Saturday, January 16, 2010

NASA @ Home and City || Version 2.0

Check out this website I found at

Check out this flash presentation on how space research affects you -- yes, you -- in your home, where you live. Support NASA funding. Space research really does affect our economy and our daily lives, making them better!

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What is the role of government to encourage small business innovation? | Phil McKinney - Sharing his experiences on innovation, creativity and ingenuity

Our government needs to provide benefits for small business so small business owners can provide them to their employees. This would allow the little guys to hold onto talent. Read this article, then write your congressmen!

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Love Those Galaxies

APOD always has beautiful pix that make wonderful wallpapers! My favorites are galaxies, planets, and nebulae.

in reference to: Astronomy Picture of the Day (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Space Tweep Society | Because sometimes 140 characters just isn't enough

If you love space, and you're on Twitter, consider joining Space Tweep Society! It's free to join and fun! If you join, you should buy some of the cool stuff in their Zazzle store!

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For any parent who has lost a child, this may be one of the most healing websites ever! Get to know little Ryan, and her sweet spirit, through videos. Then, sign up to take a little red Matchbox Mini Cooper when you travel, in memory of Ryan.

I wept as I navigated the site, because I miss my four children, lost by miscarriage. I don't have videos or even pictures, except for some ultrasounds of my son, whom I lost at 16 weeks gestation. It is a great shock to lose a child, because we expect to outlive all our children. Society gives you about 2 weeks to get over it. Well, you don't. You learn to live around that great hole in your life. I have two living children whom I love, but they don't take the place of my other four. Holidays and anniversaries were very rough for me at first, but now, after 21 years, I can say that it gradually got easier, and I was able to celebrate the brief times they were with me. If you are reading this, be especially kind to your employees, your friends, your neighbors, or anyone you know who recently lost a child. I couldn't go in the baby section of any store for at least five years without crying. If you know someone grieving a loved one, don't give advice or comforting words, just offer to listen, and be strong. Let them tell the story of their little one, their parent or friend. Resist the urge to talk. Get to know the special person through their eyes. This is the best way to help. Simple to say, hard to do.

This couple found a very creative way to deal with their grief, and I am happy that they shared this marvelous little life with me. I encourage you to go over there, and get to know this special little girl.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vote for Raising Kayn for Best New Series! on The Streamy Awards

Check out this website I found at

Go ahead, watch an episode. Like it? So Vote for Raising Kayn!!!! Best New Series!!
Public Submissions - The Streamy Awards
The Streamy Awards: Honoring the Best in Web Television

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Technology Review: The Future of Human Spaceflight

Picture credit: NASA. NASA needs money. Please write your Congressmen and ask them to fully fund Earth Moon Mars Program. Spinoffs from the NASA program benefit all of mankind, and this also creates lots of jobs! Not just government jobs - NASA projects employ from universities and private industry all over the US! It's not just the areas where NASA operates, though there is a rise in employment there, too when NASA has funding. Money for NASA is money for jobs all over the country. Don't take my word for it, get on your search engine and look for space contractors, electronics manufacturers, etc. Just about any high-tech manufacturer is likely to be involved with a subcontractor before the bidding process, and the results of your searches might just surprise you!

Human Spaceflight = Jobs for Americans. Urge your Congressmen to vote for more NASA funding.

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Save America's Space Program

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Monday, January 4, 2010

collectSPACE - space history, space memorabilia, space artifacts, and space collectibles

Check out this website I found at

This site is great for anyone excited about space! Check out the 12 finalists for the end-of-space-shuttle patch. I have two faves, the one with the beautiful sunset scene, and the one showing Hubble, ISS, moon and Mars.

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Listen to interviews with famous fiction authors at

Check out this website I found at

Matthew Peterson's home page for The Author Hour, where you can listen to all of the episodes and watch them on YouTube, to boot! Have fun! Where else can you find interviews of 50 writers who are shaping the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror world? [Picture that...spaceships and aliens congregate with medieval gear and wizards, and vampires, zombies and the like, all on a single planet!]

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Listen to The Author Hour (Episode 11: Military and Hard Science Fiction)

Matthew Peterson put a lot of work into this. Check it out! He's got some excellent guests on this episode; I've been a Ben Bova fan for some time.

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CIA - The World Factbook -- Country Comparison :: Infant mortality rate

Check out this website I found at

At first click, this list looks great. After all, the higher the number, the lower the infant mortality, right? And, our country is near the bottom. But, don't get too smug. Look at the top contenders. It's not just numbers. Babies are dying. Mothers are grieving, and fathers do their best to comfort the rest of the family while they cry, too. We expect the high numbers for countries without industrialized medicine.

Yet, look at Europe and Australia, New Zealand, and other countries with socialized medicine. This is where you need to pay close attention. Of all the countries with the best medical care in the world, the United States trails the rest. This is a wake-up call to Congress that maybe socialized medicine is not a bad thing. Everyone thinks, socialism, and the US says, what? Who, me?? But, socialized medicine is not socialism. Just a way to control the high costs of medical care in our country.

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Susan Ohanian: Raise Test Scores or Die

Back in 1986, in a column titled "Internal Combustion Prose," New York Times columnist Russell Baker noted the defeat of a proposal to emblazon Wisconsin license plates with the slogan "Eat Cheese or Die." It looks like Arne Duncan has taken up where the folks in Wisconsin left off, traveling the country shouting, "Raise Test Scores or Die." He calls it Race to the Top. And with his threats about merit pay based on student test scores, he comes perilously close to admitting that every teacher whose students fail to perform will find her name on a tombstone.

In Finland, where children score at the top of international tests in reading, schools don't start teaching literacy skills until children are seven years old.

What NCTE should do right now is tell Arne Duncan, Senators Murray and Franken, and the members of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions--the folks who got us into the NCLB mess--that a teacher gains more insight into a child's thinking from a dinosaur riddle book than from 10,000 standardized test printouts. But I remember what happened in the late 1980s when the Business Roundtable joined hands with governors to pursue a school excellence agenda. NCTE started selling "excellence" sweatshirts. I wait with morbid fascination for the appearance of the "Raise Test Scores or Die" slogan on their next batch of T-shirts, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers.

I want my T-shirts to read:

• Let Kindergartners Play

• Protect 5th Graders from Excessive Homework

• Let Bill Gates Fix Windows and Leave Schools Alone

Any child psychologist will tell you that children up to kindergarten age should be socializing, not learning facts and figures and having homework. Who started this trend to have grades earlier in life, and test kids to death?! Kids should have time to be kids. Teachers shouldn't have to fear getting fired because their students can't pass the tests. What if a teacher has more than average number of kids with test anxiety? What if she has kids with behavior problems? Can't Congress look at the number of kids with behavior problems and figure out the stress of school is killing them? Homework amounts have gone sky-high, and more emphasis is on the parent to teach them. What happened to the teacher aides who used to help teachers with explaining things to kids? What happened to the days when kids could look forward to a holiday party every month? Where's their incentive to work hard, now? It's all work and no play. Teachers are so overburdened by paperwork, they don't have time to teach, and classes are overcrowded. I'm not happy over this new program. Will the government force babies to learn math?! It's time for parents to unite, and loudly. Tell your Congressman that you don't want testing, you don't want your preschoolers to start school, you want kindergardeners to play instead of starting school! Let the kindergardeners play! Don't test until kids are in junior high. Change the tests so they are passable by minorities because the way they are written, you better be white to understand 'em. White people aren't smarter, they just understand what's being asked better.

Congress tries to run schools and libraries like a business, with benchmarking and proof of results. Kids don't read the business section of the newspaper, and could care less. All they know is, they're doing more and more homework, and school isn't fun any more. Dropouts are at an all-time high. They need to know, schools and libraries are service organizations. They will never be profitable. They need to be run with love, understanding, and tolerance. Teachers need to be free of all the paperwork and benchmarking. Students don't need all that homework, and parents don't want to be bothered with it. I didn't want to be told to read with my daughter 30 min each night, as if I were a student, too, getting homework! Imagine! I read with her for enjoyment, and I didn't watch the clock. I resented having to set a timer when all my daughter wanted to do was go to bed, after hours and hours trying to get her neverending homework done. These policies discriminate against anyone who's low-income. It's time for parents to let their government leaders know they want friendlier schools. I wouldn't want the government to be testing my baby for facts and figures, and is this where all these added mandates will lead? Start school at age 6, and leave the babies alone!! Let kids under 6 play, and get the idea that school is a fun place, before first grade shatters their dreams.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

CreateSpace: Self-Publish and Distribute Your Books, Video and Music On-Demand #writers

Check out this website I found at

Here is where I published the trade paperback of my book. I noticed that BookSurge is now part of CreateSpace; BookSurge did the actual printing for CreateSpace, and the quality is excellent!

Don't jump into the self-publishing pool before you have had a swim in rejection slips with traditional publishers! I believe it is much better to submit your stuff to large and small publishers that pay you. Do your research. Know the difference between publishing with Random House, Simon and Schuster, etc and publishing on your own with CreateSpace, Lulu, or AuthorHouse. Also, know the difference between a Vanity Publisher and self-publishing using a print service under CreateSpace or Lulu.

The big and small publishers who pay you to write, this is what I call traditional publishing, or commercial publishing as a site I saw recently said is correct. Self-publishing your book or story or photo essay using CreateSpace or another POD [print on demand] service for the printer takes a lot of work, but you sell your book and get profits for it, as a small home business. Vanity publishing is where you pay a lot of money to get your book polished and printed, but this is looked down upon because you are not getting paid, at least not for a long while. I say, get enough training to do all of this yourself, and self-publish rather than paying anyone to polish or review your book. If it is a good book, you can market it and sell maybe, hundreds of copies. With more investment in marketing and advertising, you can sell a lot more. Like any small business, your profit comes after your investments, so you may not see any money for quite a while that's not payback for donations, advertising, etc.

Any of the three publishing options are going to take persistence and hard work. Beware of vanity publishers who want to do all the work for you, for fees. Their distribution services are limited to your little place in huge catalogs that don't really boost your chances. Marketing and promotion will sell your book, if it is a good product to begin with.

In my book, forgive the pun, sending manuscripts off to people who might pay you for your effort is exciting, and a learning process. Your work may fit the model that all bestsellers seem to have; my aunt reads a lot of them and tells me they have a taste of sameness about them. But, this is the first way I believe all aspiring writers must go. Swim in the rejection pool a while, and watch for any comments which are not form letter territory.

If you have done this for a while, and tried to find similar works that compare to yours without finding any, you may be a candidate for self-publishing. But, I want to get paid for my hours at the PC typing away. So, I don't want to pay for any services the self-publisher might provide. I made a name for my self-publishing house, DanniStories, and I have a lot of material to market. I'm good at grammar and spelling, so I don't need their editing services; I do my own, and any mistakes in my manuscripts are my fault. I designed my own cover, so I didn't need one designed for me.

I love libraries, and either try to get them to buy my book, or I donate a copy and deem it advertising costs. I sold several copies of my book by having them on hand and showing them to friends.

Remember, word of mouth sells books [see advice by a staff member of Barnes and Noble]. If you create your own publishing house, you have to be able to wear many hats. You are your own editor, art department, marketer, promoter. You do your own advertising campaigns. You invest time in social networks, but you don't spend all day yakking about your book and how good it is. Instead, you put links out there that are useful to whomever your audience is. You comment on blogs and forums, without saying a word about you. Instead, you put a link to your website [did I say you are also Webmaster and manager of your web site?] and let the curious visit. You have to invest in copies of your book to lug around, but your website should have links to where your customer will buy your book online. You have to travel a bit to show your book to libraries and independent bookstores. Offer to do signings or presentations on your subject. Marketing and promotion is a full-time job! For those in poor health [like me], you can learn to do a presentation online. Do YouTube videos. Link to them from your Website. Let libraries know your vids are available, and offer to do a chat for their patrons. Don't be afraid to call people and show your book by appointment. I hear some new authors have to do their own marketing and promotion anyway, so why not do it for full profit? Once you sell enough books, you can buy your own ISBN's [at $125 apiece] and put your brand on it. For beginners, I suggest taking the free ISBN. Offer your book in hardcover by using Lulu, which also offers a variety of sizes and bindings for publishing. I use both, and I like the quality of the printing. CreateSpace has the advantage of putting you on, which can help publicize you; a lot of people shop on Amazon, and if they know of your book there, they might be more likely to get it there rather than your stores on CreateSpace or Lulu. If you want to offer ebooks, try Amazon Kindle. Anyone can contribute books and sell them on Amazon. I have 54 items on Kindle. It is easy to format your book the way they want it, in an HTML file.

So, you've written your book, you either had or acquired the skills to edit them and get your grammatical and spelling errors to your bare minimum. You're sure that you have a good product, and you're willing to fight for it. Now, you need to make it available in multiple formats. If you've already done a trade paperback, it's easy to go over to and make it available as hardcover, and they have an option to also offer it in eBook form. Then, you can use to make it available in multiple eBook formats. Go to and put it on Kindle. You can offer your eBook at a lesser price than your trade paperback. Many people buy an eBook, or download the sample chapter for free, to sample your book. Many who like it will buy the paperback or hardcover. Both CreateSpace and Lulu give you the ISBN under their names for free. Having copies in libraries gives your book needed exposure. People who read the new books at the library rarely buy them, but if they like them, they talk about them to other people who might buy. Library staff also are avid readers, and talk about what they read. They make suggestions to patrons. It's free advertising, or maybe, advertising at the cost of a copy of your book.

Think carefully before going the self-publishing route. You will sever all ties with commercial publishers, maybe forever. Rarely, a publisher will approach a self-publisher with an offer to buy it. They will get North American First Rights, and you get a lot more exposure than on your own. You still have the copyright on your book, and if it goes out of print, you can get your rights back and self-publish, if you can't get the publisher to keep printing it. But, most who self-publish have books which aren't mainstream, and are hard to interest a commercial publisher with it.

Self-publishing is your own publishing house, your own small business. Like any small business, profit may or may not appear. It takes a lot of work. You'll work harder for yourself than for any job. But, it's exciting to have complete control over your work.

I like CreateSpace first, and Lulu second. There are other POD's, but these seem to have the least complaints. If it's your business, you can print your book anyplace and it doesn't hurt anything to have multiple ISBN's for different editions of your book [read that, with CreateSpace ISBN for the trade paperback, Lulu ISBN for your hardcover, and maybe you put it out in different sizes, etc on Lulu, each with their own ISBN. This is normal. If you buy your own ISBN, you have to have a separate one for each format your book comes out in. But, for eBooks, there is no ISBN.

It is a good idea to register your works at so you have the evidence to sue those who might steal your ideas. It's proof that the work is, indeed, yours. For $35, you can copyright all your unpublished works [their definition is anything not in print, so you can include any eBooks you have]. For published books, it's $35 apiece. You must submit 2 copies of your print book with them, whether you pay the fee or not. This is something the commercial publisher does for an author. As a self publisher, you need to do this. Don't pay the services to do this for you! It's easy to do this yourself. They will catalog it so libraries have something to go by in cataloging yours locally.

Also, on, you can navigate to the Library of Congress Number page [LCN]. For free, you can obtain a Library of Congress Number and include it on your copyright page of your published book. This gives Library of Congress a heads up on your books yet to be published; just apply for the number several weeks before you publish. You can't get these for eBooks, but for print. Don't pay $50 to have POD's do it for you! By the Way, you can't get CIP [Cataloging-in-publication] like you see behind the title page on commercially published books. You have to publish around 50 books a year from your publishing house! My output will probably be every six months or so.

For making writer friends and honing your skills, try National Novel Writing Month in November. has a section just for young writers, and resources for teachers wanting to write a novel as a class. You write 50,000 words in a month, and it's great fun! I've met a lot of folks online who love to write.

For you wannabe script writers, in April there is ScriptFrenzy, where you write a 100-page script in a month. Great way to meet other script writers, and simply just learn how! You'll find helpful friends who post links for beginners. There are different types of scripts, so you can get a feel for which kind is right for your idea. I'm signed up because I want to learn how.

For video and music, I can't give advice, but you can do indie publishing with CreateSpace as easily as I can process a manuscript. I plan an audiobook: for that they give a link to another site.

Don't give up. Gather up your persistence and write! Produce! Keep on with your video and music!

Posted via web from Dannis' Posterous #writers

Check out this website I found at

Best source of markets, articles on how to write for various kinds of writing; articles, books, varieties of fiction, scripts, etc. Also has sources for artists and poets. You can find the current Writer's Market in your local library. It's published every year, so you might find past years in nonfiction, and the current one in Reference, which will not check out, but you are free to look up what you need while there. Under copyright law, you may photocopy no more than the equivalent of one normal-sized chapter, so choose carefully. Especially, pay attention to the section on How To Format Your Manuscript. New writers often make the mistake of formatting their manuscript in an attention-getting way, by using fancy fonts, or packaging it creatively. You will find out in the articles, it is better to follow their suggestions and just mail it off in a box or manila envelope that looks ordinary. Your book will sell on the merit of your words, attention to grammar and spelling, and your writer's voice.

Don't get discouraged; 99% of manuscripts are rejected, mostly because the writer didn't use correct English, or spell well, or used weird fonts. Persistence will get you published, and if you follow the guidelines of the particular publisher [available in Writer's Market, or online at the publisher's web site], you raise the odds in your favor. Keep submitting! Don't submit the same item to several publishers at once. Publishers tend to know each other, and you can easily get blacklisted. Read up, and you will be ahead of most new writers out there competing for the few slots available. Even established writers have to compete, because the editor is focused on his or her idea of what the market is doing, and how your book might fit. The editor has to fight for his choice of writers. Make your manuscript worth fighting for, and follow the advice given in Writer's Market and Writer's Digest at; but don't be discouraged when you get rejection slips. File them away as proof that you are a fighting writer, and be proud of them. Keep submitting. Keep writing; your chances are much better when you submit one item to one publisher at a time, carefully noting where that item has been; then send other items out the same way, and log where you sent them. The more manuscripts you can have out at one time, the greater your chances. Never put excerpts on the Internet of your writing that you are sending to a publisher; make sure it's never been publicly posted, because this affects your copyright.

Don't give up. When your manuscript comes back with a rejection slip, go over it and check for grammatical errors, spelling, and things that don't make sense to the central idea or plot. But, don't take every suggestion on how to improve it to heart; if your friends read it and the same thing comes up with several of them, you might consider changing whatever. If you don't have readers, don't worry; many authors got published without joining a critique group. If you try a critique group and like it, that's fine; but if you join one and your self-esteem hits the floor, get out! Write for you, not for whatever audience out there. Trying to identify your market is very, very difficult, and your editor will help you with that, once your manuscript is accepted. Most editors don't know exactly why they reject a manuscript, and it may have nothing to do with your talent, but rather what he or she bought this year, or his or her perception of market, which is incredibly complicated. Just keep submitting. Only change your past work if you feel your writing has changed for the better, and save those past versions. An editor will often ask if you have something else. Keep writing so you'll have that 'something else'.

Read a lot, and notice things like where the dialogue fits in, how it's formatted, etc. Do you like the characters? The plot? How about the descriptions of people and places? Writing that you like can influence yours, or give you ideas, but don't alter your writer's voice to match someone else's. You have to retain the you in your writing. Each writer has a voice. You have to write enough to discover it.

Never give up. Raise your writer's voice to the world, and join in the beautiful harmonies!

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Spirit Stuck in Troy: Sand-trapped Mars Rover makes big discovery, WUSTL researcher reports

What a great article! Entertaining, and portrays Spirit's 6-month journey while stuck in a sandy, crusty area. Sometimes having to stay in one location yields great understanding :)

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Astronomy Picture of the Day

Check out this website I found at

Check this site out! Every day, there's a nice picture, and an explanation by an astronomer! Just one page of many inspiring pages from NASA. Their picture gallery is amazing, and downloadable for wondrous wallpapers!!

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Friday, January 1, 2010

The Field of Space Architecture « Out Of This World

Lynn Baroff says, “ is a professional organization and special educational society that we created to develop and promote the academic discipline of Space Architecture, and to inform the public about the principles and practices of our discipline as they’re used by the space exploration and development programs throughout the world. We’re very proud that we were able to create it.”

This entry was posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009 at 03:12 and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

This is a very exciting group for anyone interested in space or the type of habitats to be deployed on future manned missions. Calling all sci fi writers! This is the group to follow :)

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Mitchell Bard: The Republicans' Disdain for the American People Should Be the Story of 2009

Looking back on 2009, much of the discussion on TV news shows is whether President Obama and the Democrats in Congress correctly handled the problems facing the country. Somehow, a narrative seems to have emerged that the Democrats failed and would pay the price in the 2010 midterm elections.

But where is the discussion of how the Republicans have behaved in the last year?

The story for 2010 should be the Republican party's complete disregard for the needs of the American people. The party's decision to prioritize scoring political victories over the president, protecting corporate interests, and relying on lies to do it over solving problems and governing should be clear to anyone paying attention. Let's hope that when voters go to the polls in 2010, they remember who was trying to solve problems and who wasn't. Time will tell if we will ever fully recover from what Bush did to the country. The last thing we need is more Republican rule, offering more of the same failed policies.

Follow Mitchell Bard on Twitter:

Everyone blames the President, but he must contend with Congress and the battle between parties. Why can't our country work together? President Obama is doing the best he can. For all the criticism of President Bush, weren't most of us behind him during 9/11? The average salary in Congress is six figures. Half of us make $30,000 a year or less. I think all of us need to get in touch with our Senators and Representatives and tell them what we want. Let them know how it is for us, especially those of us who are low-income. This article points up some good food for thought. We shouldn't give up on our leaders, but support them, and just tell them what struggles we have, what we need, let them know how we live. Before we criticize, we should get to know these men in office, whether we voted for them or not. It's easy to criticize a man or woman we don't know. Let's be fair, People!

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