Monday, September 17, 2018

Mary Tharp cartographer and path finder.

 I find maps to be fascinating, and the older ones are such a wonderful time capsule of history. Mary Tharp  loved maps, and created them for a vast area she never saw. 

     A path-breaking American geologist and oceanographic cartographer Tharp's work revealed the presence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, leading scientist into accepting the apparently radical theories of plate tectonics and continental drift.
    "This is how they looked 250 million years ago. I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities, a fascinating jigsaw puzzle to piece together," Tharp said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime — a once-in-the-history-of-the-world —opportunity for anyone, but especially for a woman in the 1940s." 

     Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, her mother was an instructor in German and Latin; her father made soil classification maps for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She graduated from Ohio University, and later received a masters degree in petroleum geology at a time when women obtained fewer than 4% of all earth sciences doctorates.  

   She worked with Bruce Heezen for 18 years. Barred from working aboard the research ship Vema because she was a woman, Mary drew the maps based on Heezen's bathyemtric data. In 1965 she was able to join the crew on a data-collection expidition. 

         It took years for her contributions to be recognized. In 1998 she was honored by the Library of Congress' Geography and Map Division, and the following year, she was recognized by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 
      In 2001 she was honored by her home institution with the Lamont-Doherty Heritage Award. Today, a fellowship at Lamont-Doherty to promote women in science through the ADVANCE program bearing her name.

    Thank you Mary Tharp for following your dream, changing scientific beliefs, and going where few women had gone before.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Banned in Boston

     In 1878 the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice was formed. For a $5 dollar contribution, anyone could belong. 

One of it's first attacks on literature was against Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. First published in 1855. It was deemed obscene,’ ‘too sensual,’ and ‘shocking’ because of its frank portrayal of sexuality and some felt its obvious homoerotic overtones.  Pressure from the Society caused Whitman's publisher to forgo reprinting the updated edition in 1881. 

The city’s Watch and Ward Society was a puritanical group of private citizens active from 1878 to the 1920s. It made Boston a target of scorn and – unintentionally – heightened interest in the books and plays it banned.

     Beginning in 1902, the Watch and Ward Society’s Secretary, J. Franklin Chase, a humorless Methodist minister, single-handedly censored dozens of books. 

  And by the 1920s, the Society had censored hundreds of books and plays. It forced the Boston Public Library to keep banned books in locked rooms.         

    The Society  had an agreement with police, all complaints about indecent books were sent directly to the Society. If the Society thought the book was indecent, it notified Boston booksellers that they had three days to remove the book from their shelves or they could be arrested on obscenity charges. 
  Booksellers so feared the group that they refused to sell books on its list. Those who did were arrested, charged and fined. Plays deemed racy were performed in a sanitized Boston version.

  Many now celebrated works were included in the ban. Here are a few. 

Slaughter House 5/Kurt Vonnegut
Desire Under the Elms/Eugene O'Neill.
God's Little Acre 1933/ Erskine Caldwell
Memoirs of Fanny Hill 1748/ John Cleland 
Elmer Gantry 1926/ Sinclair Lewis in 1926
Manhattan Transfer 1927/ John Dos Passos 
Lady Chatterley's Lover/1929 D. H. Lawrence 
Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (1944)
The Sun Also Rises & A Farewell to Arms/ 
                     Earnest Hemmingway
      And of course films were also on the hit list 
I Am Curious (Yellow) by Vilgot Sj√∂man (1967)  
(I remember sneaking into the theater to see this with my girlfriends.) 

Caligula by Tinto Brass (1979)

                Even songs became targets.
Wake Up Little Susie by The Everly Brothers 1957
Beans in My Ears by the Serendipity Singers/1964
(a protest song indicating adults were not listening to children. banned because kids were actually putting beans in their ears!)

The Warren Court (1953–69) expanded civil liberties and in Memoirs v. Massachusetts and other cases curtailed the ability of municipalities to regulate the content of literature, plays, and movies.
The last major literary censorship battle in the U.S. was fought over Naked Lunch, which was banned in Boston in 1965.  Eventually the Watch and Ward Society changed its name to the New England Citizens Crime Commission, and made its main emphasis against gambling and drugs and far less on media.

Would your book have been BANNED IN BOSTON?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


                         Coming soon at
                       The Wild Rose Press

      Both seek retribution, neither is looking for love.   

Ochessa is heartbroken when she finds her brother fatally wounded. His dying words are about a childhood puzzle box, missing legal documents, and a drifter named Nicodemus Breedlove. Ochessa vows to find Will’s murderer—and the man Will described.

No stranger to trouble, Nic's only concerns are his Stetson, his mule Sadie, and a long awaited chance at retribution. After gaining Ochessa’s trust, and taking the job she offers, life gets more complicated.  

Back on the ranch in Colorado, Ochessa works as hard as any man. Then Nick tempts her into playing even harder as a woman—both are overwhelmed by their growing love for one another. 

 Weathering a stampede, a gully washer, and a pack of outlaws, they locate the killer. As Nic’s quest for justice, and Ochessa’s vendetta for Will playout, bullets fly...

       Not everybody’s gonna make it out alive. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dastardly Scorpions that glow in the dark.

                                Image result for images scorpion
    As if scorpions aren't horrifying enough...they glow.
                      Image result for pictures of glowing scorpions
Sounds like an element used by an evil villain in a Sci/Fi book! But you don't have to travel to outer-space to see them, they're crawling around right here in the USA. 

 All you need are nerves of steel and a black light. 
                          Image result for scorpions glowing under black light
Imagine a "herd" of these coming at you in the dead of night. 

When UV light hits these creepy crawlies (including moonlight) it is converted by proteins in their exoskeletons into light of a blue hue, which is visible to the human eye.

    Some theories bandied about as to why this happens are: glowing might help scorpions find each other (their earth-tone coloring makes them otherwise difficult to spot in the desert), or they do it to dazzle prey, or the light conversion effect could act as a sunscreen. 

   Upon experimental investigation, however, none of these hypotheses hold up to scrutiny, leading some arachnologists to speculate that scorpion fluorescence has no function at all. Perhaps, they say, it's just a random act of evolution.
Image result for images professor carl kloock But "oh contraire". California State University arachnologist Carl Kloock thinks otherwise. 
    "Based on UV light levels, it may determine whether or not they should come to the surface to look for prey. Scorpions are nocturnal creatures. They abhor the heat and evaporative effects of sunlight, and it turns out they specifically avoid UV light, even that of the moon. If they are well fed they tend to be less active on a full moon."

     In 2010, Carl Kloock overexposed scorpions to UV light to use up the fluorescing chemicals in their skin (which break down as they glow). Kloock found that scorpions that could still glow stuck to a sheltered area, while the others spent more time in the open unable to sense the light.
                          Image result for doug gaffin
   Inspired by Kloock’s work, Professor Doug Gaffin decided to see just how scorpions would behave under differently colored light. The results supported the idea that they’re using their glow to respond more strongly to UV over and above what they can detect with their retinas. 

   Gaffin thinks the scorpion’s entire body, from the stinging tail to the crushing pincers, collects UV light from the environment and convert it into blue-green wavelengths. These signals could even pass to the brain via clusters of nerves that are spread throughout the animal’s body. If this idea pans out, it means that a scorpion’s glow could increase the surface area of its eyes by a thousand times. The entire scorpion would effectively be one big eye.  Back to the sci/fi theory.
                             Image result for images big scary eye

More testing is being done by both Professors Kloock and Gaffin. Until then keep that black light handy so you can see these the scary little monsters coming.
                        Image result for images scorpion monster

                 Thank you Kim for the blog-post idea. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Painting building murals not a new idea.

     During the Great Depression, part of Roosevelt's New Deal included the Public Works of Art Project (1933-1934). The idea was to give artist workers jobs and assure the public better times were coming. Under the direction of the new agency, they oversaw the production of 15,660 works of art by 3,750 artists. These included 700 murals on public display.
 The New Deal also allowed for the formation of the CCC (the Civilian Conservation Corp) which my Father was a part of, and the construction of federal buildings, such as courthouses, schools, libraries, post offices and other public structures, nationwide.
               Post Office in Moline, Illinois

    Starting in 1938, now called the Section of Fine Arts under the U.S. Treasury Department, more than 1,400 murals were commissioned for federal post office buildings in more than 1,300 cities across America.

Moline, the town where I grew up had one of those post office murals. To a child's eyes it seemed especially huge and intriguing. I remember staring up at it at in fascination every time we went to the P.O. 

    It wasn't too surprising our mural depicted the manufacturing of plowshares. Moline is the home of John Deere, we even had an antique looking plow on our class ring, and growing up we had an International Harvester refrigerator!

 The paintings were to depict ordinary citizens in a realistic manner. Abstract and modern art styles were discouraged. Artists were also encouraged to produce works that would be appropriate to the communities where they were to be located and to avoid controversial subjects.

Is there a mural in a Post Office near you? Go here to find out......
List of Post Office Murals

More Pictures here...

“Located at the Moline post office is a mural entitled “Ploughshare Manufacturing” by Edward Millman. Created in 1937, this mural is an “egg tempera on gesso” …

Born in Chicago in 1907, Edward Millman attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later became the chief illustrator for the Chicago Evening American. He is regarded as one the most productive Depression-era muralists in Illinois, creating post office murals in Decatur, Moline, and Chicago. The mural located in Moline–“Ploughshare Manufacturing”—has been described as “depict[ing] laborers…in a dramatic and dynamic scene where workers and machines almost struggle with each other”

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Beware the Ides of March?

     Did the death of Caesar curse the day, or was it just Shakespeare’s mastery of language that forever darkened an otherwise normal box on the calendar? If you look through history, you can certainly find enough horrible things that happened on March 15, but is it a case of life imitating art? Or art imitating life?

   The Ides of March actually has a non-threatening origin story. Kalends, Nones and Ides were ancient markers used to reference dates in relation to lunar phases. Ides simply referred to the first full moon of a given month, which usually fell between the 13th and 15th. In fact, the Ides of March once signified the new year, which meant celebrations and rejoicing.

Drawing from history, the quote from Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar (1599) is a warning uttered by a soothsayer who is letting Roman leader Julius Caesar know that his life is in danger, and he should probably stay home and be careful when March 15th, the Ides of March, rolls around. 

   In 44 BC, March 15th did become notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar which made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history. Talk about a rough day in politics....Ceaser is stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by 60 conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus (here we also get the term et tu Brute from Shakespeare meaning "even you Brutus")

                        So beware or be square, 
                   or just don't care, it's up to you!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Fae Warriors' cover makes top 6 !

                         March Magic Cover Contest 

                     Portence makes the cut. 
      Please vote for #6 (only one vote per person) 
 Two easier ways to vote. Just leave a comment on Facebook Still Moments face book or send an email from Still Moments Blog. Those two are the easiest.                                      

Portence Fae Warriors Book 3
In the final battle to save the Earth, Fae Warrior, Portence Goodeve, stands ready to serve Mother Nature. But as she fights for the future of the planet, she’s haunted by her past. One near-death experience and a betrayal that goes deep become weapons that could get her killed.

Malachi, a cross/breed, half-sorcerer and half-Fae, is back to help fight the Reptile invaders. Once upon a time, his sexy Fae-half stole Portence's heart, breath, and good sense.  Then he abandoned her—what if it happens again? Should she surrender to desire, giving both Malachi and love another chance? Or seek retribution, and be done with him forever?

Portence and her sisters as well as their Earth partners, are in a fight for their lives. When Malachi's magic is stolen and his life is in danger, will she discover the path to her future is bound by both love and duty? 

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Goblin Bat

Perhaps this is a post more suited for Halloween (Samhain), but I couldn't wait!

The little goblin bat (Mormopterus minutus) is a species of bat in the family of the free-tailed bats.
                             Little Goblin bat habitat showing day roost trees, the palm Copernicia gigas

                                 Roosting trees.
They are endemic to Cuba and are vulnerable due to habitat loss. During the day they can be found roosting in the palm tree, and in human-made structures. Using echolocation in a variable pattern of calls, the diet of this bat is entirely composed of insects.
   Although  many bats use echolocation, this species has the ability to change its style based on the environment it is in.