Keep Calm,Take Care, and Sing a Little Ditty There

Check out these tips on handling groceries. 



If you don’t have time to watch the video, here are the main points:

Leave groceries outside or in the garage if not perishable. The virus remains on cardboard for 1 day, plastic 3 days. Note: In the freezer, up to two years!

Otherwise wipe off groceries with a kitchen disinfectant on a wiped off counter. You can dump contents into a clean container and dump the packaging. Wash fruit as you’d wash your hands. If you get takeout, hot food is better, and again dump the packaging after putting the food on a plate and microwave. Microwaving and heating kills a Corona virus. Thanks to my friend, Sue Shattuck, for sharing.

Now, have fun singing or chanting the following to the rhythm of the song: Modern Major General from Gilbert & Sullivans The Pirates of Penzance

I am the very model of effective social distancing!
I listen to the experts on the topic of resistance-ing;
I know that brunch and yoga class aren’t nearly as imperative
As doing what I can to change the nation’s viral narrative.
I’m very well acquainted, too, with living solitarily
And confident that everyone can do it temporarily:
Go take a walk, ride a bike, or dig into an unread book;
Avoid the bars and restaurants and carry out, or learn how to cook.

There’s lots of stuff to watch online while keeping safe from sinus ills
(In this case, it’s far better to enjoy your Netflix MINUS chills!)
Adopt a pet, compose a ballad, write some earnest doggerel,
And hope we become more safe by the next inaugural.

Pandemics are alarming, but they aren’t insurmountable.
In short, please do your part to practice prudent co-existencing
And be the very model of effective social distanciing!

Thanks to my friend, John Avila, who passed this on. It’s slightly tweaked.

Original by Eliza Rubinstein.



Somewhere Under the Rainbow.

Somewhere under the rainbow, birds fly.


At my age, it’s always a surprise to learn of something new. The news that there are upside down rainbows blew me away.








Several years ago, I witnessed a fogbow on a hike. I was with a gang of friends and no one had seen or heard of such. We were all amazed.



I suppose it is not that amazing given that light is made up of a spectrum of colors and that there are many conditions under which we can see the different colors. Still, after a lifetime of ordinary rainbows, seeing the first upside down was like seeing someone casually walking on the ceiling.

According to Wikipedia, rainbows can be full circles, which I’ve never seen because one needs to be at the top of a skyscraper or in a plane near sunrise or sunset, but I’ve seen the rare double rainbow. The one above is smaller and the colors are in reversed order according to Wikipedia. I found the article quite fascinating and recommend it.

There are also sunbows and spray bows, which can appear under waterfalls and in wakes from boats.

This article was fun to write. Happy Pi Day!



Coronavirus Facts Distilled


Pretty, but nasty


The number of cases, deaths, and locations have dominated the news—often misleading as  cases from the Princess cruise ship have been moved from Travis Airforce base, but I had to dig for the information I was most interested in.



Coronavirus is a term for a family of viruses, which are shaped liked a corona—Latin for crown. The latest one is named COVID-19.

The average incubation period is 4 to 6 days, but can be as long as 14 days with one known case of 27 days. Incubation period refers to the time from exposure to symptoms although some test positive without symptoms.

No age group is immune, but children are less likely to be infected or suffer severe symptoms while the elderly or those suffering from other maladies are more likely to die.  Men and women have been infected in roughly equal numbers, but the death rate  to date among men was 2.8 percent, compared with 1.7 percent among women as of February 20th. This is also the case with past coronaviruses and the flu.

I tried hard to get information on how long a survivor has symptoms or is contagious, but the best I could do is find that a hospital in Hong Kong released one patient after two days and another at 27 days.

Scientists believe that recovering from COVID-19 provides some immunity from reinfection, but that it is not permanent.

The means of preventing infection and spreading is the same as for the flu: getting the flu shot—the flu makes you more susceptible—frequent thorough hand washing, avoiding touching the face, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, etc.

COVID-19 is a super flu regarding symptoms and death rate. It is too early to get a definitive death rate, but using recent statistics, it is 2.2%. This year’s flu numbers indicate a death rate of .05%. Some years have been twice that or .1%

Curiosity for Leap Day: Turtle fossils the size of cars have been discovered. They must have looked like walking tanks.


Curiosities for the Curious






⦿ The feet of horse embryos indicate the final product will have five toes each, but as the fetus develops the ten toes morph into two hooves. I wonder if reindeer embryos do the same thing. Imagine the clatter Rudolph et all would raise on our roofs if their feet didn’t evolve.

⦿ Some jellyfish don’t have to touch with their trailers to sting you. They can shoot out tiny sting-grenades. Kapow. Kapow.

⦿ Some microbes spread their antibiotic resistance to other microbes. The cooties are in kahoots.

⦿ But wait! A new antibiotic has been found in “of all places” inside a tiny worm—a nemotode to be precise. Take that you disease carriers.

⦿ Stories of Female Amazon warriors are not myths. New evidence has been found to indicate they were real. Some removed their breasts in order not to interfere with shooting arrows. At least they don’t have to deal with mammograms.

⦿ There’s a woman who grows eyelash-like hair in her gums. I imagine her dentist accuses her of a poor flossing job and wonders about her diet.




Crazy Way to Create Amazing Concrete


Regular concrete requires virgin sand, the supply of which is diminishing. The traditional process also emits carbon dioxide, a well-known greenhouse gas.

An interdisciplinary team of research scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder has discovered a new way of making concrete from living cyanobacteria, which is in a class of photosynthetic microbes. The photosynthesis process absorbs carbon dioxide. Add dirty sand, or ground up glass, other plentiful materials along with ordinary gelatin, pour into a mold, and presto one obtains a concrete-like substance. It is green when wet despite the non-lime gelatin flavor. When dry and strong it can be cut with a diamond-tipped saw. Originally, the process did not involve gelatin and was too slow for the researchers. Hence, the introduction of a food they all grew up with.

The amazing thing is that the material can reproduce. The bacteria remain alive for several weeks, and become active when exposed to high temperature and humidity. Cut a block in half, place it in a warm container with more raw materials but no additional microbes, pour into a mold, and create more concrete. Each block can spawn three new generations of blocks, obtaining eight descendants.

A concrete expert at a university in Scotland is excited about the prospect of this new way of making concrete.

This ability to reproduce and flexibility in raw materials is seen as a huge advantage for construction in remote areas. Concrete homes on Mars some day?

I just discovered that something went awry and this is not being published on its usual Saturday.

Exploring Patagonia

Today I should be in Patagonia. I am writing this before we leave.We are on schedule to view the Perita Merino Glacier about now. It is located in the Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. It is one of the few glaciers according to Wikipedia that is stable, accumulating as much ice as it loses each year. I don’t know how current the information is.

Perito Moreno Glacier

My daughter was excited about seeing the Magellanic penguins. I find them fascinating as they waddle in their little tuxedos.


Earlier in our trip we were scheduled for hikes near the Andes Mountains in Torres Del Paines. The area is noted for its breath taking scenery and terrible weather that can change rapidly. We’ve packed rain gear.

2019: The year the Climate Denial Bear Stopped Hibernating

End-of-2019 reports a decline in the number of climate change skeptics. Some have directly experienced the disasters such as drought, floods, wild fires, and hurricanes, which dominated the news much of 2019 and the last decade. A study by the NY Times in January 2019 states that 73% of Americans believe that


Earth is warming and 62% understand that humans are mostly responsible. This is up 10% in both cases in a few short years.

Prior to that in October 2018 an IPCC report began to shake the sleeping bear. Climate scientists had discovered that dire consequences were happening sooner than they predicted and that serious action needed to happen within 12 years to keep Earth from overheating by 1.5 to 2 degrees centigrade. We are expected to hit 3 more degrees if serious change is not made. The number of degrees may sound small, but consider the Earth as having a fever, where a few degrees is huge. Some scientists fear a snowball effect, an ironic metaphor. Many catastrophes gain momentum as they continue.

One teenaged girl from Sweden in particular listened along with many other youth. I received a book of Greta Thunberg’s speeches in my Christmas stocking. Each one calls for adults to listen to the scientists and scolds inaction. The youth, who have the most to lose, conducted climate strikes worldwide while emissions continued to rise along with the number of disasters.

We have had the technology and the science to make the necessary changes for some time. Now, I’m hoping we have the political will.