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Cirque Berzerk

Thanks to a tip from our intrepid writer Lori, I recently checked out the Cirque Berzerk website, and is it wild!  They inform us:

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

Uighurs in Palau

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

A Few Good Blogs

In the spirit of not planning ahead, combined with an unexpected (but extremely welcome) house guest and the damnable hours of the French Open, today I have a few suggestions for other excellent websites.


The Daily Revolution’s own Lori maintains an excellent blog. … Read the rest

Little House on the Prairie

I have been re-reading Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s “Little House on the Prairie” series. People of my generation may be familiar with the books, but probably remember the television series better.


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

Chinese Pottery

The world’s oldest known pottery has been discovered in China, according to a report from the BBC. The pottery, in fragments, was estimated at about 18,000 years old and found in a cave that had previously yielded the oldest kernels of rice.… Read the rest

Baked DNA

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

Creature Comforts

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

Bilingual Advantages

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

Contemporary Musician: Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson is a singer/songwriter in the soft rock genre, as well as a filmmaker, activist, and surfer. He’s well known among the under-40 crowd, particularly for his work on the Curious George film soundtrack and his 2008 CD Sleep Through the Static.… Read the rest

Visit Your Own Country!

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

Cell Phone Virus

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

Wily Whales

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

Daydreaming 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

World’s Best Beaches

The Guardian recently published an article about the world’s best beaches from various experts and locals. Their choices range around the world from Hawaii to Australia to the Caribbean, Cornwall, and Scotland.


I have been to countless beautiful beaches in my life.… Read the rest

Climate Science

In a fusion of Tech Talk Tuesday and Mother Earth Monday, Science Daily reports on mathematical modeling of climate change odds.


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

Who’s Your Mama?

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.


The fossil, known as Ida, was discovered in the Messel Pit near Darmstadt, Germany, in the 1980s.… Read the rest


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

Marilyn French

Renowned feminist author Marilyn French passed away this month at age 79. She is best remembered for her novel The Women’s Room (1977).


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

World News

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

Meet the i-house

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 Rocked My World

“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

Free Books Online

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

African DNA

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

Web Overload

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

Friend Benefits

A recent New York Times article revealed many of the benefits that we gain from having good friends, including higher cancer survival rates, a longer life, and improved brain health.

“In general, the role of friendship in our lives isn’t terribly well appreciated,” said Rebecca G.

Read the rest

Working in the Arts

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

Investing in Science

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

That 70s Lifestyle

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.

Read the rest

Raspberries & Rum

No, that’s not a drink or dessert recipe (although it sounds very tasty indeed) – it’s the taste and scent of a dust cloud in the Milky Way, at least according to a recent Guardian article.  The report says:

“In the latest survey, astronomers sifted through thousands of signals from Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy.… Read the rest

Contemporary Author: Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux, born in 1941 in Medford, Massachusetts, is an incredibly prolific American author who has written numerous travelogues, long and short fiction, magazine articles, and more. Many people are familiar with him by way of his novel The Mosquito Coast, which was made into a 1986 movie starring Harrison Ford.… Read the rest

Companion Animals

A long time ago (coming up on fifteen years), I set out to get a cat. A friend of a friend gave me a kitten – a feisty long-haired grey with a bad-ass attitude and frightening intelligence. Bast helped to make my house a home.… Read the rest

Not That Big-of-a-Deal

I almost hesitate to complain about evolving English language usage, because English is not just a live, vital language that (not “which”!) is constantly evolving, but also because it is a language that emerged from a convergence of West Germanic, Norman, French, and a smattering of Greek and Latin, among others.… Read the rest

The Art of Cooking: Risotto

I was supposed to follow up on my introduction of Montreal-based artist John Mavreas, but thanks to an embarrassing technological glitch at my Las Cruces, New Mexico-based lair, that’s not going to happen this week…and since this happened at the proverbial (and actual) last minute, I was literally left flailing in my kitchen…

Ah, my kitchen!… Read the rest