Kindle 2I’m happy dancing all over the house. I got my Kindle 2 in the mail today — late, very late afternoon.

Then it was Google time to figure out how to get the PDF review copies of books from my PC to my Kindle so I could read them. Many minutes/hours later, I ended up using Stanza (free download).

The resulting files aren’t the greatest but they are readable and they’re on the Kindle so I’m not tied to the PC and desk — so that’s a good thing.

Next will be to actually spend a day using it but now I’m behind schedule — again and the next two days are going to be really, really busy getting ready for the zines to go live on Sunday, March 1st.

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Haven’t had much time to think, let alone posts.  But, my hubby found that absolutely wonderful knitting cartoon. You’ll find it Wondermark #491.

I mean really, some men just don’t understand the need for knitting.

My hubby thought I’d get a kick out of it because every trip we take, I spend more time trying to decide how much or which knitting projects to take. Then there’s the decision about what to take carry on and what to check through. If the yarn is really, really nice I hate checking it through … what if they loose my bag — it’s happened so it could happen when there’s yarn.

Meanwhile, working on getting the zines up and ready to go live on Sunday, March 1st. Desperately trying to finish up my reviews and overview of the zines in time. Also, proofing, editing, and tracking down missing content. But they’re going to be great issues.

I even had a review of my new ASUS Eee PC 1000 in TechRevu this week. Got some more things lined up to review over the coming months.

Finished one sock and I’m nearly done with the other one. Will do a photo of the pair soon. Also, got to finish my bears this weekend so will hopefully have a series of photos on making the faces and putting the arms and legs on. So, things are coming along in my universe.

I still keep missing time though. I’ve looked and looked and I can’t find the time leaks but the seconds, minutes, and hours just seem to be slipping past. So, far this month I’ve managed to keep it down to seconds and minutes rather than days and this is even a short month. I’m hoping the lost time is in a corner somewhere and with spring cleaning I’ll find it and can keep it in a bottle and pull out extra time when I need it. It’s a thought anyway.

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Liquid water on Mars on the lander legs Today an article in National Geographic News reports that liquid water was recently seen on Mars. Phoenix, which landed near Mars’ north pole, has taken several photos of itself and a recent series of photos seem to show water droplets on the lander’s legs that are clumping together and running downward. If it’s not water, it’s a pretty good approximation, and definitely looks like a liquid of some sort. Scientists report:

This substance is probably saline mud that splashed up as the craft landed, study leader and Phoenix co-investigator Nilton Renno of the University of Michigan told National Geographic News. Salt in the mud then absorbed water vapor from the atmosphere, forming the watery drops, Renno said. The water can stay liquid even in the frigid Martian arctic because it contains a high amount of perchlorates, a salt “with properties like the antifreeze used to melt snow here in Michigan,” said Renno, who will present the work next month at the 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Finding liquid water under these conditions carries possible implications for Mars’s habitability, the scientists say.

Personally, I feel like I do at Christmas — all excited and expectant and jittery with glee. Imagine the possibilities. This is exciting news. It’s great news because water, even if it’s mud-salt water, is critical for supporting life. However, it also means that unless life can manage the huge amounts of salt in the liquid — well, it’s unlikely. But it does raise the chances that a human expedition to the planet for research purposes might be able to survive (after all technology could probably deal with extracting the water for use.). Meanwhile, these pictures are just amazing.

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Leonardo Da Vinci (Vitruvian Man) Art PosterSometimes when I read the results of a new scientific study, such as this one on “Loss of Height Linked to Breathlessness in the Elderly“, I wonder why they didn’t know that already. One researcher said:

“The results of the study were far more profound that we expected, given the relatively small number of subjects involved,” Tan said. “We postulate that this loss of height results in reduced lung volume which then results in shortness of breath.”

I’ve put Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man as the image for this post. His sketch shows that a person’s reach from side to side is approximately the same as that person’s height. As you grow older the bones in the spine often compress or lose mass and the height of a person decreases. The study found that as the ratio of width of arms (reach) to height increased, that the elderly person was losing height and often that loss of height was related to shortness of breath.

Let’s think about that a second. I’ve still got all my organs but I’ve got less height so those same organs are now compressed into less space — which means my lungs have less space to expand. Wouldn’t the logical deduction, without a study, be that as the elderly person loses height they’d lose lung capacity? I just don’t understand the surprise at the findings.

It seems to me a forest/tree problem (i.e. can’t see the forest for the trees) or you look so much as the individual items that you lose sight of the big picture.

Was the research necessary? In my opinion it probably was since they were so surprised by the outcome. It’s one of those cases where if they had stopped to think about it, they’d have known what the results would be without actually having to run a study. But, in the scientific community if you don’t run a study and get quantified/verified/certified/reproducible results then all you have is intuition, folk lore, or theory. A theory that’s unproven isn’t really accepted. So, while you’d think one could figure it out intuitively, it is necessary to run a study to verify the belief that’s this is what’s happening.

It seems that a lot of things lately look like simple concepts being verified that you’d think would have been, by now, accepted facts. If all your organs now have to fit in less space — some of them are going to have problems working correctly. Now that it’s been tested maybe we can move on to how to help those who have lost height to adapt or alleviate the symptoms that loss of height has caused.

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I have good days and so-so days and bad days. Today started as a good day so I rushed about doing everything I’d let slide over the past week. I got caught up on a lot of work tasks, did some housework, and then…ran out of steam.

I should of known it was too good to be true when the headache didn’t go away when I got up until after the coffee. (I’m limiting myself to only one cup a day.)

I moved slower and slower as the day wore on and when Hyperion got home… I’d been sitting and reading and I could barely move when I went to stand up.

Poor me. Whine and cheese. (long list of whines here). But I’m still so much better than I was that I’m sure this is just a minor set back (fingers crossed and quick wish).

The problem with fibromyalgia is that it changes. Some days I’m normal and some I feel like I’m a billion years old. Other days, I’m just a bit off. I’ve had a lot of off days lately but managed to plow through and today is just one of those muddle days where the whole range shows up in one day.

Better tomorrow. The sun will come out and it will be a glorious day even if it rains, storms, four-letter-words, or is perfect. Every day is a joy.

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A reconstruction of a Neanderthal at the Neanderthalmuseum in Mettmann, western Germany.An article reports that scientists have mapped a first draft of the Neanderthal genome.

Highlights of the article:

Researchers used DNA fragments extracted from three Croatian fossils to map out more than 60 percent of the entire Neanderthal genome by sequencing three billion bases of DNA.

The analysis showed it is highly unlikely that much interbreeding occurred as there was “very little, if any” Neanderthal contribution to the human gene pool, said lead researcher Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute.

But it also revealed that our Neanderthal cousins may have been closer to us than we thought: they share a gene which plays a key function in speech and language.

I notice that no matter what they find out about Neanderthals, that it is continually stressed that Homo Sapiens are somehow much much better. I’ll grant that we’re different. I’ll even grant that our genetic makeup is different enough that there may have been little interbreeding. But that only means that they differ from us, not that we’re better, or they’re less because of it.
After all, it’s believed that we shared a common ancestor about 300,000 years ago. And, lets face it, genetically we’re not really all that different.

Look at the picture. If we put a tanned modern man next to him in the same clothing and with the same spear — would they really be that much difference between them other than the forehead?

We, as a species, are reaching out to the stars hoping to meet other sentient species out there. But what would we do if we had a first contact with another species? I don’t think we’d do very well, personally. Here on earth every time we find that a species meets our criteria for sentience, we change the criteria rather than admit that the species just might be intelligent. If we met aliens and they didn’t look like us would we just figure they were the intelligent species equivalent of a bird in a mining cave and ignore it, or try to kill it? I don’t know.

Watching my species over the last few decades, I have my doubts about our ability to logically think, find solutions to problems without resorting to violence, or even to act together for the good of our planet rather than the bottom line of a corporate spreadsheet. So, my opinion of our ability to actually make first contact and to correctly assess the intent or intelligence of the alien species — is not very high at the moment.

However, I’m excited by the new information that geneticists are making in finding our how our and other species genomes are put together and how they work.

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Time. It sort of slips away without warning. One minute it’s morning, the next it’s last evening and then midnight. I know I was conscious for all that time — but, what happened to it?

I think I have a black hole in the house that sucks up time and takes it away before I can actually use it to do the things I want to do.

Can time bank itself? Maybe the minutes and seconds are saving themselves up for when I really, really need them. I swear my days are getting shorter the older I get.

Remember when you were a child and summer vacation lasted so long that it seemed forever. Now those same three months past by as quickly as if they were days rather than months. In twenty more years will they pass in the blink of an eye?

Does the age of the observer change the way we perceive time? I don’t know, it’s just something I think about when I’m wishing for more time.

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CoralineStudent Life has an article on The Top 10 Kids Movies Inappropriate for Kids. On this list are some of my favorite movies. There are ones that my son and I enjoyed together and watched many time.

While I can understand the reasoning behind thinking some of the films such as Time Bandits, Coraline (thought I haven’t seen it yet so only know it because I’ve read the book and seen trailers), Watership Down, and Black Hole being thought inappropriate, I think that’s more because adults hold them up to a different criteria than children or young adults. Children, in my experience, only enjoy the adventure of Time Bandits and the fact that the parents are jerks and get what they deserved. While adults worry about the death of the parents, the kids are hoping that the fireman that looks like Agamemnon will adopt the kid.

On the other hand, Black Hole was so boring I think that it was torture to watch it the first time and only time we saw it. It was forever known in our house as the movie that explained that time stretches out because they certainly took too little plot and stretched it to fit the length of a movie.

What I think lists like these do, is make parents aware that maybe they should watch the movie first and then decide if their children should see them. I feel that parents should always watch the movies with their children so that they are available to answer questions and talk about the film after … if the child wants to talk. Too many times, the DVD is inserted and the parents go off and leave the kids to view with no supervision.

Children like creepy movies and they like to be scared. They usually have a strong sense of justice and like to see the “bad people” punished and the “good people” rewarded. But parents should be available to talk with their children. Movies are a time for parents and children to enjoy time together on the same activity.

Don’t let lists tell you what your children should or shouldn’t watch. The list-makers do their best to advise but they don’t know your specific children, you’re the best judge of what your child is ready for. I know some adults not ready for The Dark Crystal and some very young children who totally get what it’s about.

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