If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.
30 Jun 2012 1 Comment
28 Jun 2012 Leave a comment
I said the hell with Plot, I’m going to write stories about people that interest me, the way I see them. I’m sick of formula. I’m sick of Hero, Heroine, Heavy. … I’m sick of Characters. I’m going to write about men and women, all classes, types and conditions, within the limits of my own capabilities. People with faults, with nasty tempers, with weaknesses and loves and hates and fears and gripes against each other. People I can believe in because I know and understand them. People who aren’t like anybody else’s characters because they are themselves, like ’em or don’t. … And all of a sudden I began to sell.
27 Jun 2012 2 Comments
The writer must always leave room for the characters to grow and change. If you move your characters from plot point to plot point, like painting by the numbers, they often remain stick figures. They will never take on a life of their own. The most exciting thing is when you find a character doing something surprising or unplanned. Like a character saying to me: ‘Hey, Richard, you may think I work for you, but I don’t. I’m my own person.’
Richard North Patterson
26 Jun 2012 Leave a comment
I’m very concerned with the rhythm of language. ‘The sun came up’ is an inadequate sentence. Even though it conveys all the necessary information, rhythmically it’s lacking. The sun came up. But, if you say, as Laurie Anderson said, ‘The sun came up like a big bald head,’ not only have you, perhaps, entertained the fancy of the reader, but you have made a more complete sentence. The sound of a sentence.
23 Jun 2012 Leave a comment
Roman jewellery found in ancient Japan tomb
Posted by TANN (The Archaeology News Network)
Tests have revealed three glass beads discovered in the Fifth Century “Utsukushi” burial mound in Nagaoka, near Kyoto, were probably made some time between the first and the fourth century, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties said.
The government-backed institute has recently finished analysing components of the glass beads, measuring five millimetres (0.2 inches) in diametre, with tiny fragments of gilt attached.
It found that the light yellow beads were made with natron, a chemical used to melt glass by craftsmen in the empire, which succeeded the Roman Republic in 27 BC and was ultimately ended by the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The beads, which have a hole through the middle, were made with a multilayering technique — a relatively sophisticated method in which craftsmen piled up layers of glass, often sandwiching gold leaf in between.
“They are one of the oldest multilayered glass products found in Japan, and very rare accessories that were believed to be made in the Roman Empire and sent to Japan,” said Tomomi Tamura, a researcher at the institute.
The Roman Empire was concentrated around the Mediterranean Sea and stretched northwards to occupy present-day England. The finding in Japan, some 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) from Italy, may shed some light on how far east its influence reached, Tamura said.
“It will also lead to further studies on how they could have got all the way to Japan,” she said.
Source: AFP [June 22, 2012]
23 Jun 2012 Leave a comment
If our eyes could see radio waves, the nearby galaxy Centaurus A would be one of the biggest and brightest objects in the sky, nearly 20 times the apparent size of a full moon. But our eyes can only see wavelengths between 0.00004 and 0.00008 of a centimeter (where, not surprisingly, the Sun and stars emit most of their energy). The human visual spectrum from violet to red, notes astronomer, James Kaler, is but one octave on an imaginary electromagnetic piano with a keyboard hundreds of kilometers long.
Astronomers classify Cen A as an “active galaxy,” a term applied to any galaxy whose central region exhibits strong emissions at many different wavelengths. “What powers these emissions is a well-fed black hole millions of times more massive than our sun,” said Yasushi Fukazawa, a co-author of the study at Hiroshima University in Japan. “The black hole somehow diverts some of the matter falling toward it into two oppositely directed jets that stream away from the center.”
Fueled by a black hole estimated at hundreds of millions of times the sun’s mass, Cen A ejects magnetized particle jets moving near the speed of light. Over the course of tens of millions of years, these jets puffed out two giant bubbles filled with magnetic fields and energetic particles — the radio lobes we now see. The radio waves arise as high-speed electrons spiral through the lobes’ tangled magnetic fields.
The entire universe is filled with low-energy radiation — radio photons from the all-pervasive cosmic microwave background, as well as infrared and visible light from stars and galaxies. The presence of this radiation is the key to understanding Cen A’s gamma rays.
“When one of these photons collides with a super-fast particle in the radio lobes, the photon receives such an energy boost, it becomes a gamma ray,” explained co-author Lukasz Stawarz at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Sagamihara, Japan.
Although it sounds more like billiards than astrophysics, this process, called inverse Compton scattering, is a common way of making cosmic gamma rays. For Cen A, an especially important aspect is the case where photons from the cosmic microwave background ricochet off of the highest-energy particles in the radio lobes.
In dozens of active galaxies, this process has been shown to produce X-rays. But the Cen A study marks the first case where astronomers have solid evidence that microwave photons can be kicked up to gamma-ray energies.
Fermi cataloged hundreds of blazars and other types of active galaxies in its first year. Before its mission ends, that number may reach several thousand. But because Cen A is so close, so large and so vigorous, it may be the only active galaxy Fermi will view this way.
The Chandra X-Ray image of Cen A at top of the pageprovides one of the best views to date of the effects of an active supermassive black hole. Opposing jets of high-energy particles can be seen extending to the outer reaches of the galaxy, and numerous smaller black holes in binary star systems are also visible.
The Daily Galaxy via NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Image credit: Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration, Capella Observatory
23 Jun 2012 Leave a comment
I have never felt like I was creating anything. For me, writing is like walking through a desert and all at once, poking up through the hardpan, I see the top of a chimney. I know there’s a house under there, and I’m pretty sure that I can dig it up if I want. That’s how I feel. It’s like the stories are already there. what they pay me for is the leap of faith that says: ‘If I sit down and do this, everything will come out OK.'”