Cover Reveal: Michael, Path of Angels, by Patricia Lynne

Happy Monday, Aledan Merfolk! As I said on Twitter yesterday, I’m having a problem finding custom ponies to feature every week (no one checks their DeviantArt messages, apparently, and I don’t feature a custom unless I have permission from the customizer), but no fear! Today I have something just as awesome for your eyes to ogle: it’s Patricia Lynne’s book, MICHAEL, Book One of the Path of Angels series. Before we get to the cover, have a blurb:

There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

Add to Goodreads:

And now the part I know you actually here for, the cover!

perf6.000x9.000.inddI love the red and the blue – it really makes this cover pop! And who doesn’t love a flaming sword?

About the Author:

PatriciaLynneAuthorPicPatricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn’t regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.







Forcing My “Reading Brain” to Edit

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! This week has been a roller coaster ride of awesomeness and busyness and a little bit of frustrated-ness. I got a critique back from one of my CPs and I’m expecting another any day. They both liked StO (yay!) but I still have some characterization to work on (boo!). I should finish the edits on my FE short story today, and I’ll be sending it off to a few new readers who don’t know anything about the FE universe to make sure it’s not confusing as all hell. Why are 100k word books so much easier to write and edit than 5k word short stories? (On the plus side, StO is now just under 100k)

TheEternaFilesI finished ATLANTIA (I’m disappointed to say there were never any mermaids in it, although I liked the ending) and started a CP project that I’m thoroughly enjoying so far. I tried listening to THE CITY STAINED RED audiobook, but as a fantasy there are too many strange names and I need to see the words because I’m a visual person. I’m going to see if I can read the free sample on Nook and hope it gives me enough of an idea of what the names are that I can continue listening to the audiobook without being completely confused. In the meantime I have THE ETERNA FILES to read, and I can’t wait.

I know I’ve mentioned my weird writing cycle before, and right now I’m in the READ EVERYTHING phase of it, which is making edits slower than normal. If I was in my writing/editing phase they’d be done by now, but my brain just isn’t in that headspace right now. The next phase is for video games and HGTV, at which point my editing brain will be utterly useless, so I’m really trying to get these edits done now. Am I the only weirdo whose brain has these very specific phases of when it will work on certain things? I can’t wait for the writing/editing portion to come back around (it should be here around the end of Feb, which is the due date for this round of CPs to get StO back to me. Good planning, brain!)

In any case, I’m off to force myself to finish editing this FE short (if you missed last week’s Fie Eoin Friday it’s a cut scene from the short story) and do more CPing. Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

Science Tuesday: Two Naked Dudes Riding Panthers…Because #SCIENCE!

Happy Wednesday, Aledan Merfolk! Yesterday was busy busy, so this week’s science news post is a day late, but as you can tell from the title of the post, it’s well worth the wait ;) Let’s get right to it, because I know you’re curious…

Moon may hold evidence of how life started on Earth, study suggests: Evidence of how life began on Earth may be hidden on the moon, encased in what was once lava, according to scientists at Imperial College London. They suggest that organic compounds on asteroids or comets may have hit early Earth as well as the moon, which was covered in lava more than 3 billion years ago, and became preserved there. “Evidence of prebiotic evolution on asteroids and comets or the emergence of life on Earth and Mars could all be preserved. It is an ironic possibility that one of the best places to look for records of early life is our dry and lifeless moon,” said Mark Sephton, an author of the study published in Astrobiology.

Study: Gravitational waves could make entry into a black hole a bumpy ride: Gravitational waves could create turbulence for things approaching a black hole, according to a study that will be published in Physical Review Letters. If a black hole spins fast enough, it could create turbulence by emitting long-duration bursts of gravitational waves, scientists mathematically calculated.

INTERSTELLAR did it right! (I loved that movie, btw)

Two Eagles balloon lands near Baja after record-breaking flight: A pair of balloonists have successfully crossed the Pacific Ocean, landing Saturday just off the coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The helium-filled Two Eagles balloon lifted off Jan. 25 from Saga, Japan, carrying pilots Troy Bradley of Albuquerque, N.M., and Leonid Tiukhtyae of Moscow, 6,646 miles, or 10,696 kilometers. The journey unofficially broke records for distance and duration, 160 hours and 37 minutes. The records are pending review by international regulating organization Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

Researchers create transistor with silicene: A modest transistor made with silicene, an atom-thin sheet of silicon, has the semiconductor industry buzzing. Silicene didn’t exist seven years ago, but researchers, encouraged by the development of graphene, or carbon the thickness of a single atom, have been working on silicene, which could be revolutionary in achieving miniaturization. “Nobody could have expected that in such a short time, something that didn’t exist could make a transistor,” said Guy Le Lay, one of the first researchers to create silicene in a lab, but who was not involved in the creation of the transistor.

Pair of bronze statues may have been sculpted by Michelangelo: Two bronze sculptures depicting nude men riding panthers may be the last surviving bronzes by Michelangelo, according to researchers. The figures are 3.3 feet, or 1 meter, tall, and were in obscurity for over a century before researchers linked them to Michelangelo, though that link is yet to be confirmed. The sculptures are on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge until August, and final conclusions about them will be disclosed in July.

These are way cool looking. Two naked dudes riding panthers? MEOW!

Birds share the burden of leadership when flying in a “V,” study finds: Birds take turns leading the flock as they travel in a “V” formation, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists from Austria, the U.K. and Germany studied the flight of the northern bald ibis, noting that each bird took a turn at the energy-depleting lead spot, allowing other birds to use the extra lift provided by the leader.

Hubble could keep working through 2020: The already long-lived Hubble Space Telescope may last though 2020 or longer, according to scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute. “We’re conducting what we’re calling the ‘2020 vision’ for Hubble, and that is to make sure that the observatory is ready to run for at least five or six years to get at least a year of overlap with James Webb, if not more,” said the institute’s Kenneth Sembach at the American Astronomical Society meeting. The plan is for Hubble to overlap with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which is slated to launch in 2018, and possibly give scientists two perspectives on a target.

Ancient text found to be “Gospel of the Lots of Mary”: An ancient text written in Coptic is “The Gospel of the Lots of Mary,” according to scientist who deciphered the 1,500-year-old tome. It isn’t a gospel in the traditional sense, but contains 37 vaguely written oracles and was likely intended to be used for divination, said Princeton professor Anne Marie Luijendijk, who deciphered the writings.

Study: Gold may have formed during Earth’s early days with help of microbes: Microbes may have played a key role in the formation of gold in the early days of Earth, before oxygen became prevalent, according to research. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s Christoph Heinrich suggests that volcanic rain first dissolved the gold, which was then washed into river basins where mats of microbes precipitated it out into what is now the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa. “We don’t know if the gold precipitated out during life or after they died, but basic chemistry tells us that organic life reduces gold chemically from the ionic to the elemental form,” he said.

Atlantic, Pacific fish may mix as Arctic waters warm up, study says: Fish and other sea creatures may move into new territory as temperatures rise in the Arctic Ocean, according to research published in Nature Climate Change. There is no physical barrier between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but the temperature of the Arctic has kept creatures in their own space, but researchers say that barrier may be lifted by the end of the century, allowing dozens of fish species to move from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and vice versa. Researchers at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland studied 515 fish species to see how they would respond to changes in climate.

Ancient bull-sized rodent had huge tusklike teeth, study finds: A bull-sized ancient rodent, the largest ever discovered, had large, tusklike incisors that it used for more than just eating, according to a study published in the Journal of Anatomy. “We concluded that Josephoartigasia must have used its incisors for activities other than biting, such as digging in the ground for food, or defending itself from predators,” said anatomist Philip Cox, first author of the study. Researchers created a computer model using a CT scan of the rodent’s skull to get a better idea of how its jaws worked.

Humans can detect magnetism with light, flexible sensor, researchers say: An extremely light and flexible sensor that allows humans to detect magnetic fields has been developed by scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, the Chemnitz University of Technology, the University of Tokyo and Osaka University. “[The sensors] are … imperceptible magneto-sensitive skin that enables proximity detection, navigation and touchless control,” according to the report published in Nature. “These ultra-thin magnetic field sensors readily conform to ubiquitous objects including human skin and offer a new sense for soft robotics, safety and healthcare monitoring, consumer electronics and electronic skin devices.”

NASA displays photos of Pluto taken by New Horizons probe: NASA has released photos of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, taken by its New Horizons spacecraft, the first taken as the probe approaches the dwarf planet. NASA released the photos Wednesday to celebrate the birthday of Clyde Tombaugh, the late American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. New Horizons will fly by Pluto in mid-July, giving astronomers the closest view ever of the dwarf planet.

Dynamite blast reveals channel of molten rock beneath Earth’s surface: A channel of molten rock has been found deep beneath the Earth’s surface by scientists using sound waves from dynamite explosions deep underground. The finding may help scientists learn more about the mechanics of plate tectonics, said geologist Tim Stern, co-author of the study published in Nature. “We think it’s a sort of lubricant that allows plate tectonics to work,” he said.

Fossilized teeth put monkeys in South America 36 million years ago: Fossilized teeth have helped scientists determine that monkeys lived in South America as far back as 36 million years ago, but how the monkeys got from Africa to South America remains a mystery. Researchers say the four molars found in eastern Peru belonged to Perupithecus ucayaliensis, which greatly resembled fossils of the ancient monkeys of Africa. “The primary hypothesis is that they floated on a raft of vegetation, but that is still a big question,” said Ken Campbell of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, which led the study that was published in Nature.

Cockroaches have individual personalities, study suggests: Individual cockroaches have personalities, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “Shy individuals are those that spend more time sheltered and explore less the arena or the surroundings. Instead, bold individuals are those that spend most part of the time exploring the surroundings and spend less time sheltered,” said researcher Isaac Planas Sitja. Scientists believe the personalities help the cockroaches improve their chances for survival in the face of disaster.

So basically you’re only killing the bold cockroaches when you squish them. The shy ones are still hiding and breeding.

Coral reefs thriving near Cuba: Coral reefs near Cuba are flourishing as other reefs around the world struggle to survive, and scientists say it’s because of the country’s environmental laws and the benefits of organic farming. “After the Soviets pulled out [in 1991], Cuba couldn’t afford fertilizers and pesticides, so they were essentially forced into organic farming — and that’s had a beneficial effect on corals,” said marine scientist David Guggenheim.

I can’t wait to visit Cuba. Good food AND good snorkeling? Sign me up.

Chimps adopt new calls when moved to new groups, study finds: Chimps who move into a new group change their calls to match those of their new friends, as humans do to match local terminology after a move, according to a study published in Current Biology. University of Zurich researchers studied a group of seven chimps moved from a safari park in the Netherlands to live with six chimps in Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo and found that over three years, the Dutch chimps started using the Scottish chimps’ calls for the word “apple.” “We showed that, through social learning, the chimps could change their vocalizations,” said Simon Townsend, the study’s co-author.

Remains of ancient dog are really those of wolf, researchers find: Remains once believed to belong to one of the oldest dogs, dating back 31,680 years, instead belong to a wolf, calling into question when the domestication of the dog occurred, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. “Previous research has claimed that dogs emerged in the Paleolithic [era] but this claim is based on inaccurate analyses. We reanalyzed some of the fossil canids from the Paleolithic and show that they are, in fact, wolves,” said Abby Grace Drake, the study’s lead author. Drake and her colleagues say dog domestication likely occurred later, during the Neolithic era.

Scientists find a new evolutionary model in bedbugs: Bedbugs may be a good model to study how a species evolves, according to a study in Molecular Ecology. After nearly vanishing in the 1940s due to the use of DDT, the insects have come back strong with a resistance to pesticides, and that resilience has piqued some researchers’ interest. “For something that is so hated by so many people, it might just be a perfect model organism for evolutionary questions,” said study co-author Warren Booth, a University of Tulsa biologist.

Um, yay bedbugs?

Study: Sea slug can use photosynthesis for nutrition by taking gene from algae: The emerald sea slug steals a gene from the algae it eats, allowing it to get nourishment from photosynthesis, according to a study published in the Biological Bulletin. “There is no way on Earth that genes from an alga should work inside an animal cell. And yet here, they do. They allow the animal to rely on sunshine for its nutrition. So if something happens to their food source, they have a way of not starving to death until they find more algae to eat,” said Sidney Pierce, co-author of the study.

3 of Jupiter’s moons seen crossing the planet in Hubble photos: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has caught images of Jupiter as three of its largest moons passed across the planet’s surface. Hubble snapped the shots in quick succession to capture the relatively rare event, which occurs only once or twice a decade. The moons seen in the photos are Europa, Callisto and Io.

Stem cells heal brain damage from radiation in mice, study finds: Transplanting stem cells that can transform into oligodendrocytes appears to repair and replace the ones damaged by radiation therapy, according to a study reported in the journal Cell Stem Cell. Damaged cells that mature into oligodendrocytes, which covers nerve cells, become incapable of transmitting information, leading to some memory and brain problems. Mice injected with new cells in the forebrain exhibited better object recognition while mice injected in the cerebellum showed improved motor control after 10 weeks, compared with untreated rats.

Tides, ice ages may encourage seafloor volcanic eruptions, study finds: The eruptions of volcanoes on mid-ocean ridges are linked to tides and may be also linked to ice ages, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists looked at seismic records of 10 eruptions and found that they occurred every two weeks near neap tide, noting that the amount of seawater above the volcanoes was slight lower, reducing the weight on them and prompted small temblors. Researchers also looked at the cycle of ice ages, which lower the sea levels, tying them to increased eruptions.

Book takes close look at whales, dolphins’ social lives: Whales and dolphins have complex social lives and behaviors, according to the book “The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins.” “There is no way even the most outlandish scenarios can explain this pattern with genetics alone,” authors Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell write.

And now I have a new book for my TBR pile.

Impact of invasive species on Great Lakes assessed: Researchers have assessed the future impact of invasive species on the Great Lakes basin, depending on how stringently measures are undertaken to curb their arrival. Researchers put forth pessimistic, status quo and optimistic scenarios to show the various impacts, including a scenario in which the U.S. and Canada work together to minimize invasive-species risks. “In addition to harmonized regulations on live trade, the two countries must coordinate early detection and rapid response to new threats — before an invasion has progressed beyond control,” said biologist Anthony Ricciardi, who supervised the study published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

National Weather Service studies murky rain that fell on Wash., Ore., Idaho: The National Weather Service is investigating reports of rain described as milky-colored, dusty or dirty that fell in Washington, Oregon and Idaho on Friday. Among the possibilities being considered are recent volcanic eruptions in Russia and Mexico. Scientists have collected samples of the strange rainfall to confirm what caused the murkiness.

Scientists find anatomical link among psychiatric disorders: A study in JAMA Psychiatry suggests depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia originate from the same regions in the brain. An analysis of 7,381 patients and 8,511 controls who underwent voxel-based morphometry revealed that gray matter loss occurred in the dorsal anterior cingulate and the right and left insula. These structures form a network associated with executive functioning, which is implicated across a range of psychiatric disorders.

Why some corals are more colorful than others: Research at the Coral Reef Laboratory at the University of Southampton lets coral colours appear in a new light: as sunscreening pigments that help explain how corals adapt to environmental stress. The findings are published in the journal Molecular Ecology.


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The Flu, and I Just Discovered Audiobooks!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! You’re definitely much more Aledan today, because for the past two weeks I’ve been working on a Fie Eoin short story for the anthology WOMEN IN PRACTICAL ARMOR. It takes place thirteen years after the third book in the FE series (which I haven’t written yet, but I storylined a few years ago if you remember this sticky). I like my main character in this short so much I’m really considering giving her an entire book. You know, after I write the other three that are still just sitting in my head…

TheMartianYou may have noticed the lack of promised Fie Eoin Friday last week, but that’s because on Weds I didn’t just catch the flu, we started having a serious relationship. Fever, chills, aches, you name it. Fun! Actually, it did give me a chance to start listening to my first ever audiobook (I never knew when would be a good time to listen, other than long car rides. Turns out having the flu is the perfect time to listen to an audiobook). I started THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir and holy science! My little chemist heart was so happy to listen because the science is spot on. I finished it last night and I can say that the sciencey goodness lasts the whole way through. The end is full of tension (and explosions), and I highly recommend it. Especially in audiobook form. The narrator was great.

TheCityStainedRedSo now I’m about to start listening to my next audiobook, THE CITY STAINED RED by Sam Sykes, and my short story is in the hands of a CP who’ll rip it to bloody shreds, because I already know it sucks, I just don’t know how to fix it yet.

I hope you all have a great weekend, Aledan Merfolk! I’ll be posting a Fie Eoin Friday tomorrow, and this Sunday I have a space-themed pony for Custom of the Week!

Science Tuesday: New Species of Human, “God’s Hand”, and Ebola May Be Mutating.

Happy Tuesday, Aledan Merfolk! I’m recovering from a nasty bout of the flu that left me with laryngitis today, but Science stops for no one. Today’s science news list may be a bit space-heavy because I’ve been listening to the audiobook of THE MARTIAN while sick. It makes my little scientist heart happy because the science is so spot on in the book. I very highly recommend it. Now on to the actual science news!

Photos show passing asteroid has its own moon: The asteroid that passed close to Earth on Monday was accompanied by its own moon, according to NASA. Asteroid 2004 BL86 is the nearest asteroid this large to pass close to Earth until 2027, giving scientists a unique view of the celestial object with its surprising moon following behind. “We should be getting some great radar images of this asteroid. Radar would be the key to study the asteroid’s surface, give an idea of its shape, whether it has rocks and that kind of stuff on it,” said Paul Chodas of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office.

Scientists decode rain’s earthy scent: When raindrops hit the right kind of soil at just the right velocity, they produce a unique, earthy scent, and a pair of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out why. The falling drop of water traps tiny air bubbles that pick up molecules in the soil, which are then released back into the air when the bubbles pop. “The sweet spot has to do with the velocity of the droplet and the qualities of the soil,” said Cullen Buie, co-author of the study published in Nature Communications.

Researchers turn thirst off, on in mice brains: Scientists have found a way to switch thirst on and off in mice. They used optogenetics to identify two distinct sets of neurons that, when stimulated with a laser, would either cause the mice to drink even if they weren’t thirsty or stop them from drinking, according to the study published in Nature. The researchers say that learning what causes feelings of thirst in the brain may help scientists better understand disorders in which people drink too much or too little.

Study: Telomere extension reverses aging in cultured human cells: A new technique uses modified ribonucleic acid to increase telomere length by about 10%, reversing the internal clock of cultured cells, according to a study in The FASEB Journal. The findings can be applied to regenerative medicine and cellular studies, according to researchers.

Snakes have been around much longer than once thought: Snakes have been around millions of years longer than previously thought, according to an examination of four of the oldest-known fossils, the oldest of which dates back 167 million years. Previously, the oldest snake fossil was 102 million years old, but Eophis underwoodi beats that by 65 million years, followed by Portugalophis lignites and Diablophis gilmorei, both 155 million years old, and Parviraptor estesi at 144 million. The fossils were described in a study published in Nature Communications.

Jawbone fossil may be new species of early human, scientists say: A jawbone with large teeth still attached found by fishermen off the coast of Taiwan may be a new species of ancient human that lived as recently as 10,000 years ago, says a study published in Nature Communications. Scientists speculate that the big-toothed human, dubbed Penghu 1, may have lived alongside Homo sapiens. “The available evidence at least does not exclude the possibility that they survived until the appearance of Homo sapiens in the region, and it is tempting to speculate about their possible contact,” said Yousuke Kaifu, co-author of the study.

Medical supplies found on remains of Blackbeard’s pirate ship: Archaeologists have found medical equipment among other artifacts aboard the wreckage of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of the notorious pirate Blackbeard. The ship ran aground in 1718, and researchers say the medical equipment indicates Blackbeard went to great effort to keep his crew healthy. “Treating the sick and injured of a sea-bound community on shipboard was challenging in the best of times,” said archaeologist Linda Carnes-McNaughton, who described the finds in a paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Kepler finds ancient solar system born in early universe: A small solar system of five planets smaller than Earth formed not long after the birth of the universe has been discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. “By the time the Earth formed, the planets in this system were already older than our planet is today. This discovery may now help to pinpoint the beginning of what we might call the ‘era of planet formation,’ ” said Tiago Campante, who led the research described in the Astrophysical Journal.

Giant asteroid may once have held flowing water, study suggests: Images of the giant asteroid Vesta suggest that it once held liquid water. “Nobody expected to find evidence of water on Vesta. The surface is very cold and there is no atmosphere, so any water on the surface evaporates. However, Vesta is proving to be a very interesting and complex planetary body,” said Jennifer Scully, lead author of the study. Images sent from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft indicate curved gullies similar to debris-flow channels found on Earth when water moves dirt and rocks, leading researchers to think water may have once flowed on the asteroid.

New images give scientists better view of Ceres as Dawn orbiter nears: As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft moves closer to Ceres, it is recording the best images of the dwarf planet yet taken, a vast improvement over images snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004, as well as those Dawn itself took earlier this month. The images are grainy, but they are providing scientists with a lot of new information ahead of Dawn’s March entry into orbit. “This is just starting to illuminate the fact that Ceres is one of these unique bodies that has astrobiological potential … and it’s just continued to become more intriguing as we’ve been marching inexorably closer,” said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator.

Scientists demystify metal explosions: The explosive reaction between alkali metals and water has been demystified by scientists in the Czech Republic and Germany, who suggest the reaction is caused by positive charges repelling each other. Researchers used computer simulations and video taken by an ultra-high-speed camera to capture the explosive moment when the metal hits water. “If you want to have an explosive reaction … you need a lot of contact between the reactants. And this is exactly what we don’t have here,” said Pavel Jungwirth, an author of the study published in Nature Chemistry.

Skull found in Israel may shed light on human migration from Africa: Clues about the migration of modern humans might be gleaned from an ancient skull found in a cave in Israel. “This is the first evidence that shows indeed there was a large wave of migrants out of East Africa, crossing the Sahara and the Nubian desert and inhabiting the eastern Mediterranean region 55,000 years ago. So it is really a key skull in understanding modern human evolution,” said Tel Aviv University’s Israel Hershkovitz, an author of the study published in Nature.

Tattoo found on 5,300-year-old ice man mummy: An additional tattoo has been found on the skin of the mummified 5,300-year-old ice man known as Otzi, according to researchers documenting the markings. Like his 60 other tattoos, the new one found on his ribcage is made up of black lines, and researchers suspect the tattoos may have had some therapeutic use. Otzi was found in the Italian Alps in 1991.

Long-necked dinosaur may have influenced China’s dragon mythology, researchers say: The remains of a dinosaur with a neck half as long as its body is a new species, according to a study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and it may have inspired much of ancient China’s dragon mythology. “There is one theory that the Chinese got an inspiration for the dragon by looking at a dinosaur skeleton in the ground. They stumbled upon a long-necked creature like this and they didn’t know what it was,” said Tetsuto Miyashita, who studied the remains of a dinosaur, called Qijianglong, or “Dragon of Qijiang,” referencing the place it was found. Researchers say Qijianglong lived about 160 million years ago.

Researchers to examine northern lights with space probe: A space probe launched Wednesday by NASA and Utah State University will study the northern lights. “The successful launch of the Auroral Spatial Structures Probe will enable scientists and satellite operators to better understand the energy processes during auroral activity in the thermosphere and its effects on satellites as they orbit Earth,” said principal investigator Charles Swenson, director for the university’s Center for Space Engineering. The large main probe also released six small probes in midflight to make a network of measurements, the scientists said.

Cometary globule “God’s Hand” seen in detail by ESO telescope: The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope has captured a detailed image of the cosmic cloud of gas and dust known as “God’s Hand,” or CG4. The cometary globule, called such because the cloud appears to have a head and a tail like a comet, is about 1,300 light-years away from Earth in the Puppis constellation. The image is part of the ESO’s “Cosmic Gems” initiative, which uses images taken with ESO telescopes for education and outreach.

Bubbles of radioactive nickle may have made holes in Cassiopeia A, researchers say: Expanding bubbles of radioactive nickle may be responsible for holes seen in the supernova Cassiopeia A, which exploded 340 years ago 11,000 light-years from Earth, according to a study. Researchers say their bubble theory could also account for large rings seen in the outer regions of Cassiopeia A, and their next step is to search for iron deposits left behind by the exploding bubbles. “We’re like the bomb squad. A bomb’s gone off and I want to understand how that bomb exploded. … The first thing I’m going to say is: Where did the debris go?” said Dan Milisavljevic, the study’s co-author.

Early Paleo-Indians hunted large game with spear-throwers, study finds: Paleo-Indians, long considered one of the first American peoples, used spear-throwers to propel their spear heads at big game, according to a study of microscopic fractures on spear points. It’s long been assumed that the Paleo-Indians used spear-throwers, but until now, there had been no empirical evidence to support that theory. “If the spear-thrower originated in the Old World, then it only made sense that it must have shown up with early [North American] colonists,” said Karl Hutchings, author of the study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Study: Isolated starlings prefer to view photos of other starlings: Lonely starlings in captivity prefer to stare at photos of other starlings versus landscapes or other creatures, according to a study published online in Animal Cognition. Researchers isolated starlings for four days in separate cages with large-screen monitors that would show either a life-size photo of an unknown starling, a suburban landscape or monkeys, depending on which sensor the starling poked with its beak. The starlings more frequently triggered the sensor to bring up the other starling’s photo, suggesting a natural yearning for social interaction, researchers said.

Scientists: Ebola virus may be mutating: Scientists at the Pasteur Institute in France have warned that strains of the Ebola virus in Guinea have mutated and they are investigating whether the changes have made it more contagious. There have been several cases in which the patients showed no symptoms, according to a Pasteur geneticist.

Civil War submarine starting to reveal its secrets after 150 years: Scientists are finally getting a look at the hull of a Civil War submarine that sank after taking down a Union ship off the coast of Charleston, S.C., 150 years ago. The hand-cranked Confederate sub H.L. Hunley was raised 15 years ago, but the hull was encased in concretion that scientists have been working to dislodge. About 70% of the hull has been uncovered, and researchers are just starting to uncover clues about what may have caused the submarine to sink.

Baird’s beaked whales form complex relationships, study finds: Baird’s beaked whales have a complex social structure in which they prefer the company of specific individuals within their community, according to researchers who have identified individual whales by the patterns of scars on their bodies. The creatures, also known as giant bottlenose whales, are difficult to study, researchers say, because they rarely spend time on the surface. The study was published in Marine Mammal Science.

Scientists twist light into Mobius strips: Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Germany have created a Mobius shape with light, according to a study published in Science. Peter Banzer and his colleagues followed up on predictions by Isaac Freund and took two polarized green laser beams and scattered them off a gold bead smaller than the wavelength of light, giving it a Mobius-like structure by introducing a polarization pattern with three or five twists.

Long period of frequent droughts linked to ancient city’s demise: The Mesoamerican city Cantona, east of today’s Mexico City, was abandoned about 1,000 years ago due to frequent long-term droughts, research suggests. Scientists looked at the climate before and after Cantona’s decline, studying sediment cores and samples taken from a lake not far from the site. “In a sense the area became important because of the increased frequency of drought. But when the droughts continued on such a scale, the subsistence base for the whole area changed and people just had to leave,” said Roger Byrne, an author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

3D map reveals ancient ice layers in Greenland: Using information from airborne radar and ice cores, scientists have created a detailed 3D map of Greenland’s ice sheet, including the island’s oldest ice from the Eemian Period, 115,000 to 130,000 years ago. Scientists hope to find clues about future climate changes by studying those of the ancient past.


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Science Tuesday: Badass Snails, A Wormhole in the Milkyway, and Un-cooking an Egg.

Happy Wednesday, Aledan Merfolk! I was so busy working on my new FE short story yesterday that I kept forgetting about Science Tuesday, but there were so many cool science things that happened I couldn’t let it wait until next week. Let’s get to the sciencey goodness!

Oldest gospel ever found may have been hidden within papyrus mummy mask: Papyrus used to make a mummy mask may contain the oldest copy of a gospel ever found, dating back to the first century before the year 90, researchers say. Mummy masks, created for ordinary people, were often made from linen or papyrus that had previously been written on, so researchers used a technique to unglue the masks to reveal the writings. “We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters,” said Craig Evans, a member of the research team.

Astronomers see live burst of cosmic radio waves for first time: A giant burst of cosmic radio waves has been seen live for the first time by astronomers using the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia, giving scientists new clues about what might cause the brief but spectacular events. Data from the Parkes Telescope sighting suggest that the waves are circularly polarized, meaning they vibrate in two planes, a finding that scientists say they are having trouble interpreting. Astronomers want to catch sight of more bursts in the hope of linking them to something specific, like a galaxy or a region of intergalactic space.

Snail stuns fish with toxic spray of insulin before eating them: The geographic cone snail sprays its prey with a toxic cloud that contains insulin, causing the fish’s blood sugar levels to drop and putting them into a stupor, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Once its prey is in a sugar coma, the snail releases a sort of net that drags the fish into its mouth, where it releases another set of toxins to ensure the fish is completely paralyzed. The process helps the slow-moving snail capture its much swifter prey.

Fruit, trees are chimps’ favorite topic of conversation, study suggests: Wild chimpanzees use sophisticated vocalizations to communicate about their favorite fruits and the trees that bear them, according to a study published in Animal Behavior. “Chimpanzees definitely have a very complex communication system that includes a variety of vocalizations, but also facial expressions and gestures,” said Ammie Kalan, leader of the project that listened in on the chimps. Researchers have spent more than 750 hours observing the chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast’s Tai Forest to analyze their food calls.

Scientists get glimpse inside ancient burned scroll with 3D X-ray technique: Researchers have used a 3D X-ray technique sometimes used in breast scans to see the ink left within a fragile, rolled-up scroll burned in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The scroll is part of a classical library in Herculaneum, which was buried in the ancient volcanic blast, and previous efforts to unroll the scrolls and read their contents were abandoned because the unwinding process damaged or destroyed them. To view the raised ink, researchers used X-ray phase-contrast tomography, which shows the letters in relief, a study published in Nature Communications says.

Meteorites may have brought nitrogen to newborn Earth: Just after Earth was formed, meteorites may have brought it nitrogen, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience. The isotopic composition of the nitrogen of two meteorites was similar to the gas found in Earth’s atmosphere, researchers found. “This mineral shows us that there was another type of nitrogen in the early solar system billions of years ago, and this molecule was probably responsible for making the building blocks of life and bringing the nitrogen of our atmosphere to Earth,” said Dennis Harries, lead author of the study.

Galactic dust found in ocean sediment offers clues about supernovae: Buried within sediment deep in the ocean are bits of debris from supernovae that have fallen to Earth, giving researchers a glimpse into the galactic explosions with some unexpected results. “We’ve analyzed galactic dust from the last 25 million years that has settled on the ocean and found there is much less of the heavy elements such as plutonium and uranium than we expected,” said Australian National University’s Anton Wallner, who led the research published in Nature Communications.

Archaeologists surprised to find remains of 15th-century settlement near castle: Researchers excavating the grounds of an Irish castle, hoping to uncover remnants of a lost 17th century town, stumbled upon the remains of an earlier settlement dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. “Up to now, we knew there was a substantial 17th century settlement in the fields around Dunluce. What we are now beginning to uncover are traces of earlier and extensive late medieval settlement activity, which are equally as important as the remains of the 17th century Dunluce Town,” said Northern Ireland’s environment minister, Mark Durkan.

Bones of 5 individuals found in Alexander-era tomb in Greece: The skeletal remains of at least five individuals have been found in a massive tomb in Greece that dates back to the time of Alexander the Great. The tomb has yielded many amazing finds, including a facade with two marble sphinxes, another chamber featuring two large statues of young women and a mosaic of Persephone’s abduction by Hades. According to Greek officials, the bones belong to an older woman, two men, another adult and a newborn child of undetermined gender.

Blood type could determine potential health risks: Several studies found connections between blood type and health issues. One study revealed that those with type A blood have a 5% higher risk for heart disease than those with blood type O, while those with type B blood had an 11% increased risk and type A/B had 23% increased risk. Another study showed that people with type A/B blood are more likely to have cognitive problems, while those with type A blood have a 20% greater chance of getting stomach cancer and those with type O had a higher risk of developing ulcers.

Robot programmed with worm’s neural sensors moves independently: A robot made of Legos was independently controlled by software inspired by a common worm’s nervous system, which responded to outside stimulus with sensors, researchers said. It’s the first breakthrough for the Open Worm Project, which brings together programmers and scientists in an experiment to emulate a worm’s neural wiring within a virtual environment. “We know we have the correct number of neurons, we have them connected together in roughly the same way that the animal has, and they’re organized in the same way in that there are some neurons that give out information and other neurons that receive information,” said Stephen Larson, the project’s coordinator.

A wormhole in the Milky Way is possible, study suggests: If dark matter is taken into consideration, a wormhole could exist at the center of the Milky Way’s dark matter halo, according to a study published in the Annals of Physics. The research team’s conclusions depend on the Navarro-Frenk-White density profile and the Universal Rotation Curve model, two specific scenarios for the behavior of dark matter. “We’re not claiming that our galaxy is definitely a wormhole, but simply that, according to theoretical models, this hypothesis is a possibility,” said Paolo Salucci, one of the study’s authors.

Fishermen catch a rare frilled shark near Australia: A rare frilled shark has been caught by fishermen in Australia. Frilled sharks are among the oldest sharks in existence and are named for the six pairs of ruffled gill slits that adorn the creature, which looks more like an eel than a shark. The species dates back 80 million years.

Dogs, badgers on early Europeans’ menu more than 3,000 years ago: Early Europeans fed on such creatures as dogs, wild cats, foxes and badgers until about 3,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence found in a cave in Spain that dates back between 3,100 and 7,200 years. “This evidence includes cut marks, bone breakage, signs of culinary processing and human tooth marks,” said Patricia Martin of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution.

New island springs up during volcanic eruption near Tonga: An island has sprung up near Tonga, the result of a volcanic eruption that has been going on for a month in the South Pacific Ocean near the archipelago. “It’s quite an exciting sight, you get to see the birth of an island. Visually it was quite spectacular, but there was no big sound coming with it, no boom. It was a bit eerie,” said Nico Fournier, a New Zealand volcanologist who ventured close to the new island Saturday. He noted that the island will likely disappear after a few months once the volcano stops erupting.

Leaky blood vessels may play role in Alzheimer’s, study suggests: The brain’s protective barrier becomes more prone to leaks as a person ages, starting at the hippocampus, which might promote development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to a study in the journal Neuron that examined images of the brains of 64 people of different ages. “To prevent dementias including Alzheimer’s, we may need to come up with ways to reseal the blood-brain barrier and prevent the brain from being flooded with toxic chemicals in the blood,” said researcher Dr. Berislav Zlokovic.

Tutankhamun’s burial mask damaged by hasty repair: The golden burial mask of pharaoh Tutankhamun was damaged when the blue and gold braided beard was knocked off then glued back on with epoxy, according to officials with the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where the artifact is on display. The mask was damaged sometime last year and workers hastily reattached the beard with an inappropriate adhesive, leaving scratch marks and a visible gap between the face and the beard. “The mask should have been taken to the conservation lab but they were in a rush to get it displayed quickly again and used this quick drying, irreversible material,” said a conservator.

Lasers help reveal information about super-Earth, icy planet cores: Scientists blasted a dense form of silica with lasers to simulate the extreme pressures and temperatures found at the cores of super-Earths and icy giants to find clues about what goes on inside them, according to a study published in Science. The results suggest that super-Earth exoplanets may have molten rock at their cores that generate magnetic fields, while the centers of icy planets like Neptune and Uranus have solid, rocky cores. “By looking at matter at high pressures and temperatures, we provide insight to people trying to understand the structure and evolution of planets,” said physicist Marius Millot, lead author of the study.

Water just bounces off metal surface developed by physicists: U.S. physicists have developed a metal surface that repels water so well, droplets just bounce away, according to findings reported in the Journal of Applied Physics. Scientists etched a series of tightly arranged parallel grooves covered in complex nanostructures into the metal using lasers, giving it its remarkable repellent behavior. “The structures created by our laser on the metals are intrinsically part of the material surface,” said Chunlei Guo, the study’s senior author.

Australopithecus’ hands capable of making tools, study suggests: Tool-making may have begun a half million years earlier than previously thought and may not have been exclusive to the genus Homo, according to research published online by Science. The study suggests that Australopithecus africanus had hand characteristics that would have made making tools possible. Researchers at the University of Kent compared hand bones of several different species spanning many millions of years to reach their findings.

Researchers surprised to find fish living underneath ice in Antarctica: Fish and other aquatic creatures have been found living deep beneath thick Antarctic ice, sealed in a small wedge of seawater far from sunlight, according to researchers who didn’t expect to find anything but microbes. Scientists bore a hole into the Ross Ice Shelf, and sent a specialized robot to investigate the depths. “I’ve worked in this area for my whole career. You get the picture of these areas having very little food, being desolate, not supporting much life,” said glacial geologist Ross Powell.

Fecal transplant cures Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis in mice: University of Utah researchers have found that fecal transplants appear to reverse autoimmune diseases of the bowel such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis or inflammatory bowel disease in mice. The transplant of fecal material in mice via a tube into the stomach restored the balance of intestinal flora and normalized the intestines’ function. The study appeared in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.

Quasar’s dimming may mean black hole stopped consuming matter, astronomers say: Scientists have observed the dimming of a quasar, suggesting something’s happened to change the diet of the supermassive black hole at its core, according to research. Black holes power the extremely bright galaxies surrounding them, so the dimming may indicate the black hole has stopped consuming matter, giving astronomers more clues about the life cycles of the mysterious quasars. “This is like a dimmer switch. The power source just went dim. Because the life cycle of a quasar is one of the big unknowns, catching one as it changes, within a human lifetime, is amazing,” said Stephanie LaMassa, one of the researchers.

Researchers find way to slow speed of light: The speed of light may not be as constant as once thought, according to research at the University of Glasgow. Scientists sent a pair of photons toward a detector, putting one through either a Bessel or Gaussian filter, which changed the photon’s shape into the corresponding beam. While it was expected that both beams would arrive at the detector at the same time, the reshaped beam arrived slightly after the unaltered beam.

Researchers hunt for “Don Quixote” author’s remains in Spanish chapel: A team of archaeologists and anthropologists are combing through graves at a small chapel in Madrid, hoping to find the remains of “Don Quixote” author Miguel de Cervantes. Researchers know that Cervantes was buried at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in 1616, but the exact location of his burial site within the grounds is unknown. Scientists have narrowed down the possibilities to three sites in the chapel’s crypt.

Genghis Khan, others have long genetic legacy, study suggests: Mongol ruler Genghis Khan’s genetic legacy is not the only lineage to stretch so far, according to research. Scientists have identified 10 other men who have lineages that reach into today’s population, including Qing Dynasty ruler Giocangga. “Lots of men have lots of sons, by chance. But what normally doesn’t happen is the sons have a high probability of having lots of sons themselves. You have to have a reinforcing effect,” said geneticist Mark Jobling, a study leader.

Study: Jellyfish sense currents, actively swim against them: Ocean currents can be sensed by jellyfish, which then actively swim against it, according to a study published in Current Biology. Researchers have yet to discover exactly how the jellyfish sense the current changes, but they hope the findings will shed light on how and why jellyfish bloom. “With this knowledge of their behavior we can start to have some predictive capability for bloom dynamics,” said Graeme Hays, the lead researcher.

Stem cells may treat severe burns without the need for skin grafts: Researchers at the University of Miami are conducting a study on the use of stem cells as treatment for severe burns. The research will use mesenchymal stem cells collected from the patient’s bone marrow, which will then be injected underneath a thin coating into the wound to regenerate the outer and inner skin layers. The treatment will be administered every two weeks to second-degree burn victims.

Scientists return solid egg whites to clear, liquid state: Researchers have figured out a way to return hard-boiled egg whites to something akin to their original form, according to a study published in ChemBioChem. Scientists at the University of California at Irvine used a vortex fluid device to disentangle the strands of protein that become the solid egg white when boiled. The researchers say that it’s the separation of the tangled proteins that could have wide-ranging applications in such areas as food processing and cancer research.


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StO Draft Three is Done!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I finished the third draft of StO this week, and I’m doing a read-through to make sure I didn’t screw anything up before I send it to my next round of CPs. I’m fairly sure the plot is solid, and the characterization in the beginning is much stronger, so I’m hoping this round of CPs can help me really pump up the emotion. After I fix their edits I’ll send it to my grammar/sentence structure CPs for the final polish, and then…query time! I’m really hoping to be back in the trenches by June, that way I can hang out on the beach with a margarita to keep my mind off it ;)

I’m trying to decide what to work on next, and I think I’ll probably end up going back to Fie Eoin for Pike’s Revenge. I’m not ready to work on Nameless again, but I miss home. I can only stay away for so long before I need to get back. Plus, Karigan is my favorite character to write!

In the meantime I’m working on a short backstory for Finn which I plan to post as an FEF soon.

AtlantiaI also started reading Atlantia by Ally Condie, which is not a mermaid book. I don’t know why I assumed it was a mermaid book (maybe because of all the talk of “below” and “above” and “sirens”), but there are no mermaids in it so far. It’s still good, just not what I was expecting. Either way it’s the first book I’ve read since I finished Gone Girl a month ago. Yes, it took an entire month for my brain to get back to reading after that mind-screw.

Speaking of mermaids and such, have you seen this week’s Custom of the Week? It’s a freaking amazing seapony custom that’s so detailed and bright! I’ll have another awesome custom this weekend that fans of Spirited Away should love :)

Have a great weekend, Aledans!