Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 28-Aug 3, 2019

And now, it’s time to get your mental corn popping.

‘They have become the new religion’: Esther Perel says we expect too much from relationships. “Out in the open” with Piya Chattopadhyay on CBC.

Why the trend of surveilling strangers online proves we are horrible. This ties in to the post I shared by Kim Fahner last week and why we should resist objectifying others for our amusement or sense of superiority. “Spark” with Nora Young on CBC.

Allie Volpe explains why kids invent imaginary friends. Guess us writers just never grew up 😉 The Atlantic

SciShow Psych looks at the differences between men and women who are diagnosed with ADHD.

Ethan Siegal: today is not 24 hours long. Forbes

Dr. Becky observes the cartwheel galaxy. Space is weird

The BBC reports on the discovery of a clay tablet on which the oldest extract of Homer’s Odyssey has been found. Struggled for a while over whether to post this in Tipsday or here on Thoughty Thursday, but the latter won out, because archeology.

Chris Dawson: North Bay unrolls its first accessible beach mat. The Northern Life

Jeffery DelViscio explains how a bionic hand helps amputees “feel” again. Scientific American

Martin Giles wonders, is AI the next big climate change threat? We have no idea. MIT Technology Review

Massive ice melt caused by heatwave over Greenland. CBC

Kent German explores the relationship between redwoods, birds, and microphones in the quest to save an endangered species. CNET

SciShow makes a dog Q&A compilation 🙂

Because tardigrades! Chubby, misunderstood, and not immortal. Journey into the microcosmos

Thanks for visiting and I hope you found some inspirational fuel for your next (or current) creative project.

Until tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

ThoughtyThursday2019

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 9-15, 2019

A good mix of inspirational, research-y, and learning stuff this week.

Patti Neighmond: can you reshape your brain’s response to pain? NPR

Zaria Gorvett explores how modern life is transforming the human skeleton. BBC

Mike MacEacheran looks at what unicorns mean to Scottish identity. BBC

Johny Pitts’ Afropean captures the experience of black women in Europe. Refinery29

Phoebe Wood debunks eight myths about bisexuals/pansexuals (and their representation) in honour of Pride Month.

Cara Anna reports that Botswana decriminalized gay sex in a landmark case. “More than two dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws criminalizing gay sex, often holdovers from colonial times.” AP

ASAP Science wants to find out what would happen if we burned all our garbage.

Andrew Freedman writes a special report on our plastic planet. Axios

Rachel Love Nuwer considers the planet’s other imperiled elephants. In his book, Giants of the Monsoon Forest, Jacob Shell explores the ancient, mutually beneficial alliance between Asian elephants and their human neighbors. UnDark

Because tardigrades. Thomas Boothby, TED-Ed.

I hope something here got your mental corn popping.

Until next tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

ThoughtyThursday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 3-9, 2017

It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping.

Yes, it’s another short post. I’ve been recognizing the trend recently.

Gillian Flynn: … I don’t feel triumphant. I feel humiliated and angry. Time

Chuck Wendig sounds off (in his inimitable fashion) on issues of consent and basic human decency. Dear mens: your greasy demon hands are in time out. Terribleminds

Jaela Bernstein reports on the massive, ice-age cavern found beneath Montreal. CBC

Anthony Wood lists ten of the world’s most creative cities to live, work, and play in. Creative Boom

Vsauce from last year . . . Mind Field: Isolation.

 

Brian Resnick: what would it take to kill all the tardigrades (the toughest organism on Earth)? Vox

Dom Galeon reports that artificial life just moved a step closer to reality. NBC

George Dvorsky shares a surreal (and beautiful) picture of Jupiter’s clouds. Gizmodo

Be well until the weekend.

Virtual hugs all around.

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 19-25, 2017

I hope something in this mess gets your mental corn popping 🙂

Pete Mohrbacher has been painting surrealist angels since 2004. I would plaster the house with his work if I could. Angelarium.

Lori Dorn shares a documentary about M.C. Escher. Laughing Squid

Joel Levy shares some vintage photographs of the Toronto Islands. Toronto Guardian

Teodora Zareva: Disney is fulfilling on of Nicola Tesla’s dreams. Big Think

Matt Simon covers the revelation of the crazy-tough water bear’s secret. Wired

Phil Plait reacquaints himself with an old friend that has a new mystery. Is it a planet, or a star? Blastr

Then, a three billion solar mass black hole rockets out of a galaxy at eight billion kilometres and hour. Blastr

Umir Abrar: the big bang isn’t the beginning of our universe—it’s the ending of something else. Physics-Astronomy

Gobblynne provides a great reminder and lovely interpretation of the two wolves mindfulness parable. Vimeo

Tom Jacobs thinks America needs a crash course in critical thinking. I think everyone, everywhere, could use a primer. Pacific Standard

Ever twist yourself into philosophical knots wondering about the nature of reality? That’s okay, Professor Donald H. Hoffman says it probably doesn’t matter because living in a constructed fantasy world is the thing that allows us to survive. Robby Berman for Big Think.

Tori Rodriguez reveals that negative emotions are key to your wellbeing. Scientific American

Lee Suckling lists twelve signs that you may be an extroverted introvert. Stuff

Vicki Hall reports on Clara Hughes’ continuing struggle with mental illness. The National Post

Brian Resnick: if you’re not a morning person, science says you never will be. Vox

Mayim Bialik: girl vs. woman and why language matters.

 

Jim Moodie covers how Shannon Agowissa and Lisa Osawamick are helping to keep Sudbury’s indigenous girls and women safe. The Sudbury Star

Jimmy Thomson reports on the development of new maps that will depict the pre-colonial “Turtle Island” Canada. I’m eager to see these. CBC

Gregory D. Smithers examines the enduring legacy of the Pocahontas myth. The Atlantic

A Medieval abbey trapped by tides and time. Great Big Story

 

I love dance. So you think you can dance is the only reality television I watch. So this hip hop routine by Kyle Hanagami for Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” kind of blew me away.

 

And that was your thoughty for the week.

See you on the weekend for my next chapter update.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 18-24, 2016

The thoughty is gaining strength again.

The Golden clock: how one simple time hack can increase your happiness at work. Steve Farber for Inc.

Eric Barker explains how mindfulness really works. The Week

Anna Lovind explores the truth about procrastinators and overachievers.

The Dalai Lama redefines the word terrorist. Patheos

Lolly Daskal lists seven reasons employees quit, even when they like their jobs. Inc.

Katharine Trendacosta lists this year’s Emmy winners, including Tatiana Maslany (eeee!). i09

Rami Malek is the Emmy’s first non-white best actor winner in 18 years. Tahirah Hairston for Fusion.

Toronto’s new street signs present the indigenous history of street names. CBC

A new generation suffers from mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows. CBC

A DNA study confirms that indigenous Australians are the most ancient civilisation on Earth. Hannah Devlin for The Guardian.

The US faces a scathing UN human rights review. Natasja Sheriff for Aljazeera America.

Laura Kastner explores the boy code and toxic masculinity. This is another reason why everyone needs to be a feminist. Parent Map

Chelsea G. Summers: the politics of pockets. Racked

France has banned plastic cups, plates, and cutlery. Shehab Khan for The Independent.

Ancient Persians built really effective ice houses. The Vintage News

The Vintage News shares the good reasons why castle stairs were built spiralling clockwise.

Ross Kenneth Urkin reports on the forgotten Jewish pirates of Jamaica. The Smithsonian

Farnam Street shares The Feynman Technique, the best way to learn anything.

George Dvorsky reports that scientists have finally figured out why tardigrades are so indestructible. Gizmodo

No, NASA did not just change your astrological sign. Ria Misra for Gizmodo.

Futurism shares an infographic on human evolution into the near and far future.

Jennifer Ouellette: quantum cat experiment captured on camera. Gizmodo

Allyson Souza shares seven reasons your dog should sleep in your bed. Little Things

Dogs vs. stairs. Petcha

 

Here’s hoping your mental corn is well and truly popped.

See you Saturday for the September edition of the next chapter.

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, December 13-19, 2015

And here we are on Christmas Eve. Got some presies for ya 🙂

Try vayaan mudra to empower your nervous system. Yoganonymous.

Last week, I shared spoken word poet’s take on depression. This week, Upworthy shares another great spoken word poet who uses a haunted house as a metaphor for her anxiety.

Here’s an important message from the universal daughter. #deardaddy

 

What happened when the UN sent three foreign women to assess gender equality in the United States. The Huffington Post.

Dave Sandford wades into Lake Eerie to take these amazing pictures. Buzzfeed.

Watch the northern lights over Murmansk, Russia.

 

A drone captures images of underwater petroglyphs in Lake St. Nelson, BC (I’ve been told it’s a fair distance from Vancouver). Ancient Colony.

Science Alert reports that this stem cell treatment halts MS progression in 91% of patients.

Week before last, I transcribed my notes of Nina Munteanu’s workshop on ecology and story, including extremophiles and quasi-extremophiles like tardigrades. So when I came across this Buzzfeed post, I thought: Strange, but totally amusing. The Disney Princesses as tardigrades.

It’s official! Voyager I is now in interstellar space. Universe Today.

Phil Plait shares a gorgeous photo of Earthrise. Slate.

How December 25th became the day we celebrate Christmas. Bible History Daily.

Have a happy holiday, whatever you celebrate.

Peace and love unto you and yours.

Thoughty Thursday

CanCon 2015, day 1: Ecology and story workshop with Nina Munteanu

It took us a little longer to drive to Ottawa than I thought, so I was late for this workshop. My apologies to Nina and to any of my readers who experience confusion as a result. If you think there’s something missing, you’re probably right 🙂

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Overlapping ecosystems are vibrant.

Ecologists ask why and how.

  • Why do species eat this food and not that one?
  • How do the environment, other species, diet, etc. limit population growth?

Adaptive traits:

  • Mimicry
  • Camouflage

Autotrophs (producers – species which produce their own food)

Phototrophs (produce food from light)

The Bracken Fern. Ubiquitous. Found on every continent except Antarctica. Very successful. Carcinogenic. Breaks down vitamin B. Reproduces by both spores and rhizomes.

Fiddleheads contain cyanide. Aggressive symbiosis. They attract ants which in turn defend it against other predators (peonies do this, too, though they don’t contain cyanide).

Nothing else will grow in a hemlock grove. It kills all potentially competitive species.

Some primates live with viruses that cause disease in other species because the monkey is the virus’s ‘ideal’ host. (Mel’s note: I think this was a digression into other forms of symbiosis–monkeys aren’t phototrophs.)

Chemotrophs (produce food from chemical processes)

Heterotrophs (consumers and decomposers, including us)

Parasites

Saprotrophs – fungi and bacteria

Detrivores – insects and earthworms

Lynn Margulis proposed the Gaia hypothesis and symbiogenesis (Google search for more information).

Endosymbiosis – cooperative adaptation.

Darwin’s theory of competition (survival of the fittest) is incomplete. It doesn’t explain altruism.

Symbiosis leads to happiness.

  • Kin selection – the choice to support the reproductive group including sacrifice for the greater good (heroism).
  • Group selection – the choice to limit population growth in favour of x (where x is more food, habitat, etc. for all).
  • Reciprocal altruism – The vampire bat, for example. All hunters may not be successful, but the successful hunters will share their food with the unsuccessful and with mothers/pups (by regurgitation) to ensure the continued strength of the community.
  • True altruism – Dolphins will help humans and other species for no apparent gain. (Mel’s note: they may also rape their own and other species for no apparent reason, but that’s another story.)
  • Communal feeding – Lions in prides.
  • Satellites – In some frog species, the small males will hang out with the big, noisy ones and ‘head off’ the eligible females attracted by their big, noisy brethren.
  • Niche partitioning – competing species that coexist in the same ecosystem by voluntarily partitioning food, habitat, etc..

Adaptation and extremophiles

The brine shrimp of Mono Lake (California) thrive in inland seas with salinity that kills potential predators. They can also survive being dried out.

There are flies that can swim and dive because they carry their own oxygen supplies in air bubbles.

There are bacteria that feed on sulphur.

The Microbes of Lake Untersee in Antarctica live in a super alkaline environment with lots of dissolved methane in the water. They create stromatolites—the largest ever found anywhere.

Bacteria in the Rio Tinto thrive in extreme acidity and high iron content in the water.

The fungi of Chernobyl feed on high levels of radioactivity.

The Atacama Salt Flats in Chile is the most arid desert in the world, yet hypolithic algae have evolved to thrive where no other plant life can.

Tardigrades (also known as water bears or moss piglets) can survive anywhere, even in space (for approximately ten days). They can be revived after a century of desiccation and endure 1000 times the lethal dose of radiation for a human. Technically, they’re not true extremophiles because they have not adapted to prefer, or thrive in these environments. They merely survive.

 

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The rest of the workshop was taken up by an exercise in which we applied ecology to the characters of our stories. How have our protagonists adapted to thrive in adverse conditions, compete against, or mimic, other characters, to become the heroes of our stories? In what ways do they show altruism, and is it true altruism, or another form? How does the unique environment of the story world affect them?

It was a very interesting workshop and I’m sorry to have missed the beginning of it.

Unfortunately, because of my late arrival, I did not get a picture of Nina or the workshop participants.

It was a good start to a great weekend of panels, though.

Come back next Saturday when the CanCon 2015 reportage continues with advice on pitching your novel.