Welcome to Green Comet

These free novels, Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequels Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more about the trilogy, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page. To download the books, visit the downloads page.

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 7 & 8

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

There are two chapters again this week. In chapter six, Sage said good-bye to her friend, Tallgrass, then was attacked by a night stalker. This week she begins her long trek south, and learns how dangerous it can be to be alone out there.

Download at OliverOnline.

rjb

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Alzheimer’s and Pollution

pollution-smog-Lilian-Calderón-Garcidueñas-640

Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas photo

Researchers have found evidence of a link between living in a polluted megacity and developing Alzheimer’s. (Read my previous Alzheimer Disease posts, one with a correlation to a cynical, distrustful nature, and one looking at the syndrome’s roots early in life.) Autopsies on over 200 people showed signs of the disease in its early stages in individuals less than a year old. If this holds up, then we will have a pathway to the prevention of this horrible affliction.

MISSOULA – A University of Montana researcher and her collaborators have published a new study that reveals increased risks for Alzheimer’s and suicide among children and young adults living in polluted megacities.

“Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks start in childhood in polluted environments, and we must implement effective preventative measures early,” said [Dr. Lilian] Calderón-Garcidueñas, a physician and Ph.D. toxicologist in UM’s (University of Montana) Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “It is useless to take reactive actions decades later.”

Overall, the authors have documented an accelerated and early disease process for Alzheimer’s in highly exposed Mexico City residents. They believe the detrimental effects are caused by tiny pollution particles that enter the brain through the nose, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and these particles damage all barriers and travel everywhere in the body through the circulatory system.

It’s terrible to think that we might be condemning newborns to a horrible death before they’ve even begun to live, but it’s encouraging to realize that we have a potential solution right in front of us.

via Evidence mounts for Alzheimer’s, suicide risks among youth in polluted cities | EurekAlert! Science News

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Alfred Wegener

Alfred Lothar Wegener was born in Berlin, Germany on November 1st, 1880. He was the youngest of the five children of Richard Wegener, clergyman, theologian and classical language teacher. The family was well-off enough to own a vacation home, as well as to afford to educate all their children. Alfred did very well in school and went on to study physics, meteorology and astronomy. He got a doctorate in astronomy in 1905, but had formed a strong interest in the growing disciplines of climatology and meteorology.

Public Domain

Wegener made four expeditions to Greenland in his study of the polar climate, the first in 1906. He built a weather station and made observations using kites and tethered balloons, in addition to the usual instruments. He had his first experience with the killing harshness of Greenland’s climate when the expedition leader and two others died while exploring. He returned to Germany in 1908.

His second expedition to Greenland in 1913 began with a calving glacier that almost wiped it out, and ended with a fortunate and unlikely rescue as their crossing of the interior resulted in their having to eat all of their dogs and ponies before its completion.

His military service in World War One lasted only a few months. He faced fierce fighting, was injured twice and declared unfit for duty. He spent the rest of the war in the meteorological service and published 20 papers by its end. Having published on his ideas about continental drift for the first time in 1912, Wegener followed up with a major work — “The Origin of Continents and Oceans” — in 1915. Interest was small.

After the war he worked as a climatologist and as senior lecturer at the University of Hamburg. In collaboration with Milutin Milankovich, he did pioneering work in a field that would become known as paleoclimatology, where they reconstructed ancient climates. He published the third edition of “The Origin of Continents and Oceans,” provoking discussion of his theory of continental drift, and disparagement by the experts of the day.

By 1924 he attained a position that provided stability for his family, and he was able to concentrate on his studies for the rest of the decade. In 1926 he presented his ideas on continental drift at a symposium in New York, to near-uniform rejection. In 1929 he published the fourth and final edition of “The Origin of Continents and Oceans,” and made his third expedition to Greenland.

Wegener led the 1930 Greenland expedition, his fourth, and his sense of personal responsibility ultimately led to his death. A combination of a late thaw and harsh conditions resulted in the failure of a re-supply mission and the death of Alfred Wegener. His body remains buried where he died.

Public Domain

Alfred Wegener was accomplished at astronomy, meteorology and climatology, but what he is known for today is continental drift. We’ll cover that in more detail in future posts.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapter 6

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

Just one chapter this week, since it’s a normal size. Last time, Sage experimented with her glider, and that led to her first encounter with a day flier. In this chapter she spends some time close to the village, not knowing what to do. Finally she comes to grips with her situation and sneaks to the village to say good-bye to her friend Tallgrass. In the darkness of the night, she has a run-in with a night stalker.

Download chapter six here.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapters 4 & 5

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

There are two chapters together today, because one of them is pretty small. In chapter three, Sage learned a little about the artifact, but just enough to make her wonder even more. Today she experiments a little with it, and has her first experience with a day flier. As her exile becomes more real, she begins to wonder if she will survive, and what would be the point.

This project is being well received in my little town, with some people angling for sneak previews. Don’t worry. They won’t be getting the chapters even a day earlier than the rest of you.

Go to OliverOnline for the download link.

note: it says chapters 3 & 4, but the download is 4 & 5.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapter Three

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

At the end of chapter two Sage was coming to terms with her banishment, realizing that it had something to do with the artifact. In chapter three she tries to figure out what is so dangerous about the artifact, while preparing for her first night outside.

Visit OliverOnline to download chapter three.

rjb

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Idioms

Credit Tjo3ya – CC-BY-SA

I wasn’t sure how to kick off this post, so I’ve been skirting the problem. Now I’ve decided to stop beating around the bush and take the bull by the horns. The objective is to get to the bottom of things without going over the top. I hope I don’t get run down trying to run down the rundown so I can run it up the flagpole and run it by you.

An idiom, according to my Concise Oxford Dictionary, Eighth edition 1990, is “a group of words established by usage and having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.” In other words, a phrase that doesn’t make sense in its current usage. Their examples are, “over the moon” and “see the light.” An idiom is also “a form of expression peculiar to a language, person or group of people.” So to speak in the idiom is to use forms of speech that are particular to the speaker’s in-group. Idioms are the bane of anyone trying to learn a language. Imagine trying to learn English and someone says, “Here, let me show you the ropes.” Yes, “idiom” does come from the same place as “idiot.”

I have to admit that would be a tough row to hoe. Maybe I should have left well enough alone, but the cat’s out of the bag now, so it’s a little late to close the barn door. The horses have flown the coop. Wait, is that a mixed idiom? Was I champing at the bit in my teeth, causing me to overshoot the mark? That can’t be helped, I’m afraid. Any attempt at tamping this down is a day late and a dollar short. We’ve rounded the last turn. We’re on the final stretch. There’s no turning back because we’re down to the short strokes. The die is cast and our fate has been cast to the wind. This post is done and it’s time to play the last post for it.

Catch you on the round-a-bout,

rjb

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The Plainsrunner – Chapter Two

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

At the end of chapter one, we left Sage as she was being banished from her village. Join her now as she ventures alone into a dangerous world. She can never again find safety within the village walls, and must find a way to survive with no one to count on but herself.

Download at oliveronline.ca.

rjb

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The Plainsrunner Book Club

Credit: finetooth- CC-BY-SA

My friend Leza Macdonald has a website in my home town — oliveronline.ca — and we’ve decided to publish my current novel — The Plainsrunner — there in serialized form. I feel like letting them get involved closely in this one as it flows from my pen, so to speak. So, rather than my usual method of publishing extensions here, it’s going to show up there first. Oh boy, another experiment!

I’ll post here as each chapter shows up there. Leza is also thinking of letting a “book club” develop, so keep your eyes open for that.

Go there now for chapter one. Join the experiment. Partake in the discussion, if one forms in the book club. And I hope you enjoy The Plainsrunner.

rjb

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Conspiracy Theories While You Wait

Lorie Shaull (Flickr) / Creative Commons

The website FactCheck.org has a look at the conspiracy theories that have arisen, and have been promulgated deliberately, after the mass murder and terrorization of school children in the United States on Valentine’s Day 2018. Initially the murderer was the focus of the rumors, but after the surviving children began calling for better gun controls, the conspiracy theories became about them. The gun proliferation advocates began to attack the credibility of the survivors who were speaking out.

The internet has been rife with rumors about the school shooting that left 17 dead in Florida on Feb. 14. We’ve debunked several of them.

Initially, the rumors focused on the alleged shooter himself, Nikolas Cruz. But, as students who survived the shooting started advocating stricter gun controls, new rumors focused on the most vocal among them. Those falsehoods grew into full-fledged conspiracy theories, one of which briefly topped the list of trending videos on YouTube.

Go to FactCheck.org for the rest of the story, and go to WNPR to hear an interview with with people covering this story. Here is a direct link to the interview. Total time: 49:23. This story starts at about the nineteen minute mark.

via School Shooting Spawns Conspiracy Theories – FactCheck.org

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