5 Interesting Links for 06-23-2017

Regeneration (Animals)

Research into salamander regeneration may open opportunities for triggering human regeneration, but the mechanisms are still not understood.

Anthropology (Interesting People)

A fascinating biographical account of a self-taught Victorian anthropologist whose attitudes toward the cultures she studied is enlightened for her time and ours. Continue reading

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The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth MayThis is the end of a trilogy and I have not read the prior two books, but as a sign of the skillful writing, what I didn’t know could be drawn from context or what is spoken by the characters. I never felt frustrated because of what I didn’t know. The author does a good job revealing information as necessary and often through the renewed conflicts between the characters. It doesn’t hurt that the story begins with Aileana reborn without her memories. We learn not just what’s important now, but also what had been important to her before alongside Aileana herself.

I was enthralled first by Aileana’s voice, despite the ignorance, and then by the story itself as a dark tale unfolded that explores the limits of personality and costs of hatred. It shows as much as tells about the stains that twist a soul, whether immortal or human, and the fight against this decline into darkness. It does become very dark to the point that even I lost hope for a bit, driven in part by events that brought tears to my eyes. Continue reading

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Creativity Challenge: The Starting Point, Part 2

If you missed the beginning of this creativity challenge, take a moment right now to pop over there and do the first part. It’s a simple guess, and the answer is coming next, so you might as well try your hand. Feel free to do the second as well, whether coming to this post when it’s new or later. There’s no time limit on participation and no requirement to participate publicly.

Related to the thoughts below, at the point a work is finished (however the artist defines that moment), the starting point should no longer be visible. Many artists do a pencil sketch on the canvas, but it’s erased or buried under the paint once they’re done. Writers tend to have one of three starting points, with the last the rarest: character, idea, or milieu. In most cases, the starting point is invisible by the time the piece is available to read. This is as it should be. Continue reading

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5 Interesting Links for 06-16-2017

Origins (Archaeology)

The discovery and dating of Homo sapiens fossils in Morocco implies a very different origin story for modern humans than the current theories.

Sociology (Finances)

A look at how the common savings advice focuses on something irrelevant to force self-blame over recognizing the larger issues. Continue reading

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Claim and Protect by Rhenna Morgan

Claim and Protect by Rhenna MorganThere’s this shiny ideal of the white knight who is perfect and kind and all the things that make the rescuer untainted by real life. The Haven Brotherhood (both series and characters) are none of that. They are rough-talking, hard-living, explicitly sexual men who are willing to skate the edges of the law to help those they consider family, and even just those they find deserving. It’s one of the reasons this series appeals to me because it’s showing you don’t have to be perfect to make a difference.

Claim and Protect lives up to the promise of the previous books with people who came from harsh backgrounds learning to open up to love thanks to the nurturing environment of the Haven Brotherhood. Sure, maybe the term “nurturing” would stick in the craw of these rowdy guys, but maybe not. Unlike a lot of portrayals, these men are in touch with their feelings, at least where family is concerned, and they have a firm sense of right and wrong. They won’t stand for injustice even when the law cannot or will not act on it. Nurturing and healing the soul seems to be one of the main criteria in choosing new brothers. They look for good people who haven’t gotten a good shake in this life, and do their best to repair the damage.

Odd to say after spending so much time talking about the brotherhood, but it felt as though the brothers played less of an active role in Claim and Protect than in the earlier books. The brothers and Trevor’s foster father are key to Trevor learning he can, and should, aspire to a loving relationship despite his history, but they largely play a supportive role, giving him the confidence to overcome his past even as he attempts to help Natalie and her son Levi. Continue reading

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