Book Review: Europa’s Lost Expedition

“Europa's Lost Expedition” by Michael CarrollIn the epoch in which this story is set the expansion of the human presence into the solar system was well advanced, with large settlements on the Moon and Mars, exploitation of the abundant resources in the main asteroid belt, and research outposts in exotic environments such as Jupiter’s enigmatic moon Europa, when civilisation on Earth was consumed, as so often seems to happen when too many primates who evolved to live in small bands are packed into a limited space, by a global conflict which the survivors, a decade later, refer to simply as “The War”, as its horrors and costs dwarfed all previous human conflicts.

Now, with The War over and recovery underway, scientific work is resuming, and an international expedition has been launched to explore the southern hemisphere of Europa, where the icy crust of the moon is sufficiently thin to provide access to the liquid water ocean beneath and the complex orbital dynamics of Jupiter’s moons were expected to trigger a once in a decade eruption of geysers, with cracks in the ice allowing the ocean to spew into space, providing an opportunity to sample it “for free”.... [Read More]

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Best Posts of 2019

Someone was saying how they appreciated the content on the site and sometimes missed good posts so I was wondering which posts in 2019 got you* thinking, taught, or entertained you.  I won’t give my list till later because I want to hear from you first.

List (I will add to it from the comment. )... [Read More]

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The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis

Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis? I’ve read the whole thing a couple times. The audio version, which is brilliantly narrated by John Cleese, is also available on Youtube. I’ve listened to that as well.

In this book, Lewis created a character called Screwtape who is the uncle of a junior tempter named Wormwood. They are both demons, in the traditionally Christian sense. The setting is entirely Christian, but from a demonic point of view. Screwtape has some position of authority within the demon hierarchy, “an under-secretary of a department.” The nephew has been assigned to tempt a young man so that he ends up in hell. Screwtape writes letters to his nephew containing instructions and advice towards that end, and he does this as both an uncle and as an under-secretary.... [Read More]

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I have not been around lately…

I have not been around lately, my computer seems to be crashing a lot lately. I did memory, hard drive and CPU tests and all come up OK. The only new thing is I have noticed some new nag programs from Microsoft reminding me that support for windows 7 is ending. Funny thing, these seem to hang in memory.

Firefox seems to use somewhere around 3 Gig of RAM and the operating system is over 1 Gig of RAM and I can only put 4 Gig in this machine. Time for a new machine I guess. But not a Windows Machine.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2019-12-12: Do you ever get a thought worm?

We have all had earworms where a tune gets stuck in our heads but how about thought worms. This is where one thought keeps bouncing around up there. We have all had times when we nurse grievances but this is different. This can be something uplifting and fun. A little thing that makes us grin a little if not a lot.

My thought worm comes from the Bible it comes from a place in there where every verse ends in part of the “worm”. For those who want to guess I will put the answer in a spoiler. Let me know in the comments if you got it right. ... [Read More]

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

Did any of you see the Mr. Rogers movie with Tom Hanks? It wasn’t really even about Mr. Rogers. It was about a man who interviewed him for Esquire magazine in about 1998, and is based on that story. I made sure I had tissues in my purse because I suspected I’d need them, and sure enough I did. Reminded me of me when my life was a lot more simple, before it got really complex and lonely. The main character undergoes some spiritual and emotional growth as a result of spending time with Rogers. It’s a good story, wholesome and true.

Anyway, did you see it? Did you like it?... [Read More]

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Seeing Life Through a Magnifying Glass

I don’t know why we did it but I remember watching friends on a hot day using a magnifying glass to burn ants. If I remember right I think one was from a box of Cracker Jacks. It was cheap and plastic but effective. I share this because when I think of a magnifying glass I remember those days because the Japanese word for it is “bug glass”.

Recently a friend of mine, a retired high school principal is having trouble reading books. As one gets older the print gets smaller. His eyes are getting worse. In the old days the only option would be to pull out a “bug glass”. Luckily, we live in an age that has gone digital. An e-book can’t change its stripes but it can change its font size. It can be somewhere between extra large and huge for those that need it. He can read again.... [Read More]

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Christmas Music

Christmas is nearly upon us, heralded by the first round of parties this weekend. It seems friends are scheduling gatherings ever earlier in the month to avoid conflicts with holiday travel and others’ parties. That’s put me in a holiday mood so I though I’d share my YouTube Christmas playlist, along with some comments about each song. The playlist spans about five centuries and several musical genres, roughly in chronological order.

Gaudete is a medieval carol from the 16th century expressing joy at the birth of Christ. It’s a simple tune that evokes a very different world.... [Read More]

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Cyber Monday is Coming

I thought there was only one Cyber Monday but there seems to be two. The one in the States is the first Monday after Thanksgiving whereas in the civilize world* it is the second Monday in December. Did any of you buy any thing on your Cyber Monday? Were there any good deals? In general what do you think of this reach for your cash?

*Japan

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Cursive: Do you or don’t you?

I just wrote about an hours worth of cursive in a notebook. It has been a long long time since I did this. My cursive is slow and it had been so long since I wrote some capital cursive letters that I had to look at a chart on the Internet. My question to you is do you ever write longhand anymore. If so what is your habit. If not how long has it been.

How is your penmanship? My is not so good. Part of my problem is that I am left-handed and the educational system when I went to school was not geared for that. I think I need to invest time in trying to get my writing more legible. Any good suggestions?... [Read More]

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