Earthrise

They left the world behind and flew out into eternal night
falling into the moon
a thousand stars beyond its rim
shimmer softly, diamond  dust in the darkness
a long way from home
and then in a moment they turn
and see their own planet against the vast vacuum emptiness
of lifeless dark
hanging fragile and blue and pale
touched by sunfire gentled by distance –
and it comes rushing in,
the consciousness of cicadas in the summer night
and foxes in the twilight
and women walking with heels clicking on city pavements
and children laughing
and wild horses running
and the flutter of butterfly wings
and the hum of bees
and the grunt of a sleepy sated lion
and the ring of temple bells
and kiss of sea foam upon the shore
and the song of the whale
and the silence in a library
and daffodil bulbs sleeping and growing underneath winter earth
and the thunder of waterfalls
and the scream of a hurricane wind
and nightingales
and roses
and lullabyes
and the soft scritch of chalk on blackboard
and the whisper of wind in the firs
and a fall of snow

the only place where all of this
any of this
lives
hangs fragile as a glass ornament against the cosmos

I never saw it with my own eyes
but it is forever burned into my vision –
Earthrise.

Alma Alexander

How astronauts took the most important photo in space history

EarthriseOn Dec. 24, 1968, by what is essentially coincidence and fast thinking, one of the most iconic photographs in human history was taken: Earthrise over the Moon.

It occurred during Apollo 8 as astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman were orbiting the Moon—the first humans in history to do so. Their orbital motion brought the Earth into view over the Moon’s horizon, moving slowly upward into the black sky. The photographs taken became a symbol of human exploration, and of our fragile and beautiful planet.

Apollo 8
Earthrise

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This is why I write what I write – and this is probably why it will never make it to a visual medium like TV or a movie. This story is mind blowing: A show was cancelled because boys like dolls! — well, you know, action figures are dolls in disguise.

TV Show Canceled for Having Too Many Smart, Interesting Girl Characters

Hollywood execs can get awfully creative when they need to come up with excuses for why film and TV should stay so male-centric, Inkoo Kang writes at Indie Wire.

Boys’ love of dolls is the explanation that writer Paul Dini got for why his Cartoon Network show, Tower Prep, was canceled. In a fascinating discussion with the director, Dini relates that higher-ups at the cable network urged him to focus his storylines on his male characters and make his female characters “one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys.”

When Dini proceeded to create fully realized girl characters anyway, the Cartoon Network axed the show.

Boys like dolls more

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Amazon’s ‘popular highlights’ chart reveals a revolution in reading habits

The highlights reveal that most readers of ebooks are unabashedly sentimental, Dawn Foster tells us in The Guardian.

Hunger GamesHunger Games dominates Kindle’s ‘popular highlights’ chart. Photograph: Allstar/Lionsgate/Sportsphoto Ltd

And, she notes, “the high volume of highlighting in teenage fiction is symptomatic of a need to connect. Alarmists who claim that the young don’t read nowadays may be amazed at the evidence in Kindle’s highlights chart of how teenagers linger over fiction. And it’s also social: people can see anything you highlight, so picking out passages is an expression of your better self. It’s a mindful way of reading, but also quite public. When highlighting or annotating any part of an ebook, the eyes of dozens of other future readers are peering over your shoulder.

Highlights on highlighting

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An explosion in slow motion: How 2013 blew apart our notions of privacy

2013 was an extraordinary year for those interested in privacy and data protection, David Meyer reports at Gigaom. It was the year that changed everything by demonstrating the extent and power of state — and commercial — surveillance

But it would be a mistake to see 2013 purely in terms of Edward Snowden and his revelations. Indeed, the year began as it meant to go on: by demonstrating the power and dangerous potential of our increasingly open, plugged-in nature.

An explosion in slow motion

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Do you want to be a Were? Bids close today.

This is your last chance to bid on turning into a Were-creature in the second book of my new YA series, The Were Chronicles. (The first book in the series, Random, will be out in May; the second, Wolf, later in the year.)

In The Were Chronicles, the world is full of people who turn into something every time the moon gets full – Corvids, Canids, Felids, you name it. Anything warm-blooded, that is, but never snakes, lizards, or insects. True Lycans, the original werewolves, exist, but are now a rare form.

The Random of the title are odd folk – they are Weres who can turn into the last warm-blooded creature they set eyes on just before the change comes on them – and so they lead lives of quiet desperation, lest a stray encounter turns them into a mouse or vulture.

WerewolfThe series is now in the process of being written – and a character in it could be YOU, named after yourself, and you get to choose what kind of creature you want to be.

Becoming a Were

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Good News Department

JusticeSix boys, one cop, and the road to restorative justice

Molly Rowan Leach reports at Daily Good on a rare program of real justice.

“Officer Ruprecht realized that restorative justice had more teeth than conventional punishment because it imposes real, face-to-face accountability among offenders for their actions, and makes them listen directly to the victims of their crimes. He realized that six young lives might be saved from years of cycling in and out of the prison system.”

Restorative justice

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Employees surprised to get $1,386 profit-sharing checks

The publisher of The Chronicle in Centralia, Washington, Christine Fossett, walked around the newsroom and distributed red envelopes to staffers. They contained a letter from the owner, Jenifer Lafromboise Falcon, and a profit-sharing check for $1,386.01.

Falcon, who inherited the company after her mother died in January, wrote in her letter:

Personally and professionally it’s been a difficult year for me, trying to find my way without my mom’s wisdom and guidance. I want to thank each and every one of you for every blood, sweat and tear shed to make this year a year she would have been proud of!

Bonus letter
Surprise bonus

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Quote of the Day

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails ~ Nelson Mandela
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Alma Alexander

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