It's the second Thursday of the month and that means another post on The Stiletto Gang. In "Procrastinating or Regrouping?" I talk about how I needed to regroup before I continued with my revisions.
You can find my latest blog, How To Come Up With Story Ideas, on The Stiletto Gang.
In 1979, after a flood near his hometown, Jadav Payeng witnessed snakes dying from heat because of the lack of tree cover on nearby sandbars. He asked the forest department in his home state of Assam if they could plant trees to protect them, but was told trees couldn’t survive in such dry, arid land. Instead, they asked him to try planting bamboo.
After a few years, when he’d managed to turn the sandbar into a bamboo underbrush, he began planting regular trees. Today, that same area, is a lush forest, home to a variety of wildlife, such as Indian rhinos, Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, apes, deer, and birds.
He reminds us one person can make a big difference in changing our ecosystem. Imagine what would happen if the entire world committed to this effort.
Last month, I attended the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
One of the assignments the instructor gave the class was to describe a room we’d lived in. One writer described her tiny dorm from when she was working on her master’s degree, another one described his bedroom in his parents’ home.
For me, the one place that stood out was a flat I rented during my year living in Guildford, England. Here it is.
Just backed this Kickstarter project. Why? Because space exploration isn’t just about space.
The water filter you use every day? The technology was needed for purifying astronauts’ limited supply of water while in space. Fiberglass insulation to keep our houses warm and cool? It was designed to protect spacecrafts from radiation. Workout machines? They were developed to keep astronauts fit and to prevent muscle atrophy.
You can find a few others here and here.
So, have a look at the proejct. You might want to back it too, because in a few years' time, whatever we discover from this mission will probably be in our homes, too.
When my four-year-old boys would scrunch up their faces at the thought of the color pink, I used to say, “All colors belong to everyone.” I told them that because in Europe, India, and elsewhere, pink is worn by all, even men. It seems that history agrees with me.
Remember when we learned that each of us is separated from one another, regardless of who or where they are, by a chain of six people? Well, that may no longer apply.
A team of Chinese scientists examined 950 million Facebook users. They eliminated duplicate and fake accounts, and celebrities, and found that the number now appears to be closer to four. This is the case even for rare jobs, like anesthesiologists, but for prolific ones, such as teachers, the number falls closer to three. Wow. Hear those cheers? They’re your company’s salespeople.
Here’s our new $100 bill. Isn’t it handsome? And who can we thank for this new artwork? Supposedly, North Korea. Yes, The Land of the Dear Leader. You can read it here.
Back in 2007, Chen Chiang Liu, a Taiwanese national who resided near L.A., was caught using North Korean counterfeit $100 bills in Las Vegas casinos. The notes he used were such high forgeries that millions of dollars passed through electronic detection devices before he was apprehended. It turns out the country near the Sea of Japan needed to launder these bills into the international market so it could pay for its nuclear missiles and counterfeit pharmaceuticals programs, its Dear Leader’s opulent life, and, finally, to feed its starving citizens.
Another assignment from my writing workshop. This time, we had to write a short story that began with "I remember." I wrote the one below. And it won a prize.
“I remember the pink walls.” Lauren’s voice echoed in the empty room.
When she had first learned the news, she couldn’t wait for Jerry to return from his business trip. She saved the stick and kept it on the counter. Every-once-in-a-while, she rushed into the bathroom to glance at the plus sign, making certain it was still there. When he arrived, they celebrated at their favorite French restaurant. The next day, she called her mom and dad. She changed her diet, came home earlier from work and made sure she got plenty of sleep. She was in total bliss.
Hmm, what thoughts raced through your heads after you read the title? Beaver bums and holidays? Specifically, beaver bums and holiday cookies? Probably not.
So, a couple of weeks, National Geographic posted this article about how secretions from beaver bums are used for vanilla flavorings. They appear in everything from the aforementioned cookies to ice cream to candles. Ah, yes, breathe in and smell the warm, homey feel of vanilla. Or a beaver bum. Let your mind fly as you think of all the possibilities to how we knew beaver bums smelled like this humble scent. Yes, go there.
Paffi S. Flood is a writer of YA fiction, an occasional blogger, and the author of "A Killing Strikes Home."