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What writers write when they 1) aren't writing, 2) are avoiding writing or 3) need a word count to convince their spouses they are writing.

Origami n' Stuff 4 Kids

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Loose Lips Sink Ships? WikiLeaks is here to stay

Charles is less popular than the Queen. Andrew cusses about journalists interfering with international trade deals. Kim Jong Il drinks like a fish. King Abdullah, who suggests implanting chips into Guantanamo detainees as a way to track them (as he does his Arabian stallions and falcons...gotta admire his practicality), has a speech impediment. Moammar Gadhafi has a "voluptuous blonde" nurse/companion that he won't leave home without. (Gadhafi also hates flying long distances or over water and insists on staying in the first floor of any building....hmmm, a little paranoid, Moammar?)

Seriously, folks?

Snooki, WMD
I'm sure there are more incriminating documents, but the classified soap opera allegedly downloaded by U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning makes his motive, "I want people to see the truth ... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public," sound more like the impetus behind Jersey Shore (maybe we ought to unload Snooki on Kim Jong Il to disrupt his nuclear program).

Granted, the first two batches of leaked intelligence involved Afghanistan and Iraq battlefield reports, but the latest release of information downloaded from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), "a network used to distribute not particularly sensitive information that is classified at the secret level and below," is the diplomatic equivalent of juicy cocktail party gossip.

And since when did hackers become our heroes? Manning was busted after he contacted famed hacker Adrian Lamo, confessing his leaking of 90,000 documents revealing secret information about U.S. war strategy. Maybe Manning wanted Lamo's help. Maybe he wanted Lamo's adulation. Instead, Lamo (who has received death threats for his actions) alerted authorities:

"I went to the right authorities, because it seemed incomprehensible that someone could leak that massive amount of data and not have it endanger human life...If I had acted for my own comfort and convenience and sat on my hands with that information, and I had endangered national security ... I would have been the worst kind of coward."

And now WikiLeaks has been hit by several massive DDoS (distributed denial of service--whatever that is) hacker attacks, which have been unsuccessful in shutting down the site, but have resulted in slow downs. "The Jester," who goes by the Twitter handle th3j35t3r, is a self-described "hacktivist" who claims to have disabled terrorist and extremist sites as well.

And how is China responding to WikiLeaks? By blocking it through the "Great Firewall." Seriously. It didn't work on the Mongols, and it will only slow down the cyber onslaught.

©2010 Tammy Yee

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Work Isn't Over Once You're Published....

It's in the contract:
"The Authors agree to promote the Work to the best of his/her abilities...particularly in the first quarter following the Work's publication..."
Expect to find a similar clause in all your contracts, detailing your required participation in autograph sessions, interviews, and digital promotion on websites and social networking sites.

In the New York Times editorial, "I Wrote It, Must I Also Hustle It?" television personality and author Dick Cavett details his experience in having to promote his latest book, coming off of a dozen back-to-back radio interviews. We should all be so lucky, but what he drives home is the responsibility for authors to participate in promoting their work. Another article by Mr. Cavett details what many authors (including myself) have experienced: finding that stores haven't been able to sell your books, despite all the promotion you've done, not because they've been selling out but because they haven't been getting them from the publisher: "An Author’s Nightmare."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Update: Nipper, the Baby River Dolphin, Loses his Battle to Live

Piky the penguin, monitoring little Nipper's first swim.

Piky stands vigil over Nipper's empty pool.
Nipper, the rare baby La Plata river dolphin rescued from a Uruguayan beach, died at dawn on November 13, 2010 due to complications from hypothermia and respiratory failure. Although his prognosis was grim, one couldn't help but cheer the little fellow of the "smiling" calf raised awareness to the plight of endangered river dolphins, and the story of Piky, the rehabilitated erect-crested penguin's bond with the little cetacean was especially touching. It's difficult not to anthropomophize these beautiful creatures when witnessing such behavior.

Now it's believed the little dolphin may have been deaf, an ailment implicated in the "1,200 to 1,600 cases of dolphins and whales that wash ashore in the US every year." In any case, Nipper is believed to have sustained injuries consistent with net entanglement. According to Richard Tesore, head of the NGO Rescate Fauna Marina that cared for the sick dolphin, "2000-4000 Plata River dolphins die each year from being entangled in fishing nets."

To read more about Nipper, visit

The Animators of Life

From the New York Times:
"Building on decades of research and mountains of data, scientists and animators are now recreating in vivid and sometimes jaw-dropping detail the complex inner machinery of living cells."

Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Plan

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes moving weaned female monk seal pups to mainland Hawaiian Islands, where there are less predators, to improve the survival rate of sexually mature females:

"According to NMFS, 60 to 90 percent of NWHI (North West Hawaiian Islands) seals die by the age of three. However, research has shown that MHI (Main Hawaiian Islands) seals do well, with 60 percent surviving to adulthood. Jeff Walters, of the NMFS, said a reason for this could be that there are less predators and competitors on MHI."

Read the full article here, detailing concerns the local community has on the impact relocating seal pups may have on fishing:The Molokai Dispatch~Save Our Seals

Locals swim alongside KP2, an abandoned monk seal pup raised by humans
KP2's friendliness was of concern. Officials worried his playfulness might injure people as he matured.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nipper the Rescued Baby River Dolphin

Having done conservation art of the Irrawaddy dolphin for, I'm especially interested in the plight of river dolphins. So when I heard about little Nipper, I was thrilled to see rare photos of a live river dolphin calf, yet apprehensive about its poor prognosis.

Injured by a fishing net and washed ashore, a 10-day-old La Plata River dolphin (nicknamed Nipper) was found by tourists on a Uruguayan beach and brought to the SOS marine animal rescue center for rehabilitation and treatment of its injuries.

One of four remaining river dolphin species, the Franciscana Dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) is one of the rarest and least understood dolphins in South America. Found in the Brazil's Doce River, Argentina's Peninsula Valdes and in the coastal waters of Uruguay, it is the only species of river dolphins that can be found in salt water.

River dolphins are notoriously difficult to rehabilitate or keep in captivity, so little Nipper's chances of survival are grim. According to Animals Asia Foundation,
"River dolphins are notoriously difficult to keep in captivity. Reports suggest that of more than 100 Amazon River dolphins taken into captivity since 1965, the vast majority of individuals died within months of removal from the wild. Today, as far as we are aware, only five wild-caught Amazon River dolphins remain in captivity. Similar efforts to capture and breed China’s Yangtze River dolphin (also known as the baiji) have also failed. The baiji is now considered to be functionally extinct in the wild and there are no baiji alive in captivity."

Richard Tesore, head of the NGO Rescate Fauna Marina offers Nipper a bottle.

For more photos and to learn more about Nipper's rehabilitation, visit Global Animal (

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