From time to time I’ll add hyperlinks to items of interest to me and maybe to you. I’ll try to give the link a descriptive title and summarize its significance. These links may relate to my writing at the time, be fodder for new directions, or just be interesting. The latest links are at the end of the page. Obviously, this list may become unwieldy. I’ll divide the links into separate pages at that point.

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All I can say is don’t fall asleep when you do this, titled: A Summer Night’s Dream. The fireflies are remarkable for their number and dance. I doubt it was one very busy fly.

Some serious clouds, titled: Mammatus Clouds Over Olympic Valley. These other clouds are serious too and are believed to be a new cloud type as of 2009.

Lest we forget, others have their ground zero; the novel Black Rain tells a poignant tale of love and loss centered on this one.

Picturesque and mysterious, sun pillars are more common than we realize. They form when the sun’s rays reflect off ice crystals in the atmosphere and into our eyes.

The National Gallery has some gems: Thomas Cole’s the Voyage of Life, Monet‘s Houses of Parliament, and Rembrandt‘s Self Portrait.

Washington DC has squirrels. More squirrels than I had seen in years. Turns out the park by my hotel was rife with the things. One of THEM seemed to want to give me something (a peanut?) and kept approaching until I shooed it away. I guess there really is such a thing as too much squirrel!

This link is older, but I need to add something this week (how mercenary).  Some would say this photo is a study of gold, deep red and purple. My inner ‘defense worker’ says it is the aftermath of a run by purple bombers, the golden and red blasts blooming over the forest canopy.

The flashes of light in the cloud banks, first to the right and then to the left towards the middle of this video, are lightning strikes. At least the International Space Station serves one useful purpose.

This sunrise is believed to be real (the photographer saw it with his eyes). The phenomenon is believed to be clouds and a surface mirage. Striking in any event.

I guess these things never get old. They are intrinsically very old, ancient in fact. However, from my perspective, these are “worked examples” of homework past. Of course, the reality of the matter is that this Einstein lens truly is reality wrought in matter.

This video is not an artist’s conception but actual recorded imagery stitched together in time. The last few frames show the Milky Way’s central black hole ingesting a gaseous plume that wandered too close.

I like these songs not so much for their slick production values and sharp lyrics but for their authenticity. A band that will someday be very well-known wrote: Don’t, This Way, a sad picture of loss;  Bottom Line, where peace of heart is better than peace of mind; I Could Laugh, but it’s not funny, no; and Tattoo, if you say I’m written on your soul then write me on your skin.

I use these pages: BibleGateway and Westminster Confession of Faith. If you want to know our underlying philosophy, these are the links to consult. The first is immensely useful for research. The second is the clearest expression of sound doctrine I have found. What is important above all is to gain skill for living. Everything else is secondary.

Interesting website if you’d like to see a message of your choice up in lights, really big lights. Granted, it might be a little fuzzy. Be sure to check out the website link labeled “What’s this all about?“.

Haven’t done this in a while. Ran across Wired’s collection of space pictures. A little less sciency than APOD; but cross-pollinated, for sure.

A little conflicted over this one. Here’s a vertical take-off vertical landing trial by private developer SpaceX. Better than the government’s Delta Clipper Experimental that crashed and burned. But, we have bigger problems than space flight that only Gates and Bono seem to be tackling in a big way. You can’t take it with you so give back to the society at large.

As humans, we have an amazing ability to “see” faces in random scenes (clouds, toast, cinnamon buns, fractured ceramics, etc.). The ability probably stems from the way our brains process faces just after we’re born. Turns out we can model this ability with computers. Computer vision is a burgeoning field. Used more and more to track customers, citizens, and perpetrators alike. It’s a little unnerving to realize that computers can “see” faces in cinnamon buns just like we do. What “mistakes” are waiting to happen?

On the topic of clouds, it was surprising to see that there is a “cloud appreciation society.” APOD also seems to be in on this trend. These make me pine for a “people appreciation society.”

The right hand side of the sun (in dramatic, if false, color) seems to have a purplish door in it. You could call it a ‘door into summer’. But, it’s really a window through which the solar wind escapes the sun to blow throughout the solar system and beyond. The round spot on the left hand side is Venus. The NASA caption suggests this is a Venusian annular eclipse of the sun. Sort of.

We’ve considered the brain and it’s relation to the soul as a theme for our next book A Digital Carol. We happened on this site that summarizes science’s current understanding of brain function from a student’s perspective (i.e., how to study better, etc.). A very cool way to teach neurobiology.

Also ran into a TED talk by Angela Duckworth, MacArthur fellow and psychologist. She maintains that grit and determination is more important than IQ in the long-term.

Just in case you wondered how the kettle got its whistle, they’ve figured it out at Cambridge. I’m not sure what was so difficult to figure out. Everyone knows (kidding) it’s simply chaotic vortex shedding through a confined orifice. Turns out, it’s the proof that’s hard.

On architecture, look at the plans for Amazon’s new Seattle office facility. Futuristic. Now, if only they could predict what I really want to buy next…

Vimeo features this romantic (?) view of NYC created by Alix A.K.A L’intrépide. Beautiful, I’m homesick.

Rambled into the Flickr photostream of Ed Yourdon. His high dynamic Range (HDR) shots of NYC are striking. He happens to have developed key structured and object-oriented system design and analysis methods.

A Vimeo video of murmuration caught my eye. Please excuse the narration. And another video on Yosemite, this time.

Recently listened to Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Jonathan Edwards’ sermon (July 8, 1741) is long, unemotional, but deeply unsettling in its power to evince understanding of our predicament.

How much science is there? But some of it is gibberish (no, really gibberish).

Talk to your children before it’s too late: Early language and the brain.

What is our music coming to? Pomplamoose (Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn) have out done Trans-Siberian Orchestra (?) in efficiency, cost, and immediacy. Have they made MP3’s obsolete with their VideoSongs. If so, what now, MP4s? But will they be $0.99?

Just more reminders of the power and grandeur of creation. Right click on the images to see them at full size. The galaxy image has especially impressive details.

In my research for the forthcoming book, China Dream, I happened across the following presentation. This is a very large package (46 MB). I recommend saving the target to your to desktop. Sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and conducted by Georgetown University using unclassified sources, viewgraphs 332 and 347 caught my eye. Interesting to say the least.

June 5, 2014 is the twenty fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen crisis and Tank Man’s brave stand down of a tank division.

Check out: Full Moon Silhouettes – Mark Gee. It’s real-time so a little pokey. Pretty scene and background music, though.

Aerial Drone Captures Scale of Hong Kong Protests, Published September 29, 2014, WSJ. What is there to say?

Surprisingly musical. LHChamber Music, performs a score based on the sonification of data recorded by the 4 detectors (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb) during the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) run 2010-2013. Published on Sep 29, 2014, an experimental piece and an “experimental” ensemble for the 60th CERN Anniversary.

An interesting, but chilling perspective on recent cyber-attacks on US commercial interests.

Some disassembly required: why we’re saving old nuclear weapons cores intact. Can you spell Chelyabinsk? Maybe we’ll need oilmen.

Why Do Clouds Stay Up? video from It’s Okay To Be Smart.

NASA YouTube video explaining the October 24, 2014 partial solar eclipse.

Many photos of the October 24, 2014 partial solar eclipse

Really nice view of NYC, $95 Million View: Inside NYC’s Tallest Apartment.

Time lapse video of many, many hot air balloons.

Fascinating video: SOARING from Ole C. Salomonsen, Creative Commons License 3.0 Unported: Attribution, NonCommercial, NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) All Audiences. SOARING depicts the northern lights from late August to mid November in and around the city of Tromsø and the island of Senja.

Drone videos in 2014 at Quartz. If you have a subscription, here’s WSJ’s Year in Photos.

Fredrick Wilson II on Fox News.

Fanatics fear cartoonists – “I don’t set out to laugh at people’s beliefs. I will mock the Church and vicars, but that doesn’t mean I’m knocking people who are devout Christians — I’m laughing at the abuse of religion, not the faith itself.”

Egyptian President Al-Sisi’s message: “We need to revolutionize our religion…religious discourse that is in keeping with its times…the Islamic nation is being torn apart and destroyed” by extremism. Excerpts in WSJ. Excerpts from MEMRI.

This is how freedom is killed off. Little by little, piece by piece: LITTLEJOHN: “Every time there’s another atrocity, the authorities cede more ground to the terrorists…This is how freedom dies. Little by little, piece by piece.”

Clayton Christensen on Democracy and Religion.

Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail – an excerpt:

“…We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands…”

Condensed; In full; and annotated in full.

Heather Mac Donald – A Tale of Two Very Different Cities – an excerpt:

Over the years, I have heard the following requests and many more like them in police community meetings in inner-city New York: “There are youths congregating on my stoop, can’t you arrest them for loitering?” (from an elderly black woman in Central Harlem); …An elderly cancer amputee in the Mount Hope section of the South Bronx will only go to her lobby to pick up her mail when she sees police around; otherwise, she is terrified of the youth trespassing in her lobby.

Broken Windows critics have never answered the question: What are the police supposed to do when they hear such complaints? Should they ignore these heartfelt requests for public order because broken windows policing allegedly “stigmatizes…black and Hispanic men who end up…burdened with fines and arrest records”? Should the police tell that elderly woman in Central Harlem, now the proud owner of her newly converted co-op, to deal with the teens on her stoop herself? …Should that cancer amputee simply cede her lobby to the marijuana-smoking, trespassing youth?

For decades, the main complaint about urban police departments was that they ignored crime in minority neighborhoods. Today, the NYPD focuses intensely on the most crime-ridden areas of the city, determined to free their residents from fear. And the main source of fear in these neighborhoods is public disorder, which signals that informal social controls have broken down, paving the way for more violent forms of lawlessness. Not every misdemeanor offense requires an arrest; sometimes a warning will suffice. But until the opponents of Broken Windows policing can persuade the law-abiding poor that public order doesn’t matter, NYPD commanders will rightly respond to their fervent desire for safe, orderly public spaces.

Links: WSJ’s short answer: White House Drone Crash Highlights Emerging Threat

SpaceX – Close, but no cigar. This time.

But privately funded space craft are getting better. Recently, Amazon’s Blue Origin suborbital craft demonstrated emergency capsule separation and booster landing. SpaceX provides ISS resupply missions, successful capsule returns, and spectacular prelaunch explosions. These pioneers still dream of escaping Earth’s future.

The Choir has been touring and recording since 1984. I find their title: “What You think I Am” striking for both musicality and lyrics. The song is from their DVD, “Live and On The Wing in Music City.” Their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and home page provide further access to their history and music.

During the last election season, Sam Phillips’ rendition of “Gimme Some Truth,” a cover of John Lennon’s original, from her album “Martinis & Bikinis,” said it all. And here is her latest album: “Human Contact Is Never Easy

More to come.