Memorial Day 2016

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Let us all remember why this is a holiday.

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More Evidence that Comets Delivered Life-Enabling Chemicals to Earth

Certainly something to consider as we speculate on how life came to Earth.

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Scientists analyzing the halo of the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet found that it contains glycine and phosphorous, two of the essential materials necessary for life to form. This discovery further supports the theory that it was comets and other celestial objects slamming into the Earth that enabled life to take hold on our planet. Scientists contend that it takes these essential compounds, water, and some energy to create life.

Why is This Discovery Important?

If these key pieces of the puzzle were delivered to the Earth via comets, then it is highly likely that comets delivered those same pieces to other planets and moons in the solar system. That means that those places where water and energy exist have a higher chance of also having life, albeit likely microbial life, on them.

Where Else Could Life Exist?

Europa

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The Hubble Space Telescope detected water vapor off the southern pole of this Jupiter moon. It likely…

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Review of “Operation Fireball”

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“Operation Fireball” eBook was published in 2016 (May, though the paper edition was published in 1980) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/richard-townshend-bickers/). Mr. Bickers has published nearly 60 books, mostly on World War II aircraft.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The novel is set in England during World War II. The primary characters are Stephanie Stansfield, her brother Rodney and their friend Ben Jordon.

The men are both RAF officers and go through many harrowing situations flying against the Germans. Jordon meets Stephanie through Rodney and the two soon fall in love. The men develop as friends and are competitive in what they are trying to accomplish. Soon Jordon is assigned to a new unit that is commanded by Rodney. They discretely train for a very dangerous secret mission.

I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent with this 224 page novel. I have read a couple of other books by Bickers and like his descriptions of life during World War II. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Improve Your LinkedIn Security

As many of you have heard there was a data breach (in 2012) of LinkedIn announced a short time (May 18) ago of more than 100 million member’s email and passwords. You should have received an email from LinkedIn earlier this week regarding the breach (I did).

In light of this breach, it is a good idea to change your password and consider adding two-factor authentication. The article “How to toughen your LinkedIn account’s security in light of hack” goes step-by-step through the process to both change your password and institute two-factor authentication.

I just followed those steps myself. The process is quick and easy. As always with passwords, be sure that you both use a strong password and save it in a password manager.


See my other Cyber Security articles


 

Apple Watch #3 -Time in Words, 12 Reasons and Other Stories

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Several small articles have show up on the Apple Watch.

Time in Words

According to “This free Apple Watch complication displays the time in words” you can now get a free complication that shows the time written out in text. Not exactly something that I want but it may be just what you are looking for.

12 Reasons

In “12 reasons I still wear my Apple Watch every day” another user tells why she likes her Apple Watch. Except for the “Apple TV Remote” and “Spinning Planets”, I have to agree with her on the use cases.

One Year On

Various Engadget editors in “The Apple Watch, one year on” shares their opinion after a year with the Apple Watch. Some views were negative, but over all the responses were positive.

Another Year in Review

My God-Awful Year With the Apple Watch” certainly has an eye catching title. Some negative comments, but again, mostly positive.

Nice to Have

In “After a year with Apple Watch, it’s time for a frank appraisal” there is another review of the Apple Watch after a year of use. His summary is ‘Nice to have, but not essential’.

Only 52%

Strategy Analytics reported in April that while global smart watch shipments grew by 223% to 4.2 million units, Apple’s share was only 52%.

I think any of the other smart watch manufacturers with products on the market long before the Apple Watch would be thrilled with owning 52% of the market after only one year!

13 Million

Along the lines of the note above, IDC projected  that Apple shipped about 13 million watches in 2015. The article “Is Apple Watch Really a Flop?” includes projections on all of the smart watch vendors. Apple is shown to have 61.3% of the 2015 market with the closest competitor having only 15.2%.

Clearly the sign that Apple Watch is a failure.

 

So how do I summarize? The Apple Watch does not have that ‘killer App’ that makes it essential (at least right now). Most users like the Apple Watch and wear it regularly in spite of early reservations. While the media seems to call the Apple Watch a failure, the numbers to me show the start of a good, long term business.

Review of “Flames Over France”

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“Flames Over France” eBook was published 2016 (May, originally published on paper in 1997) and was written by Robert Jackson (https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/robert-jackson/). Mr. Jackson has written over 50 books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This novel is set early in World War II (1940). It picks up the story of British RAF officer Ken Armstrong shortly after the novel “Flames Over Norway” concluded.

It contains a lot of history from that period and is another good description of life in England and France during that period. This story is focused on the efforts of the French to hold back the German army as it sweeps across Europe.

I enjoyed reading another of Jackson’s novels. This one took about 5.5 hours to complete the 224 pages. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

India Launches its Own Space Shuttle

It is important to keep in mind that there are many other countries that have aspirations of space flight.

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Earlier today India took a major step forward with its space program by launching its own version of a space shuttle. The unmanned, scaled down version of what will be the final shuttle, called the swadeshi, launched from Sriharikota at 7 am local time and was immediately called a success by ISRO, the Indian equivalent of NASA. It flew to an altitude of 70 kilometers then glided back to the Bay of Bengal, where it “landed” in a spectacular crash on a watery “runway.” It was all per plan – future test flights will incorporate landing gear and touchdown on paved runways.

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Some interesting tidbits about this new shuttle:

isro space shuttle 3The shuttle launched today was 6.5 meters long and is a 1/6th scale prototype of what the final will be.

This small version was unmanned, but so will be the final version, at least from a pilot standpoint. Current plans call for it…

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Review of “Desperate Journey”

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“Desperate Journey” eBook was published in 2016 (May, written in 1944 but not published on paper until 1979) and was written by Francis Clifford (pen name of Arthur Leonard Bell Thompson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Clifford_(author)). Mr. Clifford published nearly 20 novels, this being his own harrowing story.

I received a galley of this Non-Fiction novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This novel tells the true story of Arthur Thompson who, with a hand full of others, traversed 900 miles in four months across what was then known as Burma to escape the Japanese during early World War II.

The ordeal began in April of 1942 when British Army Captain Thompson heard that the Chinese defensive line had broken. Thompson was in command of a Karen Company from the 1st Battalion Burma Rifles. These were men indigenous to Burma. The story tells of how they struggled through Japanese occupied areas, lived off the land, and fought to make their way back to Allied lines.

I enjoyed the nearly 6 hours I spent reading this 192 page account of heroism and ordeal. This account covered an aspect of World War II I had not read about before. I found it a very interesting story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Top International Cafés

More great spots to stop and have a cup of coffee on your travels.

Cafe Book Bean

coffee-house-largeI have shared with you the noteworthy coffee shops at the top of my list in the U.S.: Top U.S. Coffee Houses and now I will share those I found all over the world. Although there are far more than I could possible include, I hope justice is done.


Here are my Top picks for Noteworthy Cafés internationally:

Cielito Querido Café (Mexico City, Mexico)

A unique place rich with the warmth and flavor of Latin history.
Full of color and aroma to tempt the senses.  

Coffee Collective(Copenhagen, Denmark)

The Coffee Collective is a micro roastery that drives to provide their customers with an exceptional coffee experience and to give better living conditions to coffee farmers.

Rosetta Roastery(Cape Town, South Africa)

Another South African jewel passionate about coffees that are unique and full of character, as much so as the people that are drawn to drink them.

Kaffeine(London, England)

Contemporary cafe…

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The World’s Top Bookstores II

Another list of interesting book stores to visit

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More of the Tour de librairie! This list has been a joy to make, exploring the beautiful world of books and the many cultures that embrace their wonder.

Here is part II of the Worlds top Bookstores:

Rizzoli Bookstore (New York, NY)
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Rizzoli is famed for its art books and foreign fashion magazines. After being forced out of there location by developers, Rizzoli has brought the character of its old space to the new one.
Lavishing the 1896 Beaux-Arts building with tables and chandeliers from the old store, and commissioning a sky-scape mural to run along the 18-foot ceilings.
imageThe new building also has stunning new windows.
Vogue man-about-town André Leon Talley has fashioned them with Vivienne Westwood, Gucci and Manolo Blahnik clothes and shoes, surrounded by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons art books.

Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice , Italy)
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Luigi Frizzo, the eccentric manager speaks English and includes numerous English books…

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