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Weather Prediction...

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Observations of clouds, sunbeams, and birds—like those seen in this photo taken in Salisbury, UK—were important elements of classical weather forecasting. (Image courtesy of Peter Lawrence.)

Topics: History, Meteorology, Research

In August 1861 the London-based newspaper The Times published the world’s first “daily weather forecast.” The term itself was created by the enterprising meteorologist Robert FitzRoy, who wanted to distance his work from astrological “prognostications.” That story has led to a widespread assumption that weather forecasting is an entirely modern phenomenon and that in earlier periods only quackery or folklore-based weather signs were available.

However, more recent research has demonstrated that astronomers and astrologers in the medieval Islamic world drew widely on Greek, Indian, Persian, and Roman knowledge to create a new science termed astrometeorology. Central to the new science was the universal belief that the planets and their movements around Earth affected atmospheric conditions and weather. It was enthusiastically received in Christian Latin Europe and was further developed by Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and other astronomers. The drive to produce reliable weather forecasts led scientists to believe that astrometeorological forecasting could be more accurate if they used precise observations and records of weather to refine predictions for specific localities. Such records were kept across Europe beginning in the 13th century and were correlated with astronomical data, which paved the way for the data-driven forecasts produced by FitzRoy.1

Islamicate astrometeorologists were the first to replace the ancient practice of observing only short-term signs, such as clouds and the flight of birds, to predict the weather. They based their action on the hypothesis that weather is caused by the movements of planets and mediated by regional and seasonal climate conditions. Improved calculations of planetary orbits and updated geographical and meteorological information made the new science possible and compelling.

The prospect of acquiring reliable weather forecasts, closely linked to predictions of coming trends in human health and agricultural production, made the new meteorology attractive in Christian Europe too. Considerable pride shines through medieval Christian accounts of the weather questions that they could now start to answer. Central among them was one that classical meteorologists had failed to figure out: How can weather vary so much from one year to the next when the seasons are caused by regular, repeating patterns produced by Earth’s spherical shape and its interactions with the Sun?

Medieval weather prediction, Anne Lawrence-Mathers is a professor of history at the University of Reading in the UK. Physics Today

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Topics: Asteroids, Biology, Evolution, Research

Note: Working on two reviews, and my research proposal. It's a very busy writing semester.

Dinosaur and fossil aficionados are intimately familiar with the meteorite strike that drove Tyrannosaurus rex and all nonavian dinosaurs to extinction around 66 million years ago. But it is often overlooked that the impact also wiped out entire ecosystems. A new study shows how those casualties, in turn, led to another particularly profound evolutionary outcome: the emergence of the Amazon rain forest of South America, the most spectacularly diverse environment on the planet. Yet the Amazon’s bounty of tropical species and habitats now face their own existential threat because of unprecedented destruction from human activity, including land clearing for agriculture.

The new study, published on Thursday in Science, analyzed tens of thousands of plant fossils and represents “a fundamental advance in knowledge,” says Peter Wilf, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University, who was not involved in the research. “The authors demonstrate that the dinosaur extinction was also a massive reset event for neotropical ecosystems, putting their evolution on an entirely new path leading directly to the extraordinary, diverse, spectacular, and gravely threatened rain forests in the region today.”

These insights, Wilf adds, “provide new impetus for the conservation of the living evolutionary heritage in the tropics that supports human life, along with millions of living species.”

The Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs Created the Amazon Rain Forest, Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American

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BOOK REVIEW: Malika Fallen Queen Part One

 

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This time we’re going to look at the stunning graphic novel, “Malika Fallen Queen Part One,” by Roye Okupe and YouNeek YouNiverse. This is a historical fiction story like none other I have read. And, although the graphic novel is labeled Part One, it begins in the middle of a long-winding arc, but don’t let that stop you from adding this marvel to your collection.

The story takes place in the Year 2025, with Malika (pronounced “Ma-LIE-kah”) being 500 years from her time period. She is in a new place and time but dealing with old evils. This story opens up with Chapter Fourteen, but it is a complete story arc in and of itself. Malika continues her search for the dragon stones, imbued with magical powers, in order to prevent them falling into the wrong hands. As one is located, Malika battles a Witch for the stone. The action scenes alone are worth the price of this graphic novel. They are drawn so vividly and with such detail and sound effects, you are pulled into the story and almost feel like you’re watching a movie as you move from panel to panel.

As the battle continues in an unexpected way, a London-based girl, Eliza Mantel, stumbles upon the action and the stone. The stones have a unique property in that they can chose which human to grant with the power of the stones. Let’s just say with one touch, Eliza’s world is opened up in a whole new way. With her dual powers of fire and frost, her best friend labels her with the superhero moniker of FireFrost. But those searching for the stones for evil, now seek Eliza. If she wants to live, she must learn to control her new powers. Malika is willing to teach Eliza, but is she willing to learn.

Oh, and there’s someone bent on dealing out ruthless and fatal revenge on Malika. Someone she doesn’t know, yet, but who knows her and her history well enough to want her dead.

As I said, this particular story opens up at Chapter Fourteen, but don’t be deterred. The chapter openings give the reader enough back story that they won’t feel lost reading this story arc. And there are many other characters and stories in the YouNeek YouNiverse that will coalesce into one epic tell, “The Oloris.” Check out this encapsulating world at https://youneekstudios.com/genesys/.  

Jackie Cannon

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MARCH 2021 – AMG® CELEBRATES

AFRICAN HERSTORY MONTH WITH

"BLACK MINDS MATTER!"


Copies of 5 titles from ABYSSINIA MEDIA GROUP®

were gifted into the book reading box at

F.A.M.E. MANOR APARTMENTS

3210 W. ADAMS BLVD.

Los Angeles, CA 90018.


REMEMBER to RETURN or REPLACE with something SIMILAR or BETTER!
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GREAT NEWS FAMILY: JACKIE CANNON IS JOINING OUR TEAM AS A REVIEWER! Jackie Cannon is a writer, proofreader and copy editor, who calls Austin, Texas, home. Science fiction, fantasy, sci-fi horror and comic books/graphic novels are her major loves, but she enjoys reading a variety of subjects in a wide range of genres. When not writing, Ms. Cannon loves reading, traveling and jewelry making. She's visited several islands in the Caribbean, as well as Alaska, London, England, Amsterdam and Belgium. Top on her travel bucket list is Japan. Some of her favorite authors are: Kevin J Anderson, J.K. Rowling, Langston Hughes, and just about anything with Star Wars in the title Check out her first Review! Save The Cat! Writes A Novel https://blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blogs/book-review-save-the-cat-writes-a-novel
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Women's History Month, and CRISPR...

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Topics: Biology, Chemistry, DNA, Nobel Prize, Research, Women in Science

This year’s (2020) Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to two scientists who transformed an obscure bacterial immune mechanism, commonly called CRISPR, into a tool that can simply and cheaply edit the genomes of everything from wheat to mosquitoes to humans. 

The award went jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens and Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, “for the development of a method for genome editing.” They first showed that CRISPR—which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats—could edit DNA in an in vitro system in a paper published in the 28 June 2012 issue of Science. Their discovery was rapidly expanded on by many others and soon made CRISPR a common tool in labs around the world. The genome editor spawned industries working on making new medicines, agricultural products, and ways to control pests.

Many scientists anticipated that Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute, who showed 6 months later that CRISPR worked in mammalian cells, would share the prize. The institutions of the three scientists are locked in a fierce patent battle over who deserves the intellectual property rights to CRISPR’s discovery, which some estimate could be worth billions of dollars.

“The ability to cut DNA where you want has revolutionized the life sciences. The genetic scissors were discovered 8 years ago, but have already benefited humankind greatly,” Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, a chemical biologist at the Chalmers University of Technology, said at the prize briefing.

CRISPR was also used in one of the most controversial biomedical experiments of the past decade, when a Chinese scientist edited the genomes of human embryos, resulting in the birth of three babies with altered genes. He was widely condemned and eventually sentenced to jail in China, a country that has become a leader in other areas of CRISPR research.

Although scientists were not surprised Doudna and Charpentier won the prize, Charpentier was stunned. “As much as I have been awarded a number of prizes, it’s something you hear, but you don’t completely connect,” she said in a phone call with the Nobel Prize officials. “I was told a number of times that when it happens, you’re very surprised and feel that it’s not real.”

At a press briefing today, Doudna noted she was asleep and missed the initial calls from Sweden, only waking up to answer the phone finally when a Nature reporter called. "She wanted to know if I could comment on the Nobel and I said, Well, who won it? And she was shocked that she was the person to tell me."

CRISPR, the revolutionary genetic ‘scissors,’ honored by Chemistry Nobel, Jon Cohen, Science Magazine, AAAS

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Mask Mandates and Starships...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Climate Change, COVID-19, Democracy, Existentialism, Human Rights

Thank you, Reginald!

You're all signed up for "(1st Dose) COVID - 19 Vaccine Clinic."

Vaccine Appointment

03/11/2021 (Thu.) 1:45pm - 2:00pm EST

Location: NC A&T Alumni Foundation Building (200 N. Benbow Rd.)

My Comment: Older graduate student, 58 years.

Thank you for registering to receive dose 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine. Please note the following:

The instructions noted the address (I knew), where to park in proximity to the NC A&T Alumni Foundation building, instructions to enter the building from N. Benbow Road, and to bring a valid student ID. The same building I've celebrated the Greensboro Four every first of February, kicking off African American/Black History Month at the nation's largest HBCU.

My wife received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last Saturday at the Greensboro Coliseum. It's the ten-year anniversary of the Fukushima Daichi accident. I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine on also ironically, the first anniversary the World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2, the Novel Coronavirus, a worldwide pandemic.

Every STEM major student at a primary or historically black college suddenly was thrust into a world of "I Am Legend" protocols against an invisible zombie apocalypse. Navigating research to attain a Master's, or Ph.D. is challenging enough: add to it KN95 masks, 3.66 meters of social distance (12 feet, for the British unit crowd), washing hands, hand sanitizers every 10 meters, and protocol-driven digital, and analog sign-in/sign-out for contact tracing. There's also been isolation, the lack of banter with classmates, no lunches between experiments, or card games. Science is from our hunter-gatherer ancestors: it's a social exercise. Our worlds have been reduced to the dimensions of our laptop monitors, the visual cues common to hominids in conversation reduced to two-dimensional "Zoom fatigue."

To cope with the angst of "sameness," I retreated, or returned more apt and accurately, to spoken word poetry: STEM extended by one vowel is STEAM, the "A" for art, and Einstein played the violin. On Sundays, I perform for a venue in Austin, Texas that's called "Spoken and Heard," started by a friend going by the stage name "Element 615" (don't bother looking it up: it doesn't exist), managed by some poetry friends, and streamed on Facebook and YouTube via Skype. Our poetry tends to center on the topics of the recent week's news.

"Mask Mandates and Starships" was my reaction to the day before, the state of Texas lifted their statewide mask mandate. The news for Greg Abbott's re-election looked grim after botched handling of a once-in-a-hundred-years climate change event (that seems to be occurring annually). If Abbott didn't learn anything from the last administration when you can't solve a problem: bluff, blame, and deflect to something else. Gaslighting 101. It solves nothing but shows his disdain for the citizens of Texas: he really thinks they're stupid. No one rows a boat, or pilots a light sail in multiple directions. It gets you nowhere fast.

The thesis of the piece is, it will take extreme and global cooperation to build ONE vehicle capable of interstellar travel, let alone a fleet of them. The same cooperation we're going to need to get out of this pandemic. Though there is much writing of papers on the Alcubierre Drive, a breakthrough to superluminal speeds taking us to other worlds is highly unlikely. We're born, will live, and die on this one. Hopefully, so will our progeny. We still have radiation poisoning, the current, and future pandemics, climate disasters that are occurring with the frequency of subway lines in New York, or Philly. Continuation of any civilization isn't guaranteed, and discontinuations have many precedents in history.

Zoonotic diseases aren't new, and they tend to strike every one hundred years. The Great Dying was due to the introduction of things like measles, smallpox, influenza, typhus, and tuberculosis to Native American populations by the invasion of Spain and Portugal to the Americas. It is naïve, and ignorant to name any pathogen after its point of origin; racist and xenophobic to center it on one culture. It is also placing whole populations not responsible for the spread in danger of physical violence, which solves nothing. The first piece of legislation on immigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, meant to curb the rise in their population for ten years, signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882. This is in America's DNA. Tribalism and any other narcissistic "ism" will not save us.

Asian Americans scapegoated. Black Lives (obviously don't) Matter. The LGBT are human beings, not scarecrows hung like Matthew Shepard. Women's Rights ARE Human rights. Unless the pathogen was dropped on us from Alpha Centauri, it, and we all live here.

We either live together or die miserably, and sadly into extinction.

What if this pandemic, / Is Gia’s test / Before we leave the nest? / “In space, no one can hear [you]r screams,” / No matter replicators or Uber Eats, / No 911 to call for assistance, / No tribes to define oneself with, / No conservatives, liberals, republicans, or democrats, / The only question is, “no rescue is coming; can WE fix it?” / No poetic Latin words E Pluribus Unum, / The only governing philosophy boiled down to three letters: GSD, equaling “get shit done!” / More “final frontier” than we’ve ever been,.. from "Mask Mandates and Starships."

We conclusively know now we cannot gaslight a pandemic. 543,690 deaths, and counting. If we can't do the simple things, are we mature enough to become a space-faring species?

What if? Are we?

 We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe. Chadwick Boseman, as King T'Challa in the movie, "Black Panther" (Rest In Power), from Internet Movie Database.

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Snaps From Perseverance...

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Combining two images, this mosaic shows a close-up view of the rock target named “Yeehgo” from the SuperCam instrument on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. The component images were taken by SuperCam’s Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). To be compatible with the rover’s software, “Yeehgo” is an alternative spelling of “Yéigo,” the Navajo word for diligent.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ASU/MSSS
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Our Flexible Molecule...

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1 Soap, shampoo, and worm-like micelles Soaps and shampoos are made from amphiphilic molecules with water-loving (red) and water-hating (blue) parts that arrange themselves to form long tubes known as “worm-like micelles”. Entanglements between the tubes give these materials their pleasant, sticky feel. b The micelles can, however, disentangle themselves, just as entangled long-chain polymer molecules can slide apart too. In polymers, this process can be modeled by imagining the molecule sliding, like a snake, out of an imaginary tube formed by the surrounding spatial constraints. c Worm-like micelles can also morph their architecture by performing reconnections (left), breakages (down), and fusions (right). These operations occur randomly along the backbone, are in thermal equilibrium, and reversible. (Courtesy: Davide Michieletto)

Topics: Biology, DNA, Physics, Polymer Science, Research

DNA molecules are not fixed objects – they are constantly getting broken up and glued back together to adopt new shapes. Davide Michieletto explains how this process can be harnessed to create a new generation of “topologically active” materials.

Call me naïve, but until a few years ago I had never realized you can actually buy DNA. As a physicist, I’d been familiar with DNA as the “molecule of life” – something that carries genetic information and allows complex organisms, such as you and me, to be created. But I was surprised to find that biotech firms purify DNA from viruses and will ship concentrated solutions in the post. In fact, you can just go online and order DNA, which is exactly what I did. Only there was another surprise in store.

When the DNA solution arrived at my lab in Edinburgh, it came in a tube with about half a milligram of DNA per centimeter cube of water. Keen to experiment on it, I tried to pipette some of the solution out, but it didn’t run freely into my plastic tube. Instead, it was all gloopy and resisted the suction of my pipette. I rushed over to a colleague in my lab, eagerly announcing my amazing “discovery”. They just looked at me like I was an idiot. Of course, solutions of DNA are gloopy.

I should have known better. It’s easy to idealize DNA as some kind of magic material, but it’s essentially just a long-chain double-helical polymer consisting of four different types of monomers – the nucleotides A, T, C, and G, which stack together into base pairs. And like all polymers at high concentrations, the DNA chains can get entangled. In fact, they get so tied up that a single human cell can have up to 2 m of DNA crammed into an object just 10 μm in size. Scaled up, it’s like storing 20 km of hair-thin wire in a box no bigger than your mobile phone.

Make or break: building soft materials with DNA, Davide Michieletto is a Royal Society university research fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh

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Book Review: Save The Cat! Writes A Novel

 

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If you're like me and want to write a novel, I would highly recommend this book by Jessica Brody. It is a slam-dunk as far as getting you to understand writing plot points, characters and beats of your story. A few people had told me about this book and suggested it, but I somehow never got around to reading it...until now. Wow! It is amazing. And for a book on writing, and not just a novel to read for fun, it kept me turning the pages, page after page.

Ms. Brody lays out in clear explanation how a great story has an A story and a B story. "The A story is the external story," what happens, the journey your character takes on in order to accomplish whatever goal they are trying to reach. "...the B story is the internal story," whatever internal/personal goal the character must learn in order to grow, adapt, change as they go along on the journey.

I underlined and tagged so many pages, my book looks like it's throwing out confetti! I love how she goes into the details of how stories move the same as movies, through Acts 1, 2 and 3. She even goes further and breaks down Act 2 into 2a and 2b since this is the bulk of any story, the middle, the conflict. I even liked how she gave percentages of much each act should take up in your story.

The examples she breaks down into their respective parts are so thoroughly laid out in clear, clean, concise language that as I was reading, I was thinking, "Wow, okay, I get that now." And you will too, if you're looking for a straightforward way of understanding plot, acts, character development, climax and story end.

She uses a different type of "genre" breakdown. Rather than your standard, science fiction, romance, mystery genre breakdown, she goes into genres of what "type of story" it is. For instance, is your story a "Rites of Passage" story, a "Superhero" story, a "Buddy Love" story or a "Golden Fleece" story? Once you read the book, you'll understand what she means and, hopefully, it will open your eyes as it did for me.

Overall, this book was a knockout for me. Wish I had read it earlier. And, I enjoyed it so much, that I'm planning on reading "Save The Cat!" by Blake Snyder on screenwriting.

My grade: A+ for "Save The Cat! Writes A Novel." Hope you enjoy it and gain as much information from it as I did.

 

Jackie Cannon

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Martian Homecoming

COMING SOON......

Martian Homecoming

https://www.facebook.com/Martianhomecoming

It is the year 2072, And Humankind has reached out to Mars.
With resources being depleted daily, nations and corporations are terraforming Mars to be habitable.
A group of Martian archeologists discover that Mars was home to a race over 10,000 years ago.
All of a sudden....a large space ship from the outer reaches of time and space is headed for our solar system.
Only one person with the United Nations of Outer Space Affairs wants to know why they are headed for Mars

And everyone will stop him from finding out.

This will be a live action novel of....

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