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Thursday, May 27, 2010

About a baby... and other amazing stuff

Long time no post (about 2 wks) but been busy.  

Biggest News:

Got a new 
grandbaby!
Mom and son
doing well...
and so am I.







And if that wasn't the coolest, I got frosting on my cake when I was running yesterday. It was about 7 am and the sun had just cleared the horizon on a beautiful day. As I was doubling back across a dam near my house, I saw something big sitting on the guard rail ahead of me. As I got closer, I recognized a magnificent American bald eagle looking intently over the grass and wooded landscape below... on the opposite side of the man- (or woman-) made lake.

The majestic bird let me get within 10 feet before it looked my way and winked (or it seemed like it did in my mind) before soaring out over the valley... just the eagle and me (in my new five-finger running shoes, no less), morning sun, lush valley under bright blue sky... and total silence. How often does that happen in a lifetime? I think it was God's punctuation mark.
 

So while I am on the wonders of it all, I just read something pretty amazing about the bar-tailed godwit... you know ( suuure you do), the migrating bird that summers in both Alaska and New Zealand/Australia. The question (though not my question) always was, how does it get from here to there?

It had long been presumed the birds flew down across Asia, resting and eating as they migrated because the distance is enormous. But when a godwit-specializing biologist noted that the birds, just before migration, looked almost as fat as a softballs, he wondered if they didn't take a more direct route.

Years passed and the answer could never be confirmed... until 2006 when technology created micro satellite transmitters.  The birds then were track-able on his computer's Google Earth program. What he discovered was mind-boggling. The bar-tailed godwits were flying directly over the Pacific ocean...7,100 miles in nine days--the longest nonstop flight ever recorded... and the time without sleep ain't shabby either.  (I once flew from L.A. to NZ nonstop... over the Pacific one minute into the flight and didn't pass over any land until touchdown... a total of 13 hours... and boy, were my arms tired.)


Last amazing discovery today: Monster in space. Scientists have confirmed that one of our 'close-in' planets (WASP-12b) -- still thousands of light years away --  is being 'eaten' by a neighboring star! At today's rate of consumption, this jumbo world, cooking at 2,800 degrees, has only 10 million years before it is completely consumed. Apparently, the star, which we will name Godzilla, is a slow eater, not unlike my mother.

I wonder if this stellar cannibalistic behavior has anything to do with the recent death of David Durston? He was the guy who wrote and directed I Drink Your Blood, one of our early cult thrillers, in 1971? In case that name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps you remember his other movie shown as a twin-bill... I Eat Your Skin? He also did Zombies aka Voodoo Blood Bath.

So we have gone from miracle of birth to David Durston's death. Covered a lot of ground. Did we learn something today?

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