A bit more of the WriMo

Ok, Shan, this one is for you…

“Here’s a question – in space, why don’t all the pencils and other floating things fall into the gravity of the astronauts?  Is ti air resistance inside the ship?”  Jim was staring intently at the pencil he was twirling between his fingers.

“I would guess it had more to do with the distance and amount of pull.  Humans aren’t all that massive, compared to a planet.  I would say even a pencil is too big for them to exert a pull on.”

“I suppose that makes sense.  I like the idea of air resistance better though.”  He looked away absently for a bit, then put the pencil down in favor of a small scrap of notebook paper.  “What about germs? Do you think bacteria are small enough to be sucked in by human gravity?”  He accordioned the paper carefully.

“Maybe.  I’m not really sure of the numbers.  But would that mean bacteria are only found on certain sides of things on Earth, where they are aided by, rather than resistant to, gravity? And if not, what kind of sticking mechanism do they have?”

“Flies have tiny hooks in their legs to let them walk on ceilings.  Maybe some bacteria do as well.”

“I don’t think it works quite the same for single-celled organisms.”  I took the sheet out of his hands and propped it between the salt and pepper shakers, making a little house.  “Maybe they exude some kind of oozy stuff for sticking.”

“Maybe you just think germs are oozy.”

“Well, they are.”  I pick up a paper clip – it would make a nice person for our home – and began twisting the wire.  “Just because my beliefs reflect the natural world doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”  My eye’s are on the twisting, so I don’t see him holding his hand out for a minute, but then I place my half-finished creation in his palm.

“You know, women have more bacteria on their hands than men.  It’s proven.”  He finished our person and puts it in the house.

“Really?  Well, then now you have my cooties.”  I wipe my hands all over his, and he smiles.

He catches one of my hands in his, warming it.  My hands are always cold.  “Most of them are benign, anyway.”

It’s odd the way touch affects others.  The current of life runs along the skin of our bodies, occasionally magnetizing, occasionally switching polarities, occasionally repelling.  The salamander, regrowing its tail, drives electric currents away from the re-forming growth, electrifying itself a la Dr. Frankenstein.  The tip of a finger, once lost, may one day again hold the magic of current and sensation.  I am reminded of the past, of my hand facing his, of only our fingertips touching.

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Avoiding the dreaded ‘popcorn lung’.

I had no idea, but evidently microwaves can do more than just turning your Styrofoam toxic or enlarging Peeps (the only good Peep is a dead Peep).  There is at least one consumer case now of microwave popcorn fume inhalation which may have caused lung disease.  of course, the conclusion is uncertain, but so far there is no other explanation other than diacetyl.  If you work in a popcorn factory, the risk might be higher than you want.  For the rest of you popcorn lovers?  I’d say you can still eat your popcorn – just don’t inhale.  Or it might be a good time to convert to air pop…

Thanks, Josue, for the tip (via Green Steam).

The Somerville News: Anti-Israel group returns to ballot

Anti-Palestine?  Anti-Israel?  Anti-Christian?  I don’t even really know where the lines are drawn anymore.  Regardless, it seems like it won’t be long before the aggressions spill out over the world again…

The Somerville News: Anti-Israel group returns to ballot

I will be your President, too.

It is a rare thing for me to be more than minimally involved in the political sphere.  I do not avoid it intentionally – I just prefer to avoid backbiting and negativity when I can.  Politics in this country is often both of those things.  I also typically do not to follow celebrity drama or sports.  I try to be an informed voter as far as the beliefs and platform of a candidate, but that’s as far as it goes.  That’s what I vote on.

But this past election was different.  I didn’t really care who won, not because of negativity, but because I thought both presidential candidates would’ve done a reasonable job.  I voted my conscience on both people and issues, and was satisfied at having done my duty.  But something shifted when I agreed to watch some of the results come in with Corina.  The race was very close early on, and I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement of it all.  I still managed to go home early, but the chemicals running through my bloodstream left me restless.  And then, 11:30 – people calling, text messaging exploding across the face of the globe.  Meena in particular harangued me for wanting to go to bed now that it was ‘all over’ – how could I miss ‘an historic moment’ like this one?  I had to stay up for the victory speech!

I ended up doing so.  I’m glad I did – it was a good speech.  And it’s nice to know that our new president will be continuing his drive to empower and force the American people to take responsibility.  Obama was, as always, well-spoken and friendly and charismatic.  That’s good to have in a leader.  I wish that he was a little less in absolute control at such times, but that’s probably just my own less serious take on public speaking and my complete lack of a poker face.

Yet i do still wonder how we will move forward.  We are a country in decline.  I can understand the power of our past and our future, and the possibility for ‘unyielding hope’.  It is a strength that is also a danger.  Are our hopes, as a nation, merely difficult or completely unrealistic?  Do wwe even know what changes we want to effect?  Can this kind of grassroots politics be sustainable, especially for a nation as large and disparate as our own?  I suppose the next few years may begin to tell.