As I have mentioned previously, I am making my annual trip back east shortly: I take the bus from southern New Mexico to Albuquerque, then I hop on Amtrak and do one leg from Albuquerque to Chicago (the Southwest Chief) and, after a very pleasant downtown layover, from Chicago to Massachusetts on the Lake Shore Limited. … Read the rest
It’s been called everything from “a circus on acid” to “French burlesque meets Sweeney Todd.” Cirque Berzerk’s unique flavor of adult psychedelic vaudevillian tomfoolery returns to the Los Angeles State Historic Park.… Read the rest
There are various reports that the tiny Pacific nation of Palau will take in 17 Chinese Muslims from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo. The ethnic Uighur prisoners had been previously cleared of wrongdoing and ordered to be released, but could not be resettled in their native region in western China due to fear of reprisals from the Chinese government.… Read the rest
The books follow a young girl and her family in the latter half of the nineteenth century, through various moves across what is now the northern Midwest, and through many trials and triumphs.… Read the rest
Forensic scientists led by University of New Haven’s Dr. Heather Coyle have discovered a new way to extract DNA from ancient bones, using heat instead of freezing:
Standard DNA procedure for bones is to freeze them. When Coyle and her team re-examined the mummy remains they realized the Gobi desert created a natural bone baking process.… Read the rest
I have written previously about the wonderful benefits we can gain from the presence of companion animals in our lives. For years I have supported a multitude of animal welfare charities and done occasional volunteer work. One of my greatest frustrations has been how to better contribute to animal welfare, particularly through employment.… Read the rest
Science Daily reports that bilingual people have a strong advantage over monolingual speakers in learning new languages. According to the article:
“People who can speak two languages are more adept at learning a new foreign language than their monolingual counterparts, according to research conducted at Northwestern University.… Read the rest
I have not traveled the world as much as I would wish (who has?), but I have been lucky enough to see parts of Canada, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Spain. I have also been lucky enough to grow up with a mother who thought that traveling my own country, the United States, could be equally edifying.… Read the rest
Most of us are aware of the dire threat of a computer virus, but did you know that you can get a virus on your cell phone? Daily Science, via a study from a team at the Center for Complex Network Research, tells us that this is a possibility as well:
“The researchers used calling and mobility data from over six million anonymous mobile phone users to create a comprehensive picture of the threat mobile phone viruses pose to users.… Read the rest
Science Daily reports on interesting developments in the field of whale studies. Scientists have wondered how and why sperm whales feed from deep sea fishermen’s “longlines.” Researchers from Scripps and the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project deployed acoustic and video recorders near Sitka, Alaska, and recorded some surprising results:
“The resulting video, recorded using ambient light at 100 meters (328 feet) depth, not only successfully gave the fishermen a clear idea of how the thieving whales were stealing the fish—they pluck the line at one end to jar the black cod free at the other end, somewhat like shaking apples from a tree—but it gave scientists a chance to match the animal’s acoustics with video depictions of its physical features.”
There is so much about other animals and our planet that we don’t yet know – I personally look forward to more of such breakthroughs in science.… Read the rest
LiveScience.com reports that daydreaming is a healthy and normal use of the brain. According to the study:
Until now, scientists had thought that the brain’s “default network,” which is linked to easy, routine mental activity, was the only part of the brain that remains active when the mind wanders.… Read the rest
The news is not good. Comprehensive modeling shows that:
“…without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago – and could be even worse than that….… Read the rest
Scientists have been studying the incredibly well-preserved remains of a 47 million-year-old fossil of a lemur-like creature that may be part of the primate family that eventually led to Homo sapiens.
Swimming is a tremendously fun activity with a great number of health benefits, including cardiopulmonary health, increased strength and endurance, muscle toning, all in a relaxing and mostly low-impact exercise. I grew up on the east coast, learned to swim by the time I was five, and was a competitive swimmer as a teen.… Read the rest
I remember reading The Women’s Room when I was entirely too young (9 or 10!), simply because it was in the enormous family bookcase, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on, and some of it was very, very interesting, if ultimately confusing.… Read the rest
This week I saw two interesting news stories from around the world – one rather sad, the other fascinating.
Yahoo! Green reported on rising sea levels and associated environmental dangers from the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia.
“Dealing with environmental refugees will have a much more serious impact on the global economy and global security in fact than what wars have ever done to this planet,” said Rolph Payet, a presidential adviser from the African island nation of the Seychelles.… Read the rest
Clayton Homes, the largest manufactured home company in the United States, recently unveiled the revolutionary i-house, a modular, energy-efficient, customizable dwelling. According to the Associated Press:
“A 1,000-square-foot prototype unveiled at a Clayton show in Knoxville a few months ago was priced at around $140,000.… Read the rest
“Ultraman, Ultraman: here he comes from the sky.
Ultraman, Ultraman: watch our hero fly.
In a superjet he comes from a billion miles away,
From a distant planet land comes our hero Ultraman.”
In the early 1970s, a strange phenomenon reached American shores in the guise of a tall silver alien: Ultraman landed, and for some lucky children like me, life would never be the same again. … Read the rest
The web can be a valuable resource for just about anything, and literature is no exception. There are multiple websites where you can find free books to read online, download, listen to, or even use on a portable reading device. Following are some of the major outlets.… Read the rest
BBC News recently reported on the largest genetic study of Africa to date. According to the article:
“The work revealed the continent to be the most genetically diverse place on Earth, and identified descendents of our earliest human ancestors….The research also located the origin of modern human migration in south-western Africa, near the coastal border of Namibia and Angola.… Read the rest
The Guardian UK recently reported on potential problems for the internet, including future bandwidth overload and the web’s carbon footprint. According to Subodh Bapat, a Vice President at Sun Microsystems:
“We need more data centres, we need more servers. Each server burns more watts than the previous generation and each watt costs more.… Read the rest
While I wait for the conclusion of my interview with Montreal artist John Mavreas and spend tons of time searching the job boards, I have been ruminating on the difficulties of being a freelancer, particularly in the arts. I have been a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader for almost ten years now.… Read the rest
U.S. President Barack Obama has promised that he will increase the government budget for science research from 2.6% to at least 3.0% of the GDP. That goal represents a net increase of about 15%, a not insignificant amount. According to the BBC News article, Obama said:
“A half century ago, this nation made a commitment to lead the world in scientific and technological innovation…There are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities.… Read the rest
Following on yesterday’s Milky Way deliciousness, we have a fab study from BBC World News: a 1970s-type lifestyle is better for the planet. Woo hoo! Is there anyone for whom this is not welcome news? Well, I am happy, anyway! According to the article:
Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health said shifting the population weight distribution back to that of the 1970s would do quite a lot to help the planet.