The Global Age: NGIOA @ Risk: 1006 (Topics in Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality)


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Thoman, who works for the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, called it the most dramatic greenup in years, and the latest since That description of greenup is from the late Jim Anderson, a librarian here on the West Ridge of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus who chronicled the event beginning in until his death in Brian Lawson, who has found many rocket parts over the years during his work for Poker Flat Research Range, looks out his window and sees an orange and white parachute draped over black spruce trees near a small arctic creek. He also catches a glint of silver from a metal cylinder near the parachute.

The pilot banks the plane and circles the chute. His seven passengers — including NASA engineer Brodell, the lead scientist on the rocket mission — lean toward the windows with their cameras. Lawson, in the front seat next to the pilot, presses the button of a SPOT satellite transmitter to mark the location. In two days, a helicopter will return, land, and two men will… read more Making sea ice miles from the ocean Marc Mueller-Stoffels unscrews the top of a glass jar and invites a visitor to smell the powder inside.

A sniff evokes the image of kayaking Prince William Sound or walking a beach in Southeast. Mueller-Stoffels, a doctoral student in the Physics Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, uses the white contents of the jar — different types of salts found in seawater all over the world — to create homebrewed ocean. With that ocean, in a room held at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit and miles from the nearest tidewater, he grows sea ice of the type that floats on top of the world.

He makes sea ice to help researchers like Hajo Eicken of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute learn about the tiny pores that form in it, how salty brine moves through huge chunks of sea ice, and to see how those microscopic forces affect ice as a whole. This news comes just a few years after typical melting from the same region would have only filled one quarter of the same lake each year.

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is a group of 94 islands east of Greenland with a land area the size of Alaska. The glaciers and ice fields of the islands cover an area about the size of New York. As soon as the Navajo props stop spinning, out jumps Kenji Yoshikawa, there for one of his patented science hit and runs. Yoshikawa is soon kneeling on a long wooden sled towed by Hawley, who heads for a few wooden tripods standing on the white arctic plain outside town.

Yoshikawa, a permafrost scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has climbed down ladders into ice cellars of every northern Alaska community that has them — Kaktovik,… read more Bringing the world to a standstill On a fine June day about years ago, in a green mountain valley where the Aleutians stick to the rest of Alaska, the world fell apart. Earthquakes swayed the alders and spruce. A mountain shook, groaned, and collapsed in on itself, its former summit swallowing rock and dust until it became a giant, steaming pit.

About six miles away, hot ash began spewing from the ground in a colossal geyser. During an eruption that lasted three days, one of the most vibrant landscapes in Alaska in became the gray badlands known as the Valley of 10, Smokes. The great eruption that created the valley came from a smallish clump of rocks called Novarupta. Nowhere near as grand as the nearby Mount Katmai the mountain that lost its top , Novarupta spewed an ash cloud 20 miles into the atmosphere, belching times more ash than did Mount St.

Though few people know its name, Novarupta was responsible for the largest eruption of the 20th century. Following are the edited responses of two more Alaska women scientists — Marti Miller, chief geologist at the U. Miller began work with the USGS in Holloway earned her doctorate in and has since taught classes, conducted research and has helped jump-start the specialty cut flower industry in Alaska. Neal is a volcano geologist who got her first full-time job with the U. Her work as a hazard specialist has taken her from Alaska to Nepal to Kazakhstan.

TN: Very few, but I think I have been quite fortunate to have had very supportive teachers,… read more Women in science on being women in science One woman listened as a male professor told her she should not go to graduate school because she would be depriving a man of an opportunity to support his family. Women scientists face unique challenges and sometimes find distinctive opportunities. LaBelle-Hamer earned her doctorate degree in space physics in , switched… read more A shelter for sea ice in a warmer world With the top of the world leaning back toward the sun, warmth is returning to the far north, where scientists observed in January and February new record lows in the extent of the giant jigsaw puzzle of sea ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean.

This reduction in size of the frozen platform habitat of polar bears and seals has a group of scientists thinking of the future. Scientists presented this idea at a press conference held during the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last December. They based their projection on computer models and their field observations. Prevailing winds stack up sea ice along shorelines in northern Canada and… read more Alaska dune yields oldest human remains of far north Last summer, archaeologist Ben Potter was supervising a group of researchers digging on an ancient sand dune above the Tanana River.

Potter, who had a field camp he needed to start at another site, was anxious to get through the last day of work at the dune. Two graduate students, Patrick Hall and Jill Baxter-McIntosh, were slowly moving earth with metal trowels in a layer of charcoal that suggested an ancient fire pit. Potter worked his way over to help and began exposing bone fragments that were different from the bones of fish and small mammals the students had found embedded throughout the site. The University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher recognized parts of a skull from a large mammal — possibly human — though he knew the chances of that were astronomically low.

Potter scraped the soil with the blade of his trowel. He heard a click. As he blew away tan silt as fine as flour, there was a human molar. When the time was right, she could dig up the fermented fowl and enjoy them. She admires the simpler, if smellier, way of doing things. There, the anthropologist studied a return to fermented food preparation. Native peoples of northern Russian and throughout the Arctic have for ages included some partially decomposed… read more Ravens roosting in Dumpster Central The ubiquitous Fairbanks raven is now even more so.

Dozens of the black birds are spending their evenings on the exterior structures of Fairbanks bookstores, pet shops, and in the garden centers of large box stores. They have been using these urban roosts for several years now, and seemed undisturbed by vehicles or people passing beneath them. The study found that a raven fitted with a backpack transmitter was flying 40 miles from the city to spend its evenings, and then flying 40 miles back at daybreak the next morning to gorge on the excesses of urbanites. Ravens have at times favored urban roosts in Fairbanks, but the current nightly congregation in… read more Rock redwoods in Sutton, stone bird tracks in Denali A few years ago, Chris Williams found a big tree on the grounds of an abandoned coal mine in Sutton, Alaska.

It was six feet in diameter, stood more than feet above the surrounding swamplands, and loved warm weather and steamy rain showers. The tree, a dawn redwood, died of unknown causes about 55 million years ago. While reading a journal article, he learned about fossilized leaves discovered in the Matanuska River valley by government geologists in the early s. Intrigued, a few years later he journeyed to Sutton, a small community between Palmer and Glennallen. He rushed outside to witness an event seven years in the making. His boots squeaking in the snow, Gantner put his arm around his wife, Kim Winges, with whom he had spent just three weeks in , and squinted into the black Alaska night.

As the snow-covered valley flashed white and a rocket taller than a house roared skyward, a few bundled-up bystanders cheered and watched its pinprick of light disappear into the night. Then, they scurried back inside to see if the rocket would perform its task as it arced for 15 minutes over northern Alaska. Using the rocket as a platform, Gantner was hoping to obtain an ultraviolet image of the Whirlpool Galaxy. Satellites and Earth-based telescopes have captured the galaxy in… read more Alaska's all-time cold record turns 40 At the northern fringe of the boreal forest, in a valley silent except for the occasional rumble of a truck on the Dalton Highway, an Alaska milestone came and went on January 23, The camp was there to house workers building the trans-Alaska pipeline; the weather observer worked for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, who collected the data for the National Weather Service.

The high temperature at Prospect Creek Camp on Jan. The warmest air people in Allakaket felt the next day was minus 66 degrees. January was also the last time the temperature dipped to minus 60 degrees in Fairbanks on the 18th , according to Rick Thoman, a weatherman with an archival memory who works at the Fairbanks office of the National Weather Service. Barrow lakes are getting greener. A student from the University of Texas at El Paso traveled to Barrow last summer to sample the vegetation from lakes and ponds outside town.

Christian Andresen compared his measurements with those done by scientists in the s. He found that aquatic plants in the lakes were both greener and more abundant than they were 40 years ago. Last March, guided by Alaska author and area resident Seth Kantner, Cynthia Dinwiddie of… read more Alaska glaciers help drive rise in sea level Geophysical Institute researcher Regine Hock and her colleague Valentina Radic have calculated that the rate of sea-level rise due to the meltwater from glaciers in Alaska and elsewhere will increase by as much as 60 percent by the year Many glaciers smaller than about five square kilometers — like those in the European Alps, New Zealand, Scandinavia and Glacier National Park in Montana — will disappear by the end of this century, said Radic, a researcher at the University of British Columbia and former graduate student at the Geophysical Institute.

She and Hock authored a paper on their meltwater calculations that appeared in Nature Geoscience on Jan. According to Radic and Hock, the contribution to rising sea level from melting glaciers outside the massive ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will grow by the end of the century to about 1. Barker, a researcher at Ohio State University, took a helicopter ride to a U-shaped valley that was home to a few musk oxen and ankle-high willows.

There, the warden led him to a dirty pile of roots and small gray logs. He and the warden gathered a few samples of the wood and then jumped on the helicopter after being on the ground less than one hour. On the ride back to his base camp, Barker felt the flush of discovery. They were looking for slashes of green light that represented Soviet Bear bombers loaded with nukes and headed southward from the pole. Those men were DEWliners: a group mostly comprised of civilians who had signed month contracts to work at radar sites that stretched across the Arctic like an electronic picket fence.

There were stations every 50 miles from the Aleutians to Greenland. The Distant Early Warning Line stations remained in a chain along 69 degrees north latitude even as they became somewhat obsolete after Russian development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Others are moldering on the muskeg of Canada and northern Alaska. Stacey Fritz has walked through more than one dozen DEW Line sites,… read more Bringing back seabirds to Alaska's Islands In , the Alaska Game Commission for some reason released marmots, furry creatures the size of under-exercised house cats, on a acre island between Kodiak and the Kenai Peninsula.

As the years went by and few servicemen stationed on Sud Island moved on, the marmots stayed. He liked the meat so much that he brought a few bunnies home with him. He released them on a acre island 12 miles from his home village, a place he liked to gather bird eggs. Long after the man stopped hunting them, the rabbits endured. Last year, the graduate student installed radio tags on a few dozen whitefish in a maze of lakes near Minto, Alaska.

Using a radio receiver, he followed some fish up the Chatanika River to where they spawned, but the location of about 40 others were a mystery. Washington Creek. No luck. Tatalina River. Upper Tolovana River. Not there, either. Then a biologist who has spent much of his career studying whitefish, Randy Brown of the U. Alpine slopes will be quieter, with less piercing whistles from the Alaska marmot. Caribou will find fewer patches of tasty lichen and other favorite foods.

This may be the Alaska of Or it may not. Karen Murphy and John Morton of the U. The team used data from Alaska weather stations to prime the best computer models representing climate. Right in front of oyster facility. Verena Gill was thrilled when this message appeared on her iPhone on a recent Saturday afternoon; it was the first use of a new iPhone application that allows people to report a beached marine mammal. Gill, a biologist who studies sea otters and other marine mammals in her job with the U.

Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, helped develop the free iPhone application. It allows anyone with an iPhone to report stranded whales, walruses, seals, sea lions and sea otters. People with the application on their cellphones can take photos of the dead or live animals and write a short description of the scene.

The photo records the latitude and longitude of the animal, and the application sends an email to a network of biologists, veterinarians and others who scramble into action to recover the animal or examine it at the site. That team includes people from National Marine… read more Burned Alaska may cause more burned Alaska The blackened scars that Alaska fires leave on the landscape may result in more lightning, more rain in some areas just downwind of the scars, and less rain farther away, according to two scientists.

The researchers used MM5, a computer model based at Penn State University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, to simulate conditions on the ground and in the air above it. The model told them that fire scars larger than , acres—about the space taken up by… read more Augustine Volcano as tsunami generator On Oct.

At the same time the air became black and foggy , and it began to thunder. Augustine Volcano, which erupted explosively at the beginning of , also erupted in But there was a dramatic difference. In , part of the mountain tumbled into the sea and caused a tsunami that crossed Cook Inlet and bounced back again.

Because the tsunami happened at low tide in an area with some of the largest tidal ranges on Earth, the sea rising 20 feet was almost the same as if high tide returned early. Walking around a knee-high volcanic boulder, Kaler flushed a plump little seabird. The bird bounced off a rock and disappeared into the fog. Kaler looked down and saw a turquoise egg in a shallow cup of tundra. The secretive little bird had become a symbol of species threatened by shrinking glaciers. The discovery was just the beginning for Kaler, a biologist who was studying a species of ptarmigan on the island for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

A few days later, they had survived a natural phenomenon that probably should have left them dead. When Tarr and Martin arrived in Yakutat, prospector A. Flenner was working as a carpenter there six years after the series of large earthquakes, the biggest being a magnitude 8 that happened on Sept. Flenner had been panning for gold in the area that day.

Larsen and colleagues discovered the surge—the sudden advance of part of the glacier—by checking the results of elevation-determining flights over the glacier in August and early September When a glacier like… read more Bitter weather may have wiped out reindeer Six thousand reindeer once lived on a remote island in the Bering Sea that was briefly their paradise.

In what has become a classic story of wildlife boom and bust, no reindeer live on St. Matthew Island now. Three scientists just looked back at the St. The story began in August , when the U. Coast Guard corralled 29 Nunivak Island reindeer on a barge and floated the animals north to St. Matthew Island, more than miles away and one of the most remote places in Alaska.

Coast Guard officials had earlier in the year placed a radio navigational system on the island, along with 19 men. The reindeer were intended as a roaming food source should the men be cut off from supply shipments. The men never shot a single reindeer; the Allies were winning the war, and the Coast Guard pulled its men from the island. They left the reindeer. This was a fine… read more News of the north, from San Francisco In mid-December , a few dozen Alaska scientists were part of the crowd that attended the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

I was there, too. During summer, the thawing northern coast is calving like a dirty glacier into the ocean. Northern Alaska is losing about 30 to 45 feet of land to the ocean each year between Point Barrow and Prudhoe Bay, the area Anderson studies. Now seems a good time to ponder the cold, white substance that covers Alaska most of the year. Snow forms high in the atmosphere with the help of particles, such as dust, volcanic ash or sea salt.


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These flecks serve as condensation nuclei—something for water vapor to cling to. Without these little particles, water vapor can remain unfrozen down to minus 40 degrees. The meeting between a supercooled cloud of water vapor and a sprinkling of dust often results in a snowstorm. Seeded with dust, supercooled water vapor turns into ice crystals. These ice crystals then latch onto surrounding molecules of water vapor as they float around within the cloud. As the crystals grow, parts break off and act as nuclei for other crystals.

As the crystals fall through warmer layers of air, they link up by the thousands to form snowflakes. By comparing air measurements in Barrow from the s to , scientists have found that pollution particles from factories in Russia and Eurasia have become fewer and fewer in the last 30 years. In recent years, he has noticed that the vistas have been much clearer from Fairbanks, and instrumentation in Barrow seems to back that up. In addition to small particles blown into the air during sandstorms, soldiers at the camps are breathing in tiny lead particles, probably the result of burned leaded fuel.

Every three weeks, Cahill receives in the mail samples coated with a sticky film that captures particles from the air at the Army camps. A few soldiers operate the air samplers for her, and she mails the clean films back with reindeer jerky and smoked salmon tucked in the boxes. Her study is a joint venture with the Army and Navy to see what soldiers are breathing in combat zones. There, outside the rocky border made by the terminal moraine of an ancient glacier, he found ground beneath the surface that has been frozen for many years.

Permafrost is soil or any other ground material that has remained frozen through the heat of at least two summers. Yoshikawa found no permafrost at the summit, where daytime ground temperatures reached degrees Fahrenheit, and then plunged to minus 23 degrees at night. A team of Alaskans is headed to Africa to try and find it. Mount Kilimanjaro is an ancient volcano that rises to 19, feet above sea level in Tanzania, Africa.

The mountain is closer to the equator than Fairbanks is to Anchorage, but it hosts a few disappearing glaciers and possibly the frozen ground you would encounter if you sunk a shovel into the tundra near Galbraith Lake. The molecules of fire-killed black spruce trees and tundra plants have wafted from a mushroom cloud on the Tanana Flats into the buildings on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

With three quiet fire years behind us, is a noticeable fire year. Lawrence Island, and more than Baranof Island. Akasofu, the former director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center, was known as an aurora expert for most of his career. Now, people are citing his opinions on global warming. That notion is contrary to the prediction of steadily increasing warmth made by members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unlike those scientists, Akasofu thinks natural forces affect climate much more than carbon dioxide, which warms the globe by trapping heat.

More than 16, scientists met there in December for the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The Harding Icefield capping the Kenai Peninsula, for example, has shrunk at the rate of about four feet a year recently, up from about two feet each year from … read more More talk of warming in San Francisco More than 16, scientists, a few dozen of them Alaskans, just gathered in San Francisco for the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

My bosses at the Geophysical Institute sent me down with them. Here are some of the items that made it into the notebook:. Sometimes, columns I write spur a few return notes. Cathy Cahill got a package in the mail last week from a desert on the other side of the world. In November, Pam Clark of the Army Research Lab in Adelphi, Maryland, asked Cahill if she could deploy a few air samplers at Army camps in Iraq, as part of an Army program to study the air in places where military members are stationed. Cahill enlisted a few soldiers to help her, and she is now sampling the air around the clock at two sites in Baghdad.

Her first batch of samples came to Alaska in the form of eight transparent slides that captured things floating in the air. The slides fit inside an… read more The Climate of Alaska hits bookstores If you like gardening, you might scratch Barrow off your list of places to live. Also, you would have trouble watering your plants there, especially in , when an Alaska-record low 1. In stark contrast, your broccoli would have needed an umbrella in Angoon on an October day in , when 15 inches of rain fell.

And you probably needed more than a shovel if you were driving through Thompson Pass at the end of December in , when more than five feet of snow fell in one day. On the bright side for Barrow, its citizens are gaining 15 minutes of sunlight every day right now, in early February, while Annette in Southeast Alaska gains just four minutes per day. And Barrow is also a great place to fly a kite; the town experiences calm conditions just one percent of the time. I know these things because I own a copy of The Climate of Alaska, a book… read more Lessons learned on an Arctic journey In my job as a science writer, I often sit in on lectures in which scientists describe their work.

Those talks range from informative to incomprehensible to me, at least , but sometimes they stand out because the scientist as human being emerges from behind the PowerPoint. Sturm studies snow for the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory out of Fort Wainwright, and he has had the confidence and credibility over the years to ask agencies to fund winter traverses that adventurers would drool over. It was a watershed moment of the two-hour radio program, broadcast nationally and made possible by UAF Summer Sessions.

Flatow was calling out the scientists, who are a thoughtful, cautious bunch by nature. In the near future, they might be able to ask the marijuana itself. Using a process called stable-isotope analysis, Alaska scientists have been working with law enforcement officials to trace marijuana to the area in which it grew. Matthew Wooller is one of those scientists. He runs the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where researchers break substances down to their chemical elements to learn where they came from. Wooller went to a conference in New Zealand a few years ago where a scientist lectured about using stable isotopes to track people and counterfeit money, to sniff out the source of explosions, and to find the sources of illegal drugs.

The talk inspired him. Marijuana is the most… read more Scientific journeys move smoothly across the North Traverses across the bumps of the frozen northern landscape are not easy, but two scientific teams I recently wrote about are cruising right along. University of Alaska Fairbanks permafrost scientist Kenji Yoshikawa and his partner Tohru Saito of the International Arctic Research Center zipped through a trip down the Yukon River with two snowmachines and three sleds.

They traveled from Manley Hot Springs to St. Along the way, they pulled off the trail for head-on passes with the top 10 Iditarod mushers near Eagle Island, and each put about miles on his snowmachine. Saito and Yoshikawa would drive between villages, sometimes in air as cold as minus 40, or along a river… read more A trans-Arctic snowmachine journey for science On a sunny day in mid-March, five men on snowmachines will pull out of a building on Fort Wainwright and ride down a snow ramp to the frozen Chena River.

After leaving Fairbanks on March 15, they will continue on for 45 days, when they will have ridden almost all the way to Hudson Bay in Canada. Matthew Sturm of the U. Before I die, I want to see the barrenlands. The plan for a trip was… read more Scientists aim at offering climate services Seasons are not what they once were in Alaska.

The extent of sea ice hugging the northern coastlines gets smaller every year. These changes affect Alaskans and people who work in Alaska, and a few scientists just received funding to make climate science user-friendly for those people. Here are some notes from the legal pad:. In September , a massive rock avalanche on a remote mountain peak registered on seismometers all over Alaska.

Earthquakes sometimes rattle steep mountains and cause avalanches, but no earthquake preceded the collapse on Mount Steller, located about 80 miles east of Cordova. A scientist may have found the trigger for the rock and snowslide that fell about 8, feet, sheared off a glacier on the way down, and spewed black rock that extended six miles from the mountain. A year after the event, Bruce Molnia, a glaciologist with the U. The station was broadcasting weather information to the Internet, and showed the current Teller wind speed was 24 miles per hour with gusts to Finstad bookmarked the Teller weather station on his laptop, and I felt a bolt of satisfaction.

For a few weeks in June and… read more Fairbanks scientists wired into erupting Augustine A snow-capped mountain miles away has busied up the new year for some Fairbanks scientists. After working the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, Jon Dehn hurried back into the office Tuesday morning when a seismologist called him to say Augustine Volcano was again rumbling.

On his computer, Dehn called up a NOAA weather satellite image that showed a hotspot at the 4,foot summit of the cone-shaped volcano. It looks a lot like a lake. At a recent science conference he showed a photo of the Devil Mountain Lakes maar, the largest one on Earth. The Seward Peninsula, home to Nome, Shishmaref, Elim and other towns and villages, seems an unlikely place for volcanoes. Unlike the Aleutian Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, or the Wrangell… read more fire season again oddly large Midwinter may seem an odd time to think back to midsummer, but was another extraordinary fire year in Alaska, and the stats are in.

Michael Richmond of the National Weather Service office in Fairbanks wrote a recent review of the fire year, during which Alaska lost more acreage to fire than it had in all but two of the preceding 50 years detailed Alaska fire records only go back to An area of Alaska larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island burned in , this after a chunk of acreage burned in that equaled the size of Vermont.

The 4. Weatherwise, why did so much of Alaska burn again in ? The snowfall levels over the winter in the Interior were close to average, which might make one… read more The physics of life at forty below A father wakes, rolls out of bed, and steps on cold carpet. He grabs a flashlight, and shines it outside the window. The thermometer reads 40 below zero, the only point at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales agree.

The red liquid within his thermometer is alcohol; mercury freezes at 38 below. His little boy wakes, dresses, and hands his father birch logs to add to the wood stove. The logs are heavy, cut last fall and not properly dried. The green wood contains almost 50 percent moisture, compared to about 30 percent in cured wood.

The logs hiss amid other burning logs. They give off no heat until the moisture is driven off. Outside, the car is plugged in. The father remembered the night before to activate the heating element that warms his antifreeze, which in turn keeps his motor oil just viscous enough to allow the pistons to move. Many scientists are studying Alaska. I just returned from the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco, a weeklong gathering of almost 12, scientists.

My notebook is heavy. I lighten it here:. That's a lot of humanity for a guy who just got off a plane from Fairbanks, but some of the conference rooms at the Moscone Center feel just like home. Images of Alaska show up on dozens of lecture-hall screens and glossy posters here, with more than presentations about Alaska. Here's some bits and pieces from my notebook:. When my wife returned from the store recently, I picked through the bags to see where our groceries came from. Of 15 food products with their origins identified, none were from Alaska. The closest was a package of vegetarian hot dogs that began life in Vancouver, BC, 1, miles away.

Bananas from Peru, which needed to ride in a heated car to survive the drive home from the store in Fairbanks, had traveled 6, miles. Our cheese came from Oregon, 1, miles away. The yogurt had moved 3, miles cross-country from New Hampshire. Not counting the mileage to and from distribution points, those 15 items combined to travel 39, miles to get to our home in Fairbanks a straight line around the planet is about 25, miles.

While not random—my wife buys mostly organic food—the survey showed a reality of Alaska life: most of our food moves… read more Ancient clues from a frozen forest Troy L. The spruce and birch trees of this forest were underground, sandwiched between layers of earth. Each tree was , years old.

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Geological Survey in At the time, the U. Loess, pronounced "luss," is silt produced from the grinding action of glaciers that has been picked up by winds and carried elsewhere. How old he didn't find out until 50 years later, after methods of… read more Bird brains stay alert while ducks sleep Camping on the bank of the Yukon River, I once saw three ducks floating downstream. Drifting with the current of the big river and spinning in circles when they hit an eddy, they looked like wooden decoys.

When a rock falling into the water scared them, the ducks started swimming, then flew off. I realized then the ducks had been napping as they bobbed down the river, but it's a good bet they weren't sleeping too soundly. Researchers have found that ducks and other birds sometimes sleep with one eye open. Niels Rattenborg, a sleep researcher at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, recently did a study in which he and coworkers filmed a row of mallards sleeping.

The birds on the both ends of the row--those that would be most vulnerable to predators--tended to keep their exposed eyes open while they slept. Mallards with ducks on both sides of them kept both eyes shut or didn't have a preference for which eye they kept open. While sleeping with one eye open, one… read more No hurricanes in Alaska, but Nome and other towns of Alaska's West Coast have taken the brunt of fall storms that churn up the Bering Sea before the protective cap of sea ice forms. In October and September , large storms brought high winds and storm surges—high water that causes flooding—into villages and towns.

The drillers sent core samples of rock to Fairbanks, where Florence Weber and Florence Collins, both geologists with the U. Geological Survey, noticed something odd. The samples, taken from an area where the surrounding rock was lying flat, were tilted upright. Some of the rocks were shattered. The strange rocks seemed vaguely familiar to Weber and Collins, two of the first women geologists in Alaska. Both recently had attended a field trip to Indiana to see an impact crater, the massive divot left behind after a meteorite hit the ground.

Looking at the pulverized rocks from the petroleum reserve, they thought the Navy diggers may have tapped into an impact crater on the North Slope. Weber and Collins followed their hunch and wrote a USGS paper on what has become known as Avak, the only impact crater confirmed in Alaska. The Avak… read more A century of agriculture in Alaska More than one hundred years ago, a man traveled north on a mission most people thought was ridiculous—to see if crops would grow in the frozen wasteland known as the Territory of Alaska.

That man, Charles C. The secretary of agriculture charged Georgeson with the task of finding if crops and farm animals could survive in the mysterious land acquired just 21 years earlier from the Russians. Georgeson was not a man easily discouraged. The experimental station site at which he landed in was in the middle of a swamp. Until he could clear and drain the land, he borrowed patches of land from Sitka settlers, as he explained in an interview in Sunset magazine in … read more If a mountain fell in the Alaska wilderness.

Jackie Caplan-Auerbach was checking earthquake activity at Alaska volcanoes from her Anchorage office on September 14th, a routine she performs every day at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, when she noticed a strange seismic signal on Mount Spurr. A large shock to the earth—not as abrupt as an earthquake—had happened somewhere in Alaska.

When Caplan-Auerbach saw the odd signal was even stronger on Mount Wrangell, she suspected there was a great avalanche somewhere in the restless corner of Alaska where the panhandle of Southeast meets the rest of the state. There was. A good chunk of Mount Steller, a razorback 10,foot peak about 80 miles east of Cordova, had collapsed onto Bering Glacier.

Rocks and ice from the mountain tumbled 8, vertical feet, spilling out in a chunky black delta that reached six miles from the mountain. That conversion was so quick she wondered if fish that fall apart faster have some advantage over fish that linger. A shorter lifespan appears to be a good strategy when bears are plucking your comrades from the water next to you, Carlson reported in Anchorage at a recent meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

Carlson spent parts of the last five summers in and around salmon streams that flow into Bristol Bay near Dillingham. Burns and two colleagues from Colorado were searching the western part of the Denali Fault in the Alaska Range for evidence of past earthquakes. After several days of shoveling dirt and heaving rocks, the geologists had found proof of a few ancient earthquakes that had torn the former ground surface.

They traveled to this remote alpine bench about 10 miles east of Cantwell to learn more about the fault, a line through the Alaska Range visible on maps and satellite images. When part of the fault ruptured in a whopping 7. The article has 20 coauthors, including four Alaska scientists.

Matthew Sturm of Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Fairbanks was one of a diverse group of scientists who gathered in Big Sky, Montana two years ago to ponder what the far north would look like if the summer ice cover of the Arctic Ocean disappears. Also at the meeting were oceanographers,… read more Taking a walk through time As I start a walk through time, the sun is shining in Fairbanks and a warm breeze touches my cheek.

There I bump into atmospheric scientist and curious person Glenn Shaw, who has just passed the panels going the other way. He walks on… read more Floating school on a warmer Arctic Ocean Igor Dmitrenko looks in wonder at satellite images of ice on top of the world these days.

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After more than a decade of trips to the Arctic Ocean north of Russia, he's noticed open water where icebreakers had to bash through in recent years. The lack of ice covering the southern Laptev Sea, above central Siberia on the map, means that Dmitrenko and 68 others might have easy passage on an icebreaker during a September voyage. An Alaska seabird his a citrus smell that may repel mosquitoes and ticks as effectively as store-bought repellants, an Alaska scientist has found.

Crested auklets nest by the thousands in old lava flows on Bering Sea islands. During the breeding season they give off a pungent citrus-like odor. Hector Douglas, a Ph. After his encounters with the odor, Douglas read a report about a bird that rubbed lime rinds in its feathers as a possible defense against lice. Some scientists think that such chemical defenses might be useful drugs and a new natural resource for Alaskans to tap.

They found new twigs of birch were more heavily encrusted with resin nodules the farther north they went. The lakes are long, thin, and point in the same direction, like salmon swimming upstream. Jon Pelletier studies geomorphology—the study of how landforms come to be—at the University of Arizona. He wrote a paper about the oriented arctic lakes that appeared in the June 30, issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research. Less than feet deep and ranging from puddle-size to more than 15 miles long, the parallel lakes on the North Slope cover an area about twice as large as Massachusetts.

Similar lakes exist in other northern places, like northern Canada and northern Russia. Ever since scientists first identified the quirky Alaska lakes in , they have had theories as to what shaped them. All of those shaggy, curly-horned beasts came from one group of muskoxen that survived a most remarkable journey in the s. In , no muskoxen existed in Alaska. Though the stocky, weatherproof creatures have survived in the Arctic since the last ice age, the last reports of muskoxen in Alaska came from the late s. As Peter Lent reported in his book Muskoxen and Their Hunters , a man named Henry Rapelle in visited a Native man living on the bank of the Yukon River who had the skull of a muskox.

That muskox was perhaps the last of the Alaska population. In May, , the U. Congress gave the U. Massive Alaska yellow-cedar trees contain natural preservatives that repel mosquitoes, kill ticks, and prevent diseases from attacking other trees. Alaska yellow-cedar has the strongest wood of any in the state, and grows on coastlines from Prince William Sound to northern California. Some think it may be warm winters and springs that are limiting snowfall accumulation, exposing shallow root systems to blasts of lethal cold air.

As the trees' cause of death is investigated, scientists have come up with an innovative way to utilize the dead trees. When Alaska yellow-cedars die, they often remain standing for more than a century. Rick Kelsey and Nick Panella are two scientists who are finding uses for the mass of dead trees, beyond lumber and firewood.

Kelsey, who works for the U. Forest Service in… read more Oil Spill Persists for Nearly 30 Years On a cold day in February , about 2, gallons of steaming Prudhoe Bay crude oil spilled over the snow and percolated into the frozen floor of a black spruce forest. Much of that oil spill remains today, even after a wildfire burned through the area last summer.

The oil spill that killed more than 40 black spruce trees and almost all the vegetation around them was no accident. Scientists with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory dumped the oil on the muskeg in both summer and winter that year to simulate what might happen if the soon-to-be-built trans-Alaska oil pipeline sprung a leak in a black spruce forest underlain by frozen soil, a common environment in Interior Alaska.

Some of Alaska's tiniest creatures may be getting larger, and a warmer climate might be the reason, according to a scientist from Israel. Yoram Yom-Tov of Tel Aviv University was in Fairbanks recently for a meeting on evolution that drew hundreds of his colleagues from all over the world. In his presentation, Yom-Tov said that the size of Alaska's masked shrews has "significantly increased" during the last 50 years. He makes that claim after comparing body length and weight measurements of more than 2, masked shrews in Alaska that are now in the University of Alaska Museum of the North's collection in Fairbanks.

The museum has skin, bones, and some frozen flesh of more than 86, mammals, including thousands of shrews. From his office in Tel Aviv, Yom-Tov was able to access the information about the masked shrews from the museum's website. He found that the shrews--so small they fit in the palm of… read more Warm Atlantic water heads north Late last summer, Igor Dmitrenko and a few other scientists returned to Alaska from the top of the world with information about an immense pulse of warm water that had entered the Arctic Ocean. The scientists believe the warm stream of Atlantic water visiting the Arctic might affect the entire planet.

Dmitrenko, a Russian oceanographer working in Alaska as a visiting scientist at the University of Alaska's International Arctic Research Center, was aboard a Russian icebreaker in September One of his tasks was to retrieve information from instruments anchored in the vast Arctic Ocean. The moorings, tethered to a plastic-coated metal line as thin as a pencil, record the temperature of ocean water at different depths as well as the water's salinity and ocean currents.

One of those instruments, located north of the Laptev Sea a few hundred miles off the coast of Siberia and about meters feet below the ocean… read more Ice dies, fire survives in Interior Alaska Summer left its mark on millions of acres of Alaska now scorched by fire and also in a place where few people will notice it—the shrinking surface of an Alaska Range glacier. Martin Truffer just returned from Black Rapids Glacier and found that it melted more in the summer of at five measurement points than it has since people began doing measurements on the glacier in Using satellites, Abdalati and other scientists determined that the west Greenland glacier sped up from about four miles per year during the first half of the 20th century to 10 miles per year during the last four years.

I am south of Osaka, Japan, riding seven miles above the ocean in a Boeing jet, returning home from a family vacation in Vietnam. An aircraft-tracking program on the seatback in front of me is displaying the wonder of a device that can carry more than people over the breadth of the Pacific Ocean. Powered by four huge engines, this plane weighs , pounds empty and is one-third heavier than that now, with more than 50, gallons of fuel in its tanks. During this trip, we will burn more than pounds of fuel for each of the passengers on board. The video display shows a map of Earth with a little plane making a red arc from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

The flat map suggests that a straight line across the Pacific is the short way, but the Earth is a sphere, and the pilots have chosen the most… read more Aleutian voyage for science on the Tiglax A few days ago, we were building a small shelter cabin for biologists on Buldir Island where they are studying the millions of seabirds that nest on that relative speck in a giant ocean. The day before that, we counted nests of the once-endangered Aleutian Canada goose on Nizki island.

During the past three weeks, I have been a volunteer for the refuge while gathering material to write about. Since my Alaska Airlines flight landed in Adak 20 days ago, I have traveled from there to the tip of the aleutians and back with the Tiglax crew and a dozen biologists, helping them set up camps, count birds, catch birds, and move some birds to a different island. During the next… read more The Physics of Slapshots and Mid-ice Collisions When two NHL hockey players collide, their pads and body tissues can absorb enough energy to power a watt light bulb for a minute and a half.

During the 60 minutes of a hockey game, players can burn 6, calories and lose up to 15 pounds. An amateur goalie, Hache has combined two of his passions in his book The Physics of Hockey. Friction at the contact points between surfaces is what slows most sports down, but the low friction coefficient of ice makes hockey players faster on their feet than the athletes of any other team sport.

These were two facts I learned at the recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, when about 10, scientists gathered to present their work and catch up on the research of others. During the last 50 years, glaciers on the summit of Mt. Shasta a few years ago to predict the expiration date of small glaciers on Mt. Instead, they found the glaciers had grown since , and the largest, Whitney Glacier, had advanced about one kilometer during that time.

Since most but not all Alaska glaciers are melting at a rapid rate, one might expect California glaciers to have disappeared long ago, but Howat explained that the state holds many small cirque glaciers in its high mountains. Amid thousands of topics ranging from hummingbird habitat to solar explosions were Alaska-related stories, many presented by the dozens of Alaska scientists in San Francisco.

Among the news:. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. If that doesn't sound like much, picture this: the ground at those two places will rise about one foot every 12 years. One hundred twenty years from now, those hills and shorelines will be 10 feet higher than they are today. Bays will become beaches. Beaches will become forests. Should climate warming continue, oceanfront property there has the security of rising more than 10 times faster than global sea level. To see the probable cause of this uplift, take a kayak trip through Glacier Bay.

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The deep fiords into which you dip your paddle were not there years ago, when a mass of ice-almost one mile thick in places-filled the entire bay out to Icy Strait. In , George Vancouver saw a wall of ice at the bay's mouth that looked like the calving face of Columbia Glacier. Donald J. Orth detailed the unbearable frequency of creeks, rivers, lakes and mountains with bear names in Alaska in the Dictionary of Alaska Place Names, with which I have become engrossed for the past few weeks.

Other overused animal names in Alaska include Moose, for at least 80 features; Beaver, with 64 geographic namesakes; and Sheep, with Most of these names made their way onto Alaska maps because locals were using them when explorers mapped the state. In the s, the U. Board on Geographic Names discouraged duplicate naming of features in the same state. This was about 80 years after homesick prospectors and other Alaskans named 27 California creeks, 16 Montana creeks, 15 Colorado creeks, nine Washington creeks, eight… read more Alaska is a Corruption, Mt.

One might think that five watersheds sharing the same name would cause confusion, but Alaska is a big place, and there seems to be room for a few repeats. Take Willow Creek for example. Alaska has 63 of them. Twenty-eight Alder creeks are scattered around the state. Spruce creeks flow in 22 different locations in Alaska, Cottonwoods in 19, and Birches in Prospectors and others who mistook spruces for Pines misnamed six creeks in Alaska.

Those who knew their dendrology named four creeks for Tamarack, two for Aspen, and one for Poplar. Fish and game were a handy reference for those faced with naming an Alaska stream. Larger… read more To Build an Intelligent Machine Sparky is a robot the size of a sandwich that roams the floor of an electronics shop in Fairbanks. Sparky swerves to avoid walls and backs up to get out of corners with no help whatsoever from the person who made him. Ruhkick and a team from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are entering a contest to build a vehicle that can find its way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

The U. The scientists also discovered that sister squirrels have slumber parties on cold nights and mother squirrels plan ahead for their pups' future. Stan Boutin, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, is the primary researcher on a project that has revealed the biology of one of the north's most plentiful mammals.

He and his coworkers, such as Andrew McAdam of the University of Alberta, know all of more than red squirrels in a one-kilometer-square patch of boreal forest between Haines Junction and Kluane Lake.

WO2004009768A2 - Viral vectors containing recombination sites - Google Patents

The oldest red squirrel in their study area lived to an age of nine. Most squirrels reached three or four years before they disappeared, usually as a meal for a goshawk, owl, or a… read more No Rest for the Denali Fault As Lissy Hennig set up a tripod on the flank of Panorama Mountain, I tried to feel the earth move beneath my feet.

In the week following the Denali Fault earthquake, the mountain had moved as much as it had in the two years prior, and scientists weren't sure why. Hennig's boss, Jeff Freymueller of the Geophysical Institute, wanted to find out more about the post-earthquake ground movement along the Denali Fault, so he sent Hennig down the Parks Highway with his tool of choice: global positioning system receivers. The GPS receivers Freymueller uses are sensitive enough to track the movement of Earth's plates, which creep along at the speed fingernails grow. Since the Denali Fault earthquake of Nov.

That's about times faster than before the earthquake. I wandered amid the mass of humanity in the Moscone Convention Center—equal to the population of Ketchikan—and heard some of the latest news in Earth and space sciences. Here's some scribblings from my notebook:. Geological Survey. At elevations above… read more The Latest News of the World The American Geophysical Union fall meeting brings together more than 8, scientists who study natural processes within and above Earth. The latest meeting just concluded after five days, hundreds of talks, and the swapping of thousands of business cards and email addresses.

Fresh from San Francisco, here's a sampling of the latest news of the world:. In years of record keeping, the year will be warmer than all but 12 years. The record hot year was , which averaged The average temperature for was also warmer than , at Rudolph's nose is red because of a parasitic infection. Resisting the urge to binge on chocolate could damage your resolve to complete projects.

Highfield reveals these and other holiday chestnuts in his book, The Physics of Christmas. Highfield, science editor at The Daily Telegraph in London, wrote articles of the science behind Christmas for more than a decade. In his book, Highfield also digs up the origins of our Christmas icons. Nicholas, inspiration for thousands of pillow-stuffed Santas in malls throughout America, was born around AD in the town of Patara, Turkey. As the legend goes, St. Nicholas's rich father died when Nicholas was a young man. Possessing more money than he could spend, Nicholas gave away much of the money anonymously.

He once saved three girls from a life of prostitution by giving their father money to pay their dowries. During a recent search, historians and scientists failed to find the plane using a clue discovered during an oil drilling survey. His goal was to reach New York City; the flight was a test in which Levanevsky hoped to prove the viability of commercial flights over the pole. He and five crewmen were to stop in Fairbanks and Chicago along the way, but they never reached Fairbanks. Shortly after Levanevsky disappeared, pilots in small planes searched from the Brooks Range to the North Pole without seeing anything that resembled a downed plane.

Emergency planners on the West Coast have always considered Alaska earthquakes the major source of killer waves, but researchers just found another threat. I'm headed to check it out if I can. Glad it's now going to become available here! Aggrieved might be the wrong word, as I am now afraid that if I don't attend it will be a mark against me due to the fact that I have been a vocal proponent of the idea and the event.

I guess I am afraid that my absence will be noted and perhaps held against me? This in turn makes me angry because by now, twenty-five years, into my tenure here, you would think I wouldn't have to worry about perceptions of loyalty and support for various library projects. I have enjoyed participating in this in the past and find the students and what they have to say about the books to be very interesting. Sometimes their opinion and mine are very far apart, but that makes it interesting.

In general, that is why I participate in book groups - I like to hear what other people have to say about books and make the connections to other titles that I have not read. A group often forces me to read things that I don't find interesting but with other groups I don't feel pressured to go along. I think the problem here is the deep connection to my job and if I don't participate it will be noticed. I agree with you about the use of dystopian novels being a vehicle for prompting discussion and the point about historical fiction is well taken.

Strangely, this is not a campus noted for the promoting of reading literature. The reading of nonfiction - yes. Literature - no. That is why this one program was something that I participated in and prodded other library employees to attend as well. It is just that I have zero interest in this title and didn't even when it first came out and the reviews were good.

You are correct. This is something I can let go of and I shouldn't have to worry about how my absence it interpreted. I can and should let this go. But as somebody said to me this morning, about a totally different matter, "you are two years away from retirement, you can get away with that. The rest of us can't. I don't want my superiors to perceive me as old and out-of-touch, let alone unengaged and uninterested in library projects. It might be the pressure to preform.

Even at this stage of my career. As an aside - I liked your defense of the dystopian novel. I don't feel that way about them myself. I like fantasy, but am not a particular fan of the dystopian novel. This is not a genre that I choose to read very often. To me they are so transparent that they are polemic. When I read Handmaid's Tale I thought to myself, Margaret Atwood, why didn't you just write a good essay on this subject? I get it that others don't think the same way and an essay on the subject wouldn't have reached the same audience.

In fact it would have probably limited the audience and never had the impact that the novel had. I read Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake for my book discussion group, even though it was not a title that I would have selected on my own. I thought it full of witticisms and puns that made me laugh, but I have not read another of the Mad Adam books, and probably won't.

It's unfortunate that ANYONE might feel obliged to attend an event like this -- although, that said, it's always fun now and then to push our boundaries a bit. Unless it's a book that is actively offensive or violates our ethical standards in some way, one book a year isn't a tremendous hardship. You may learn something or you may not. Still, there shouldn't be any consequences in NOT attending if someone makes a bona fide effort tackle the book and finds it not to their taste at all. I'd have the same reaction to a graphic novel. I know these have merit and are very popular, but I find them very difficult to read, physically.

So I might attend discussions, out of curiosity, but not read the book. There just always will be books that we don't want to read. And enthusiasm for a program shouldn't be conditional on enthusiasm for each specific book chosen. The organizers and everyone else should grasp that. You'll never achieve that, and if you want everyone to show up for everything, well it turns into a duty. Which is counterproductive. So much for my ramblings on the subject. I'm on a train, going home to Providence. Hooray for Providence! I just note that it's a sad thing when something intended for pleasure turns into an unhappy duty.

Reading The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. There's a whole tradition of "grief memoirs", but Nunez has managed to create a "grief novel" -- and it's eloquent modernism and quite compelling. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the short book You can't read this one rapidly. Hi Chatterbox! I have been a long time fan science fiction and, whether is call dystopia or Imperial or some or something else, there is theme of tyranny or subjugation that provokes a rebellion. Written for teens or adults, the subject usually will have the tyrannical leader or government deposed.

The question of whom is being subjugated, or why, can change over time, or even be cyclical. I don't know why I wrote all that but I did. Have a good day. In real life, it can be a little bit more difficult. We can slide slowly into repressive times, with people rationalizing each incremental move, or reluctantly accepting that it's in the "best interest" of the country or society.

And yes, I think you're right that there are cyclical trends in all this, as authors respond to what is happening in their world, or what alarms them the most. I'm beginning to think I'm completely out of sync with what other LT readers think of the same books I'm reading. I'm going to give it 4. Did other people read the same book?? It was clumsily plotted so much so that I could see "twists" coming from pages away and awkwardly written and yet the average rating was 4 stars.

I gave it 2. The characterization of the alleged evildoer was so exaggerated and undeveloped it was unbelievable. Finally, there was The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, which I loved, and which I think anyone who loves books about reading and animals would love: the narrator's friend has died, and she is lumbered with his Great Dane, who seems to embody his spirit. She slowly begins to feel for this grieving, immense animal what she once felt for her bosom friend.

Interwoven in the text is why she turns to the wordlessness of her bond with the animal -- her struggles with teaching and students. I found it compelling, in a modernist style that reminded me of Virginia Woolf's approach to exposition. Again, however, LT readers didn't seem to like or "get" what the novel was doing. I'm out of step with the world.

Which is fine - there is nothing wrong with wanting to read for escape or entertainment - but it means that if they read something that makes a Suzanne think hard and really engage with the text, then they might not respond positively to the read. I'm not explaining this well and don't mean to sound snotty or judgmental about other readers. I just tend to ignore aggregate ratings whether here or on Amazon or elsewhere because they are virtually meaningless to me as a reader.

I want to laugh when I read a review by someone who says that they had a hard time getting involved with a book and then it turns out that they were listening to it while sewing or driving or something, and then it makes a lot of sense. Some books just demand full attention and concentration. And my ratings of books are often out of sync with others on LT I have to say that I would be a little leery of starting a book that others had rated less than 3. Chatterbox and Katiekrug! Karen O. We can have no idea how others are coming to a book - are they distracted?

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Is this their first exposure to a particular author or genre? Are they familiar with, or even at least interested in, the context of, say, the Biafran war that informs Half of a Yellow Sun? I'm actually thinking of not assigning a numerical rating to my reads next year - not just for the reasons talked about here but because they are so "of the moment" that over time I find them somewhat misleading.

Somebody raved about it to me but I was totally turned off by the mediocre writing, the complete plot predictability and the ridiculous excuses the author used to lecture the reader. At one point a highly educated, cosmopolitan lawyer asks her client "what's a ghetto? Thank you all for bringing me back to my senses. I just have to realize that I'm a different kind of reader, and live with that reality! And not expect other people to understand what I see in books I like, and don't see in books that I dislike -- like overly simplistic, stupid ones.

I definitely understand the urge to read for escapism and guess what, I do it too! But even then, I want the writing to be good, or the plot to be intriguing and tricky and twisty enough for me to be engaged, and the characters to be intriguing. It doesn't have to all be uber-literary, like Sigrid Nunez.

A lot of the books I rate 3. For all that I am absolutely in favor of everyone having a right to an opinion, I am starting to worry that people will just steer clear of low-rated books. And since sometimes people will down-vote books on Amazon for reasons not related to the content it's about a subject on which they disagree with the author, or the author has said something on Twitter that they hated, for instance or rate the books mistakenly thinking they are rating the vendor bizarre but true But how many readers miss out on stuff that they might enjoy?

How many never even try to read something different? As is the name of some authors -- if they sound too "foreign" or unpronounceable. I overheard someone say that at the Athenaeum a few months ago and was left standing there, my jaw hanging open. I will keep rating my reads simply because it's a way of capturing my immediate reaction to a book that I read. That said, I have altered ratings when I've re-read a book and found it either better or less appealing on a second read. My chief concern with respect to books that are "of the moment" is that people become so obsessed with certain books -- The Goldfinch , say, or Lincoln in the Bardo or Manhattan Beach , that everything is about THAT book.

It's assumed that it is a work of great merit that will certainly endure. But that's what people thought of Quo Vadis , or the novels of Pearl Buck. And countless other books. I'm not going to argue that book A won't survive but that book B will -- who knows? Merely that when we obsess over book A, we lose the chance to think seriously and talk about books B, C, D, E, and so on.

So I'm wary of "off the moment" books, which I find may be good but that rarely live up to the hype. I enjoyed the George Saunders novel for his creativity, but once past that, I find that nothing that was SAID in the book has really stuck with me. Manhattan Beach was simply a much better-written version of the kind of suspenseful dramas that are a dime a dozen. Listen to me, Ms. Utterly unconvincing and a waste of good plot potential. At least with "ghetto", I picked up some trivia that I hadn't known before, should I ever make it onto Jeopardy and find that as a question -- that whatever origin of the word one chooses, it unquestionably derives from the Italian either for foundry, or for "little neighborhood.

The rest of the time, I wondered how this guy got the book published -- and then answered it for myself: combination of reader fascination with legal books and with Holocaust novels. Suzanne, as long as you're thinking about books, have you read Marguerite Duras's novel The Vice-Consul?

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If so, I'd love to hear what you think of it. I've just read it, after it languished many years on my shelf, but there's very little that I can find that is written about it in English. I found it quite consuming, but I'm not sure how to describe it to others. I'm sure I will be able to find a copy in the Athenaeum library and will check it out. I have already heard things that intrigue me about Duras, and I think her name came up in Nunez's novel.

I have been absent for a while due to traveling to Kansas to care for my ailing mother, but I enjoyed reading the comments about reading, rating, and quality of writing that I see today. I almost always rate books at a 3. Some lower but only a few higher. For me exceptional is a 4 and I can think of only a few that I have rated at 5. Most books I read are of only average quality. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy them, but most novels are average. I rarely look at Amazon reviews. That might be because I have access to reliable reviews from Publisher's Weekly or Booklist.

I rarely post reviews here on LT or anywhere else. I do write my opinion about books and will often post them in those, but I don't consider them to be book reviews. They are merely opinions. I read the threads and sometimes book bullets strike home, but even then I am cautious. I find that many of the reviews here on LT are like what librarians said about School Library Journal in the past. SLJ is a source for book reviews that can be found in many school libraries.

SLJ never met a book it didn't like, so it was hard to get a real comprehensive book review from that journal. That is not so true now. SLJ is much more objective in its book reviews now than it was in the past. From time-to-time I even see recommendations with the words like "if you already have books on this subject in your collection don't bother with making a purchase of this book. I avoid Holocaust novels because most of them are maudlin and don't deal with the real issues of the Holocaust. The nonfiction works are depressing and I just can't put myself through that emotionally any more.

I have already stated that I am tired of many of the dystopian novels and so don't want to spend my time reading them. Rarely do I find popular novels as wonderful as many readers say. I think experience makes many readers more critical and have higher expectations. If it's a book by a good author or one for which I have high expectations, well, it will be 4; if it's light reading -- chick lit, a so-so mystery writer, etc.

From there, a book can gain or lose points. This isn't scientific, by the way -- I'm not consciously thinking about ANY of this when I'm reading. But subconsciously, I'm kind of aware of which way things are going while I'm reading, so when I finish, it's not really that hard. I would say a knock-down 5 -- straightforward 5 -- is more rare than say, a 4.

Yes, I'll parse the ratings that finely! But most of what I read I expect will come in between 3. And anything north of 3. Coming closer to 3 and it's problematic, as I note up top I'm reserving judgment. It feels more a lecture led by a former Brown professor than a real group thus far. We started discussing Frankenstein. I'm listening to Bob Woodward's book about Trump, and will launch into the NetGalley of Frederick Forsyth's new book -- speaking of readable mindless books!

But my head has started to bang away again today, after having a bad time yesterday. Maybe early warning of the hurricane? Have to mention an Australian debut novel I read a couple of weeks ago, Boy swallows universe. Based partly on the author's own story, it's a great yarn. Dalton's a journalist at The Australian.


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  4. Both published this year. Yikes, 50 people! I read Frankenstein earlier this year and was happy to leave the book behind me. Yes, 50 people is far, far too many for any kind of reasonable discussion. It felt more like a discussion. I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy about it yet, as it feels more like a seminar than a discussion group -- and how can you have a discussion group with 50 people? But I did want to discuss chunky Victorian novels. For the sake of absurdity and, in relative conjunction with the dystopia, conversation, have you ever read any TV tie-in novels?

    If so, have you found any high quality writing? I just finished the latest by Frederick Forsyth, The Fox -- it's not out, but will be late this year. It's a far cry from the days when he turned out really complex thrillers; now they are just novels that get bogged down in exposition.

    Oh well. But Bob Woodward's "Fear" is excellent. I think he bends over backwards to be fair to Trump and to be reflective on why he behaves the way he does. Speaking of "Fear," at my library there are now requests for the book, 14 for the audio version. Yesterday, if you put a hold on the ebook, you'd wait a stupendous days today, it's only 19 days! I really want to read the book!

    I mentioned that fact to my husband, and he said, "well, you do have a birthday coming up Two excellent books. It moved me and touched me, without ever really toppling over into sentimentality. But it's about people, really, from "Square Joes" to "rounders". Highly recommended, if you can find a copy; Wagamese's last novel he died last year has just been published and it's on my TBR list. This one was 5 stars, for the writing, characters and the fact that I was so moved by it. Others may find it a bit too feel-goody, but Also and I'm cross-posting this with the non-fiction challenge thread , I have finished A World Ablaze by Craig Harline, a book that combines being a bio of Martin Luther during the critical early years of his theological revolution, and the entire context of the religious world in Europe at the time he hammered his theses to the door of that Wittenberg church.

    There was sooo much that I learned here that I had no idea of prior to this -- from the fact that nailing theses which would then be the basis for a kind of debate called a disputation on church doors was rather routine, and that not intended to be revolutionary or assertive or provocative behavior, to the fact that Luther himself hated the idea of people calling themselves "Lutheran" and insisted they should just call themselves "Christians", pointing out that he wasn't God's son, hadn't died on a cross, etc.

    Not I So, an excellent read, and definitely written for the general, interested reader. My only qualm is that with all the attention devoted to the evolution of his theological thinking to the Diet of Worms, and his excommunication, it's as if Luther himself isn't interesting enough to chronicle his later life in greater detail. I have to say I found him a more interesting and appealing individual than I expected, and the book is well worth it.

    I'm in NYC, and I used the last of my credit at the French language bookstore, Albertine, and spent a bit more besides. Oh well So, I took Molly-cat to the vet today to deal with what I suspected was probably some kind of unpleasant dental infection. She has a cancerous mass under her tongue. She has two to three months to live. I am sorry to hear about this. You have my sympathy. Oh, Suz, I'm so sorry. I've lost three cats to cancerous tumors one in the throat and they are nasty, nasty things. Make her last time as good as possible for the two of you. So perhaps there is a ray of hope. The vet said surgery is what he would do if Molly were his cat, so I'm going to at least give it a shot.

    Posting the link here, but please do NOT feel obliged to contribute. Just in case anyone wishes to. Though it does have a lovely pic of Molly-cat Molly goes to see the surgeon for an evaluation on Monday. She got her antibiotic shot today, but is distressed and uncomfortable. I think she feels this in her mouth more, and it's affecting her ability to drink but not eat, thankfully Best wishes for Molly and you.

    It is difficult to see a furkid in pain and feel helpless so I hope that you raise enough to cover her surgery. I'm sorry to hear about your cat. I hope the antibiotics make her feel a little more comfortable. So sorry to hear about Molly, Suzanne. Hope she gets her surgery and the two of you have significantly more time together.

    You've had far too much crappy stuff happen to you. Still waiting for the antibiotics to kick in. This clearly IS fast moving as already there are things she won't try eating or drinking that she would eagerly have tried only a week ago. The vet had said by tomorrow we should start seeing signs of improvement from the infection. It is so tough I did find a Lyft driver who will take us down to Greenwich RI tomorrow to the vet who I hope will do the surgery.

    Fingers and paws all crossed Well, I did. I'm trying to figure out how to get focused on work, and So, the vet is lined up to do the surgery, but poor Molly is having a tough time Very triggering, if you'll pardon my use of jargon That said, big kudos to Gay for ensuring that a wide range of experiences and perspectives are included -- female and male and trans; different kinds of assault or objectification, etc.

    The types of articles vary widely as well, from illustrated content a graphic non-novel Some new books came in to the Athenaeum for me, and I've been approved for some NetGalley and Edelweiss e-galleys, including the sequel to Margaret George's historical novel about Nero -- hurrah. While the next ten days will be very stressful, and I have some work to do, I would like to get more reading done.

    Molly-cat had her surgery on a quasi-emergency basis this week instead of next week, as she had started bleeding from the mouth and the lovely vet took pity on me. The cancer had NOT spread. For now, all looks good Such wonderful news about Molly. So happy that it was possible to get it done earlier than scheduled. Hope she makes a quick recovery with many happy days ahead of her. And what a relief for you!

    Go, Molly, go! Good news so far--keep it up. Hugs for both you and Suz. Now, someone needs to send out the vibes that will persuade Molly to come out from wherever she is hiding, terrified, so that I can give her her medication. She did sleep on the end of my bed last night, but vanished at dawn. She needs a painkiller and her steroids. She did this when we moved to Providence, so I am trying not to panic, but it's tough. That said, it also was noisy around here today.

    The landlord's staff banged out the wall in a hallway cupboard to get at a leaking pipe to replace it, which took five hours of drilling and banging and general traipsing back and forth. Even Fergus squeezed under the very low small Kashmiri octagonal wood table that serves as a de facto coffee table.

    Publikationen

    I thought he was going to get stuck there. Cassie just re-emerged from where SHE has been hiding all day. Sorry to see your cat has been ill but that's so amazing that you were able to raise the funds for the surgery. Hope she does well! Strategic timing in a bad way. I'm trusting that you found Molly, gave her the meds, and that you're all sleeping the sleep of the just tonight. Molly is indeed now sleeping at the end of my bed! Still not back to her old self, but that's not to be surprised. This is making me anxious and stressed beyond words.

    I am going to go and do my grocery shopping and hope that she re-emerges when I'm gone Molly is safely in her new cage, which is on top of my queen-sized bed, taking up about a third of the space. I suppose this officially means I'm a crazy cat lady. She is reconciled to it, now that she realizes that I am not planning to take her anywhere, and since the bottom has fleece blanket big and soft and my old t-shirts that smell like me. But she's still not eating much at all or drinking, though she tries a little.

    She got VERY excited about the smell of soft Blue treats -- as if they were catnip -- but not enough to actually open her mouth and trying eating them I had chopped them into miniscule bits first. Meanwhile, I can't read much because of horrible loud music yesterday at neighboring house finally cops dealt with it -- they retaliated by blasting songs by the Chipmunks for an hour, then took it down to a normal level and now a migraine today.

    This month -- wow. October HAS to be better. I'm glad you found Molly and have her safely stuck in a comfy cage so that you can give her medicine. I'm also glad that you were able to get the surgery, since I know there was a question about the price at first. I hope everything goes well from now on. Auden is my favorite poet. I love his cheeky earlier poems, his sublime middle period, and his late wranglings with difficult questions. Interestingly, he disavowed "September 1st, I hope Molly continues to recover. Waaaaay harsh. Your neighbors are v. So, I read Squeezed by Alissa Quart, and I should have been warned by the sub head: "why our families can't afford America.

    None are homeless veterans. None are childless couples. Nope, her only definition of a family is one with children. I guess you don't really suffer economically -- or you're not allowed to complain? Don't misunderstand me: I realize that trying to raise a child increases your economic burden significantly. But it also comes with some kinds of assistance not accessible to the childless, and to a willingness and sympathy not extended to the childless.

    She writes about discrimination against older workers -- but again, only in the context of parents of children, which is absurd, since for the most part those children have left the nest and aren't even in college any longer. It was exasperating, and left me frustrating with what could have been a thought-provoking book.

    I would have flung it at the wall, but it belonged to the Athenaeum. And since some very nice person at the Athenaeum has subsidized my membership for the next year, I'd better not hurt their books. It would not have happened otherwise. Molly is now out of her cage and doing fine.

    She has recovered her voice, and meows indignantly when she wants to sleep curled up against me and I want to move around. Or when she wants more treats, etc. She still has some discolored drool, but the vet thinks this is still likely to be normal post-op stuff. I am going to go hunker down alongside Molly-cat and read. I have LOTS to choose from!! It's not dissimilar to the kind of framing re: immigration that liberals do. I have long railed against the inequities of the definitions of "family. I am SO glad to hear that Molly has lost her lethargy and found her voice, Suz! That must be a huge relief.

    She is chirping and purring and meowing nonstop, looking up at me earnestly. I'm still too stupid to grasp what she's trying to say, though Do you know anything about Daughters of the Winter Queen? It's on sale today as an ebook. A fascinating story. A bit oversold, perhaps, as only two of those daughters really had compelling lives, but the overall family story -- it's through this line of descent that the Hanoverians and thus the current queen base their claim to the throne -- is intriguing and little know.

    I would go for it!! Oh, and you learn a fair amount about the Dutch Golden Age, the final spasms of the religious wars that led to the Treaty of Westphalia in and the foundation of the current nation state, etc. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes. Great to hear that Molly is doing so much better. Molly is doing a LOT better, but still have some discolored drool when she sleeps eg long periods, overnight. Nothing visible, and not as before, no odor, etc. But it's getting toward the point when it's a bit long to say hmm, this is still post-op.

    So I may have to do another vet visit. I am curious about your opinion. It was on our Teacher Ed Program reading list for several years. After reading it I can understand why. So happy that she got through it so well and hope that the next Vet appointment is routine. Please let us know about Gofund updates on NF Thread!

    I hope that you find that the discolored drool is not important. I'm glad to hear Molly is doing so well. By now, it felt slightly dated, and I kept wondering, well what has happened since this first was published about 20 years ago!! When it first was written, many of the Hmong had been there only a decade to 15 years, after long periods in refugee camps. How different is that? It's definitely a very balanced picture, though, and a brilliant example of how the best intentions on all sides completely failed a specific family; a reminder that communication is about language but about more than language, and that listening doesn't mean hearing.

    Intriguingly, across the park that is cater corner from my house is a Hmong church, catering to that part of the Hmong community deposited here in Providence. It made me more curious than I already was about this group. FWIW, I wasn't unfamiliar with the Hmong; I first encountered them as "Meo" on my first visit to Thailand in , when they were being exploited by Thai tourist companies. Nonetheless, it was clear that they had their own world in their villages and despised the Thais. For a long time I owned a beautiful jacket that I bought there -- black with panels of embroidery covering everything except the upper arms.

    I thought it would break even, but not after the meds. STILL some discolored drool, which means I'll have to fund trips to and from the vet and another vet appointment in the next week or so. I just added up my income for this year and it's less than I have ever earned in my life, including when I was in grad school.

    It's terrifying. I pursue opportunities and they evaporate. And of course, the migraines aren't helping. Still no sign of the trial doses of Aimovig. Sorry, I'm venting I am getting approved for several good books at least, I hope they will be!! Can't figure out a way to go to this year's Midwinter, as it's in Seattle. Can afford the airfare, if I scrimp and buy a ticket soon, but not 3 or 4 nights in a hotel, even shared.

    I think the cost of entertaining my father will eat up that part of my budget. I have books to read -- include the NetGalley version of Andrew Roberts' new Churchill bio, which clocks in at 1, pages. I really hope that includes lots of pages of notes and appendixes, etc. Penguin sent me, unsolicited, a hard copy of Johanna Basford's new coloring book, with lots of flowers!! So there will be lots of fun there, while I listen to audiobooks. This also has been kicking around for a while -- his view of today's Putin-esque Russia, told through his eyes and encounters with a very intriguing assortment of characters, ranging from women trying to exploit the new rich men hey, it's a career to women who find themselves in jail when those men run afoul of Putin and escape to the west, leaving the book keepers and accountants usually women to pay for their "sins".

    Also the portrayal of a woman whose business was made illegal overnight, when trading in industrial chemicals was redefined as drug dealing. A glimpse into a kind of surreal world It really captures the historical setting and the character -- a scholar, disgraced and wandering, then brought back to Beijing in this third book -- is compelling. She really gets inside the mindset of the era, to the extent that someone who isn't Chinese and not a scholar, can in a work of fiction, while still making the book readable.

    Read these, if you are a mystery lover! I taught school in Southwest Kansas for 6 years and the Hmong were the second largest ethnic group to work in the huge beef packing plants located out there. It was in that area that I first became acquainted with Vietnamese food. Pho shops were popular in Garden City, Kansas long before it hit the East Coast The group was large enough that signs in the local hospitals were written in three languages, English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

    At the time the Hmong were classed as Vietnamese because they had come as a result of that war. I don't think the locals thought that the Hmong were a separate ethnic group. They just saw them as Vietnamese. Nowadays the second largest ethnic group in Garden City are Somalis who work in the packing plants.

    Anyway, I read the Wikipedia article about the Hmong to get an update on what they are doing now, and it turns out that Merced, California and in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area are still the places with the greatest Hmong concentration. The article did say that the Hmong tend to have low rates of college graduation and that for girls there is still a very low high school graduation rate. In many ways it was still a depressing picture that was painted. I finished How To Be Safe this morning. I suspect that the Hmong here might be doing better, but a that's just based on me getting a glimpse of some quite nice cars by the church and b a subset -- Christian converts -- that may not represent the mainstream.

    And yes, these are hill tribes that exist in Vietnam and southern China and Thailand -- but their first language is their variant of Hmong. Mind you, there are lessons in this book for how we interact with ANY immigrant group that comes from a very different background, especially since you mention Somalis in many parts of the world someone's tribe may be more significant than their nominal nationality. I was urging it on another friend of mine today He had a hair-raising tale about his grandfather's escape from Vietnam I guess , swimming across a river in a hail of bullets to safer territory.

    I'm reminded yet again of how complacent I am in my privileged little world. And yes, there are descriptions of that escape route here. It has always amazed me that here in the US, we have people from all over the world, who have had or their immediate families have had such incredible personal stories of endurance and survival, encounters with all the major geopolitical events of the 20th and now 21st century. And yet we are, without a doubt, the most ignorant country when it comes to those peoples and events. I just finished reading Notes From a Foreign Country by Suzy Hansen sigh, touchstone still not working , a reporter who moved to Istanbul a decade ago and realizes gasp how naive, simplistic and foolish her preconceptions of Turkey, the Middle East and the Muslim world had been.

    That's the basis for the entire book. I've reviewed it, so search her name and it should pop up, sorry about the touchstone. Her observations are trenchant, but she NEVER seems to enquire about the "why" of it: she assumes Americans are incurious at least, that's my takeaway , which I think is flawed or simplistic. And because of her inability to wrestle with the "why", her personal epiphanies are painful to read about.

    But you could go to places in Central America and see that, or encounter different ways of thinking about all this. You should be curious; you should be interested; you shouldn't be rabidly patriotic without understanding the impact of your patriotism on others eg, understand how Iranians, too, can be patriotic even if they aren't totalitarian or ultra-religious, and that that patriotism was squashed by the Brits and Americans in the s when the shah's regime was forcibly imposed on them, supported by US-trained torturers of SAVAK -- it explains a lot about our "clash of patriotisms.

    OK, I have another migraine so it's back to listening to mindless stuff on audiobooks. I've added Jade Dragon Mountain to my wishlist, sounds like a great series. I've searched in vain for an online version of the essay Fadiman wrote for the 15th anniversary edition of The Spirit Catches You She discusses how much has changed in the area and for the family since the book was written. My own copy is a paperback I bought back in the 90s, shortly after it was published, always meaning to read it Hope you like the Li Du mysteries!!

    So, with a migraine I have been listening to audiobooks from my free trial one month and then I will cancel it There's relatively little on there that I'm interested in -- they include several Georgette Heyer books, but not all of them, and many of the ones they DO include are the abridged versions, which is VERY annoying. There are some books by Jill Mansell, some of which I read 15 or more years ago, but will "re-listen" to for free if I'm headachy between now and November It's freezing cold here today.

    In 14 years, that's a first. Time to turn up the thermostat. I'm not too impressed by the Romance Package at Audible, either. My sister-in-law loves the Kindle romance package, but I haven't even looked at that one. I love the Li Du mysteries, although the second one was the weakest. And Lady Chen is back in this one! I'm glad the mentor subplot was resolved. That sets Li Du and the author free. It seems like Molly's cancer has come back -- already. We are all going to the vet on Saturday afternoon.

    I am heartbroken. I had been really hoping that the discolored drool was just some kind of post-operative symptom, but on the phone with the vet, he thinks almost certainly not. Antibiotics to control infection; steroids to manage the growth of the the tumor, inflammation and pain. Basically, palliative care. She is curled up right next to me, like a velcro kitty attached to my side. I have told her that in a few weeks, she'll be able to go and see her beloved Jasper, who we lost to diabetes six years ago.

    The picture on my profile page is of the two of them; Jasper being the tuxedo kitty kind of bemused and upside down after Molly knocked him over; Molly being the beautiful pastel tortie on top of him I wish they would come up with an Audible Mystery package!! The problem is that I don't read too many mysteries, just some books that end up being defined as such. And great point about Li Du being "set free" -- literally he now gets to choose his investigations!! That said, I did like his mentor's family as characters and hope they make guest appearances; ditto the Lady Chen, who is FAB.

    Oh, Suzanne, I could weep for you and Molly. That's just totally unfair. I wish for magic words, and there are none. As to ignorance of the world, yes. I'm sure you read Beyond the Beautiful Forevers still no Touchstones that explores the slums on the airport road that you encountered at a young age. I have some experience from living in this very poor county.

    When I spent a couple of summers at home after college, I visited the children in the reading program where I worked. The worst I saw was a house built on the dirt - no foundation, no floor - with cardboard in the windows. My coworker, just home from the Navaho reservation had not seen worse there. These are the folks who have once again been flooded out. I have ordered the first Li Du, so I'm looking forward to its arrival. I do hope you're feeling better. Know that you did all you could and love on little Molly as long as you can.

    Oh man. I was hoping that Molly would make a full recovery! I am very sad, but will focus on making Molly's last weeks as good as possible. It will be very hard to make this decision, as this won't affect her overall wellbeing -- she won't lose weight, or even necessarily lose energy, for a while -- but her quality of life will deteriorate slowly.

    I wanted her to live to celebrate her 17th birthday next year. I'm so sorry, Chatterbox, I know how deeply those felines can embed themselves in one's heart. Molly will know she is loved, and she will continue to get such comfort from being close to you. Adding to the weirdness of life Got an e-mail this morning from my father's oldest friend. He is a retired physician a former gastroenterologist, but a good doc for all kinds of things. He was e-mailing me assuming that I knew that my father -- who arrives in Boston tomorrow evening from Mexico -- had suffered a TIA a few weeks ago, and that when they talked on the phone yesterday, Grant friend thought it sounded as if it was a little more serious than a TIA, that he wasn't speaking easily or fluently, had a monotone voice, etc.

    Reading between the lines, I think Grant believes my father had a minor stroke. So, they will be in Boston for six days and then here in Providence for four days. And my father didn't tell me about ANY of this. He is traveling with his latest female companion, Ellen. Aren't Fridays supposed to be calm?? Tomorrow is vet day for Molly-cat, so that she can get an antibiotic injection. If you haven't read it yet, this is your chance!! It probably will be my best novel of So sorry about Molly.

    We were hoping our combined efforts and wishes would do the trick for both of you. And thanks for the book alert. Snagged it. So sorry about Molly-cat, Suzanne. And can appreciate your frustrations about your father not keeping you informed. Molly-cat certainly doesn't feel loved when I squirt liquid Prednisone down her throat -- she splutters and then gives me the evil eye. If they could have worked as intended, Molly would have lived to be 27, I suspect. My father is insisting on making this trip even though I can tell he is not well.

    I am very anxious about this. Thank heavens Ellen will be traveling with him. This, combined with Molly, is more than I feel able to cope with at the moment. I fear that I'd have trouble coping with a father and Molly at once any time at all. Courage, friend, and patience and love to you! Sending comfort to you and your Beautiful Cat Family.

    Thank you all, for your kind words and support. Molly and I went to the vet this afternoon, and as a result I am the evil demon human who shoved her into a carrier and subjected her to great humiliation. The upshot? Perhaps a month to go before the tumor growing on the site of the incision is too bad for us to manage the discomfort and for her to eat and drink. The vet gave me an Rx for pain meds as well as the steroids. More later, when I feel up to it. Well, my father is NOT coming. My Spidey sense telling me something was amiss definitely was correct.

    I'm just relieved that he sounds OK now -- I talked to him on the phone -- and that it didn't happen mid-air, forcing the plane to land somewhere in Texas or wherever. I just knew that this was a bad idea, but he was so determined to do it Without surgery to "debulk" it, without chemo or radiation to shrink it, it will simply grow to the point that she can't eat or drink.

    At that point, she would eat, using her mouth and teeth, but not drink. I can give sub-cutaneous fluids when that happens, but once she no longer eats, then there's no point in maintaining food AND liquids artificially, knowing that the tumor is growing to fill more of her mouth. It also will become more difficult to manage pain and discomfort.

    At that stage, it would be a matter of keeping her alive for my sake and not for hers. Knowing that this isn't treatable, or a long-term condition to be managed like diabetes or renal failure or Cassie's IBD, is very hard to cope with, but it is what it is. And there is no way I will put her through more procedures, much less chemo or radiation, to address this. I'm sorry about your father, Suzanne, and sad about your lovely Molly. However much it hurts, we can at least do better by our animals than we can by our humans. Love her while you have her and love her enough to let her go - that's what you're doing.

    Yes, I'm regressing to early childhood, but my, how I loved those books. Comfort food for the brain. I reread the Paddington books every two-three years. I love them. I don't think we ever get too old for children's books. It suggests that the boy king in question is Edward VI, but actually it's Henry VI, the son of the victor of Agincourt, who is born on the 10th birthday of the narrator, the son of a knight who died at Agincourt and heir to a barony, but whose family is impoverished. It's a great adventure story of how the young king's life becomes entangled with that of this older boy, and takes the reader right up to the king's marriage to Marguerite d'Anjou.

    Hugs to Molly cat. She is currently snoozing on the armchair across the way, guarded by Cassie, snoozing on the ottoman. Yes, I'm relieved my father isn't coming. I'm overwhelmed right now. Sorry to hear about Molly! And about your dad's TIA. Life is so stressful right now! Ways to Hide in Winter by Sarah St.

    Psychotopia by R. The Hiding Place by C. Suzanne, I am so sorry to hear about your precious Molly. I know you will give her lots of love as long as you can and do the right thing when she is in pain. We recently lost our Labrador Retriever and are trying to get used to an empty house. That's too bad about your father's visit, but he definitely doesn't need to be on a long airplane trip at this point in time.

    It sounds like life is particularly difficult for you now. Paddington Bear sounds like good compny.

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