Visiting A Park Could Save Your Life. Well, yeah. And woods too, I imagine.

Talk like an Egyptian: If we want to safeguard our languages, stories and ideas against extinction, we had better study Egyptology. This is actually the sort of thing that's always in the back of my mind when it comes to collecting and preserving my own library. I also really got deep into this idea, as it were, a few years ago when I read Gregory Benford's non-fiction book Deep Time.

Why Creative People Seem To Have The Messiest Minds. Based on how messy mine can be...second only to my room.

This Brilliant 11-Year-Old Revolutionized Flood Prevention. Peyton Robertson invented the possibly genius and potentially life-saving sandbag that doesn't require sand.

Top Ten Ancient Egyptian Discoveries of 2014. I always especially love "old news".

First Buffalo Roam East Of The Mississippi Since 1830. There were even buffalo here in southwestern Virginia until the last one was shot in the late 1790s. Alas, a program trying to reintroduce them in certain areas some years back never came to fruition.

Byron Ballard keeps Appalachian folk magic practices alive. And it turns out that she happens to be the friend of a friend.

Oh My God, There’s A Cat In Russia That Wears A Bow Tie And Works As A Librarian. Because cats.

Morris the rescue cat has become a horse whisker-er since meeting Champy. Because cats and horses.

Christmas Tree Massacre! Big cats and a different sort of catnip.

In France, Vestiges Of The War's Bloody End. World War One, that is. Meanwhile, French town tries to save first world war soldier’s room for posterity. A century-old time capsule.

NASA Astronaut: Why We Need To Visit The Moon, Not Mars. I particularly like Hoffman's point that the Moon, being closer but extraterrestrial, would make the perfect practice ground for a Mars expedition.
'Star Trek' Flashback: Leonard Nimoy Notes 50 Year Anniversary of Original Pilot Shoot. Of course this had to be my lead story. Meanwhile, Astronauts lift our spirits. But can we afford to send humans into space?

Why Pluto Still Matters. And while we're talking about Pluto, New Horizons Wakes Up On Pluto's Doorstep.

10 Reasons Why Our Universe Is A Virtual Reality. I'm not sure if I buy any of this, but it's like candy to my Writer Brain.

The Closer We Look, The Stranger Europa Gets. As much as I'm fascinated by distant galaxies and quasers and what-not, I love exploring our backyard. And in the farther backyard, A Distant Planet May Lurk Beyond Neptune. Besides Pluto, they mean. And not, I suspect, the Planet X / Nibiru that some people think will sweep in someday and destroy all Terran civilization.

New Mystery Arises From Iconic Iwo Jima Image. The image had identification issues right from the very beginning, but I'm fascinated that that problem can resurface after 70 years.

Shell Engraving Has 'Rewritten Human History'. Those archaeologists, always pushing and pushing.

Is Space-Time Shaped Like A Spiral? See my comment about the universe being virtual reality. But I would dig the idea of the entire universe having a Golden Ratio.

Roman Cats Turn Historic Site Into A Cat Haven. Cats and ancietn ruins. Add some books and that's pretty much all I need.

Slayer Rescues A Kitten. Because as the article points out, there's nothing more metal than saving kittens.

Cutest Baby Ever Couldn't Be More Confused By the Concept of Twins. Because as much as I hate to admit it, the Internet can't be all cats.

Government To Pay Off WWI Debt. I personally like the idea of being considered solid if I can pay off my debts within 80 years.

Literally The Best Thing Ever: The Journal Of Emily Shore. This early 19th century teenager wanted to write natural science articles - and succeeded before she was 20. I'll warn you that this story doesn't have a happy ending, though.

Why Save A Language? The author agrees with the idea of seeing things from a culture's unique perspective, but argues that this most-often-given reason isn't the only one by any means.

Now Where Did I Park My 60 Cars? Another awesome treasure trove of antique cars unearthed. I'm less amazed that such things exist, though, that they keep being "lost" for decades at a time.

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' character names revealed (in coolest way possible) . I'll admit that even after collecting a thousand or so Topps movie cards when I was a kid (and that I still own them), I didn't realize Topps was even still in business, but I was happy to hear it. I still have my collection of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back Topps cards, so maybe I'll grab some of these for old time's sake. You can have my gum.
Russian Miner Spends His Breaks Taking Photos Of Foxes In The Arctic Circle. Just because, as some of you know, I have a thing for foxes.

Young Volcanoes on the Moon. Rabble rousers!

On the Trail of an Ancient Mystery. Temples aside, the Antikythera Mechanism is far and away my favorite ancient artifact, and I love finding new stories about it.

What It Feels Like To Rocket Into Outer Space. Aside from the cool factor, this might come in handy for some of you writers one of these days.

Forging a Photo is Easy, but How Do You Spot a Fake? Not something I need very often, but you never know, it may come in handy in online political discussions.

Mystery of the 'spooky' pattern in the universe: Scientists find that supermassive black holes are aligned. I also find it especially interesting that some of these are thousands and possibly millions of light years apart - which means, of course, that we're seeing them as they existed at different times across millennia.

The riddle of the missing stars. I'm one of these people who's thrilled when one solution creates two new mysteries. In science, I mean, not my personal life.

Brain Scans Reveal What Dogs Really Think of Us. The headline's a wee bit misleading, but I still like the notion.

Why Science Fiction Matters. Money shot: What O'Brien is getting at is that investing resources-including imagination-into the intersections of art, science, technology, and health will help us understand creativity as a resource that can be "exercised and optimized in fresh ways." The right to imagine a new world is perhaps the boldest act of citizenship.
Artist Jakob Hadavra has created 32 plaster life-sized ghost statues inside a medieval church in the Czech Republic. The church has been falling into disrepair for nearly fifty years, and this is bringing attention back to the idea of trying to save it before the church itself becomes nothing more than a ghost.

The SLF Working-Class / Impoverished Writers' $750 Grant. The qualifications are broad, and entering is about as easy as they could possibly make it.

"Miracle" Kitten Survives Ride Under Car Hood in Freezing Temperatures. Yeah, I'm a sucker for stories like this. And speaking of animals...

Enter Now: Grand Canyon Wolf Naming Contest! The solo wolf that has been spotted in the Grand Canyon - the first wolf seen there in 70 years - is up for naming - if you're under 18 years old. A neat contest for kids!

Unearthed: Thanks to science, we may see the rebirth of the American chestnut. The Washington Post tells the American Chestnut's story and about the now-successful attempt to genetically modify the tree to make it Blight-resistant. I've seen chestnuts that were nearly on the cusp of the Blight strangling them to death, when they were just a little taller than me. It's probably too late for me to see one fully matured now, unless I travel to see one of the handful of naturally Blight-resistant ones, but just seeing one survive well into adulthood would be enough for me.

Catholic Church Says Religious Freedom Protects Them From Going to Court. The church being subject to secular authority is an old, old debate, going back almost as long as Christianity itself. Money shot: However, there is no special religious exemption for sex discrimination which is how the terminated teacher is framing her dismissal. She proved her point quickly by showing that the diocese had never fired a male teacher for using any type of fertility treatment. The church admitted that indeed, it had never fired a male teacher undergoing fertility treatments in the past, but it probably “would” because it is against church teachings; they just “hadn’t gotten around to it in the past.” I've got to say that I'm with the secular authorities in this particular instance.

'Star Trek' was launched 50 years ago this week. "The Cage", that is - not when the main series with Kirk began. I first watched that episode in 1987, as I recall - on cable TV, about a year after it was released to video. Happy Anniversary, Star Trek!

The Unexpected Math Behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”. I might've done better in math if I'd known more about stuff like this.

Swiss museum accepts Nazi-era art collection. And they say they're going to try working with German authorities to get artworks back to their rightful owners. In a way, the Monuments Men never stopped working.

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February 2015

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