Youngblood Blog

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Like Lightning Conductors & Orbiting Spacecraft, Let Writing Ideas Flow

LIKE LIGHTNING CONDUCTORS & ORBITING SPACECRAFT, LET WRITING IDEAS FLOW
Keeping the Insecure Writerly Mind Active thru Tricky Times

Many of us writers think ‘something’ is pending: that summer feeling of the unknown hanging over us—as a species or is it just me? Are we IWSGers—or is everybody—for the first time in a long time–an Age–are we beginnning to think as One Planet?

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sets up solar wind sail experiment on lunar surface July 1969, photo Neil Armstrong, moondust footprints, right

What do oil executives, vampires and NASA bureaucrats all have in common? They fear solar energy.’ Michio Kaku, Japanese American theoretical physicist

We are–through our younger generations—perhaps thinking quicker. Also, is it imaginary? or is Time–along with our learning curve–speeding up, too?

It is possible that, with current seismic catalysts—deep Pacific trench high-magnitude shakes, and unrelenting eastern California faultline displacement (Ridgecrest Naval Base China Lake, CA), we are becoming, what Nikolai Kardashev via Michio Kaku calls a Level One Civilization.

Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (Никола́й Семёнович Кардашёв) (1932-2019) was the Russian astrophysicist, and director of the Russian Space Research Institute (Institute for Cosmic Research) at Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, who died last week. He authored a (1964) paper in Soviet Astronomy “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations”. He devised a scale of three categories by which a civilization is classified, by the amount of usable energy it has at its disposal–plus a degree of space colonization. Others have added two higher categories.

Sunset at full moonrise—& eclipse Hampshire crop circle Rodfield-Tichborne July 16th, 2019, photo Nick Bull

Kardashev Type I civilization is one able to harness all the power available on its (single) planet. The implication is that in so doing, it is able to function as ‘one’ and therefore to have mastered the supreme mark of a self-realized group: peaceful interaction.

Kardashev Type II civilization is able to harness all power available from its star.

Kardashev Type III civilization can harness all the power in a single galaxy. With the power of an entire galaxy at its disposal, a type III civilization would be able to come up with radical new power sources.

By extrapolation, a Kardashev Type IV civilization would have access to the power of an entire galactic supercluster. Kardashev Type V would be a civilization that occupies the entire universe.

Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at New York’s City University, instigator of the Big Think discussion thinktank, and author (2011) of ‘Physics of the Future‘, suggests that, even with an African-Asian-Pacific food crisis (eliciting world humanitarian response), the Earth is as yet not a Category One civilization.

Rusting in Russian Space Hangars

Abandoned Russian Space vehicle, Buran (Blizzard) on launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, destroyed when roof collapsed 2002 due to extreme temperatures in Kazakhstan steppes

Carl Sagan estimated that Earth qualifies as a Type 0.7 civilization. Before he died in 1996, however–and in spite of his agnostic view–he had hopes that we might overcome our aversion to living in harmony–or rather, to lay down our weapons of war, and interact peacefully with one another. “Decency,” he said (and humility and community spirit) “in this demon-haunted world may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

Russian spacecraft—created during the Soviet era 1957-1988, using confiscated German WW-II V-2 Rocket technology and designs, were capable of sending human operators to the Moon, Mars and beyond. With the fall of the regime, and creation of Russia and Ukraine as separate countries, former vast treasuries became unavailable, leading-edge technology languished, and amazing space vehicles were left to rust in their hangars.

Throughout space there is energy. Is it static or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic—and this we know it is, for certain—then it is a mere question of time before men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of Nature. Nikola Tesla, Croatian-US physicist (1856-1943)


Lightning as Power Source

Abandoned on outskirts of Moscow, an original Tesla generator-conductor still capable of producing enough electricity to run all of Russia’s power grid

A similar fate seems to have befallen Tesla’s unprecedented invention using unlimited solar—and cosmic—sources of power to run Earth’s machinery.

Still operating—but in infrequent bursts—the Marx Generator at Istra on Moscow’s fringe is a Tesla-designed instrument creating (unlimited) electrical power when fully operational—now all but abandoned. Unlike the U.S.’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility, the Marx generator in Istra was not constructed to modulate the weather. But, like HAARP, it did help design weapons for the future.
*Photo courtesy http://www.4turista.ru

If all of this space voyaging is too much for you and you need real inspiration—take an early morning walk before dawn to see the Perseid Meteor shower, peaking this Sunday.

Otoh, if you feel like some high-powered relaxing in a Hilton twin-tub while attending this year’s Annual Writers’ Digest Conference, then go —August 23-25 New York Hilton—have fun!

I, for one, count on our revered Space Capsule Commander Alex Cavanaugh to steer us through (muddy) orbit trajectories into shiny solar re-emergence, like a rotating moon capsule revealing a new Earth dawn, but it’s still up to each one of us to do the right thing, isn’t it? If a Writerly Share—is what you need August is the month:

And keep on writing!
©2019 Marian Youngblood

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August 8, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astronomy, authors, blogging, environment, history, nature, sun, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Prerogative—Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stC World

Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stCentury World
Monthly Pointers for Insecure Writers and other Wanderers in Time

Generosity was historically how a Monarch was judged by her people. Nobles who usurped their position—or took handouts—didn’t make it into the history books.

HM the Queen shares a smile with POTUS her guest at State Banquet in the palace ballroom

The bard was asked who of the kings of Prydein
is most generous of all
‘And I declared boldly
That it was Owain’
The Gorhoffedd, 12thC Brittonic heroic poem

We in the known world have this week been treated to a vision of the splendour and magnificence which comes out when great dynasties meet. A State visit by the president of the United States of America to Great Britain—regardless of decade or political swing—is not taken lightly in royal circles. When Her Majesty the Queen decides to commemorate a ‘special relationship’ with military undertones, nobody born in the last hundred years is going to stop her. Her generosity shows.

The Palace knows how to pull out all the stops—and last week they did.

Buckingham Palace ballroom was setting for State Banquet for 170 guests given by HM Queen for President Trump and First Lady of USA, June 2019


June 6th marks seventy-five years this week since the Allied forces of Europe and America made D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. The second world war (WWII) ended one year later in 1945.

During President Donald Trump’s visit, HM the Queen presented him with a gold leaf embossed first edition of Winston Churchill’s Second World War 6-volume set. And she will also attend a ceremony with him in Portsmouth—English channel coast—to mark the D-Day event, before he leaves.

If anyone can carry off a grand banquet, a major wartime memorial, inspecting four ‘Trooping the Colour’ Royal Guards Birthday ceremonial parades with two 41-gun salutes, on three cups of tea, this beloved monarch can. She also celebrated the anniversary of her own coronation and accession to the throne of Great Britain [Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland] this week.

HM the Queen’s coronation took place on June 2nd, 1953 in Westminster Abbey*, when she was 25 years old. Her father, George VI, died on 6 February 1952. She has reigned for 67 years and has been visited by all but one of thirteen U.S. Presidents—Lyndon B. Johnson—during that time.
*Foundation of the abbey church laid by Edward the Confessor in 1065.

Buck House to Kilt-buckled Deeside

Both HM Queen and her son Charles are reputed Beatles’ fans, seen here pretending to ignore Macca, right

“English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August”
Lord Byron, Romantic poet and satirist, 1788-1824

Most of the month of June is filled with high profile royal engagements—a time in Britain when the weather has been known to improve. One high point of June is Derby Day at Epsom Racecourse—her Majesty making it a twofold party last weekend, June 1-2, 2019, while she enjoyed this year’s equine lineup from the comfort of her Royal Box.

Often considered a high point of the fashion year, Ladies’ Day at Epsom is outclassed and outshone only by Royal Ascot, this year’s five-day event spanning solstice from June 18-22, 2019. The Royal Box will be filled to capacity, with aristocratic fashion statements being made all over the place.

By end July, nearly every royal—except Prince Philip, who turns 98 on June 10th—will have performed multiple civic and charitable duties around the country and—for Commonwealth interests—around the globe. All without assistance from the former Civil List, cancelled with Royal consent in 2011.

August brings recreation and rest.

Ultima Thule provides Country Retreat

Balmoral castle, half-way between Ballater and Braemar Aberdeenshire, Royal Deeside retreat from London

The Sovereign—and significant portion of her household—decamps for Balmoral—a baronial hall rebuilt by Victoria and Albert in rural Aberdeenshire at the least-accessible tip of the Royal Deeside Railway Line, plus a six-mile hike in the direction of the Cairngorms beyond.

That’s mostly accomplished by helicopter, these days.

Her Majesty’s sole duty during her month in Scotland—and it is said, she looks forward to it—is to attend the last highland games of the Season—the Braemar Gathering—always held first weekend of September. That’s before the mountains close in and Ballater and the Highland passes become impregnable.

We recall how unprecedented was the upheaval—upon the death of HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, August 31, 1997, of rearranging the Royal household for an emergency return to the capital, with the royal vacation technically still in effect centered within the sight of Glen Shee, Ben Avon (pron. A’an) and the Devil’s Elbow—escape route to central Perthshire.

Abandoning Aberdeenshire—at 57º05’N latitude—c.f. Juneau, Alaska—to prepare for its ski traffic and winter sports, the Royal household’s return to London and their extended autumn schedule signals resumption of an English way of life.

I suspect our Insecure Writers’ self-appointed Commander-in-Chief, Alex—along with some other urban Americans-of-that-Ilk—may resonate with the excitement of urbane Kensington or with Kentucky’s Derby millions, but my country origins leave me with a fondness for Braemar.

Romans termed any territory North of the Highland fault line, running West to East from Argyll to Inverness, Ultima Thule. Some of us locals call it affectionately the Back of Beyond.

This rural backdrop, however, with its pristine breathable air, is just the place for our future forests, protected fishing rivers and World Heritage sites to coalesce and bring new hope and vital regeneration to a marginal agricultural economy.

God Save the Queen.
©2019 Marian C.Youngblood

June 5, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, ritual, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Earthquake Survivors—Bronze and Beyond

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION, LOCATION
Monthly Grounding of Writerly Antennae for IWSGers and Other SpaceTimers

Arcata Plaza, site of Saturday Farmers’ Market, presided over by McKinley bronze—before last week’s removal


Having been assassinated in 1901, one would have thought that statesman, lawyer and (Republican) 25th President of the U.S.A., William McKinley had paid enough for his sins…

But his century-old bronze effigy—which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire—will be changing locations once again.

The story goes of philanthropist Georg Zehndner, immigrant merchant in frontier Weaverville, seizing an opportunity presented by the late 19thC Gold Rush boom in northern California, to become (wealthy) Humboldt County rancher and (Arcata) citizen. When the 25th President was shot in 1901, Zehndner commissioned Armenian-American Bay Area sculptor Haig Patigian—also an immigrant—to create the bronze casting of the downed statesman.

Market Street, looking west to Twin Peaks. Both sides of street lined with ruined buildings Battery-to-Powell

Arcata Plaza was chosen as a suitable site in the growing town—although currently lauded northernmost campus of Humboldt State University was not founded until eight years later. Yet it is HSU academic/radical protests of ‘settler colonialism’ and damaged Native American tribes which resulted in the statue’s removal at dawn last Thursday.
Arcata is Yurok/Wiyot = place of the Lagoon*
*Yurok oket’oh = “where there is a lagoon” (Humboldt Bay), from o- “place” + ket’oh = “to be a lagoon”. Same name given to Big Lagoon, ten miles North.

Neighboring unincorporated township of McKinleyville, CA has more claim to the beleaguered effigy than the University town, having willingly changed its name to mark its namesake’s death in 1901. Previously called Minor (aka Minorville), it was settled in the late-19thC logging boom. After the president’s assassination it joined with (unincorporated) townships of Dows’ Prairie (settled by Joe Dows, 1860) to North and Calville, settled by employees of the California Barrel Company, South, taking its new name in his honor. McKinleyville post office opened in 1903. The town remains unincorporated, and is home to California’s certified “foggiest” airport—Eureka/Arcata, ACV.

Abandoned and Pointing to the North
Downtown San Francisco was on fire, consuming trolleys and neighborhoods, with horse-drawn water carts unable to dowse the flames.

No melt-down—McKinley found undamaged after 1906 San Francisco fire, his finger pointing North


Coming full blast after the deadly earthquake, many residents ran—sculptor Haig Patigian among them. He saw the bronze casting works go up in smoke and thinking all was lost, fled.

“‘Come on, boys, let’s save the statue of Bill McKinley,’ he cried and under his inspiration the workmen bore a ready hand.” San Francisco Examiner 1906

A passing worker—employed by the Ironworks—saw that the statue would be ruined if abandoned, and called to his co-workers who were saving their own belongings. The Examiner wrote: “They dragged the heroic figure to the center of the street and there it remained unharmed, resting on its back”, with an outstretched hand pointing to the sky.

Returning to the scene, Patigian noticed a crowd gathering near the Works. He hurried over to find his art piece lying in the street—the rescue vehicle used to haul it to safety a charred wreck. Twelve days after the great quake, George Zehndner, Arcata businessman and benefactor who ordered the bronze, received a telegram from Patigian stating the effigy had been saved.

San Francisco City Hall’s surviving dome, 1906, McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue in charred ruins

Haig Patigian was a respected artist in his day, at the time of his death called by the San Francisco Chronicle “one of the giants of San Francisco’s Golden Age.” Many of his works survive in San Francisco, including one of Abraham Lincoln outside City Hall, itself regenerated and reconstructed after the demise of its iconic predecessor, Chronicle Archive picture, right.

Zehndner paid $15,000 for the original sculpture in 1906—lost, mourned and then recovered unblemished from the glowing coals of the surrounding foundry.

One hundred thirteen years later the now-politically-incorrect statesman found a new home—in Canton, Ohio—where the local residents appreciate his other works—including a McKinley Memorial Library and Museum. The statesman’s 8-1/2foot 800-lb bronze likeness will find a public stance nearby.

Fickle Finger of Fate and Finance

Last week brought some kind of closure to the beleaguered bronze. Through fire, earthquake, flood and (occasional student) harassment, the skilled lost-wax bronze rendering of the late 19thC politician will not bite the dust.

East along Market Street after 1906 Mag.7.9 earthquake—lavish art-deco Call building burns to ground

This time it will rise again on another plinth in another guise: Canton was McKinley’s chosen home town. He had planned to retire there. Now he will.

In Canton, the townspeople have $15,000 to spend. That’s exactly how much its benefactor Arcata resident Zehndner paid for the sculpture in 1906. And Arcata has accepted.

Insecure Challenge and Update
We IWSGers know how Fate—and our writing Muse—tend to travel hand-in-hand. But there’s no telling how fickle financial finagling will affect any outcome.

IWSG question for March

Synchronously, we may therefore empathize with our fellow Insecure Writers in our March IWSG challenge/question

[choose one] Whose perspective do you like to write from best: the hero [protagonist] or the villain [antagonist]?
And why?

Now there’s something to get our [insecure] teeth into.
In McKinley’s case, he is both bad guy and good guy—depending on our —writerly/historical— perceptions.
Which would you choose?
Thanks, blog-Cap’n.Alex for allowing me such digressions 😉
©2019 Marian Youngblood

March 5, 2019 Posted by | art, authors, belief, blogging, consciousness, culture, elemental, environment, fantasy, fiction, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seismic, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birds of a Feather—The Cuckoo in the Nest

BIRDS OF A FEATHER—THE CUCKOO IN THE NEST
Monthly Perch for Insecure Writers & Others of that Ilk

Subterranean Samhain monster in partially submerged Oligocene strata, Antipaxos, Ionian Sea

Our current cultural vision may seem similar to that strange bird, the cuckoo—medieval cuckold comes to mind ❤ —who 'invades' a functioning bird family, usurping the nest, flinging his fellow flightless companions to their deaths and running adoptive mother (meadow pippet) ragged, while he—oversize and undernourished—tumbles overspilling—into first flight.

To divert us ISWGers from our tendency to dwell on our failings, forget that we are capable of greatness, I devised a strategy of timewarp which should please our Ninja Cap'n Alex—time travel.

Only on this occasion, we're doing it in reverse.
Let's go back. Way back. Buckle up. You might discover something new on the ancestral (animal) path.

If you’re pouncing broadly into Jurassic Park time, Jurassic World even, that’s mezozoic: 199.6million-145million years ago, a little early. Imagine beyond Tyranosaurus Rex, post-pterodactyl, after Smilodon

Jurassic Ancestors Die off after Global Cooling

The Oligocene Epoch, when our Ionian Ogre, top, appeared, came right in the middle of the Tertiary Period—at end of the Paleogene—approx. 33.9 million-23 million years ago. Although it lasted a ‘short’ 11 million years, a number of major changes happened at that time. Changes caused by global cooling include appearance of the first elephants with trunks, early horses, and an explosion of many grasses that fostered a habitat for a sudden influx of new quadrupeds.

As a result of cooling temperatures, life and habitat of many ocean organisms were directly affected. Marine eco-environments fragmented as sea creatures able to withstand cooler temperatures migrated to places further from warm equatorial current. This suddenly reduced diversity in marine plankton—foundation of the food chain.

Nocturnal raptors had an easier time in the Oligocene until daytime hawks & eagles joined in

On land, mammals like horses, deer/elk, camel, elephants, cats, dogs, rats and primates began to dominate—except in Australia.

In Western Europe there were 17 generic extinctions, 20 first appearances, and 25 mammal survivals. As the land fauna migration route between Asia and North America dispersed lineages of cattle, pig, giraffe, and camel to new continents, South American forest and pampas flourished. Apes developed both in the Amazon and in Africa simultaneously, but Africa alone created the first hominids. North America spawned the rat, his cousin the gopher and many lesser mouse companions.

Fossil Hyaenodon from White River, South Dakota, coyote ancestor found in Badlands National Park

The first feathered bird appeared with a beak that was mobile enough to catch insects—presumably our friend the pterodactyl couldn’t. The first deciduous broadleaves [oak, ash, hazel] started to infiltrate the previously dominant redwood (northern) rainforest.

Conifers were also losing ground to developing grasslands—spreading from Mongolia via the land bridge to American prairies and the Midwest—perfect habitat for newer, speedier grazing mammals. Buffalo, cattle, boar-pig—with supporting cast of voles and hamsters.

In the southern pampas, camel and giraffe diversified to become llama and alpaca. Tropical rainforest found refuge in equatorial Amazonia and Indonesia.

Primeval Beaver and Wiley Coyote

Racoon ancestral selfie

Daylight raptors, like falcons, eagles, and hawks, along with 7-10 families of rodents, first appeared proliferating new northern forests, strengthening along with the grain.

The ancestor of the American beaver built his first dam.

Burgeoning meadow grasses made for rapid and diverse genetic growth in horses, developing both in size and speed capability. Ancestor of the Mustang started here.

I liked the logic of the Aleutian land bridge being used by intelligent—and high-energy new creatures—along with their predators—in a competitive novel environment, bringing new lifeforms and muscle power to the New World. The present Kentucky racehorse may be the pinnacle of that growth curve.

Forgive my digression. I had to think laterally. The news is otherwise too distracting. For a writer, that is. NaNoWriMo is also in progress and I’m ‘resting’ this year 😉
Thanks to the Ancestors—fish and fowl, feline and four-pawed.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

November 7, 2018 Posted by | authors, birds, calendar customs, culture, festivals, fiction, history, nature, novel, publishing, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Millennial or Generational Divide: all Baby-Boomers’ Fault

MILLENNIAL OR GENERATIONAL DIVIDE: ALL BABY-BOOMERS’ FAULT
Monthly IWSG Writerly Hideaway for All Generations

Ernst & Young report on Rise of Gen-Z shows 2001+ iGen overtaking Millennials worldwide

“Millennials are more focused on what’s in it for them. They look outside to others—companies and colleagues—for solutions; whereas the younger people naturally seek to create their own solutions.”
Marcie Merriman, Exec.Dir. Ernst & Young LLP

Children born in 2001 will turn 18 next year. In U.S. many will enter university, vote and, depending on their choice, may smoke and drink alcohol without breaking the law. These are the Gen Zers or iGens. They have never known a non-digital world and have grown up amid a world aware of terrorism and global recession.

They are grandchildren of the Flower Power peace people of the ‘sixties Boomer breakaway. They have seen mistakes made by parents and grandparents, and are determined to do things better.

Psychedelic Dragon by 12-year old GenZ artist

And they have the IT capability to make it happen.

Baby Boomer Baggage
Boomers, born after their parents returned from war in 1945, were radical—not rad like their great-grandkids, but countercultural enough to up-tentpoles and follow their rock idols (as groupies) anywhere; some experiencing Vietnam, took the advice of Berkeley guru-of-all-trades, Timothy Leary:—

“Turn on, tune in, drop out”
Timothy Leary, UC Berkeley, 1966
Mantra of the ‘Sixties psychedelic generation

Millennials, on the other hand, are accustomed to external motivators, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young. Time Magazine called them “The Me Me Me Generation” because they want it all. To Psychology Today they are known as confident, entitled and depressed.

Apex hippie flower power Boomer music curve, Altamont 1969:— “If U remember, U weren’t there”

Born between 1980 and 2000, incentives, trophies, and praise were used [by their parents, the Baby Boomers, themselves struggling to survive] to motivate Millennials as they were growing up. Many Millennials lack internal motivation to overcome career impatience.

iGens are DIY-motivated, independent; i.e. if you want it done right, do it yourself—75% of them believe there are alternative ways to get a good education than attending college, according to Sparks & Honey 2018 survey. Nielsen’s recent research survey finds:

“Each generation comes with a unique pattern of behavior, presenting challenges for those targeting them. Gen Z are bombarded by messages and, as a generation, can quickly detect its relevance to them.”

Demographic switch-over is welcome news for delivery services, gadget makers and the so-called gig economy.
But it means headaches for educators, event planners, luxury brands and travel companies. Golf and world cruising are relegated almost exclusively to Baby-Boomerdom. Golf is now a game where the average age of players is 50+. Tiger Woods, 42, would be pleased to know he is an anachronism.

Rôle-Hopping or Job-Hopping

Which generation burns the candle at both ends? CatGen, of course

Growing up fast in an on-demand culture, the Millennial generation [b.1980-2001] has little patience for stagnation, especially when it impacts their careers. They switch jobs. Or hold down multiple after-hours work themes.

Generation Z don’t want to miss any valuable experience. They flex their super-aware learning antennae by multi-tasking: marketing, accounting, human resources—always with IT—within an organization. Or work from home.

iGens say they’d rather have a reliable internet connection, than a functioning bathroom, according to Nielsen. They make do with what is—while continuing to communicate with a network of roughly 150 friends—see Dunbar Numbervia Memes, wordplay, game slang and graphics.

Global Citizens or Spectators

IWSG Anthology contest continues thru Nov 4

Nielsen states 58 percent of adults worldwide aged 35+ agreed “kids today have more in common with their global peers than with adults in their own country.”

Millennials were the first global generation. They saw significant world events in their life times and share character traits and international values across borders.

Gen Z interacts with global peers with greater fluidity than any previous generation. As more people come online and geography continues to shrink, Gen Z see themselves as global citizens.

We Insecure writers are mostly head down tunnel-visioned introverts. Our Ninja Cap’n.Alex helps us draw inspiration from the future—his prequel CassaDawn is reviewed as rivaling Asimov’s Foundation. Asimov (1920-1992) was of the classic “Silent Generation”. Think Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and the Ocean’s-11 Rat Pack—themselves prequel to 2018’s Ocean’s-8.

A great way for us—in-between Boomer groups—to cherish our ancestors!
©2018 Marian Youngblood

October 3, 2018 Posted by | authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, novel, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

All the Numbers for the Fourth—Maybe a Few Special Ones?

ALL THE NUMBERS FOR THE FOURTH
Monthly Corner Hideaway for Insecure Writers—and others

Royal Bedchamber has not changed much since Domesday 11thC England, courtesy HM The Queen

Back in the ‘Nineties, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar noticed a remarkable correlation between primate brain size and the social groups they formed: His theory was simple—the bigger their brains, the larger their social groups—because animals with bigger brains can remember, and interact meaningfully with more of their peers.

Dunbar’s famous prediction achieved by correlation of his extrapolation curve to the size of the human brain, stated that humans could have no more than about 150 people in their social sphere.

Recent research has since found more evidence for Dunbar’s Number, from the size of hunter-gatherer societies, Roman legions—130-145—to effective modern businesses.

Dunbar’s Number—backed by recent internet/iCloud/social media statistics is even more apt for modern exchange via social networks, where we humans gravitate to a natural limit of meaningful relationships we can sustain—around 150.

Dunbar is Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology—the study of how we evolved as modern humans—at the University of Oxford and author of How Many Friends Does One Person Need? (Faber). His research has gone on to find ‘Dunbar layers’, from family intimacy—five—outward to once-a-year contact with the acquaintance layer—beyond 150.


Social Behavior Rooted in Human Biology and Layers in the Digital Age

Mediaeval Warrington & Cheshire villages, on banks of River Mersey, map courtesy John Speed

The way in which our social world is constructed stems from our biological inheritance. As primates, together with apes and monkeys, we have developed a general relationship between brain size and size of our social group. There are social circles beyond the group and layers within—but there is a natural cluster of 150.

This is the number of people you can have a relationship with involving trust, obligation—and usually—some personal history.

That’s the Dunbar number.

In updated research in the digital age, other patterns emerge for the average human—most people have a small group of three to five very close friends. Various layers of friendship – which increase in number but decrease in intimacy and frequency of contact are on average:

Dunbar Layers
Layer 0. Nucleus/very close friends—those you turn to in a crisis, ask for money, lean on for support—on average 3 to 5 people. Likely keep in touch once a week.
Layer 1. Close friends/sympathy group—12-15 people (number of Apostles, members on a jury). Contact once a month.
Layer 2. Distant friends—45 to 50 people
Layer 3. Maximum number of friends/acquaintances: 150 people (Dunbar’s Number)
Layer 4. 500 people
Layer 5. 1500 people
Layer 6. Plato’s ideal size for a democracy—5300 people

Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything… number according to Douglas Adams

“I was working on the arcane question of why primates spend so much time grooming one another, and I tested another hypothesis–which says the reason why primates have big brains is because they live in complex social worlds.

“Because grooming is social, all these things ought to map together, so I started plotting brain size and group size and grooming time against one another. You get a nice set of relationships.

“It was about 3a.m., and I thought, hmm, what happens if you plug humans into this? And you get this number of 150. This looked implausibly small, given that we all live in cities now, but it turned out that this was the size of a typical community in hunter-gatherer societies.

“And the average village size in the Domesday Book is 150.”
Robin Dunbar

“It’s the same when we have much better data–in the 18th century, for example, thanks to parish registers. County by county, the average size of a village is again 150. Except in Kent, where it was 100. I’ve no idea why.”

The number evolved as tribal societies did. Dunbar believes his Number probably dates back to the appearance of anatomically modern humans, 250,000 years ago, from Australopithicus to Neanderthal. Prior to that, by estimated brain size, community size declined steadily.

A key evolutionary adaptation of primates facing survival out there on the plains and in the forests was group living within a hierarchy, with explicitly communal solutions to living as a unit—an ape strategy, evolved very early in the timeline.

Most species of birds and animals are not as intensely social. Socialability for them hovers around pair-bonds, which is as complicated as it gets. But the species with big brains mate monogamously.

Has the Dunbar Number Increased with the Internet?
“We’re caught in a bind: community sizes were designed for hunter-gatherer societies where people weren’t living on top of one another. Your 150 were scattered over a wide area, but everybody shared the same 150. This made for a very densely interconnected community, and it also means the community polices itself.

“You don’t need lawyers and policemen. If you step out of line, Grannie will wag her finger at you.”


Rôle of the Internet, Smart Devices, & BFFs in the (Wired) Generational Divide

Can we extend deep relationships beyond the old numbers?

Magdalen College Oxford Prof. Robin Dunbar

Dunbar says he can find out what you had for breakfast from your tweet, but can’t really get to know you better. Digital developments help us keep in touch over distance, when in the past a relationship might have faltered and died. Now it can be extended. But we can only maintain Five Close Friends

Current statistics compiled by consumer research specialist, Paul Hudson point to a generational divide—younger teenagers aged thirteen to sixteen–the fastest-growing social media generation—have an average of 450 social network “friends”.

Figures rapidly reduce between decades—people in their thirties have on average between one and two hundred friends; those in their forties between fifty and 100; and over-fifties—if they are internet-savvy—form the lowest stat-curve, the majority having fewer than twenty friends.

Seventeen Hugs a Day—the Touchie, Feelie Solution
Dunbar stands by his ‘grooming’ theory: that we actually have to get together to make a relationship work. Tablets, iPads and smartphones still haven’t figured out how to do virtual touch, which humans rely heavily on—the ape hug, the elephant caress, lioness’s kiss, dolphin’s smooch.

In a widening social network, intimacy becomes more important—and apparently less available, considering the number of dogs in the United States equals the human population! That, my dear Virtual Cap’n and fellow Insecure Writers, must hold for another day.

One hopeful statistic: Writers—as we IWSG-ers all know—are mostly introvert, so we keep our BFFs forever!

Words are slippery. A touch is worth a thousand words—always.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

July 4, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, belief, blogging, culture, Doomsday, fiction, history, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping it Light: Learning Games when Dark (Vog) Clouds Loom

KEEPING IT LIGHT: LEARNING GAMES FOR INSECURE WRITERS
Monthly Catch-up Corner for IWSGers & Insecure Historians 😉

Big Island’s southern sector smothered by lava, now adds VOG to the mix, photo USGS

While volcanic mayhem continues to play out in fresh ruptures around Hawaii’s Kilauea fissure zone, see last month’s blog update, below, our Insecure Writerly hearts go out to a duplicate blast from Mother Earth in Guatemala.

It seems superfluous to remind ourselves that the hurricane season officially kicked off June 1st—conveniently “tropical storm” 2018 Alberto already gathering speed—when devastated homeless Puerto Rican refugees from last year’s hurricane Maria still have no dependable electricity (a public service in U.S.) or back-up power source.

Meanwhile, half an ocean away, another volcanic tragedy strikes Guatemala where hope in the search for survivors underground is waning. In Central American Fuego—as with Pu’u-O’o—there is VOG—unbreathable air formed when sulfur dioxide SO2 and other gases/particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight—to add to the mix.

Rescuers in Las Lajas, Guatemala search for survivors under the lava from Fuego volcano

It bears remembering that when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2011, all trans-Atlantic flights were cancelled.

My intention here is not only to draw attention to severe gaps in this Administration’s compassion for human suffering—California went to the polls tonight—but to highlight past ways some of our ancestors used to make light of the heaviest subjects—including death, famine, sickness.

Our learned chieftain Alex would have a sci-fi solution, unleashing from his fantasy bag of tricks a plethora of goodies to feed our imagination—and lighten our spirits.

Science Fiction or Real Earth Scenario?
We insecure writers know that sci-fi only came to the world of literature with ‘Forties /’Fifties greats like Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert [“Dune”], Heinlein, Vonnegut and Clarke—unless you count Jules Verne and H.G. Wells’s 1895 “The Time Machine”.

So when sci-fi seems to be playing out around the Earth in new and unimaginable ways, it may serve us well to revert to childhood games we used in those times to learn what we didn’t feel like learning seriously.

Grandpa’s Alternative Method of Learning History
Hold on to your hats, IWSGers, and watch as the alternative learning rhyme unfolds.

This beauty has particular attraction for those hundreds-of-thousands who may have watched the British royal family parade through May, also below. And wondered where all the names came from. In Brit kids’ speak, these monarchs date from 1066. And we’re all heard of that. The English try NOT to remember that before the Magna Carta, there were other kings and queens of far greater lineage. Save that for another time.

Willie, Willie, Harry Stee

Elizabeth Tudor’s embossed signature, c.1589

WILLIE, WILLIE, HARRY, STEE(V)

HARRY, DICK, JOHN, HARRY THREE

ONE, TWO, THREE NEDS, RICHARD TWO

HARRY FOUR, FIVE, SIX AND WHO?

EDWARD FOUR, FIVE, RICHARD THREE,

2 HENRYS, EDWARD & BLOODY MAIREE

ELIZABETH, THE VIRGIN QUEEN,

TWO JAMES WITH CHARLIES IN BETWEEN

WILLIAM & MARY, ANNA GLORIA,

FOUR GEORGES, WILLIAM & VICTORIA.

NED, GEO, NED, GEO, LIZ.

William I 1066-1087 William II 1087-1100 Henry I 1100-1135 Stephen 1135-1154 NORMAN

Henry II Plantagenet 1154-1189 Richard I 1189-1199 John 1199-1216 Henry III 1216-1272

Edward I 1272-1307 Edward II 1307-1327 Edward III 1327-1377 Richard II 1377-1399 Plantagenet 245 yrs

Henry IV Lancaster 1399-1413 Henry V 1413-1422 Henry VI 1422-1461

Edward IV York 1461-1483 Edward reigned a few days Richard III 1483-1485

Henry VII Tudor 1485-1509 Henry VIII 1509-1547 Edward VI 1547- 1553 Mary I 1553-1558

Elizabeth I 1558-1603 Last Tudor Sovereign

James I 1603-1625 Charles I 1625-1649* Charles II 1660-1685 James II 1685-1688 Stuart

William III Orange 1689-1702 & Mary d.1694 Anne 1702-1714 last of Stuarts

George I 1714-1727 George II 1727-1760 George III 1760-1820 George IV 1820-1830 William IV1830-37 House of Hanover

Victoria 1837-1901

Edward VII Saxe-Coburg 1901-1910 George V 1910-1936 changed name to Windsor Edward VIII abdicated

George VI 1936-1952 Elizabeth II 1952-present

Length of Dynasties

We all know who he is—six wives later—

Norman Kings 88 years

Plantagenets 245 years

House of Lancaster 62 years

House of York 24 years

Tudors 118 years

Stuarts 97 years

Orange-Nassau 13 years

Hanoverians 187 years

Saxe-Coburg 9 years

House of Windsor current, adopted by Geo.V

* between 1649-1660, England was a “Commonwealth”, Oliver Cromwell & son Richard Cromwell, Protectors
In 1660 Scotland enacted the Reformation—all worship to be Protestant; Roman Catholicism outlawed.
Hope you IWSGers survived your history lesson. Thanks for your patience. You will be tested next month—lol.

©2018 Marian Youngblood

June 6, 2018 Posted by | astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, earth changes, environment, history, nature, ocean, publishing, rain, seismic, traditions, volcanic, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Royal Line of Succession—All Change

ALL CHANGE—FOR ROYALS AND INSECURE WRITERS
Early Catch-up Corner for IWSG-ers and Wannabe Royals [like Meghan]

HRH Duke & Duchess of Cambridge with newborn HRH Prince Louis, 23rd April 2018

Brand new Prince Louis of Cambridge has become the fifth in line to the British throne. Born Monday April 23rd, in London’s St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, the newborn infant
returned home to nearby Kensington Palace hours after birth. HRH Prince Louis Arthur Charles becomes the Queen and Prince Philip’s sixth great-grandchild.

He follows his father and two siblings in the line of succession as the great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

New Rules of Succession
His uncle, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York is the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s third child, but when Andrew was born in 1960 he leapfrogged his older sister, Princess Anne, in the line of succession. Little Louis bumps his uncle down a notch, sliding into his (5th) spot, after elder sister Charlotte and brother George.

Under new rules of succession, below, the Cambridges’ third child although a boy, will no longer be allowed to jump ahead of older sister Charlotte in the line of succession.

Previously, under the ancient rules of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over their female siblings, even leapfrogging first-born royal daughters.

But a radical shake-up of the royal succession rules removed discriminatory male bias and came into force in March 2015, affecting babies born after October 28 2011.

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 has already affected the Duke of Gloucester’s granddaughters, Senna Lewis and Lyla Gilman, whose younger brothers, born in 2012, now follow them in the line of succession.

The “new” Royal Line, HRH girls included, gives Prince Louis status of five-times great grandchild of Queen Victoria

William may need to adjust to caring for a newborn once again.

Kate joked in the months leading up to her due date that her husband was ‘in denial’ about having a third.

And the social whirl is hotting up.

Little Louis and Big Andrew
By having more than two children, William and Kate are following in the footsteps of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who went on to have four children—although there was a gap of ten years between their second child, HRH Anne, and third, HRH Andrew—now bumped a place in the hierarchy.

As a sibling to both future king George and ‘spare to heir’ Charlotte, new prince Louis is unlikely ever to be crowned sovereign.

The new infant is already a prince, thanks to HM the Queen, who stepped in ahead of Prince George’s birth to ensure all William’s children would become HRHs, with fitting titles.

The Queen issued Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm in December 2012 when Kate was just a few months pregnant, declaring ‘All children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour’.

Royal line of succession places new Prince Louis’ status above that of his uncle Andrew, far right


A Letters Patent in 1917, issued by George V, limited titles within the royal family, meaning daughters born to William and Kate would not have been an HRH but Lady (Charlotte) Mountbatten-Windsor instead and second or later-born sons would also have lacked the HRH title and become Lord (Louis) Mountbatten-Windsor, rather than a prince.

Royal Social Calendar getting crowded
With more British royal engagements coming thick and fast—another royal wedding in the offing for May 19th—the little prince might be seen to upstage his uncle Harry and his new American bride, who will wed in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Prince Louis’ mum, HRH Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, has not been asked to be maid of honor to Ms. Meghan Markle, as according to Buckingham Palace sources, “it is not appropriate, having so recently given birth.”

Among Royal circles, the choice of names for little Louis reverberates in history.

HRH Prince Louis is first seen to commemorate Prince Charles’s mentor and great-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb in 1979. Arthur and Charles are also names in honor of the infant’s grandfather Charles, who was unable to see his grandchild for more than a week because of State appointments—of which the Heir to the British Throne has over 600 this year, having relieved his mother, HM the Queen, 92, of most of them.

Insecure royal chroniclers and other writers will await developments in the run-up to the royal wedding in May, when more than half of Hollywood is slated to descend on London. 😉
©2018 Marian Youngblood

April 28, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, culture, history, popular, ritual, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Epiphany—the Twelfth Day of Christmas

EPHIPHANY—APPEARANCE TO THE MAGI OF THE CHRIST
Happy New Year to all Insecure Writers in the IWSG corner

The festival of Epiphany is a Christian holiday celebrated on January 6 in Western Churches. It marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas starting on Christmas Day. Protestants and Roman Catholics agree on the date as the time when the Magi, or ‘Three Wise Men’, followed the Star and brought gifts to Bethlehem to the babe.

Partridge in a Pear Tree

GreenMan, pagan ancestral tree spirit, is allowed to flourish from Christmastide to Epiphany

Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “Greek: manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12)”, the OED doesn’t give the whole picture.

Epiphany Eve—Twelfth Night—is the time when families across Britain and some Americans traditionally take down their festive lights, decorations and fir trees.

This follows a 19th-century Victorian tradition where it was considered unlucky to keep up Christmas greenery, like holly and ivy—associated with pagan ritual—beyond this day: the belief itself a pre-Christian relic of Saturnalia, which rivalled Christmastide until the Middle Ages.

Pre-Christian tradition believed that tree spirits sought protection from winter in the trees and must be freed before the start of Epiphany. Nowadays, many European peoples still follow the custom, to avoid bad luck.

Parturit in Aperte—
He appeared through the travails of labor [in the labor within giving birth]

But it took twelve days and nights for the Magi coming from the East, to ‘follow the star’ until they got there—late. Their ‘revelation’ or divine appearance came to them, but they arrived twelve days after the divine birth. Gk. Epi- = after the event, late; -phanos = vision, appearance. Implication is that the wise men were late to the party celebrated by the rest of the [early Christian] world.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love sent to me. . .

Traditional rhymes to rival the Pokemon version, December blog below


Twelve drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five Gold Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves and
A Partridge in a Pear Tree—parturit in aperte
—Frederic Austin, 1780 Festive song

May we IWSGers and our Cap’n Alex all agree, despite our theological and other differences

And may we enter 2018 with all our spirits protecting us through the maze, so that we emerge—where? when?— in one piece.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

January 4, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, Ascension, astronomy, birds, blogging, festivals, history, pre-Christian, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satellites and Fairy Lights in Good Old Festive Tradition

SATELLITES AND FAIRY LIGHTS
Seasonal Catch-up Corner for IWSGers & Skywatchers
If you thought Cruithne was archetype king of Picts—check your Histories again.

‘Morsheimer do Cruithne clainn raindset Albain i secht raind; Cait, Cé, Cirig, cétach clann Fib Fidach, Fotla, Fortrenn Ocus is o ainm gach fir dib fil for a fearand.’

‘Seven of Cruithne’s children divided Alba into seven divisions; the portion of Cat, of Cé, of Cirig a warlike clan, the kingdoms of Fife, Fidach, Fotla and Fortriu; and the name of each of them remains upon his land.’
Scots 12thC version of ‘lost’ Pictish Chronicle


21st Century Cruithne Orbits the Sun

Since 1997, Cruithne has been monitored by the European version of SETI—Carl Sagan’s fave extra-terrestrial intelligence search engine—as our closest “near-earth satellite”. [Not including the ICBMs and other space junk we throw up into orbit]. It even has its own space number—3753—though it may take some time to figure out where the other 3752 satellites roam within our inner solar system!

December’s Tree-Popping Moon

Recent volcanic activity in the Arctic threatened unseasonal nesting terns in Franz Josef Land

2017 seems to be going out with a bang. Despite the drawback of Mercury going retrograde for the first 23 days, a Gemini Full Moon—native American ‘Tree-Popping Moon’—brought an atmosphere of unreality—cotton-mouth of the brain—through the season’s open door, with romance, magic, confusion; but look out for deceit. It’s as if we’re already at the party, a fog machine’s running, and we’re wearing novelty glasses with rose-colored lenses.

Smack in the middle of the festivities, illusionist Neptune stands, in an exact T-square to the Sun and Moon. Its force both escalates and forces out fantasy, lies, and fraud, while doing the same with love, compassion, empathy and divine guidance. Because of Mercury’s spin retrograde, communications, transportation and moving around are difficult.

In this atmosphere, emotions may be clouded, confusing, muffled, or blissing us out to an extreme. We IWSGers may be float around in a daze. Our reaction to information may push us to escapism—never a bad thing for a writer—or binging, or retreating into a fantasy land.

Simultaneously.

Don’t Despair, Dragons Are There
Thankfully there is hope for discernment and possible safe passage through the Christmas rush—that single release point to the T-square’s pressure—the empty space in Virgo, opposite Neptune. Virgo, having given birth to Jupiter so recently, is empty: she helps us chew over things, call timeout, redraw boundaries, assist in navigating the haze.

A surprising lifeline to stabilization comes via Mercury. Even though he’s retrograde, he is conjunct Saturn, who brings order and slow, deliberate movement, underscoring the molasses feel of the retrograde station.

Handpainted dragon mask, glued on to brown paper bag, courtesy Ms. Rose

Order doesn’t mean same old, same old, though, as Saturn’s journey in the last year has shown. Innovative perspectives, approaches, and paradigms are all over 2017 Gemini Full Moon activity. They’re coming not just into consciousness, but into being, via a trine from this pair to Mercury’s genius uncle, Uranus. Visionary and radical change agent of the cosmos, Uranus is tossing intermittent lightning bolts, which pierce the fog and illuminate what’s inside. See last month’s excitement with Uranus.

When they hit, we’re not doomed to reacting like a deer in headlights. An epidemic of remarkable emotional flexibility and nimbleness is available, through the Moon’s benevolent trine to Jupiter with his generous powers of expansion. Since the great benefactor is in the intense waters of Scorpio, this connection makes it possible to perceive more deeply, into one’s self as well as others, than our usual Gemini surface-skating mindset.

As old secrets and previously hidden truths surface, we have to face/respond to them.

Doorways are opening; opportunities to move are within reach through the Mercury/Saturn conjunction’s sextile to Mars in Libra. Action in or through relationships is the key, such as discussing terms for structure or commitment, or a close ally offering a helping hand.

Maybe time to set the scene for a new novel, Alex? IWSG-ers all?

As we wander through the fog, it may feel vaguely familiar. Remember the mutable grand cross of June 2016? That sense of watching events play out without our ability to steer or direct.

Are we prepared for a blue moon on New Year’s Day, 2018? Or an extra Cruithne companion, perhaps?
©2017 Marian Youngblood

December 6, 2017 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, pre-Christian, sacred sites, seasonal, stone circles, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments