Update 2: I’ve been totally MIA this past week and have a deadline coming up October 31, so I’m extending my offer until November 5th. Which is also the day of the NRAO open house! (Hope to see you there.) Also, you can donate to the Housing Foundation linked below, or to the Louisa Education Foundation, helping to rebuild the damaged public schools, through Louisa Cares.
Update: The very generous Ray Sanders at Dear Astronomer has donated a Galileoscope to give away to one lucky person randomly drawn from the donators. What?! You get to help and can get a telescope? Awesome.
Hey, East Coasters! Remember that earthquake we had a little while ago? Of course you do. These things don’t happen on our side of the tectonic plate all that often. It was a decidedly interesting distraction for several days. The quake was also felt around Twitter and the internet as people compared stories and jokes. Natural disasters are usually not funny, but since no one was seriously injured, we were allowed a bit of silliness.
Not everyone got off so easily. But with the power of the interwebz combined, we can help! So keep reading…
Louisa County in Virginia is a lovely, mostly rural area between Charlottesville and Richmond. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23rd was centered near the town of Mineral, causing damage to local homes and businesses. Two public schools in the county have been condemned and closed, and I’ve seen signs at my doctor’s office advertising to collect umbrellas for students who have to walk between trailers for their classes. THEN there was hurricane Irene. And recently, there was a tornado spotted and recorded in the county. Though the earthquake did by far the most damage, you can say that the location has felt the trifecta of Mother Nature’s rage.
This week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Louisa County’s request for money to rebuild. Residents have been relying on the generosity of neighbors, but that’s just not enough. If the quake was felt all over the East Coast and discussed all over the world, I figure that we can turn it around and do something to help the area rebuild. Turns out, there is already a foundation set up to take donations and distribute the money to local residents who cannot cover the costs of home repairs.
So, let’s all be neighbors here. This is my challenge to you. If you are reading this, go over there and donate a few bucks. I know, I KNOW money is tight and everything is being occupied in protest. But look, did you feel the earthquake? Did you talk about the earthquake? Were you amused by pictures of fallen lawn chairs? Well, consider this a small payment for the distraction and, dare I say, entertainment for that week.
But wait, there’s more!*
Donate via the website by the end of the month and send me a confirmation of your donation of $10 or more and I’ll give you a virtual hug! What’s that you ask? Well, it’s like a hug, only not the same as in real life. But I can hug a stuffed animal (might be a DSBK mascot, might be Ambien turtle, could be something else…) for you and send you photographic evidence of that hug. I figure, I’m not an artist or a singer or award winning podcast host, but at least I can be pretty damn adorable when I try.
Who knows, if this takes off, I might sweeten the pot. I could knit something for the high rollers. Or astronom for you somehow. (Yes, that is the verb for what an astronomer does.) Or set an arbitrary goal for the donation total and do something if we reach it. What say you? Maybe I’ll make a video of myself doing something embarrassing. Or dancing. Or dancing embarrassingly. (Earthquake shimmy?) I’m open to suggestions, since it’s for a good cause and all.
So, go to the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation**. Donate. Send me proof of a $10 or more donation at nicole [at] noisyastronomer [dot] com and I’ll hug you. Virtually. You can crop or block out your personal information, as long as there is a confirmation number and total in there somewhere. If you already donated when I tweeted the link, that counts as well! Offer good until October 31, 2011!
You know you want me to hug BatCat***. Show the love.
* Yeah. I went there.
** Fluvanna is a neighboring county and happens to be where I live! However, my X-Files figures didn’t even fall over, so our house was fine.
*** BatCat was a gift from my mother after this happened.