Medieval Music…Long Form Writing


In the summer of 1991, I went to Cambridge, England for a UCLA Summer Program.  We lived for three weeks in Trinity Hall College (founded in the 14th Century to train canon lawyers),

Trinity Hall, Cambridge Trinity Hall, Cambridge

and were able to take one of four different courses, taught by dons of the various colleges.  I took a course entitled “Medieval English Society”, taught by Dr. Mark Bailey, of Gonville & Caius College.  Before we arrived, we were given a reading list of various works about medieval society in general, and English society in particular.  We were also given the opportunity to write a paper on one of a number of topics relating to the subject at hand (the instructor included some suggestions).  Those of us who were taking the course for college credit were required to write a paper, and the rest of did not have to, but I decided to…

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12 Brilliant Things You Can Learn In 12 Minutes


Learn from Limitless!

CBS’ new drama Limitless follows Brian Finch, a typical guy who feels as though his life has stalled while everyone around him is moving forward. But with the help of a little-known drug called NZT, Finch is able to harness all of the knowledge in his brain for 12 hours at a time.

Click here to learn 12 life-changing hacks that take less than one minute!

Watch Limitless on CBS.

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Water found on Mars – NASA

It’s a balancing act

The Art of Photographing Strangers

Planet Bell

Delhi mother and baby Dehli, India

Street photography is difficult, maybe the most challenging and intimidating genre of photography.

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Monstrously Disruptive Technology: Don’t Turn Your Back on the Toaster


“The ancients, no doubt, were as wicked as we are, but they knew it.  And so they were wise enough to put up protective railings” – Jacques Bergier

Well, that's the last time we invite humans. Well, that’s the last time we invite humans.

I’ve quietly slipped into the status of an old curmudgeon.  I thought there would at least be cake, but it turns out that the only thing that marked the transition was that whenever I hear the phrase “disruptive technology”, I want to reach for a gun.  For a few years now, the go-to adjective to describe the latest technological or scientific innovation has been “disruptive”, lauded by management wonks and big-brained technologists as an ideal to strive for, neglecting the fact that the man who coined the term, Clayton M. Christensen, was quick to point out that technologies themselves are not disruptive, rather that particular business models enabled a disruptive impact and quickly stopped…

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An Open Letter to Joy Behar

According to Kateri

As many of you have seen, Miss Coloradodelivered a beautifully spoken monologue about nursing during last week’s Miss America pageant. Recently, on The View as the pageant was discussed, Miss Colorado’s scrubs were referred to as a costume, and Joy posedthe question of why she was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Below is my now calmed down reply to all of it. Additionally, Iwould like to personally andpublicly congratulate Kelley Johnson RN on her chosen talent, it is one that will reward you forever.

Dear Joy Behar,

A beautiful woman in a beauty pageant put on baggy clothes and humbly walked across the stage to talk proudly about her career, and her passion for caring for other human beings, and the only thing you and your co hosts could muster in response were insults grounded in ignorance.

Rather than being offended or getting angry, I will instead, take a moment to…

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The Loss of Innocence


Sex & Violence.

Two things that have been on my mind for the last few days.

And I need to talk about both of them.

Last week, I read a brilliant and important article by Grace Dent – about the impact of internet porn on young lives.

And it troubled me.

You can find it via this link:

The thing is, she’s absolutely right.

Let me tell you what I’ve seen.


I am the Police Match Commander at a Premier League game.

On the CCTV, we pick up a group of youngsters in the back row of the Away Section – a girl and a small group of boys. I couldn’t tell you exactly how old they are – but they don’t look much more than 16 or 17.

And something about their behaviour just isn’t right.

The camera stays on them and, to our absolute astonishment, the…

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(A Poetic Meditation Upon America)

The Night that the Knight cursed evil a wondrous thing began
Men who once had cowered, together they did band
Beneath the Lonely Banner of the Knight who cursed the wrong
Once they had just whispered, now they sang his song

The High Lords and the Ladies corrupt upon their thrones
Had laughed to hear such curses when the Knight was all alone
Though when his profane blood-oaths thundered through the folk
Fury rose among them, with the tyrant’s whip and yoke

“Bring us now New Vows from him, make him swear to us!”
Shouted Lords and Ladies, roused now in their lust

Yet the Knight who cursed the evil would not bend to threat
Their embassies he spat upon, then harangued them ‘til they sweat

Then the High Lords and the Ladies began to see the Truth

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Medieval Study: Eleanor to Robin Hood

Having homeschooled my own children I really enjoyed this article.

At The Well

By the title you can see that we haven’t covered a long period in history. We hit a little snag in our schedule…my husband was offered a wonderful job and we are in the process of moving. My homeschool schedule took a major hit! Normally, I would have carried on this section of our study on through to the Magna Charta, medieval architecture, and castle life. We should be finishing up week sixteen of the study instead we are in the midst of week twelve.

The study of Queen Eleanor and her times begins in week seven of the study. We chose to start this section with one of the recommended books A Proud Taste of Scarlet and Miniver  by E. L. Konigsburg. Oldest loved this book and even the younger children listened to the story. We couldn’t put the book down and I finished reading it aloud in about…

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How Will Nanotechnology Revolutionize Medicine? Over the past 40…


How Will Nanotechnology Revolutionize Medicine?

Over the past 40 years, giant leaps have been made in the field of nanotechnology. What is nanotech, and what is the future of it?

Read More:

By: DNews.

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Exploding Security Chips – Daily Security Byte EP.142

WatchGuard Security Center

Hardware security is becoming as important as software security, especially with the development of secure boot systems that require digital certificates on chips. Watch today’s video for an interesting new take on securing the data on computer chips from prying eyes.

(Episode Runtime: 1:50)

Direct YouTube Link:


— Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)

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DARPA’s Flexible Landing Gear Leg Design

Drone College News/Articles

By Sam Estrin
DARPA’s Flexible Landing Gear Leg DesignIn attempt to solve the problem of landing drones at sea, under choppy weather conditions, DARPA has replaced fixed, rigid landing gear with flexible legs. An interesting solution, albeit most likely a heavy one. If there is a major impact in weight, that will reduce the flight time, all other
DARPA, drone, drone design, drones, landing gear

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Major Breakthrough: Blood Test Allows Scientists to Assess Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

[VIDEO] Finding Dog-Friendly Furniture

Marking Our Territory

Eko and Penny are always happy to share furniture with us, but as for furniture we’re happy to share with them? That took a bit of extra planning.


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Achieve Your Impossible



I’ve learned that overcoming real and tangible obstacles makes the proverbial and mental ones seem laughable. Once you’ve succeeded in reaching a perceptibly impossible goal, possibilities are all that you see. I used to fear silence and solitude, but now I know that sometimes you have to unplug yourself in order to fully recharge. Disconnect from the static and interference and connect with yourself. Climb your mountain, achieve your impossible.

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Did the eyewitness Peter influence the material in Mark’s gospel?


Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: let's take a look at the facts Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: let’s take a look at the facts

Today, I want to talk about the earliest gospel using a post and a podcast from J. Warner Wallace. When you are discussing the New Testament with non-Christians, you always want to go for the earliest sources. If you can find a fact in two independent sources, and at least one of them is early, then it’s much easier to claim that this fact is historical. I.e. – that historical methods make it part of history, rather than something made up. Mark is typically dated early 60s, although the atheist historian James Crossley dates it 37-43 in his book. So Mark passes the early test.

You also want to be able to trace the material in the book back to as many eyewitnesses as you can find. The gospel of Matthew is supposed to be based on…

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The Decade of Technology was Victorian

Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar

Boosters of Silicon Valley days are off base: The real tech decade happened rather earlier

Yes it damn well did.
IQ was higher for a damn reason.

Perhaps the most inventive time was the 1880s. Have any two sets of primary inventions and epochal discoveries shaped the modern world more than electricity and internal combustion engines?

Yet they mention Edison but not Tesla.

oh no oh dear hides facepalm double

I need to go lie down……………..
You are engineers.

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Links & Quotes

Craig T. Owens

link quote

“Culture becomes corrupt when it is employed according to the whims and passions of men rather than the purposes and standards of God. … When culture falls into this sorry state, it is the duty of those who perceive this condition to do whatever they can to redress it. Christians are the salt, light, and leaven of the world; it is our duty to take every thought, and all of culture, captive for obedience to Jesus Christ, to redeem culture from the destructive powers of sin and rebellion, so that it can be renewed for the purposes of God and His glory.” —T.M. Moore

“Surely the fertile brain of invention must be the Creator’s gift. … The puffing of steam from a kettle, or the falling of an apple from a tree have led thoughtful minds to discover great and important truths, and who shall attribute these circumstances to any…

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A Forgotten Life part one Domino Effect

Remembering History: Noriega’s trial ends

Interview on Ancient Mysteries With Graham Hancock

(Recovering) Technology Addict

Traveling Twenties


Can I be just be real for a second?

Those two days I spent phone-less after my ordeal at the pond were rough. They hurt worse than the skinned knee and the bruised ego I suffered when I fell off the dock into the water chasing after it. It was as if I were suddenly missing an appendage, and I was in mourning over the loss.

My phone is where I jot down story ideas, research various things, capture random photos, and plan for the days ahead. It houses many important parts of my life. No longer having it hurt–and damn bad too.

Consciously, I knew that everything happens for a reason, and that as long as I was okay, that’s all that matters, but emotionally I was distraught–feeling like something sacred had been stolen from me.

These intense feelings of loss caused me to take a long, hard look…

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this day in crime history: september 16, 1920

Nobody Move!

On this date in 1920, an unidentified man stopped his horse-drawn cart in front of the J. P. Morgan building on Wall Street. He got down from the cart and disappeared into the noontime crowd. A short while later, a bomb consisting of dynamite and cast iron slugs detonated on the busy street. Thirty-eight people were killed and over four hundred were injured. Police conducted an exhaustive investigation that lasted over three years, but the case was never solved.

Further reading:

The “Previous Terror on Wall Street — A Look at a 1920 Bombing”

FBI: Terror on Wall Street

Wikipedia: “Wall Street bombing”

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ISIS in Kerala: Are we witnessing a pattern?

Vicky Nanjappa

ISIS FLAGIn the past month there have been six persons who have been deported from the UAE to Kerala for suspected ISIS links.

With the Intelligence Bureau suggesting that four more persons are on their way, the National Investigation Agency now wants to probe whether a trend is emerging in Kerala linked to the ISIS.

Read more 

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Arab Shah: Natural Afghan Mystic

PIIA Library Blog

The fortune-teller of Kabul is yet another tremendous long read from TheGuardian about an Afghan natural mystic called Arab Shah, who people consult for a variety of reasons including whether they should emigrate from the war-torn country east to Australia or west to Europe? The author, May Jeong, asks the seminal question: for centuries mystics have channelled the hopes and fears of Afghans. With the nation in turmoil, their services are as popular as ever. But can they survive the latest crackdown by religious hardliners? She explores Afghanistan’s tense and complicated relationship with Islam. Here is a further extract from her most excellent must read piece: Shah is a fortune-teller – a falbin, a taweez naweez mulla, a djinn hunter – who belongs to a long tradition of men who practise magic said to predate Islam. Spirit mediums inhabit the interstices between the old and the…

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Breaking the SpyderSec Challenge.

Karachi: The City That Was – 2

TheSouthAsianIdea Weblog

By Ahmed Kamran

In spite of a sudden influx of immigrants pouring into the city in large numbers in the wake of partition of India, Karachi’s social and cultural life remained progressive and liberal in its outlook. The influx of new population, mostly coming from other urban centres of British India, the city life quickly adjusted to the thriving commercial and business activities of the city, regaining its cultural life. Founding of the new country with its capital at Karachi brought in large number of Muhajir Intelligentsia – well trained civil servants, skillful traders, successful businessmen from Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, and Kanpur, teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, clerks and office workers, well known progressive and some radical poets, writers, journalists, and intellectuals from all over India. These people were already steeped in urban culture of British India and were long ago freed from the traditional static bonds of feudal relations, otherwise…

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Birth Traditions Around the World

AWHONN Connections

by, Lori Boggan

There are few things more memorable in life than the birth of a baby. No matter where in the world, what socioeconomic background she comes from, or how many times she has given birth, a woman can probably tell you every single detail surrounding her birth and the early days thereafter. She can tell you the exact moment each baby was born, how long it was and how much it weighed. I have been honored and privileged through the years of working with moms, dads, and babies to hear their birth stories and bear witness to the one of the most important moments in their lives.

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USS Saratoga (CV/CVA/CVB-60), was one of four Forrestal-class supercarriers built for the United…

John's Navy and other Maritime or Military News

via John Currin (JC – Ex RNZN) – Google+ Public Posts

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USS Cooperstown and Signal Flags

IB Designs USA Blog

We make signal flags. Reading this blog, you’d know it because it’s all about signal flags. But our signal flags are indoor decorations for people who want a nautical theme or room decor. The question is from where did we get the flag patterns and colors? Well, the US Navy.

Our flags are small 8-inch squares, but the full-size flags can be from size 0 up to size 14, which is a 4-by-6-foot letter flags, or a 2.6-by-9-foot number pennant. Can you imagine putting a 9-foot flag in the living room? When an ocean-going ship is dressed in flags (i.e., flying the full set of all the flags used for messaging), it’s an amazing picture!

Here’s a picture of one of the Navy’s newest Freedom-class war ships. It’s a “littoral” combat ship, meaning that it’s designed for close to shore action. The intention is for a ship that can take…

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Turnaround Day – a prophetic word on global systems

Richard's Watch

Johnny EnlowGlasgow Prophetic Centre’s guest speaker at last weekend’s Autumn conference was Johnny Enlow.  I blogged here and here on prophetic words he brought for the UK in 2012. In 2009 he wrote in the closing chapter ‘2015 and Beyond’ of his ground-breaking book ‘The Seven Mountain Mandate’.:

This book has focused mainly on the seven-year period from Rosh Hashanah 2008 to Rosh Hashanah 2015… but this is just the beginning. God will continue working well beyond 2015. Starting with Rosh Hashanah of 2015, a seismic shift will take place in the same way that the seven years of plenty ended in Egypt. 

Thus, today’s ‘Lion Bite’ is related to that and is offered, like all prophetic words, for your careful weighing with scripture and what you believe the Lord is saying:

Lion-Bites-logo-2012‘In the past seven-year period God has been dismantling some worldly systems and structures that are not of Him. He has been doing…

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Intelligence Start-Up Goes Behind Enemy Lines to Get Ahead of Hackers


One of scores of intelligence analysts working at his computer at the headquarters of the security firm iSight in Chantilly, Va. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

CHANTILLY, Va. — On a recent Wednesday morning, 100 intelligence analysts crammed into a nondescript conference room here and dialed into a group call with 100 counterparts in Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, India, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine.

As they worked their way around the room, the analysts briefed one another on the latest developments in the “dark web.”

A security firm in Pakistan was doing a little moonlighting, selling its espionage tools for as little as $500. Several American utility companies were under attack. A group of criminals were up to old tricks, infecting victims with a new form of “ransomware,” which encrypts PCs until victims pay a ransom.

The analysts, employees of iSight Partners, a company that provides intelligence about threats to computer security in much the same way military scouts provide intelligence about enemy troops, were careful not to name names or clients, in case someone, somewhere, was listening on the open line.
John Watters, iSight’s chief, evokes military jargon to talk about his company’s focus. Credit Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

For the last eight years, iSight has been quietly assembling what may be the largest private team of experts in a nascent business called threat intelligence. Of the company’s 311 employees, 243 are so-called cyberintelligence professionals, a statistic that executives there say would rank iSight, if it were a government-run cyberintelligence agency, among the 10 largest in the world, though that statistic is impossible to verify given the secretive nature of these operations.

ISight analysts spend their days digging around the underground web, piecing together hackers’ intentions, targets and techniques to provide their clients with information like warnings of imminent attacks and the latest tools and techniques being used to break into computer networks.

The company’s focus is what John P. Watters, iSight’s chief executive, calls “left of boom,” which is military jargon for the moment before an explosive device detonates. Mr. Watters, a tall, 51-year-old Texan whose standard uniform consists of Hawaiian shirts and custom cowboy boots, frequently invokes war analogies when talking about online threats.

“When we went into Iraq, the biggest loss of life wasn’t from snipers,” he said. It was from concealed explosive devices. “We didn’t get ahead of the threat until we started asking ourselves, ‘Who’s making the bombs? How are they getting their materials? How are they detonating them? And how do we get into that cycle before the bombs are ever placed there?’”

“Our business,” Mr. Watters continued, “is tracking the arms merchants and bomb makers so we can be left of boom and avoid the impact altogether.”

ISight’s investors, who have put $60 million into the company so far, believe that its services fill a critical gap in the battle to get ahead of threats. Most security companies, like FireEye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Intel’s security unit, focus on blocking or detecting intrusions as they occur or responding to attacks after the fact.

ISight goes straight to the enemy. Its analysts — many of them fluent in Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese or 21 other languages — infiltrate the underground, where they watch criminals putting their schemes together and selling their tools.

The analysts’ reports help clients — including 280 government agencies, as well as banks and credit-card, health care, retail and oil and gas companies — prioritize the most imminent and possibly destructive threats.

Security experts say the need for such intelligence has never been greater. For the last three years, businesses have been investing in “big data” analytic tools that sound alarms anytime someone does something unusual, like gain access to a server in China, set up a private connection or siphon unusually large amounts of data from a corporate network.

The result is near constant and confusing noise. “Except for the most mature organizations, most businesses are drowning in alerts,” said Jason Clark, the chief security officer at Optiv, a security firm.

The average organization receives 16,937 alerts a week. Only 19 percent of them are deemed “reliable,” and only 4 percent are investigated, according to a study released in January by the Ponemon Institute, which tracks data breaches. By the time criminals make enough noise to merit a full investigation, it can take financial services companies more than three months, on average, to discover them, and retailers more than six months.

“Just generating more alerts is wasting billions of dollars of venture capital,” said David Cowan, an iSight investor and a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. The last thing an executive in charge of network security needs is more alerts, he said: “They don’t have time. They need human, actionable threat intelligence.”

Mr. Cowan and others point to what happened to Target in 2013, when the retailer ignored an alert that ultimately could have stopped criminals from stealing 40 million customers’ payment details from its network.

A year earlier, iSight warned its clients that criminals were compiling and selling malware that was specifically designed to scrape payment data off cash registers. Had Target received that warning, the blip on its network might not have gone unnoticed.

“Target faced the same problem every retailer does every day,” Mr. Watters said. “They are awash in a sea of critical alerts every day. Without threat intelligence, they had roulette odds of picking the right one.”

Gartner, the research firm, estimates that the market for threat intelligence like iSight’s could grow to $1 billion in two years from $255 million in 2013. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 60 percent of businesses will incorporate threat intelligence into their defensive security strategy.

ISight, which plans to file for an initial public offering of stock next year, hopes to capitalize, as do the dozens of other cyberthreat intelligence outfits now flooding the market, each with a slightly different approach.

That proliferation of start-ups has led to a new complaint from computer security chiefs: overlapping information — sometimes as much as 40 percent — in the reports they receive, none of which is cheap. ISight charges customers based on size, and while it does not disclose pricing, some customers say they pay $500,000 or more annually for the company’s services, as much as five times what low-end services charge.

ISight makes 90 percent of its revenue from subscriptions to its six intelligence streams, each focused on a particular threat, including cyberespionage and cybercrime.

The company’s most recent competition comes from its oldest clients, particularly banks, which have been hiring former intelligence analysts to start internal operations. One former client, which declined to be named because of concerns that doing so could violate a nondisclosure agreement, said it had been able to build its own intelligence program at half the cost of its canceled iSight subscriptions.

But most businesses do not have the same resources as, say, a company like Bank of America, whose chief executive recently said there was no cap on the bank’s cybersecurity budget.

Many of those businesses remain paralyzed by the drumbeat of alarms that expensive security technologies are sounding on their networks.

At iSight’s threat center, the company’s approach is perhaps best summed up by a logo emblazoned on a T-shirt worn by one of its top analysts: “Someone should do something.”

Writing 101 Day 3: Hunting for a Hidden Treasure

Becky G? Oh, That's Me!

745747  746

One day, I and a friend went on a

Wild journey; a new adventure.

We hoped to find a geocache

Container, a well hidden treasure.

The dirt road we traveled on was

So rugged and so very rough

That like sizzling popcorn, we

Were jostled and tossed.

For we had traversed far into the

Thick woods; a deep mountain forest

Where the tall, green needled

Pines sturdily towered over us.

And along the windy and increasingly

Treacherous dirt road,

My friend and I continued on as

We determinedly drove.

With each bump and turn, I tumbled

And jumbled in my truck seat;

Never, ever had I journeyed on

A rougher, obstacle-strewn street.

Gravel, rocks, boulders, and

Gouges in the road galore all

Took their toll making my body sore.

I bounced so high that on the

Ceiling, I hit my head.

Now, how I wish I

Could just go…

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This is the Camping Cave that Gero Built…


DSCF5981 (5)

When most people come across a cave they usually think bats, bears and spiders. However, my husband, Gary (now, Gero of Macedonia), found a cave in the Plačkovica Mountain and saw a project. One of his assignments as a Peace Corps Volunteer for the local Municipality was to attract tourists to the area. What better way than setting up a Camping Cave and geocaches?

Prior to Construction Prior to Construction
The cave is shallow with a high ceiling and basically two levels of rocky floors. It faces south and has a spectacular view of the Zrnovci River and the Mountain Canyon. The cave is 40 minutes south of Zrnovci up the river Canyon accessed from the west middle trail out of the village at the swimming hole known as ‘The Little Jump’.

On daily trips small bags of cement, tools and wood were carried to the Cave. When the rocks around the…

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Embizweni goes geocaching!

There are millions of geocaches located all around the world, including Grahamstown. Our reporters, Shannon Frost & Luyanda Mahlinza, take you on the adventure of finding their first ever geocache.

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Project Orion

Inside NASA’s New $18-Billion Deep-Space Rocket – Scientific American


Nasa SLS

Is NASA’s Space Launch System a flying piece of congressional pork or our best shot at getting humans to deep space?

Source: Inside NASA’s New $18-Billion Deep-Space Rocket – Scientific American

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0127 – A Game to Get You Writing

Being a Writer

Perusing Steam games, there was a sale earlier this week and one of the games on sale was, Elegy for a Dead World. Basically you are an explorer visiting planets. As you find artifacts, ruins, etc., you are prompted to write what happened.

There is also the option to upload your writing for others to read and up-vote your pieces. Also you can read other writers and up-vote the pieces you like the most.

This ‘game’ has wonderful sounds, visuals, mood music and good writing prompts. When my character moves to a point that activates a writing prompt, I find myself in the perfect mood and mindset to write.

Here are some screenshots from the trailer video. . .

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Screen Shot 08-30-15 at 06.46 PM

Screen Shot 08-30-15 at 06.45 PM

Screen Shot 08-30-15 at 09.38 PM

Maybe there will soon be another sale on this product. Sale or not, some may find it worth investing in as a new ‘tool’ that will help get you writing more.

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Help! How Do I Get People To Read My Blog?