Thursday, April 14, 2011

A unified theory of space dust relativity

By S. Derrickson Moore
Let’s blame it all on space dust.
No matter how hard we try this time of year, even the most diligent of housekeepers can’t keep up with the challenges of living in a land where the weather forecasts are frequently “mostly dusty.”
I’m a big fan of the Great American Cleanup, a nationwide campaign to beautify our cities and neighborhoods, and I’m all for picking up as much organic and manmade litter as possible.
But if you’re a newcomer, take it from me: don’t agonize about the household dust, especially this time of year.
I fought the good fight for many years. At the first sign of spring, I was out there cleaning the windows, sweeping the patio and doing my best to keep up with new insulation and sealing technologies and techniques that would keep the fine, gritty and sometimes sticky dusty stuff at bay.
Just last month, I found myself boring friends and colleagues with the news that I just found an inexpensive little vacuum cleaner that finally got my carpets really clean and relatively dust-free for the first time since I’d moved in over a decade ago.
I happily harvested and disposed of canister after canister of dust in my bagless vac until a quick run through the house came up nearly empty.
I was euphoric. Until the next weekend, after a big duststorm (the Las Cruces version of a brownout), when I harvested several canisters of new dust.
Or maybe ancient space dust. A few years ago, I read about scientists who drilled an ice core in Antarctica and documented a record of cosmic dust fall that goes back 30,000 years.
In addition to our own dust (and we all know how bad that can be, here in the primo dust ground zero), it seems we are coping with about 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial dust hitting the Earth every year, and some scientific websites I’ve checked have concluded that’s a very conservative estimate.
I’ve been working on my own unified theory of space dust relativity. And I suspect that, in addition to being a UFO and extraterrestrial magnet, New Mexico gets a lot more than its fair share of ET dust.
Like attracts like, and maybe dust wants to hang out with kindred particles, or is even enticed to blow through beautiful and exotic places like our White Sands, perhaps the hottest spot in the solar system, or even the universe, for vacationing space dust particles.
You have to admit that dust here is capable of some pretty extraordinary feats. Plug in a brand new shiny fan or climb up and clean your ceiling fans and before long they will be coated with a film of tenacious dust, clinging even through 24-7 use of furiously twirling fan blades.
Wash your car and dry it meticulously, or pass though a barely discernible 10-second rain drizzle, and still, your car will be instantly polka-dotted with sticky adobe-gray dust particles.
The dust is everywhere, in everything, including us, coating our lives, weighing us down. And it’s getting worse.
If I exercised this much and ate so sensibly when I was a teenager, I could lose 20 pounds in a month. Now, I’m lucky if I knock off a couple of pounds, or just break even.
Sluggish metabolism? No way. Like so much of what is wrong with the world these days (maybe even the murky brains and cloudy judgment of our political leaders), I blame it on space dust.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

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