Snow Brings a Forgotten Calm #haiku #poem #poetry #nature

Can the past return?snow-2017-400x300
Storm cuts power, buries roads
Modern world must pause

by Kate Rauner

 

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Fascinating Light Curves Conquer Mystery of Exoplanets #star #space #astronomy #poem #poetry

Bingo! A planet!

Bingo! A planet!

Search for exoplanets –
such a romantic story.
Find other globes round other stars
a feat that’s extrasensory.

For it’s beyond a human eye
to view transits ephemeris.
Telescopes and cameras
are what we need to see this.

A light curve like a trail of dust
blown through a window crack,
or scattered grains of sand
dribbled from a carried sack.

A blur of readings suddenly
drops down a tiny bit.
Almost imperceptibly
a planet is, in photons, writ.

You can see beyond your eyes
and hear beyond your ears,
and reach beyond your outstretched hands
to mysteries like these.

by Kate Rauner

Learn more at wikipedia and find one of the latest discoveries at phys.org/news

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Innovative Farming Deserve Your Faith in a Post-Work Future? #nature #farmlife #unemployed

hoverfly_january_2008-6

Hover fly, a natural pollinator

Are we entering the post-work world, at least in terms of traditional jobs in western countries?

Society is leaving 20th Century jobs behind and no amount of political promises will bring back the past. Rust belt cities are contracting and communities are being disrupted. Parents don’t know how to advise their children as they move into an uncertain future.

Money is only one concern. What will bring us satisfaction, freedom, and a sense of community as automation replaces human beings in manufacturing and services?

What future will we build?

Perhaps we’ll leave consumerism behind and follow our interests, talents, and inclinations – how about farming? It seems an ironic tribute to the past, since only a hundred years ago mechanization drove most Americans off their family farms, but boutique farms offer a 21st Century alternative. People are learning how to make small farms work with biointensive techniques.

Biointensive’s key components [include] transplanting and double-digging, on-site composting, close plant spacing, use of seeds from plants that have been naturally pollinated and specific food-to-compost crop ratios. These methods are rarely practiced on large farms, where mechanization is more profitable, but they can be life-changing for the 90 percent of the world’s farmers who work 4 acres (2 hectares) or less by helping them to make the most of a given plot of land.

Biointensive farms use 50 to 75 percent less land and 94 to 99 percent less energy to produce a given amount of food than does conventional farming… less fertilizer… less water… Perhaps most intriguingly, biointensive methods “grow” farmable soil.

Envisioned as “a potential way out for malnourished people worldwide,” perhaps such farms will be the answer for some of the displaced people in America. While these techniques were developed to feed human bodies, perhaps they can also feed human souls.

Thanks to cultivate.news and ensia.com for the story on mini-farms.

Ancient Graveyard Tells an Authentic Human Tale #poem #poetry #archeology #history

Troy, the fabled citybyzantine_agriculture
where gods and kings made war,
contains a smaller story
more recent than its epic lore.

Malnutrition and infections,
less noble but more real,
damage to the joints and spines
from labor in the fields.

One sad story written down
in bones and DNA –
infection struck an unborn boy,
took mom and child away.

A slightly different strain
than modern distribution.
Eight hundred years is a long time
in microbe evolution.

What poems are writ to infants lost?
Who sings of nameless death?
Laid in a grave, our human tale
Of flesh and bone and breath.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to wisc.edu for this study, from a Byzantine graveyard, in the journal eLife (Jan. 10, 2017). A calcified nodule on a woman’s skeleton contained not only her DNA and that of the microbes that killed her, but the only trace of her male fetus’s existence.

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Daring Do in a Fantasy Sky from Jim Butcher #amreading #fantasy #review #books #bookreview

aeronauts-windlassWell known for his Dresden Files series about a Chicago wizard in increasingly convoluted conflict with various vampires, fairies, and other supernatural beings, I’ve read that Jim Butcher really saw himself as a swords and warhorses sort of fantasy writer before Harry Dresden took off.

The Cinder Spires, first in the Aeronaut’s Windlass series, came out in 2015 and Butcher fans snapped it up. It’s categorized on Amazon as Steampunk, though that seems like a stretch to me. In Butcher’s world, everyone lives in spires and airships far above “the deadly green hell covering the surface of the world.” The world’s power sources are magical crystals and “etheric” forces people access with webs and fabrics made from silk spun by incredibly deadly and horrible surface creatures. While a cool concept, it doesn’t seem to fit the Victorian, steam-powered, mechanical fantasies I associate with Steampunk. Obviously I’m quibbling because most fans don’t care.

This is a long book – 522 pages in my epub version. I checked it out from my public library and was only half done when the book expired. So I checked it out again. By that point I was ready to skim forward quickly to see what happens to my favorite characters.

The book is chock-a-block with Butcher’s trademark battle scenes – the characters get ambushed a lot and the battles are long and detailed. Even in the Dresden series I skim thorough the battles – they simply go on too long for me.

Most of the characters fit easily into a swords and magic fantasy – brave, noble, and attractive, born in Noble Houses (are there no democracies in fantasy worlds?)

I found the less expected characters were my favorites. There are tribes of talking cats and one in particular, the warrior tom Rowl, protects “his” human – who is the least typical of the Noble House characters. Rowl offers refreshing and often funny critiques of the brave/noble/attractive characters and human actions in general.

There are also wizards who feel and control the ethereal forces – forces that drive them mad in various ways. One wizard can blast his opponents to pulp but can’t figure out how to make a doorknob work. An apprentice, Folly, was fun to watch as she comes into her powers and the others learn to accept her odd ways.

Bottom line, if you love fantasy battles with magically-powered humans and monsters, this book is for you – there’s one battle after another. If you prefer stories about more unusual characters, you’ll find them too, and can skim through the battles.

What others are saying.
Only a few percent of readers leave reviews, so with over 1,400 reviews on Amazon Butcher’s book is wildly successful. Eighty-eight percent give four or five star reviews – “rousing and action filled.” Even some of the three star reviewers say they’ll read the next book in the series. Others found the characters too predictable or the story line disjointed. Proof, I guess, that no book pleases everyone.

4-books-on-mars-white-backgroundMy stories stay on the science-y side of science fiction. Join the first Mars colony in our near future. This is a colony where you might live one day. Start with Glory on Mars and join Emma – a setler with second thoughts who wants to explore in her robotic walkabout suit – but  the hostile planet and troubles from Earth endanger survival. Read all four across the colony’s generations.

All Children Play #nature #arctic #poem #poetry #walrus

walrus2

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On a barren arctic shore
There are not so many toys.
How to pass the foggy days
For restless girls and boys?

A ton or more of playfulness
Goes after floating birds,
To splash them, and play keep-away
With others in the herd.

More like us than we ever knew,
Our walrus brethren
Use what’s close at hand – or flipper,
Under the midnight sun.

by Kate Rauner

Any kid would find something to play with on an ocean shore. Thanks to nationalgeographic.com

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Happy New Year – Best Wishes for 2017 #happynewyear

mexican-sun-400x300Hanukah and Kwanzaa continue, but after New Year’s Eve the holiday season winds down fast. Between publishing books and celebrating, my schedule’s been erratic. I guess it’s time to settle back into a routine.

I had a nice Xmas surprise – on Xmas Day all four of my On Mars novels were in the top half of their Amazon category ranks – with Glory on Mars in the top 13% and Water on Mars in the top 16%. For a newbie author, that feels good. Thanks to everyone who read about adventures in the first near-future colony on Mars. If you haven’t read all four stories, now’s the time.

Here’s wishing you a good 2017 and thanks for your support.

There are links for preview reads of my scifi and poetry , or for purchase from your favorite online stores, including Amazon, here.