I am exhausted and going to bed in a few minutes, but I am working over in my head a little bit of what Geoff was saying just before dinner- that because of the effect of theoretical near-lightspeed travel those traveling at that speed would only see the stars behind them, and would be able to see them all the way around instead of from just the side nearest. Also, that at those speeds photons themselves, without mass, would exert pressure on the traveling objects. If you shine a flashlight forward while traveling at the same speed as the flashlight's beam, how do you see? Only darkness ahead. I'm not sure why you wouldn't be rushing into the light cast by other stars, but I'm not an astronomer.
I'm dipping back into When I Was A Child I Read Books again, and I want to quote from it, but any quote ends up being pages and pages long. Right now I'm happy that Robinson says that we treat beauty as a frippery and any part of human experience that doesn't fit into a narrow economic or procreative set of motivations as though we are jamming the soft sea creature of human experience into the unyielding carapace of our understanding, and lopping off the bits that don't fit. She's a lot more eloquent than that, but even butchered by me it's a great metaphor. I also love that she calls Freudian-ism 'catchy'.
Time to pack it in and hope for a night with all the children sleeping. Last night I was up between eleven and two-thirty, and today has been an utter disaster. My main accomplishments have been shouting at everyone and not killing any of the children. Tomorrow's the party. God willing, a better night, and a fun time tomorrow.