I'm in a follow-up kind of mood today so here goes: I happened to be outside in the dark with my mother and she was able thus to ask what planet it was she saw in the sky, this time with both of us able to see it. It also turns out that it's not a planet noticed in the east just after sunset; it was a planet she noticed in the east just before sunrise. And in consequence my earlier conclusion that I had given the second-stupidest possible answer -- Venus -- to the question of what bright planet it was in the eastern post-sunset sky was wrong. I gave a very good answer to what bright planet it was in the eastern pre-sunrise sky. It's indeed Venus and my default guess worked out again. For the record, this week, Mercury and Jupiter are not really visible, lost in the sun; Venus is there for about three hours before sunrise; Mars is pretty near opposite the sun and so rises at sunset; and Saturn rises a couple hours before midnight. The moon is about half full. And new astrophysics data suggests the Orion Nebula is about 300 light-years closer to Earth than was previously believed, and as a knock-on effect the stars in it are dimmer, and thus likely older, than previously thought.
The new kitten has been fitting in very well with the pre-existing cats. After a few days in which the parties simply watched another from afar, she has started to interact with her half (possibly whole) sister, highlighting just how much they do look alike, and offering the splendid sight of the now-middle cat wrestling the kitten to her back, three falls straight. The eldest cat appears to be quite happy that both of them leave her to her preferred activities of laying about where it's warm, sleeping, occasionally eating, checking her favorite newsgroups, et cetera.
The kitten has learned that if a swinging door is not completely, latched, closed, then she can swing it wider by pushing her hand in the spot between the floor and the base of the door. She hasn't yet realized she can stop widening the door when it's opened enough to walk through, but maybe she just likes the process.
Trivia: In 1790 Georgia produced about six pounds of cotton per person. By 1800 it was sixty pounds. Source: Big Cotton, Stephen Yafa.
Currently Reading: The London Mob: Violence and Disorder in Eighteenth-Century England, Robert B Shoemaker.