the difference between the "old timers" doing "traditional" farming, and the newer people moving into the state bringing more technology into the farming process.
Then we visited Seneca Caverns. That was just okay. If I had kids, I'd take them there, but if you've been on cavern tours before, this one was rather small by comparison. Though, this is the first cavern tour I've been on that required wearing hard hats. I really laughed when the music professor who was with us commented that he had worn more hard hats in the past two days than he had ever worn in his life....we also had to wear hard hats for the power plant tour.
I would recommend the restaurant at the caverns, though. We had a very nice lunch there. After that, it was off to Seneca Rocks, which is a mountain with a really nifty rock formation on the top. I joined the group that chose the horseback riding option (the other choice was to visit the general store in town). That was really enjoyable, and something I'd definitely do again, and recommend to others. The hilarious part is that when we got to the stables, one of the people working there was a WVU student and had one of the people on our tour as a professor. So, that added to the interest of the trip to see what one of our students was doing for a summer job. I expected to have to ride placid old horses that ignored the riders and just followed the leader along a trail. To some extent, they did do this, but I was pleased to find that the horses were well enough trained to listen to the rider if the rider knew what she was doing. It's been ages since I've been on a horse, and I've only taken a few lessons, but it came back quickly and I was able to at least reasonably control the horse enough to make it more fun than just plodding along. I don't know if it was on purpose or just chance (others in our group also had equine experience...more than I had), but I got one of the more feisty horses too. He wanted to take a bite out of everybody! But, that gave me a good excuse to slow him down every once in a while when he started getting too close to the horse in front of him (that's when he'd take a nip), and then let him jog a bit faster to catch up so I had more fun with the ride. At the end, I had the most fun...they knew there was grain waiting for them at the stables, so wanted to break into a jog rather than just walk. We were still supposed to keep them in single file, but I had one of the group leaders in front of me who was willing to also let his horse into a jog so I didn't have to be very slow. At the stables, others were waiting in line for help dismounting, so I got to spend a little time scritching my horse while we waited (I was able to dismount myself, and could have handed the horse over sooner, but since I enjoy being around them and could manage him just fine, I just spent some time petting and scritching my horse while waiting for everyone else to dismount).
Now that I know who our local equine expert is, I have to find out about horse riding lessons locally. Getting to ride a horse again reminded me how much I enjoy that.
Oh, I forgot, before we went to the caves and rocks, we visited a county clinic. It's the one main clinic that serves that county. That was interesting to talk to them about what healthcare is available there. Everything is so far apart there, and that clinic is really small, that area really needs more physicians. The clinic doesn't even have an x-ray machine. People have to travel 40 min to an hour from that clinic to the nearest hospital...whether it's 40 min or an hour depends on what they need. It's 40 min to a small hospital, and an hour to a larger hospital in VA.
Okay, after Seneca Rock, we visited the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. That was SO amazingly cool! It was like visiting a farm of satellite dishes....HUGE satellite dishes. Their largest is about the size of two football fields...the largest moving telescope in the US. They don't have traditional telescopes, they are all radio receivers that look like giant satellite dishes. And, they are the reason we had no cell phone reception anywhere near there. There is a rather large buffer zone around them that is a radio free zone. It is a federally funded facility and they chose that location because it is so remote. There is a federal law prohibiting cell phone towers in that area because it interferes with the telescopes. They also scan the area for other sources of interference and fix it. They said if they detect interference from electronic devices people in the area own, they will actually knock on their door and fix it...they don't keep people from owning stuff, but will replace things that are faulty or fix it for them so it doesn't cause interference. The geography there helps, because there is a mountain range on 3 of their 4 sides between their land and other houses, so the mountains block a lot of the interference. The property itself is really neat. They have these really OLD diesel cars on the property, from the 1960s, and those are what they use to get around there. We were able to tour on the bus because it was diesel. Spark plugs can cause interference, so gasoline engines aren't allowed on the property past a certain point (basically, they can park in the visitors' parking lot and go no further). I was really amazed by that tour, and would certainly recommend it to anyone with a penchant for science geekiness.
Then, we headed off to an old company town and spent the night in the company houses in that old coal mining town. I can't imagine trying to raise a family in those houses! They had a lantern tour that night that was supposed to talk about the ghosts and whatnot, but I was one of the people who skipped that in favor of relaxing and unwinding. I'm glad we did, because we decided to head out to the outpost and pick up some snacks and coffee so we could make coffee in the morning instead of waking up extra early to get coffee with the group in the morning. Something went wrong and the outpost didn't open early as was arranged for the group to get coffee, so the people I shared a house with that night were the only ones caffeinated in the morning. We were so tired at that point that I probably would have strangled the group leader if I didn't have coffee that morning. Apparently, the tour wasn't that good anyway. The tour guide was pretty much reading from a book and telling them about who died where. This we learned from the people who had gone on the tour and told us we were the smart ones to have skipped it.
The last day was a slower pace. We headed to another B&B for breakfast...they didn't have enough rooms for all of us, which is why we didn't spend the night there. The rooms were pretty and the property lovely, but again, the owners were a bit batty, so I wouldn't really recommend the place to anyone since you'd be subjected to the lectures from the owners about their theories on knowledge. Once you chip through the overly ornate language they were using, it boiled down to common sense and very old learning theory that they were giving new words.
Then, we headed off to an artist's coop. Some people enjoyed it. Not my cup of tea. I walked through, decided the crafts being sold there looked far too amateurish and overpriced for my taste, and headed back to the bus for a nap until everyone else was ready to leave.
The last stop was an old railroad ride. If it was a bit warmer, that would have been really nice. The weather was a bit too chilly to fully enjoy it though. There isn't much in the town around it though. If there was a little more built up in the area, it would be more fun. And, if you're into fly fishing, I would totally recommend a visit to the area. Actually, they also have a couple of camping cars, and you can sign up for an overnight camping trip on their little railroad, which might be fun for people into camping.
Overall, the area is absolutely GORGEOUS if you want a vacation where you can just enjoy natural beauty and the scenery and completely escape phones and internet. But, people there will even travel 2 hours just to do grocery shopping, so don't expect to be able to grab a bite at a fast food restaurant...pack a cooler of food for the trip.
Aside from the destinations, I also had some good experiences meeting the people on the trip with me. One of the extension agents I met specializes in sheep and goats, so that's really good since I work with sheep and if I can incorporate some outreach activities with my research, I can get more funding.
I also met a woman who works in social justice and organizes the diversity events on campus, which is something I'm always interested in but didn't know how to get involved here. So, now I know who to contact to get involved in that and will become more active in those things.
That was quite the local trip. It's fascinating to find out what you're surrounded with but didn't necessarily realise it was there. There's an event here every year called the Country Soul Stroll designed to get people to drive through and around the local countryside to the smaller towns and outlying areas and see the industry and farming and landscape and whatnot that's all around us. Not quite the adventure you just had, but it reminded me of it.
The windfarm sounds incredibly cool. I love the way new technologies seem to take so many factors into consideration before being implemented. Reclaim land, generate clean energy, watch out for flying things, there just seems to be so much more lateral thinking and planning goes into this stuff than days of yore when people simply plunked stuff wherever and didn't contemplate any fallout or local impact.
Your experience with B&B owners is similar to mine, except I like the batty folks (might draw the line at black bears up close and personal). It often is the owners that I like more than the overnight stay and always lovely breakfast choices.
The trip does sound exhausting, but really interesting with enough real fun in there to make it attractive. I have not been out to the farm to ride horses in quite a while. I am glad they were not tired out trail horses. For me there are few experiences as completely free as riding...although maybe not this weekend as I seem to have pulled muscle in my lower back hauling mulch and red stones.
I would love to see the Cavern and take the tour, but that will never happen - can't do the underground thing. And I would love to. The pictures I have seen are so wonderful, a place where I could spend hours and hours looking at the details of one small area.
The NRAO looks like a real hightlight....and i love that they repair offending electronics in the area. That is what they should do, but I am always surprised when government remembers that they work for the people and not the other way around.
That lovely, tiring trip and you are able to add to the mix more opportunities for your students and a way to become more involved in your campus. That is a good summary of what we have come to know of you here. It is a very good thing.
I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it ~ Richard Greenberg
Yes, if you're not into the underground thing, this is definitely NOT the cavern tour to try. If you ever felt daring enough to try a cavern tour, I'd recommend some of the larger, more commercial caverns...they're better lit and have more large, wide-open spaces inside. This one, they actually turn off the lights in the middle of the tour, just so you can really experience what total darkness is like and then first turn back on just a miner's headlamp to show what the environment is like for someone first entering before they had flood lights everywhere, or back when the tours were given by lantern before they installed electric lighting. They did mention this at the beginning, but I'm not sure everyone paid attention to the comment since some were still surprised when it happened. I think they should emphasize it a bit more so anyone who would be frightened by that could back out of the tour.
As for the horses, yes, they don't do more than 3 tours a day. The ride, including the time at the top when everyone dismounts and heads to the lookout part by foot, was about an hour and a half, most of it is pretty slow going, and there would be plenty of rest time in between as they return to the stables and probably not all groups would be as large as our group was using most of the horses they had in one ride, so the horses aren't being overworked. They also don't keep old horses there. When they get to about 12 or so, they sell them, and from what I could tell, the horses all looked in good condition. The equine specialist with us commented that she was impressed with the place too. She said usually when she sees places that do these trail ride type tours for tourists, there are always things that really make her cringe about the facilities or how the horses are treated, but this one really seemed well run.
As for the NRAO, I think it's similar to other national labs in terms of being good neighbors. The key is they aren't government run, but government funded. Those types of places have things like outreach built into their missions and are all about education, sharing their resources, and generally being good neighbors. They also know that when they put a big, obvious science type facility in the middle of a rural area, they will have neighbors who are suspicious of them, so having an open policy and working with the people rather than against them really benefits everyone. The really cool thing is that anyone with a good idea can put in an application to use their facilities, and they even have high school groups that come in and collect data. Apparently, there is something big about to be published in Science that includes data collected by high school students...they couldn't tell us much about it because of the embargo policies of Science, so we have to wait for the publication to come out. I will definitely go looking for that when it's published.