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Health and happiness to all readers!  May the Year of the Fire Monkey be a good one  :)

and just for the interest:

The physics in this is way above my head, but it sounds exciting: two black holes are spiralling into each other and merging (apparently)

The health aspects of this aren't above my head at all, and it sounds good!  The terrible disease spread by guinea worms has been nearly wiped out.   (Thank you, Jimmy Carter.)
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Some links...

For those who recall the galah tea-cosy - proof that there's acres of textile creativity in australia!

more about birds -in this case, the suggestion of a bird language. 

In minor news- they did find matching tiles.  :)  So the kitchen floor is restored, with only those subterranean changes already spoken of.  :)

and the political snarling...  oh dear.   ranting behind the cut )

Oh, I don't want to leave it there.  Surely I can find something positive to end on...  give me five minutes...

oh, of course!  this!  I've been watching Venus and Jupiter for a few days, and tonight sounds like it's when Saturn joins the party - and a fullmoon too!  Oh, yes, despite morally bankrupt pollies, beauty remains!

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This is very irksome!  I have the opening part of the next chapter of 'The Ivory Merchants' set to go, and I can't open ffnet.  [Now I can! :D ] For the two chapter stories I've done on ffnet (well, one done and a second in process) I've kept the drafts on ffnet as I write each part, keeping a document in Word as well - that way, it feels like a measurable advance every time I update the draft on ffnet, and those markers of measurable advances ... I like feeling them!!
But now,with ffnet down, as I suppose it is, I'm missing [So now I do have] that minuscule glow of satisfaction, of feeling that I'm getting somewhere.  [And I do mean minuscule!  This is about four hundred words, but at least it's a start.]

(Speaking of minuscule glow - how's this for young-woman-brilliance?  Not such a small glow!  And here 's where she explains that it was her contact with her Filipina friend that sparked (heh!) the invention.)

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I am almost submerged in the full-on-ness of being back with family and friends and trying to catch up with everyone, let alone juggling for the big cousins-and-all things over the weekend, but...
I thought I absolutely had to come and share this magical, fairy-tale-come-true story from Australia, of trees with golden leaves, (or a little bit gold, anyway).  :)

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The good news or the bad news, first?

Though I guess even the good news could sound unsettling.  I liked it, though!

1.  The bad news.  In the nineteenth century,when easy-striking matches were made with white phosphorus, the factory workers, mostly women, developed the terrible (and fatal) disease known as "phossy jaw', from standing over the vats in which the matches were dipped,and breathing in the poisonous fumes.  That led to the Matchgirls Strike of 1888 and involvement of Annie Besant and George Bernard Shaw,and William Booth (sounds like a quiz question, doesn't it?  "what do these three people have in common?")... and within twenty years white phosophorus matches were replaced by red phosphorus "safety matches", and phossy jaw was seen no more. 
The bad news is, it's back.   Medicines relating to osteoporosis and similar  (oh, and some breast cancer medicines, too)  turn out to be... well, implicated in the return. Weird... "phossy jaw". It's like hearing of the return of some old chimney-sweepers' disease.  Something completely gone, and never to be seen again - but now it's back.

2. The good news. Good if you're an Immortal Jellyfish.  The Immortal Jellyfish has the ability, after reaching sexual maturity, to return to its more infantine state, and do it again and again. Theoretically: immortal!! though:
a) they can be eaten by predators, or... general accidental death,
b) no precisely identified individual has been observed for longer than four years.
Still and all... looks like immortality!

And not only is it immortal, it is taking over the world... (cue spooky music.) It originated in the Caribbean, but as sea-water has been taken up, for use as ship's ballast,and then discharged in various places across the world, the species is spreading. "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion" - quote from Dr. Maria Pia Miglietta, of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute.   Still, it's got to count as good news,if only for the name.  The Immortal Jellyfish.  :)  Who could resist a creature with such a name?
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Writing:  I've made absolutely no advance on actual writing all week, but (as part of my continuing quest to learn from how other writers do it) I put together four pages of background about the Telmarines in 'The Ivory Merchants'  - their history, religion, culture, social structure, economy, geography, and current political situation.  It was all stuff I've had vaguely in my head, but not written down; none of it was new (except for how one already-dead-in-the-story character died).  Still it feels good to have it straight and in writing.  And I've whittled down, considerably, the forty-five pages of "bits and pieces that might come in handy", discovering in the process that almost all of it won't.  So now there's nothing standing between me and the need to actually sort out the plot - which is daunting.  :)

Reading: I have lost track of how I came to see this article on DNA research - via jjhunter's reading page, I think.  But I thought it was a huge new understanding of DNA or how it works.  For a start, it'll call into question a whole lot of criminal convictions (or acquittals), I would think. But also, I'm pondering how it might broaden out the idea of male and femaleness, at the DNA level.  Even the detail of the woman with two blood-types... fascinating!  Who (or what) we are can't be pinned down as easily as hard science seemed to say.  And what might it mean (I have no idea!) for the idea of patenting DNA?

My linking skills are not up to scratch!  So here it is in plain errr... English?  Plain letters, anyway.  :)




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