the moon sets the scene

Image via

the moon sets the scene
By Annette Marie Hyder

gilds the lily of your face
with special-effects-contact-lenses blue
I string an antler’s worth
(tines in velvet moonlit too)
of kisses ’round your neck
no one can see them
but you feel them
I know that you do
you feel my aubergine kisses
when the moon is blue

Happy Blue Moon!

You can read all about the technical aspects of tonight’s blue moon, here, at the website.

If you would like more poetry to go with your science, here are a few links to some of my other poèmes de la lune:

the moonlight
dear moon,
the harvest moon sang to me
Cold Shoulder
Golem Moon
The moon hung around

Call me Cheetah

Sketch by Afke van Herpt

When I was little I went through a phase where I wanted everyone to call me “Cheetah” and refused to answer to anything else. “Nettie, time to get ready for bed.” my mom said. “Call me Cheetah.” I bargained. “Nets! I hear the ice-cream truck — let’s go get some!” my big brother said. “Call me Cheetah.” I negotiated. In any given circumstance where my claim to this new name was not being respected, all involved were treated to my offended disdain. Sheesh! What’s a girl-child have to do to get everyone on board with her new name?

And why did I want this new name? I found out that cheetahs are the fastest animal on the planet and so of course I wanted to (in addition to wanting to be a princess-ballerina-acrobat) be a cheetah.

My daughter also went through a cat identification stage but hers lasted
much longer than mine and included an uncanny mimicry of the way a cat
moves on all fours and actually licking people. Don’t worry, She’s
outgrown that part of it.

What has me thinking of that foray into feline wanna-be-ness is this new study, reported on in an article over at io9, in which the principles behind why cheetahs often overheat when they have hunted successfully is explained: The science of hot cheetahs by Joseph Bennington-Castro

Droplets and oceans

Photo credit Vadim Trunov / Barcroft Media

Photo credit Vadim Trunov / Barcroft Media

I am thinking about the smallest of creatures tonight and how we look at our resources as just that — ours. The global water supply is looked at in terms of human consumption but we are not the only ones drinking the water on this planet. When I think of other animals drinking water I might think of large animals at a watering hole, located in Mkhuze Park, South Africa, lapping with the stuttering heartbeat anxiety of drinking under the eyes of predators. I don’t usually think of ants and snails. It amazes me to see tiny creatures stopping for a refreshing sip of water.  I can’t help but reflect on the many ways, invisible to our computer-screen trained eyes, that we are connected with the other creatures, large and small, on our planet. The smallest ones are going about their lives and partaking of pinhead sized beverages just out of sight.

And water itself — it too is an entity of sorts –is alive/full of life and is deserving of far more respect than it is given, this thing that makes our very lives possible. It is easy to be struck with wonder at huge storms and torrential rains but there is glory also in the smallest droplet and miracles to be seen in daily walks that other living creatures take upon the surface of lakes the size of teacups, sojourns on their oceanis ignotum.

Links of interest

Environmental Graffiti: Beautiful photo gallery of insects drinking from raindrops
The Sun: Tiny creatures with the ability to walk on water
Scientific American: How is it possible for insects and spiders to walk on water and walls?

Tilt your head up

Image via I fucking love science

Tilt Your Head Up
By Annette Marie Hyder

“The cosmos is also within us,
We’re made of star stuff.
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
— Carl Sagan

Tilt your head up.
Let the starlight touch your face.
let the planetary luminaries kiss
the eyes you reach for them with.
Put your hands behind your head
on the ground that is as much a part of you
and me as them and everything.

NASA shuttle program’s last flight

Atlantis lifts off Friday in Florida for the International Space Station on the NASA shuttle program’s last flight, STS-135.
Photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle

Friday’s final countdown

The Houston Chronicle reports:

“CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Less than 24 hours after space shuttle Atlantis’ thrilling final ascent through a hazy Florida sky, Americans awoke today to a sobering truth: No one has any idea of when they might again see such a sight or where it will be going if they do.

For the first time in two generations, there is no schedule for a resumption of human spaceflight in an American spacecraft after Atlantis completes its massive restocking mission to the International Space Station. The uncertainty leading up to Friday’s launch, threatened for days by stormy weather, mirrored a greater uncertainty over the nation’s future in space and its commitment to space superiority.”
Read the entire article here.

In the yard, in a car, on a rooftop

Growing up in Florida, all I had to do to see the space shuttle launches flaming across the sky was step out into my back yard. On the road in a car when a launch was happening? We’d just pull over onto the side of the road to watch. Needing to feel closer to the excitement? A rooftop is a launchpad to feeling closer to the stars.

Watching the launches, it felt like our collective hand was pushing the shuttle across the sky — writing a space adventure with a big silver pen.

I’m sad to see the end of this NASA shuttle program but I also can’t help thinking about the  invasive nature of space flight.

Pushing the envelope

Annette Marie Hyder

Pushing the white envelope of the clouds
the space shuttle is a big silver pen
we use to write our name LARGE
not just a flourishing signature in the chalk of exhaust
but an autograph painted in hubris.
We graffiti the walls of space
and love the way we say
“humans were here” in flags and sundry equipment left behind
carve our initials on everything — even the heavens
and steal souvenirs because we can
and no one in charge appears to be looking.

Links of interest:
Space Shuttle
How many Moon rocks were brought back to Earth?

Thomas Edison’s 164th Birthday

Invention’s ‘Baby Daddy’

They say that  ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and I say that curiosity is the father.

Today is what would be the 164th birthday of Thomas Edison, inventor of the incandescent light bulb, among many other things (Rutger’s University states that Thomas Edison had 1,093 successful U.S. patent applications), including the motion picture, the disc phonograph, telephone transmitter and cement.

Did you know that one of Edison’s greatest regrets was not respecting Nikola Tesla’s work enough? Source

Tesla is a figure who has long fascinated me. According to his own writings, Tesla visualized scenes, people and things so vividly that he was sometimes unsure what was real and what was imaginary.  He smelled odors that no one else could detect and had a strange personal physiological interaction with electricity which started with his youthful experiences with lightning.

Here is to celebrating both of these men:

Annette Marie Hyder

They sent their thoughts, like mice,
through mazes of synapses
to get to the cheese —
the “Eureka!” moment —
at the puzzle’s end.

Links of interest:

10 Thomas Edison inventions you’ve probably never heard of
Audio recording of Edison reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
The mind of Tesla
Tesla: Man Out of Time, by Margaret Cheney

Information about legislation to ban incandescent light bulbs:
USA Today

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. –Thomas A. Edison 

Standing Tall is Key for Success

There’s a great article in Science Daily on how standing tall is key for success and ‘powerful postures’ may trump title and rank. A study has ‘consistently found
across three studies that posture mattered more than hierarchical role.’

Excerpt from the article below, and here’s a poem about…

Standing Tall
Annette Marie Hyder

Your glances walk tingles
right up the ladder of my spine.
My posture wears high heels
(hips tilted and shoulders thrust back)
even in my bare feet
when I run into the hydraulic lift
of your eyes.

Article excerpt from Science Daily :

Science Daily (Jan. 7, 2011)
Show enthusiasm, ask questions and bring copies of a resume. These are
just a handful of the most common interview tips for job seekers, but a
person’s posture may also be a deciding factor for whether they land a
coveted position — even when the person on the other side of the desk
is in a more powerful role.

According to new research from the Kellogg School of Management at
Northwestern University, posture plays an important role in determining
whether people act as though they are really in charge. The research
finds that “posture expansiveness,” or positioning oneself in a way that
opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that
produces behavioral changes in a person independent of their actual rank
or hierarchical role in an organization.

More importantly, these new findings demonstrate that posture may be
more significant to a person’s psychological manifestations of power
than their title or rank alone. Led by Kellogg School of Management
professor Adam Galinsky and Kellogg PhD candidate Li Huang, along with
Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Deborah Gruenfeld and
Stanford PhD candidate Lucia Guillory, this research is the first to
directly compare the effect on behavior of having a high-power role
versus being in a high-power posture. The paper is titled “Powerful
Postures Versus Powerful Roles: Which Is the Proximate Correlate of
Thought and Behavior?” and appears in the January 2011 issue of Psychological Science.

Although not anticipated by the researchers, they consistently found
across three studies that posture mattered more than hierarchical role
— it had a strong effect in making a person think and act in a more
powerful way. In an interview situation, for example, an interviewee’s
posture will not only convey confidence and leadership but the person
will actually think and act more powerfully. “Going into the research we
figured role would make a big difference, but shockingly the effect of
posture dominated the effect of role in each and every study,” Huang

Read the entire article here.