Category Archives: Science

Fantastic Finish: JNW’s New Prompt Generator and Latitude Schmatitude

                                                         Fantastic FinishDSC08827                                          My Art Studio, nee Novelty Owing Ongoing

Last night I wrote my first prompt making use of Jennifer Nichole Wells’ new Prompt Generator. What the site does is issue you a two-word phrase consisting of an adjective and a noun. This then becomes the subject of your post. (Mine for today was Fantastic Finish). If you don’t like the prompt, just hit the button again as many times as you wish before you come to one that jiggles your creative button.

She has launched her site at a good time—when those of us who are relatively longtime daily bloggers are being met with repeat after repeat on the WordPress prompt site. At first I just tried to alter the prompt a bit or to take a different slant. Then I started making a pingback to the earlier post or posts and choosing a completely different prompt, but the problem is that I’ve done most of their alternate prompts as well.

I’ve been told that WordPress establishes the prompts mainly for beginning bloggers as a way to motivate them, but this is a bit like turning your back on long-established and proven customers in hopes of winning the tourist trade. Good for a season perhaps, but how many go away is evidenced by the number of times I click on a site that is on the WordPress post page and find the blog has been closed or is nonexistent. Either the blogger is not clear about how to pingback or they have already closed down and fled!

Another thing I have noticed is a big increase in the number of people who just say they don’t want to answer the prompt, who spend their entire blog making excuses for not writing to the prompt or who merely publish one or two line pat answers. It is becoming hard to find a blog I really want to read except in my Readers section. This is a shame, because I am always on the lookout for new really excellent blogs to read that are within my realm of interest; and I miss not being able to cull them out of the WordPress site. Well, new thinking called for. I think my fresh modus operandi will be to investigate the blogs that people I am following are following.

As I hit Jennifer’s prompt button time after time—out of curiosity rather than dissatisfaction with the prompts, I was struck by the similarity of the word combinations to the new system based on words that has been proposed to replace the old numbers-based latitude and longitude. The system divides the surface of the planet into 57 trillion three-by-three meter squares and assigns a unique sequence of three random words to label that area. The purpose in changing the system, as stated by Smithsonian Magazine, is to “replace the impossible-to-remember strings of numbers that comprise our geographical coordinate system—“ with an easier-to-remember string of three words.

For the superstitious, it might be a matter of finding the exact correct nine square meters of their property or house that best describes them. My own art studio has been assigned the title “novelty owing ongoing.” Seems appropriate, somehow. My house, on the other hand, is “straddles blocking easel.” Is this a way of pointing out that all too often home repairs and maintenance gobble up precious time better spent on art? Sounds appropriate in Mexico!

For those of you talented in assigning names (I am not) I want to be clear that it is not a matter of naming your own little corner of the world. All of the word assignments have already been made. If you are curious about what three-word-labels have been assigned to your house and property, you can go HERE to find out. Choose your favorite group of three from the list (remember that since the labels are given for 9 square meter areas, that you will have more than one set for your house) and perhaps you’d like to post the three words you’ve chosen in the comments page on my blog along with a pingback to your post telling why those three words do or do not describe you. You might want to use a number of your assigned trios as prompts on different days! It would be fun.

To read more, go here:

And as for the title of my today’s blog, “Fantastic Finish?” As person after person says they are giving up the WordPress prompts, perhaps as you run over the finish line, you can consider it as the starting line for a new prompt system—either Jennifer’s new prompt generator or your own personal three-word-prompts as assigned by those who have labeled your world for you. Whatever you choose, I hope you’ll keep on blogging. We’ve become accustomed to your space!!!!

Breakthroughs in Ebola, ALS, Paralysis and Prosthesis Research

While looking for something else, I stumbled upon these three articles that give such good news in medical research that I had to share them:

Ebola vaccine efficacy trial suggest vaccine provides high protection against disease

Date: July 31, 2015, Source: The Lancet

Summary: Tests of the experimental Ebola vaccine VSV-ZEBOV in over 7500 participants in Guinea suggest that the vaccine provides high protection against the disease as early as ten days after vaccination, in adults who have potentially been exposed to the virus by coming in close contact with a recently infected person.

for more:

Brain-controlled prosthesis nearly as good as one-finger typing

Years of work yield technique that continuously corrects brain readings to give people with spinal cord injuries a more precise way to tap out commands by using a thought-controlled cursor (May be used by those affected by ALS!!!)

Date: July 31, 2015, Source: Stanford School of Engineering

Summary: Brain-controlled prostheses sample a few hundred neurons to estimate motor commands that involve millions of neurons. Sampling errors can reduce the precision and speed of thought-controlled keypads. A new technique can analyze this sample and make dozens of corrective adjustments in the blink of an eye to make thought-controlled cursors more precise.

for more:

Paralyzed men move legs with new non-invasive spinal cord stimulation

After training, men move legs independently, without stimulation

Date:July 30, 2015, Source:NIH/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering

Summary: Five men with complete motor paralysis were able to voluntarily generate step-like movements thanks to a new strategy that non-invasively delivers electrical stimulation to their spinal cords. The strategy, called transcutaneous stimulation, delivers electrical current to the spinal cord by way of electrodes strategically placed on the skin of the lower back. This expands to nine the number of completely paralyzed individuals who have achieved voluntary movement while receiving spinal stimulation.

For more: