Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Illusion #4

Charles Doolittle Walcott and the Burgess Shale of British Columbia, Canada

Charles Doolittle Walcott
March 31st, 1850 to February 9th, 1927

Mention must be made of this date for the birth of Charles Doolittle Walcott who was an American paleontologist and Director of the United States Geologic Service, and then Director of the Smithsonian Institution but best known for his discovery in 1909 of well-preserved fossils in the Burgess Shale of British Columbia, Canada. It was a unique discovery in that it contained many soft shell fossils heretofore unknown.

Bill Ashworth in the Linda Hall Library Newsletter wrote...

The Burgess Shale dates to just over 500 million years ago, in the Cambrian period, and the site is unusual in that it preserves the remains of many soft-bodied organisms, which are normally left out of the fossil record. These Cambrian animals were like no other that Walcott had ever seen, but he managed to sort them into the known phyla of jellyfish, worms, echinoderms, etc, and give them exotic names, like Wiwaxia, and Hallucigenia. Then, in the 1970s, a Canadian, Harry Whittington, re-examined the fossils and argued that most of the fauna of the Burgess Shale were actually entirely unknown organisms, experiments in evolution that left no descendants in the modern world, and not members of any existing phylum. Stephen Jay Gould, who had always maintained that evolution is highly contingent, and governed by chance and circumstance, used the example of the reinterpretation of the Burgess Shale as the centerpiece for a book, Wonderful Life (1989), which was close to a best-seller. In particular, Gould argued that , were we to rewind the evolutionary panorama and run it again, the line that produced vertebrates, and thus us, would in all likelihood never have survived, just like most of the animals of the Burgess Shale. Gould's view, in turn, was attacked by Simon Conway Morris (interestingly, one of the heroes of Gould's book), in The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals (1998).

Charles Doolittle Walcott

Burgess Shale of British Columbia, Canada

More on the student loan program

"Student loan reform: What will it mean for students?"

President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act Tuesday, whose student loan reform will mean big savings for the US government, but not much change for students until 2014.


Tracey D. Samuelson

March 30th, 2010

The Christian Science Monitor

Tucked inside the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which President Obama signed into law Tuesday, are provisions that will change the way students can pay for higher education.

Mr. Obama called it “one of the most significant investments in higher education since the G.I. Bill,” speaking at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria.

But just how much will reform affect the average student?

The legislation makes substantial changes in the way students get money for college, but those provisions might not necessarily be tangible for students in the immediate future.

That’s because the biggest change is in who administers student loans. Instead of private banks issuing loans guaranteed by the government, the government will now become the originator of the loan.

“That’s very important for students, but it isn’t going to be very visible for them,” says Sandy Baum, an independent policy analyst for the College Board, a New York-based nonprofit that tracks and promotes college attendance.

The change will eliminate private banks as “middlemen” in the loan process and will save the US government about $68 billion dollars over 11 years, according to the White House.

But for students, the loans will look largely the same – same terms, same fees, same interest rates.

The benefits to students will mostly be in the lending process, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and, which offer information on scholarships and student aid.

Students could see a “smoother origination process,” says Mr. Kantrowitz, because instead of shopping for a private lender, they’ll simply go to their school’s financial aid office. And because the government has contracted four of the largest lenders to service the loans, that part might go more smoothly, too.

But financially, the bottom line will look the same for students – for now.

Eventually, students with federal loans will qualify for better repayment terms. Part of the legislation signed today also improves repayment terms first enacted last summer. Loan payments will be capped at 10 percent of a student’s disposable income (it’s currently 15 percent) and any debt remaining after 20 years will be forgiven (the current threshold is 25). For public servants – including teachers, nurses, or members of the armed forces – that cap is 10 years.

But, those repayment terms are only applicable for loans signed after July 1, 2014, and will not be retroactive, nor do they apply to private loans.

With the new legislation, students will also see increased support from Pell Grants, which provide need-based grants to low-income students.

In contrast to who issues their student loans, students are “intensely aware” of the amount of funding offered by a Pell Grant, says Ms. Baum.

But the substantial impact of the new funds will be in preserving recent increases to the Pell Grant from the Recovery Act.

With an increasing number of students qualifying for the grants because of economic hardship in their families, “it would not have been possible to maintain [Pell Grants] at the current level” without this legislation, says Baum. “That money had to come from somewhere.”

Still, Kantrowitz calls scheduled Pell Grant increases “anemic.”

“Over 10 years, the maximum Pell Grant is not going to keep up with inflation, let alone college tuition inflation,” he says.

Student loan program revamped

Real books vs E-books and personality

With E-books our persona will be concealed. Not good. How are we going to impress others. Don't you want the one sitting next to you on the trolley know that you are read a technical text on quantum physics?

"In E-Book Era, You Can’t Even Judge a Cover"


Motoko Rich

March 31st, 2010

The New York Times

Bindu Wiles was on a Q train in Brooklyn this month when she spotted a woman reading a book whose cover had an arresting black silhouette of a girl’s head set against a bright orange background.

Ms. Wiles noticed that the woman looked about her age, 45, and was carrying a yoga mat, so she figured that they were like-minded and leaned in to catch the title: “Little Bee,” a novel by Chris Cleave. Ms. Wiles, a graduate student in nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, tapped a note into her iPhone and bought the book later that week.

Such encounters are becoming increasingly difficult. With a growing number of people turning to Kindles and other electronic readers, and with the Apple iPad arriving on Saturday, it is not always possible to see what others are reading or to project your own literary tastes.

You can’t tell a book by its cover if it doesn’t have one.

“There’s something about having a beautiful book that looks intellectually weighty and yummy,” said Ms. Wiles, who recalled that when she was rereading “Anna Karenina” recently, she liked that people could see the cover on the subway. “You feel kind of proud to be reading it.” With a Kindle or Nook, she said, “people would never know.”

Among other changes heralded by the e-book era, digital editions are bumping book covers off the subway, the coffee table and the beach. That is a loss for publishers and authors, who enjoy some free advertising for their books in printed form: if you notice the jackets on the books people are reading on a plane or in the park, you might decide to check out “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” or “The Help,” too.

“So often when you’re thinking of a book, you remember its cover,” said Jeffrey C. Alexander, professor of cultural sociology at Yale. “It’s a way of drawing people through the visual into reading.”

In the bookstore, where a majority of sales still take place, covers play a crucial role. “If you have already passed that hurdle of having a customer be attracted to the cover, and then they pick up the book,” said Patricia Bostelman, vice president for marketing at Barnes & Noble, “an enormous battle has been won.”

But it’s a victory that will be harder to eke out if no one can tell whether you’re reading “War and Peace” or “Diamonds and Desire.”

Perhaps no other element of the book-making process receives as much input from as many different people as the jacket. First, a creative director comes up with an idea. (How about this image of an apple?) Then the book’s editor, author and agent have a look. (Can we enlarge the font size on the author’s name? And wasn’t an apple used for that book about vampires? This book isn’t about vampires.) The publisher of the imprint gets involved. (Vampires sell. I like the apple.) The sales force makes comments. (Isn’t there an economics angle? How about an apple with an orange inside? That’s worked before.) Even booksellers have an opinion. (What I really love on a cover is a pair of high heels.)

A good jacket is unlikely to save a bad book, of course. But in a crowded market, a striking cover is one advantage all authors and publishers want. To get a sense of the odds, in a random analysis of 1,000 business books released last year, Codex Group, a publishing consultant, found that only 62 sold more than 5,000 copies.

Even in the digital era, publishers believe that books need graphic representations — if only for the online marketing campaign. Regardless of the format, “they all seem to need what we know of as a cover to identify them,” said Chip Kidd, associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf. Mr. Kidd has designed more than 1,000 jackets for authors including Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy.

The music industry went through a similar transition when digital music devices arrived, but it has pushed back by finding fresh ways to display CD cover art on the Web sites where the songs are bought and the iPod screens where they are played. Publishers have already had some experience tailoring book jackets for the digital world, since so many people now buy even their print copies online.

“We often get requests to make the type bigger,” said Mario J. Pulice, creative director for the adult trade division of Little, Brown & Company. “Because when it’s on Amazon, you can’t read the author’s name.”

As publishers explore targeted advertising on Google and other search engines or social networking sites, they figure that a digital cover remains the best way to represent a book.

Some readers expect makers of electronic devices to add functions that allow users to broadcast what they’re reading. “People like to show off what they’re doing and what they like,” said Maud Newton, a popular book blogger. “So eventually there will be a way for people to do that with e-readers.”

For now, many publishers are counting on the Facebook effect. “Before, you might see three people reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ on the subway,” said Clare Ferraro, president of Viking and Plume, imprints of Penguin Group USA. “Now you’re going to log onto Facebook and see that three of your friends are reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ ”

Even avid online networkers rely on physical book covers in the real world. Heather E. Johnson, 32, who writes reviews on her blog, “Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books,” was recently at one of her son’s hockey games in Glen Burnie, a suburb of Baltimore, when she noticed a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” lying open on the bleachers.

When a friend returned to claim it, Ms. Johnson asked for an opinion. “She said it was fabulous,” Ms. Johnson recalled. As soon as Ms. Johnson got home, she moved the title up her “to be read” list.

“I don’t know that I would start a conversation with someone about something they were reading on an e-reader,” Ms. Johnson added. “It might not be something that they want anyone to know that they’re reading.”

Some digital publishers suspect that one of the reasons romance and erotica titles are so popular in electronic editions is because e-readers are discreet.

Book jackets, though, still matter.

Holly Schmidt, president of Ravenous Romance, an e-book publisher of romance and erotica, said that in one case the publisher was offering an anthology of stories about older women and younger men. The first version featured a digital cover image of a winsome woman. It barely sold any copies. The publisher put a new cover up online — this time showing the bare, muscular torsos of three young men — and sales took off.

The new cover “took a book that was pretty much a loser,” Ms. Schmidt said, “and made it into a pretty strong seller.”

"E-book" poll

Electronic books vs "real" books

René Descartes--birthday

Probably one of the most influential and significant philosophers in the past 400 years was born today in 1596.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

René Descartes [Wikipedia]

Mark Steel Lectures

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Selected texts from Project Guttenberg

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Deceased--Jaime Escalante

Jaime Escalante
December 31st, 1930 to March 30th, 2010

I well remember him and the documentary...a marvelous teacher.

"Jaime Escalante dies at 79; math teacher who challenged East L.A. students to 'Stand and Deliver'"

He became America's most famous teacher after a 1988 movie portrayed his success at mentoring working-class pupils at Garfield High to pass a rigorous national calculus exam. He died of cancer.


Elaine Woo

March 30th, 2010

The Los Angeles Times

Jaime Escalante, the charismatic former East Los Angeles high school teacher who taught the nation that inner-city students could master subjects as demanding as calculus, died Tuesday. He was 79.

The subject of the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," Escalante died at his son's home in Roseville, Calif., said actor Edward James Olmos, who portrayed the teacher in the film. Escalante had bladder cancer.

"Jaime didn't just teach math. Like all great teachers, he changed lives," Olmos said earlier this month when he organized an appeal for funds to help pay Escalante's mounting medical bills.

Escalante gained national prominence in the aftermath of a 1982 scandal surrounding 14 of his Garfield High School students who passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam only to be accused later of cheating.

The story of their eventual triumph -- and of Escalante's battle to raise standards at a struggling campus of working-class, largely Mexican American students -- became the subject of the movie, which turned the balding, middle-aged Bolivian immigrant into the most famous teacher in America.

Escalante was a maverick who did not get along with many of his public school colleagues, but he mesmerized students with his entertaining style and deep understanding of math. Educators came from around the country to observe him at Garfield, which built one of the largest and most successful Advanced Placement programs in the nation.

"Jaime Escalante has left a deep and enduring legacy in the struggle for academic equity in American education," said Gaston Caperton, former West Virginia governor and president of the College Board, which sponsors the Scholastic Assessment Test and the Advanced Placement exams.

"His passionate belief [was] that all students, when properly prepared and motivated, can succeed at academically demanding course work, no matter what their racial, social or economic background. Because of him, educators everywhere have been forced to revise long-held notions of who can succeed."

Escalante's rise came during an era decried by experts as one of alarming mediocrity in the nation's schools. He pushed for tougher standards and accountability for students and educators, often irritating colleagues and parents along the way with his brusque manner and uncompromising stands.

He was called a traitor for his opposition to bilingual education. He said the hate mail he received for championing Proposition 227, the successful 1998 ballot measure to dismantle bilingual programs in California, was a factor in his decision to retire that year after leaving Garfield and teaching at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento for seven years.

He moved back to Bolivia, where he propelled himself into a classroom again, apparently intent on fulfilling a vow to die doing what he knew best -- teach. But he returned frequently to the United States to speak to education groups and continued to ally himself with conservative politics. He considered becoming an education advisor to President George W. Bush, and in 2003 signed on as an education consultant for Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign in California.

Escalante was born Dec. 31, 1930, in La Paz, Bolivia, and was raised by his mother after his parents, both schoolteachers, split when he was about 9. He attended a well-regarded Jesuit high school, San Calixto, where his quick mind and penchant for mischief often got him into trouble.

After high school he served in the army during a short-lived Bolivian rebellion. Although he had toyed with the idea of attending engineering school in Argentina, he wound up enrolling at the Bolivian state teachers college, Normal Superior. Before he graduated he was teaching at three top-rated Bolivian schools. He also married Fabiola Tapia, a fellow student at the college.

At his wife's urging, Escalante gave up his teaching posts for the promise of a brighter future in the United States for their firstborn, Jaime Jr. (A second son, Fernando, would follow.) With $3,000 in his pocket and little more than "yes" and "no" in his English vocabulary, Escalante flew alone to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve 1963. He was 33.

His first job was mopping floors in a coffee shop across the street from Pasadena City College, where he enrolled in English classes. Within a few months he was promoted to cook, slinging burgers by day and studying for an associate's degree in math and physics by night. That led to a better-paying job as a technician at a Pasadena electronics company, where he became a prized employee. But the classroom still beckoned to the teacher inside him.He earned a scholarship to Cal State Los Angeles to pursue a teaching credential. In the fall of 1974, when he was 43, he took a pay cut to begin teaching at Garfield High at a salary of $13,000.

"My friends said, 'Jaime, you're crazy.' But I wanted to work with young people," he told The Times. "That's more rewarding for me than the money."

When he arrived at the school, he was dismayed to learn he had been assigned to teach the lowest level of math. He grew unhappier still when he discovered how watered-down the math textbooks were -- on a par with fifth-grade work in Bolivia. Faced with unruly students, he began to wish for his old job back.

But Escalante stayed, soon developing a reputation for turning around hard-to-motivate students. By 1978, he had 14 students enrolled in his first AP calculus class. Of the five who survived his stiff homework and attendance demands, only two earned passing scores on the exam.

But in 1980, seven of nine students passed the exam; in 1981, 14 of 15 passed.

In 1982, he had 18 students to prepare for the academic challenge of their young lives.

At his insistence, they studied before school, after school and on Saturdays, with Escalante as coach and cheerleader. Some of them lacked supportive parents, who needed their teenagers to work to help pay bills. Other students had to be persuaded to spend less time on the school band or in athletics. Yet all gradually formed an attachment to calculus and to "Kimo," their nickname for Escalante, inspired by Tonto's nickname for the Lone Ranger, Kemo Sabe.

Escalante was hospitalized twice in the months leading up to the AP exam. He had a heart attack while teaching night school but ignored doctors' orders to rest and was back at Garfield the next day.

Then he disappeared one weekend to have his gallbladder removed. As Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews recounted in his 1988 book, "Escalante: The Best Teacher in America," the hard-driving teacher turned the health problem into another weapon in his bag of tricks. "You burros give me a heart attack," he repeatedly told his students when he returned. "But I come back! I'm still the champ."

The guilt-making mantra was effective. One student said, "If Kimo can do it, we can do it. If he wants to teach us that bad, we can learn."

The Advanced Placement program qualifies students for college credit if they pass the exam with a score of 3 or higher. For many years it was a tool of the elite; the calculus exam, for example, was taken by only about 3% of American high school math students when Escalante revived the program at Garfield in the late 1970s.

In 1982, a record 69 Garfield students were taking AP exams in various subjects, including Spanish and history. Escalante's calculus students took their exam in May under the watchful eye of the school's head counselor.

The results, released over the summer, were stunning: All 18 of his students passed, with seven earning the highest score of 5.

But the good news quickly turned bad.

The Educational Testing Service, which administers the exam, said it had found suspicious similarities in the solutions given on 14 exams. It invalidated those scores.

The action angered the students, who thought the service would not have questioned their scores if they were white. But this was Garfield, a school made up primarily of lower-income Mexican Americans that only a few years earlier had nearly lost its accreditation. "There's a tremendous amount of feeling that the Hispanic is incapable of handling higher math and science," Escalante reflected later in an interview with Newsday.

He, like many in the Garfield community, feared the students were victims of a racist attack, a charge that Educational Testing Service strongly denied. Two of the students told Mathews of the Washington Post that some cheating had occurred, but they later recanted their confessions.

Vindication came in a retest. Of the 14 accused of wrongdoing, 12 took the exam again and passed.

After that, the numbers of Garfield students taking calculus and other Advanced Placement classes soared. By 1987, only four high schools in the country had more students taking and passing the AP calculus exam than Garfield.

Escalante's dramatic success raised public consciousness of what it took to be not just a good teacher but a great one. One of the most astute analyses of his classroom style came from the actor who shadowed him for days before portraying him in "Stand and Deliver."

"He's the most stylized man I've ever come across," Olmos, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance, told the New York Times in 1988. "He had three basic personalities -- teacher, father-friend and street-gang equal -- and he would juggle them, shift in an instant. . . . He's one of the greatest calculated entertainers."

Escalante was the ultimate performer in class, cracking jokes, rendering impressions and using all sorts of props -- from basketballs and wind-up toys to meat cleavers and space-alien dolls -- to explain complex mathematical concepts. Sports analogies abounded. A perfect parabola, for instance, was like a sky-hook by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. "Calculus Does Not Have To Be Made Easy -- It Is Easy Already," read a banner Escalante kept in his classroom.

In 1991, he packed up his bag of tricks and quit Garfield, saying he was fed up with faculty politics and petty jealousies. He headed to Hiram Johnson High with the intention of testing his methods in a new environment.

But in seven years there, he never had more than about 14 calculus students a year and a 75% pass rate, a record he blamed on administrative turnover and cultural differences. At Garfield, where the pass rate was above 90% when he left, his success was aided by a strongly supportive principal, Henry Gradillas, and talented colleagues, including award-winning calculus teacher Ben Jimenez.

Thirty-five years after leaving Bolivia for his journey into teaching fame, Escalante went home. He settled with his wife in her hometown of Cochabamba and became a part-time mathematics professor at the Universidad del Valle, and was still teaching calculus in Bolivia in 2008. He returned to the United States frequently to visit his son and give motivational speeches.

He made his last trip to the U.S. to seek treatment for the cancer that had left him unable to walk or speak above a whisper. This month, as he gave himself over to a Reno clinic's regimen of pills, teas and ointments, .

Unpopular with fellow teachers, he won few major teaching awards in the United States. He liked to be judged by his results, a concept still resisted by the majority of his profession.

As he faced death, it was still the results that mattered to him -- the young minds he held captive three decades ago who today are engineers, lawyers, doctors, teachers and administrators.

"I had many opportunities in this country, but the best I found in East L.A.," he said in one of his last interviews. "I am proudest of my brilliant students."

Escalante is survived by his wife, his sons and six grandchildren.

Stand and Deliver

"What's calculus?"

Bucks for organs?

Oh my, this is going to be a real ethical and legal issue.

"Study: People would donate kidneys for payment"


Katharine Lackey

March 30th, 2010


Paying people for living kidney donations would increase the supply of the organs and would not result in a disproportionate number of poor donors, a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center concludes.

The study, published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, asked 342 participants whether they would donate a kidney with varying payments of $0, $10,000 and $100,000. The study called for a real-world test of a regulated payment system.

The possibility of payments nearly doubled the number of participants in the study who said they would donate a kidney to a stranger, but it did not influence those with lower income levels more than those with higher incomes, according to Scott Halpern, one of the study's authors and senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.

Though it is illegal to buy or sell any organ in the USA, payments are accepted for those who become surrogate mothers, donate eggs or participate in clinical research, Halpern says.

Lainie Ross, associate director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, says she feels the findings are flawed because interviews were done with participants waiting for a commuter train and thus left out poorer people who don't have jobs. "The buying and selling of organs will be exploitative because we will end up buying organs from very poor people," Ross says.

Fewer than 100 people give living kidney donations to strangers each year, Ross says, but up to 30% of respondents in the study said they would donate to someone they didn't know even without payment. This inconsistency, Ross says, means participants said what they thought they should say, not what they would do in a real-world situation.

Halpern says the study was not designed to determine the exact number of people who would donate in a given situation, but rather how potential donors are impacted by payments, risk and whether the recipient is a stranger or family member.

Last year, 6,475 people died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and 4,476 were waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, part of the Health and Human Services Administration.

"There's no real reason why that model has to be continued," Halpern says of the current system. "There's nothing intrinsically unique about organ donation that requires it to be a truly altruistic act."

George Annas, professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at Boston University's School of Public Health, predicts a payment system would result in an increase in health care costs for transplants. He says the study raises the question of whether the United States really wants to put body parts on the market, even a regulated one.

"I would not be against a reasonable trial to see how it works … (but) we do not want a society in which the rich literally live off the bodies of the poor," Annas says.

Seasonal science and faith

This periodically shows's attempt to broaden it's understanding of natural phenomenon now focused on the Biblical account of the ten plagues of Egypt. There is one that is questionable..."The rising temperatures could have caused the river Nile to dry up, turning the fast flowing river that was Egypt's lifeline into a slow moving and muddy watercourse." Need to extend this further and consider the source of the Nile--Lake Victoria and the whole climate issue of Africa. Nevertheless, the whole point of these quaint tales is a matter of religious convictions and "faith".

"But Dr Robert Miller, associate professor of the Old Testament, from the Catholic University of America, said: "I'm reluctant to come up with natural causes for all of the plagues. The problem with the naturalistic explanations, is that they lose the whole point. And the whole point was that you didn't come out of Egypt by natural causes, you came out by the hand of God."

"Biblical plagues really happened say scientists"

The Biblical plagues that devastated Ancient Egypt in the Old Testament were the result of global warming and a volcanic eruption, scientists have claimed.


Richard Gray

March 27th, 2010

Researchers believe they have found evidence of real natural disasters on which the ten plagues of Egypt, which led to Moses freeing the Israelites from slavery in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, were based.

But rather than explaining them as the wrathful act of a vengeful God, the scientists claim the plagues can be attributed to a chain of natural phenomena triggered by changes in the climate and environmental disasters that happened hundreds of miles away.

They have compiled compelling evidence that offers new explanations for the Biblical plagues, which will be outlined in a new series to be broadcast on the National Geographical Channel on Easter Sunday.

Archaeologists now widely believe the plagues occurred at an ancient city of Pi-Rameses on the Nile Delta, which was the capital of Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Rameses the Second, who ruled between 1279BC and 1213BC.

The city appears to have been abandoned around 3,000 years ago and scientists claim the plagues could offer an explanation.

Climatologists studying the ancient climate at the time have discovered a dramatic shift in the climate in the area occurred towards the end of Rameses the Second's reign.

By studying stalagmites in Egyptian caves they have been able to rebuild a record of the weather patterns using traces of radioactive elements contained within the rock.

They found that Rameses reign coincided with a warm, wet climate, but then the climate switched to a dry period.

Professor Augusto Magini, a paleoclimatologist at Heidelberg University's institute for environmental physics, said: "Pharaoh Rameses II reigned during a very favourable climatic period.

"There was plenty of rain and his country flourished. However, this wet period only lasted a few decades. After Rameses' reign, the climate curve goes sharply downwards.

"There is a dry period which would certainly have had serious consequences."

The scientists believe this switch in the climate was the trigger for the first of the plagues.

The rising temperatures could have caused the river Nile to dry up, turning the fast flowing river that was Egypt's lifeline into a slow moving and muddy watercourse.

These conditions would have been perfect for the arrival of the first plague, which in the Bible is described as the Nile turning to blood.

Dr Stephan Pflugmacher, a biologist at the Leibniz Institute for Water Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin, believes this description could have been the result of a toxic fresh water algae.

He said the bacterium, known as Burgundy Blood algae or Oscillatoria rubescens, is known to have existed 3,000 years ago and still causes similar effects today.

He said: "It multiplies massively in slow-moving warm waters with high levels of nutrition. And as it dies, it stains the water red."

The scientists also claim the arrival of this algae set in motion the events that led to the second, third and forth plagues – frogs, lice and flies.

Frogs development from tadpoles into fully formed adults is governed by hormones that can speed up their development in times of stress.

The arrival of the toxic algae would have triggered such a transformation and forced the frogs to leave the water where they lived.

But as the frogs died, it would have meant that mosquitoes, flies and other insects would have flourished without the predators to keep their numbers under control.

This, according to the scientists, could have led in turn to the fifth and sixth plagues – diseased livestock and boils

Professor Werner Kloas, a biologist at the Leibniz Institute, said: "We know insects often carry diseases like malaria, so the next step in the chain reaction is the outbreak of epidemics, causing the human population to fall ill."

Another major natural disaster more than 400 miles away is now also thought to be responsible for triggering the seventh, eighth and ninth plagues that bring hail, locusts and darkness to Egypt.

One of the biggest volcanic eruptions in human history occurred when Thera, a volcano that was part of the Mediterranean islands of Santorini, just north of Crete, exploded around 3,500 year ago, spewing billions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere.

Nadine von Blohm, from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Germany, has been conducting experiments on how hailstorms form and believes that the volcanic ash could have clashed with thunderstorms above Egypt to produce dramatic hail storms.

Dr Siro Trevisanato, a Canadian biologist who has written a book about the plagues, said the locusts could also be explained by the volcanic fall out from the ash.

He said: "The ash fall out caused weather anomalies, which translates into higher precipitations, higher humidity. And that's exactly what fosters the presence of the locusts."

The volcanic ash could also have blocked out the sunlight causing the stories of a plague of darkness.

Scientists have found pumice, stone made from cooled volcanic lava, during excavations of Egyptian ruins despite there not being any volcanoes in Egypt.

Analysis of the rock shows that it came from the Santorini volcano, providing physical evidence that the ash fallout from the eruption at Santorini reached Egyptian shores.

The cause of the final plague, the death of the first borns of Egypt, has been suggested as being caused by a fungus that may have poisoned the grain supplies, of which male first born would have had first pickings and so been first to fall victim.

But Dr Robert Miller, associate professor of the Old Testament, from the Catholic University of America, said: "I'm reluctant to come up with natural causes for all of the plagues.

The problem with the naturalistic explanations, is that they lose the whole point.

"And the whole point was that you didn't come out of Egypt by natural causes, you came out by the hand of God."


A slow science day?

"1980s Video Icon Glows On Saturn Moon"

March 30th, 2010


The highest-resolution-yet temperature map and images of Saturn's icy moon Mimas obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal surprising patterns on the surface of the small moon, including unexpected hot regions that resemble "Pac-Man" eating a dot, and striking bands of light and dark in crater walls.

"Other moons usually grab the spotlight, but it turns out Mimas is more bizarre than we thought it was," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It has certainly given us some new puzzles."

Cassini collected the data on Feb. 13, during its closest flyby of the moon, which is marked by an enormous scar called Herschel Crater and resembles the Death Star from "Star Wars."

Scientists working with the composite infrared spectrometer, which mapped Mimas' temperatures, expected smoothly varying temperatures peaking in the early afternoon near the equator. Instead, the warmest region was in the morning, along one edge of the moon's disk, making a sharply defined Pac-Man shape, with temperatures around 92 Kelvin (minus 294 degrees Fahrenheit).

The rest of the moon was much colder, around 77 Kelvin (minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit). A smaller warm spot - the dot in Pac-Man's mouth - showed up around Herschel, with a temperature around 84 Kelvin (minus 310 degrees Fahrenheit).

The warm spot around Herschel makes sense because tall crater walls (about 5 kilometers, or 3 miles, high) can trap heat inside the crater. But scientists were completely baffled by the sharp, V-shaped pattern.

"We suspect the temperatures are revealing differences in texture on the surface," said John Spencer, a Cassini composite infrared spectrometer team member based at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. "It's maybe something like the difference between old, dense snow and freshly fallen powder."

Denser ice quickly conducts the heat of the sun away from the surface, keeping it cold during the day. Powdery ice is more insulating and traps the sun's heat at the surface, so the surface warms up.

Even if surface texture variations are to blame, scientists are still trying to figure out why there are such sharp boundaries between the regions, Spencer said. It is possible that the impact that created Herschel Crater melted surface ice and spread water across the moon. That liquid may have flash-frozen into a hard surface.

But it is hard to understand why this dense top layer would remain intact when meteorites
and other space debris should have pulverized it by now, Spencer said.

Icy spray from the E ring, one of Saturn's outer rings, should also keep Mimas relatively light-colored, but the new visible-light images from the flyby paint a picture of surprising contrasts. Cassini imaging team scientists didn't expect to see dark streaks trailing down the bright crater walls or a continuous, narrow pile of concentrated dark debris tracing the foot of each wall.

The pattern may appear because of the way the surface of Mimas ages, said Paul Helfenstein, a Cassini imaging team associate based at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Over time, the moon's surface appears to accumulate a thin veil of silicate minerals
or carbon-rich particles, possibly because of meteor dust falling onto the moon, or impurities already embedded in surface ice.

As the sun's warming rays and the vacuum of space evaporate the brighter ice, the darker material is concentrated and left behind. Gravity pulls the dark material down the crater walls, exposing fresh ice underneath.

Although similar effects are seen on other moons of Saturn, the visibility of these contrasts on a moon continually re-paved with small particles from the E ring helps scientists estimate rates of change on other satellites.

"These processes are not unique to Mimas, but the new high-definition images are like Rosetta stones for interpreting them," Helfenstein said.

This is no different than...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Environmental incentives

Dangle the environmental principles in front of people and few move, but dangle a dollar and everyone moves.

"Getting paid to save energy, recycle? Incentives expand"

March 28th, 2010

USA Today

Americans are being paid to save energy and recycle.

A growing number of private and public programs are offering cash, gift cards and other rewards such as cupcakes and massages for eco-friendly behavior.

"We definitely see this as a trend," says Jennifer Berry , spokeswoman for of Earth 911, an Arizona-based group that runs a the largest U.S. recycling database. "When you give people a reward for positive behavior, they're more likely to participate."

The incentives go beyond federal tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient home upgrades:

U.S. cities are partnering with New York-based RecycleBank to give people points based on how much they recycle. Their recycling bins have computer chips that track volume, which translates into points to be redeemed at local stores, most commonly $10 grocery gift cards. They also get discounts on eBay purchases.

"We reward people for doing the right thing," says Ron Gonen, who founded the company in 2004. Los Angeles will try the program for a year, beginning April 5, with 15,000 households. That boosts participation to 300 cities in 26 states. Cities pay the company a share of the money they save by reducing their landfills.

Thousands of households in all 50 states have registered to earn reward points for energy conservation through Earth Aid, a Washington-based company launched last year. Its software tracks utility bills and, based on savings, offers points to be redeemed at local and, soon, national stores.

"It's icing on the cake," says chief executive officer Ben Bixby, because participants also benefit by lowering their utility bills. His company earns money by referring customers to home remodelers.

RecycleBank is starting a similar program in Chicago next month.

At all U.S. stores, CVS/pharmacy began in October to give customers $1 in store vouchers for every four times they skip using a plastic bag. A shopper buys a "greenbagtag" for 99 cents, then swipes it at the register along with the ExtraCare store loyalty card for every purchase. Many grocery stores offer 5 cents for every resuable bag customers carry.

Companies such as are paying people for used gadgets like iPods, which they recycle if the items can't be resold. Similarly, eRecyclingCorps, co-founded by Sprint executives, gives a trade-in recycling credit for an old cell phone when buying a new one.

Two states, New York and Connecticut, expanded their "bottle bills" last year. Bills in 11 states pay customers to return used bottles, typically a nickel each. Berry says those states have higher recycling rates than other states.

"People want that five cents," says Robert Stavins, director of Harvard University's environmental economics program. To change behavior, he says, "economic incentives are very, very important."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Deceased--Elinor Smith

Elinor Smith
August 17th, 1911 to March 19th, 2010

"Elinor Smith, One of the Youngest Pioneers of Aviation, Is Dead at 98"


Dennis Hevesi

March 26th, 2010

The New York Times

In the days of rickety open-cockpit biplanes seemingly held together by baling wire, 8-year-old Elinor Patricia Ward got her first flying lesson — at her kitchen table in Freeport, N.Y., on Long Island.

“My earliest memory was at dinner with Dad using a knife to show us how the controls of a plane worked,” she told The New York Daily Mirror in 1942.

Within weeks Elinor’s father, Tom Ward, took her to a makeshift airfield on a potato farm, where a pilot strapped her into the rear seat for a fast flight, for a fee. Mr. Ward was a vaudeville song-and-dance man who hated trains and, while on the road, had hired pilots to take him from town to town. (There was another Tom Ward on the vaudeville circuit, so he changed the family name to Smith.)

That first flight sealed Elinor Smith’s fate. Ten days after she turned 16, Elinor received her pilot’s license, becoming one of the youngest pioneers of aviation. Soon, she was breaking records, doing daredevil stunts and making headlines as the “The Flying Flapper of Freeport.”

On March 19, Elinor Smith Sullivan died at a nursing home in Palo Alto, Calif., her son, Patrick, said. She was 98.

“I remember so vividly my first time aloft that I can still hear the wind swing in the wires as we glided down,” she wrote in her autobiography, “Aviatrix” (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981). “By the time the pilot touched the wheels gently to earth, I knew my future in airplanes and flying was as inevitable as the freckles on my nose.”

Tom Smith took flying lessons, then bought an open-cockpit Waco 10 biplane. Elinor insisted on taking lessons. She took her first solo flight when she was 15. Within two years, she was carrying passengers on short flights from Roosevelt Field over Long Island. Then, on Oct. 21, 1928 — after being baited by boys at her high school — she took off alone, headed west, then south and swooped under the four East River bridges.

“Miss Smith was informed here that the Department of Commerce might ‘ground’ her for her stunt,” The New York Times reported the next day, “but she said that she would rather take that chance than disappoint a number of persons who had expected her to carry out her plan.” She was grounded for 10 days.

Publicity soon propelled Elinor, a blue-eyed, 5-foot-3, curly blond teenager, onto the list of pioneering women in aviation, among them Bobbi Trout, Katherine Stinson, Pancho Barnes , Fay Gillis Wells, Louise McPhetridge Thaden and Amelia Earhart.

On planes provided by corporate sponsors, she began setting records. In January 1929 she set the women’s solo endurance record at 13 ½ hours. Then, three months later she reset it with a 26 ½-hour flight. In 1930, she set the women’s altitude record at 27,419 feet. Within a year, she reset the altitude record at 32,576 feet.

That flight, in a Bellanca monoplane, nearly cost her her life. As The World-Telegram reported on March 11, 1930: “The altimeters on the ship registered 30,000 and 32,000 yesterday when she was forced by motor trouble and waning gas supply to return to Roosevelt Field, where she narrowly averted an accident in making a dead-stick landing. At about 30,000 feet, as the motor sputtered, she lost consciousness. A mile lower she recovered. The plane, without her guiding hand, had glided slowly down.”

In 1934, Miss Smith became the first woman to appear on a Wheaties cereal box.

She was born on Long Island on Aug. 17, 1911, one of three children of Thomas and Agnes Ward. Her husband of 23 years, Patrick H. Sullivan II, who had been a New York State assemblyman, died in 1956. In addition to her son, she is survived by three daughters, Patricia Sullivan, Pamela Sullivan and Kathleen Worden; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Miss Smith took a long time off from flying after she married. But nine years ago, at the age of 89, she was invited to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., where she participated in a simulated landing of the space shuttle.

Always vivid in her memory was that day almost 84 years ago when she first soloed.

She was about to climb into a Farman Pusher biplane, she recalled in an interview for a 1998 PBS documentary, “Daredevils and Dreamers.” She thought it was to be just another flying lesson before she went off to school in Wantagh, a nearby town.

“I was scared silly because Russ” — her teacher — “hadn’t told me I was going to solo that day,” she said on camera. Waving her arm in imitation of her instructor’s direction, she said he suddenly jumped out of the cockpit and simply told her, “Go.”

For a moment she was stunned, then realized that he thought she was ready. “I made three landings,” she said. “Then it was time to go back to Wantagh because I had to go to school.”



Elinor Smith

ISBN-10: 0896213684
ISBN-13: 978-0896213685

Bessie Coleman...first African American female pilot

Tinkerbell, Wendy, Sappho

Children's literature sometimes is more thematic towards adults; that there is more to the simple stories of adventure and whimsy. Reconsider Alice in Wonderland [drugs, madness, violence], Hansel and Gretel [cannibalism, endangerment of children, violence], Little Red Ridding Hood [a child in peril, violence]...and Peter Pan. I found the following fictional item and realized that I had never considered the possible Sapphic relationship between Tinkerbell and Wendy. And as far as I can remember, it is the only one with that intimation.

"Tinkerbell and Wendy"

June 19th, 2008

Did you ever wonder why Wendy and Peter Pan never got together?

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used in this story, they are the sole right of the Disney Corporation. I do not receive any compensation for this story.

Warning adult content!!

Did you ever wonder why Wendy and Peter Pan never got together? The fairytale states that it was because Wendy had to grow up and Peter Pan didn't want to. So when he finally came back from Neverland, it wasn't Wendy in the bed sleeping, it was her granddaughter. That is what they want you to think. What if it wasn't Wendy that wanted to leave but Peter that made her leave? The real story of Peter Pan doesn't really involve Peter, he is simply the jealous guy that wants the girl he can't have. I will tell you the real story of what happened in Neverland; the story of Wendy and Tinkerbell.

In order to fully understand the story, I must first tell you about Tinkerbell. It is not going to be the way that you know her, pretty little pixie who happens to be head over heels in love with Peter Pan; no this is the Tinkerbell that no one wanted to tell you about. This Tinkerbell did not want Peter Pan. In reality she wanted Wendy. But that will come later, right now let me tell you Tinkerbell's story.

Tinkerbell was the best in her class at school; she was great at all of her studies and was thought of by the others as a teacher's pet. The school is on the island of Lesbos and her teacher is the great poetess and philosopher Sappho. Now most people believe that Tinkerbell had a crush on Peter, this is because everyone assumed that Tink was straight, when in fact she was a lesbian and never once wanted Peter Pan. Being a student of Sappho, Tinkerbell learned the art of poetry and philosophy and thus developed pride in herself and her education. One day she runs into Peter Pan, he instantly has a crush on this winged pixie with beautiful blue eyes and that cute little green dress. Well anyways Tink tells peter that she can never be with anyone who is not a pixie and they become really good friends instead. She never told Peter that she was a Lesbian because she knew that he would not be ok with it and she would loose her one friend outside of her school. So she kept her secret to herself never telling Peter or any of the lost boys.

One day Peter and Tinkerbell were flying through London, they pass a window where a story is being told. This is a rare occurrence in deed; never had they heard such colorful and wonderful stories. Stories of Pirates, and Indians and Peter Pan. Peter Pan? How did they know about Peter Pan? Quickly Peter and Tinkerbell fly to the second story window of this house to listen more closely. Sure enough the stories are about Peter. True events, things that had happened throughout his time in Neverland. They look through the window and see a beautiful girl sitting on the edge of a bed telling this story to her two younger brothers. Immediately Tinkerbell is enthralled by her beauty. If there was ever a time for Love at first sight this was it. Tinkerbell glances away so that Peter does not notice her staring at Wendy, but she doesn't have to worry, Peter is staring too. She glances back at the beautiful girl and lets out a long sigh, which to human ears sounds like a wind chime. Wendy turns to the window after hearing "chimes." Tinkerbell and Peter fly off of the ledge and away towards Neverland. Laughing and telling the stories over and over. Later that night, Tinkerbell lies in her bed and uses a little magic to flash the images of Wendy on her wall. So beautiful, she closes her eyes and drifts to sleep dreaming that she would one day meet and talk to the girl she saw through the window. Peter Pan also lays thinking about what he saw through the window. He can not remember when he saw a girl that wasn't Tinkerbell's size. Well there was the Indian girl but she was no where near as beautiful as this Wendy girl he saw. This Wendy girl had light skin, like his own, and her hair was almost as light as her skin. Soon he drifts to sleep and dreams of talking to this girl and hearing all these stories about himself.

A few days later Peter and Tinkerbell decide to fly back to London and listen to more stories. Tinkerbell is so excited she flies faster than Peter so that she can get the best view possible. She lands on the ledge and peeks around the open window. There in the room is the beautiful girl she saw the other day. Only this time she is not up and telling stories she is sleeping. Tinkerbell checks to see if there is anyone in the room, when the coast is clear she flies off of the ledge and towards Wendy for a better look. She hovers above Wendy's face for a little while admiring the curve of her lips and the shape of her eyes. Wendy's eyes open slightly at the presence of someone but all she sees is a soft glow above her she ignores it and falls back to sleep. Tinkerbell hurries to the side so that she can no longer be seen. She lands softly on the pillow beside her head and whispers into her ear. She whispers the poem that she wrote just for Wendy, last night, that only Wendy can understand, her voice is pure and musical and she smiles as she says the words of her poem. Tinkerbell finishes and quickly moves back to the ledge, just as Peter is coming around the edge of the house. He never knew what she did, she smiles at him and motions to the sleeping Wendy, they will just have to come back at a different time to hear those stories. The leap of the ledge and fly away to Neverland.

Later that day Peter finds Tinkerbell sitting on a mushroom in the forest humming to her self. She is writing on some type of paper that glows brighter with every word that is written on it. "Watch ya doin?" he asks flying over her shoulder trying to read the extremely small handwriting. Tinkerbell jumps and covers the paper immediately. She shakes her head "No, you can't read this." Peter pouts, legs crossed and arms across his chest, "why not, I want to know what you are writing." Tinkerbell waves her hand and the paper shrinks so small in her petite hand that Peter thinks it has vanished. He pouts again and flies off into the trees, "I never get to know anything you write about." Tinkerbell sighs and enlarges the paper again so that she can finish. It must be perfect if it is going to work. One of the great secrets she was taught by Sappho, the way to trap your emotions whatever they may be and make them shine through your poetry. She writes the last sentences and does a little loop of happiness. Finally the most important poem she has ever written is done. She reads it over a couple of times making sure that her words are clear and pure. If they are not Wendy will not understand and the enchantment will not work. She reads again and again trying to memorize the words she just came up with. Finally she looks up from her paper and notices that it is almost sunset. She flies fast to Peter so that they may go and listen to another one of Wendy's stories.

When they arrive it is the normal scene, John and Michael are lying in their beds with the covers to their necks, and Wendy is in her blue night gown in the middle of the play room acting out the sword fights and making noises and dances for the Indians. This story is about a chieftain who wants Peter to marry his daughter, only Peter is not a man and so he can not every be married. Peter and Tinkerbell listen intently to the sound of Wendy's voice making sure not to be seen through the window but all the while staring at Wendy's moving figure. As Wendy finishes up her story John and Michael are drifting off to sleep. She moves to the playroom window to close it when she sees a flit of light. As Wendy peers into the darkness outside of the window Peter and Tinkerbell move so as not to be seen. Peter motions to Tinkerbell and they start to fly off towards Neverland once more. Just as they come to the old clock tower Tinkerbell dashes ahead and hides behind the hour hand of the old clock. Peter assumes she has flown to Neverland and continues on his flight through the night air. Tinkerbell peeks from behind the hour hand of the huge clock. She quietly sighs; she is finally alone and will be able to read Wendy her most recent poem.

Tinkerbell flies back to the playroom window, hoping that by some miracle of Sappho the window may be cracked. She flies down to the ledge, dimming her glow so that she is not as visible. Seeing a small crack in the window she tries to gently push her way into the playroom, only her hips wont allow just a gentle push. She has to rush in and close the window back so that the night air won't awaken anyone. As she finishes she flies over to Wendy's sleeping body. Again she pauses over Wendy's face enthralled by her beauty, but she mustn't forget why she came. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out the tiny glowing paper. For the second time she whispers into Wendy's ear, the words are clear and pure as she has practiced and they bring a smile to Wendy's perfect lips. Tinkerbell moves once more to the girls face and places the lightest of kisses on the young girl's cheek. Instantly a soft glow spreads across Wendy's body and throughout her bedding. Tinkerbell doesn't know what to do, she flies off of Wendy's bed but can not force herself to quit staring at this beautiful, now glowing, girl. She flies to a nearby dresser and lands on the top, making sure that she can not be seen by anyone except for Wendy. She is waiting, waiting for the poem and its words to take the full affect. Suddenly Wendy's eyes open, she is blushing and does not know why. Tinkerbell stays perfectly still, she doesn't know what to do now that it finally worked. Wendy looks towards the dresser that Tinkerbell is sitting on and motions her to come closer. Tinkerbell glides across the air growing ever so slightly as she comes across the room.

When she finally arrives at the bed where Wendy sits she is the same size as a normal human being. Wendy is amazed but doesn't want to make any noise that would wake up her two younger brothers who are lying in the beds next to her. She smiles and touches her cheek where Tinkerbell had kissed her just a few moments ago, it still felt as if she were kissing her. Tinkerbell leans into Wendy and kisses the spot on her cheek relieving the sensation with a new sensation. There is a question in her eyes that she tries to ask without making a sound. Suddenly Tinkerbell realizes that Peter has realized she never left. She immediately shrinks to her normal size and hides herself in the dresser drawer. When Peter finally gets to the house he meets Wendy face to face and invites her to come with him to Neverland. She of course has to bring John and Michael with her but Peter doesn't mind he just wants the lost boys to hear the stories about him. Just some happy thoughts and a little bit of pixie dust and you can fly to the second star on the left and straight on till morning. But where is Tinkerbell? We need her for the pixie dust. As Tinkerbell listens she realizes that Wendy and the boys can not go to Neverland without her giving herself away. She finally has an idea, she sends a stream of magic towards the window and uses it to make Peter think that she just came back for him. Peter tells her of his plan and grabs her quick so that he can sprinkle pixie dust on Wendy and the boys.

As they arrive in Neverland Tinkerbell rushes to get to the forest before Peter, John, Michael, and Wendy. She quickly changes into something more appealing and lets the lost boys know that Peter is bringing someone with him. Soon everyone arrives at the tree house Wendy tells the lost boys of the story of Peter Pan. The lost boys just can't believe that Peter brought them someone to tell them stories. They all eat a big feast and then get settled in for more stories and sleep. It is not long until all of the lost boys, including John and Michael, are fast asleep. Just then Peter realizes that he promised to meet the Indian girl today and he forgot, he runs off to see the Indians and Wendy is left all alone. Tinkerbell sees her chance and asks Wendy to follow her. She takes Wendy to her favorite part of the woods. She whispers something into Wendy's ear and grows larger so that she can stand and look Wendy in the eyes. Here she tells Wendy all about the poems she wrote for her and all of her feelings for her. Tinkerbell also explains why Wendy can understand her. Of all the things she learned at school she learned that she was a Lesbian first and foremost. She thought at first that was simply because she lived on the island of Lesbos but soon she came to realize that the word Lesbian had more than one meaning. She was not just a lesbian because she lived on Lesbos she was also a lesbian because she liked women, the first woman of course being her favorite teacher Sappho. She thought that no one could compare to Sappho, who she had written all of her poetry for, until she saw Wendy that first night. Tinkerbell goes on to tell Wendy all of the poetry and songs she had written for her.

Soon it is time to go back to the tree house. Tinkerbell begs Wendy not to tell anyone, not even her brothers, about the things she learned tonight. Tinkerbell shrinks to her normal size and guides Wendy back to the tree house all the time talking about why she wrote the poems. Wendy promises not to tell a soul and they go back to the tree house, just barely getting there before Peter shows back up. The next day is full of places that Peter wants to show Wendy. Tinkerbell tags along to make sure that there is enough pixie dust to keep the young girl flying. Peter takes Wendy and her brothers to the pirate ship, the Indian encampment, and even the mermaid lagoon. Every time they run into a friend of Peter's Wendy has to tell the stories of what he has done. Soon Wendy grows tired and asks to go back to the tree house. They all fly back to the tree house and lounge around. While eating supper Peter tries to flirt with Wendy. Her brothers pick on her and the lost boys joke Peter for trying to act like a grown up. Soon he gives up, it doesn't help that Wendy was laughing at him as well. Later that night when everyone is asleep Peter flies off to the Indian encampment again to talk to the chieftain. Wendy and Tinkerbell go to their spot and continue their conversation where they had left off the morning before.

Tinkerbell quickly closes her story by telling Wendy that she thinks she is beautiful and fell in love with her at first sight. Wendy blushes but does not look away. It is almost daylight and they know they should be getting back to the tree house but Tinkerbell just can not force herself to leave. She leans over to kiss Wendy on the cheek before shrinking to her normal size and is surprised when Wendy turns to kiss her lips. Tinkerbell is frozen, she does not know what to do. She kisses Wendy back and wraps her arms around her. Soon they are hugging, so tightly it is as if neither want to let go. Tinkerbell opens her eyes, she doesn't remember when she shut them. Looking into the trees she sees a pair of eyes. She jumps and lets go of Wendy quickly shrinking to her normal size and hiding behind a tree trunk. Wendy turns to see Peter floating just above the ground mouth wide open in amazement and anger. 'So that is why she didn't like me' he thinks to himself. He grabs Wendy by the arm and drags her back to the tree house. Getting John and Michael he flies them all back to London, back to the playroom back to their own world. When he returns to Neverland he hears from the lost boys that Tinkerbell has left. She has decided to go back to school and learn more from Sappho.

Tinkerbell flies to London to see Wendy, Peter may be able to banish Wendy from Neverland but he can't tell Tink where she can and can not go. As she arrives she sees that Wendy is alone in her room. Hold on, "her room", why is she not in the playroom? She taps the window and shines just a little brighter so that Wendy will see her. Wendy smiles and rushes to the window to open it. Instantly Tink grew so that she could wrap her arms around the beautiful young girl. Soon they decide that Tink should stay for a few days with Wendy in London. Wendy can tell her parents that Tink is a friend from school whose parent's are going out of town for a few days and she needs a place to stay. Tink shrinks to her normal size and flies quickly to her home in Neverland to collect some things and to conjure up some clothes that are like the ones that Wendy wears. In the morning she flies back to London and lands in the alley way beside Wendy's house. As she lands she grows to her larger size and changes into the clothes that she made the night before. She walks around to the front of the house and knocks on the door. Wendy's father answers the door and asks Tink what she wants. Tink finally realizes that she forgot to do the spell that will allow her to talk to Wendy's family. Just then Wendy appears behind her father, she explains that Tink is the friend that is staying for a few days and that mother had set up a spot for her in Wendy's room. Father smiles and opens the door widely allowing Tink to enter and telling them to run upstairs and play until dinner.

"Le Petit Chaperon Rouge"--Halloween fare