The Wing-Friends and Other Books

In Blogger's slideshows images are greatly reduced, so lose much of their impact. And captions added to them in Picasa Albums vanish, so the images shown above are: the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, Earth, Earth with New Zealand circled, New Zealand, Auckland & the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, some native NZ forest, a Fantail and chicks, various doves, etc.

(If you want to see the first ten images in their original size, they are in a posting made on the 24th of November 2011.)

My book The Wing-Friends is an imaginative tale of a small brave boy, a magical adventure, a magnificent Pegasus and the wonderful Kingdom of the Pegasi. It has been given very good reviews, and virtually every reader on Goodreads has so far awarded it five stars. It is available here. Some of my other writings are available as e-books, such as The Lower Deck, which is an over-the-top take on Waiheke happenings--sort of.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


The quantum secret in photosynthesis uncovered:
'The efficient conversion of sunlight into useful energy is one of the challenges which stand in the way of meeting the world's increasing energy demand in a clean, sustainable way without relying on fossil fuels. Photosynthetic organisms, such as plants and some bacteria, have mastered the process. In less than a couple of trillionths of a second, 95% of the sunlight they absorb is whisked away to drive the metabolic reactions that provide them with energy. The efficiency of photovoltaic cells currently on the market is around 20%. What hidden mechanism does nature use to transfer energy so efficiently?'

Table-top particle accelerator opens a new chapter in research:
'Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have built a tabletop particle accelerator that can generate energies and speeds previously reached only by major facilities that are hundreds of meters long and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. "We have accelerated about half a billion electrons to 2 gigaelectronvolts over a distance of about 1 inch," said Mike Downer, professor of physics in the College of Natural Sciences. "Until now that degree of energy and focus has required a conventional accelerator that stretches more than the length of two football fields. It's a downsizing of a factor of approximately 10,000." '

Thirdhand tobacco smoke causes DNA damage:
'A study led by researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found for the first time that thirdhand smoke -- the noxious residue that clings to virtually all surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out -- causes significant genetic damage in human cells.'

And gets more harmful over time. And is very hard to remove from surfaces and materials.

Total amount of exercise important, not frequency:
'A new study by Queen's University researchers has determined that adults who accumulated 150 minutes of exercise on a few days of the week were not any less healthy than adults who exercised more frequently throughout the week.'

What do memories look like?
'Oscar Wilde called memory "the diary that we all carry about with us." Now a team of scientists has developed a way to see where and how that diary is written.'
' "When you make a memory or learn something, there's a physical change in the brain. It turns out that the thing that gets changed is the distribution of synaptic connections," '

Global Climate Analysis for May 2013 - NOAA's Nationals Climatic Data Centre:
* The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2013 tied with 1998 and 2005 as the third warmest on record, at 0.66°C (1.9°F)) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F).
* The global land surface temperature was 1.11°C (2.00°F) above the 20th century average of 11.1°C (52.0°F), also the third warmest May on record. For the ocean, the May global sea surface temperature was 0.49°C (0.88°F) above the 20th century average of 16.3°C (61.3°F), tying with 2003 and 2009 as the fifth warmest May on record.
* The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the March–May period was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F), tying with 2004 as the eighth warmest such period on record.
* The March–May worldwide land surface temperature was 0.97°C (1.75°F) above the 20th century average, the 11th warmest such period on record. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.45°C (0.81°F) above the 20th century average and tied with 2001 as the seventh warmest such period on record.
* The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–May period (year-to-date) was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 13.1°C (55.5°F), the eighth warmest such period on record.