Everyday Wonder–April 23, 2018

Canada goose goslings at Ridgefield NWR. April 2018. Click for a better view. Photo credit: Cascade Creative Services.

Happy Monday! I had a fabulous quick jaunt to Ridgefield NWR last week. The winter birds have mostly gone, and the refuge is alive with migrants newly arrived from down south and year-round residents already nesting. If you live near a National Wildlife Refuge site that accommodates visitors, I highly recommend that you take advantage. It’s free or very low cost (I buy a yearly pass for Ridgefield for $15/year), and refuges are great places to observe local wildlife.

TESS Satellite launch update: the TESS satellite launched successfully. The spacecraft is currently completing a series of maneuvers that will place it in its final “science orbit” in June 2018. TESS is a new “planet hunting” satellite that will help researchers survey over 85% of the sky. For more details about the TESS mission, click here.

More space news—while researching a recent book, I came across the GAIA mission operated by the European Space Agency. This ambitious mission is working to create a three-dimensional map of our galaxy that will reveal information about 1 billion stars. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” The second data release from this mission is set for this Wednesday, April 25. To follow the GAIA mission, click here.

Back on Earth, Okeanos Explorer broadcasts live feeds of its ROV Deep Discoverer (remotely operated vehicle) dives, providing live commentary along the way about mission science and species identification. They plan daily live feeds April 12-May 2 from 8am-5pm Central Time. It’s a great vicarious exploration opportunity.

Books to Add to Your Reading List

I completed UNDERNEATH IT ALL, by Amber J. Keyser. It’s an interesting read about the history of women’s underwear that is at the same time fun and sobering. Keyser doesn’t shy away from discussing how undergarments are closely tied to control over women’s bodies and/or women trying to reach the “ideal” shape, but the book never gets so heavy that I wanted to stop reading. I highly recommend it.

What I’m Reading

Click to view this book at IndiBound. Photo credit: IndieBound.

My “work” read for the week is the beautiful HIDDEN CITY: POEMS OF URBAN WILDLIFE, written by Sarah Grace Tuttle and illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford.

For fun I am perusing two cookbooks. One is the graphically stunning ALL UNDER HEAVEN: RECIPIES FROM THE 35 CUISINES OF CHINA, by Carolyn Phillips. The second is an emotional and culinary exploration of the Isan Thai/Lao immigrant experience—HAWKER FARE, by James Syhabout. (Yes, I’m a bit of a cookbook nut.)

I’m also still working my way through the second BEYONDERS book. Stay tuned.

A note about photos: All photos attributed to Cascade Creative Services are mine and may be reused under Creative Commons License Attribution–NonCommercial–ShareAlike, which means you are free to reuse and remix my photos for noncommercial purposes as long as you credit the source and license any work that features my photos under the same license.

Everyday Wonder–April 13, 2018

Conceptual illustration of the TESS satellite. Credit: NASA

Happy Friday the 13th! Here are a few fun things I stumbled across over the last week.

NASA’s TESS satellite is set to launch on Monday, April 16, at 6:32 EDT. The satellite’s mission is to search for planets outside our solar system. It will “cover an area of sky 400 times larger than that monitored by Kepler.” For launch coverage information, click here. For more about the mission, head over to the TESS Exoplanet Mission website.

For a dose of cute that will last far beyond the minute it will take to watch the video, check out the March of the Penguins at the Oregon Zoo’s website.

I launched my Amazon author page this week. I’m still playing around with it, but it’s slightly thrilling to be so “official.”

Click on image to link to this title at IndieBound. Image credit: IndieBound

Weekend Reads

This weekend I’m hoping to continue to work my way through Brandon Mull’s Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion. I’ll also be taking in Underneath it All: A History of Women’s Underwear, a book by friend and fellow SCBWI-OR member Amber J. Keyser.