Americans’ appetite for reading books — ones you actually hold in your hands — has not slowed in recent years, says a Pew Research Center survey.
Claire Harman says several of the Wuthering Heights author’s character traits – including a dislike of leaving home and bursts of frustration – could indicate autism
Latest from my new book over on my Author blog
in this excerpt, Tony is given some monumental news…
I was normally out after school, either on the sports field or spending time with Ruby, but I remember I came home straight after the school bell one day because Dad had told me they wanted to discuss something. I don’t recall being particularly apprehensive, we had talked a lot about what I would do after school, and assumed it was going to be another one of those discussions.
But when I got to the house I saw mother’s car outside, with Mother in it. She told me, in a very clipped voice, that Ben was already inside and that I should hurry. I went in to find the 3 of them, Dad, Mrs. KMcKinley and Ben all sitting round the kitchen table. “ I won’t beat around the bush,” Dad said, “ but I wanted you both to hear the…
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News Article: Would it be wrong to eradicate mosquitoes? – BBC News
I have just read this interesting article, and given the negative impact on human life by disease carried by some species of mosquitoes, it might seem crazy to even ask the question. But there are at least two reasons to hesitate.
The first is the “unintended consequences” issue. Lets say we did eradicate all harmful mosquitoes, this would leave a void in the environment. Those creatures that currently survive on mosquitoes would move on to other food sources, and what impact would that have? Without the competition from mosquitoes, other insect species would thrive, and what impact would that have on humanity?
But as well as this self-interest concern, there is a moral one. We as a species have wiped out a large number of species by lack of care, is it right to deliberately set out to destroy another? Even if there were no negative consequences, what give us a right to make extinct a whole species of creatures? And if we say we do have that right, are there boundaries, or is it unlimited?
A study I was reading the other day suggested a possible link between cat ownership and schizophrenia. Say this was shown to be the case, should we eradicate all cats too? Bears are are dangerous to humans, should we make them extinct too?
Life is a complex thing, and we should think long and hard before tampering with it.
Over on my Author Blog I’m taking part in a Haiku challenge. In case you’re not aware, a Haiku is a form of poetry which originated in Japan, and is composed of 3 lines, the first with 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. I don’t pretend to be a great exponent of the form, but I thought I’d try it and see how it went. Here’s one example:
Summer fun becomes
Winters cold and short dark days
now a 5-7-5 format is not much to look at, so I thought I’d make it pretty by taking those English words, throwing them through Google Translate, and paste the result into the post. Here’s what the above Haiku looks like in Japanese:
Now, however, when I look at this post in another browser, it asks if want to translate the page to English. Just for the fun of it I said yes, and Bing tells me it says:
Makes summer fun
Winter cold and short dark days
Some interesting changes there, especially the last line; by changing the order of the words the meaning has been radically altered, as it seems to now say that it is the winter cold that changes everything And what is it that makes summer fun? We are left in suspense here, not quit knowing to what that first sentence refers.
The next step was obvious – take those words, and translate to Japanese:
and then back to English again:
Stay tuned for the summer
Cold winter and short in dark days
Stay tuned for the summer? Where did that come from? Instead of the statement “changes everything” we now have an imperative; “Change Everything!” But I really like the middle line. Although its meaning isn’t totally clear, there is now a greater prominence to the “dark days” in which cold winter (as opposed, one assumes, to the other, warmer, winter) is short.
Running it through one more time came up with:
Continuation of the summer
Cold winters, short dark days
Continuation of the summer
Dark, cold winter‘s short days
We are still “continuing” with the summer, but we have a possessive appearing for the first time. Now we are talking about have the short days that belong to cold winter, which are dark.
Yes, I agree, a pointless exercise, even though an interesting one. But it does show how simple changes in words can make a big difference in meaning.
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“No one knows where our journey will lead us – all we know is that we walk it one day at a time.”
Life happens. Just when you think that you have it all planned out and that you can clearly see the way ahead, something comes along that totally changes everything.
Some may complain about that fact of existence, but I believe it can be looked on as a wonderfully exciting thing. Not only that, but it is a comfort when times are hard to know that we do not know that the road will always be this tough, stuff happens.
Just in living a day it has changed, we are one day nearer a change, whatever that change may be. Most humans like to plan, few of us are totally free spirits without any sense of the future. And planning is good of course, as long as we remember that whilst we can plan, we cannot guarantee the results of our plan.
We are not omnipotent, we cannot control the world or others in it. And, frankly, if I were God, and I did have control of the world, I’m fairly certain that it would turn out to be a far worse place than it already is.
Each of our journeys is unique, and each one takes twists and turns we could not have imagined. Sometimes we find a travelling companion for part of our journey, sometimes we walk alone, but always we are moving, even when it does not feel like movement.
When we think we are settled, it is then that we are most likely to find a new bend in the road, one that takes us in an unexpected direction. When we most want to move in one direction, even when all else is against us, we fight along the road, and often find allies in unforeseen places.
We hear so many times of people fighting against adversity, and winning out to greater glory, and these stories can give us hope in our own struggles.
What we hear less of are the more common stories, or struggle that continues and does not end is success; rather it ends in resignation. These stories of everyday struggle show us that the journey is not a predictable thing, and it is easy to think that no progress can be made.
But even here, the fact that the journey continues can give us hope. We will not necessarily win through in the way that we dreamt of, but we will see a change in the road, and we will be able to move in a different direction.
Each day takes us forward on our journey, and at the end of each day, we can see the distance travelled.