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fighting words

Posted by on in words of the day

The Wordnik Word of the Day for September 18, 2012 is

dictionary attack attack

(noun) An attack that uses a list of words (from a dictionary) to guess passwords or decryption keys.

This term seems to have originated in the late 1980s.


During a dictionary attack, a single domain is bombarded with emails using a huge number of names as potential email addresses, so that hopefully at least one or two will reach genuine addresses.

Bookstores made from unlikely buildings

Posted by on in Email of the day

Here is a collection of unlikely buildings that have become bookstores.

This one was a church:

This one is a barge! So not really a building:

This one was a former theater:

And this one used to be a manure tank! (Talk about a sensory experience):

Click here or on any of the pictures to see more of these neat buildings turned into bookstores.

Expedition 32 Landing

Posted by on in NASA images

Finally - FINALIA!

Posted by on in Book Recommendations

The prophecy spoke of a beast, a raven, a snake ... and a girl who dared to dream in a world where dreams were forbidden.

THE EDGE OF FINALIA by Delores Hawk - finally available in its entirety.

Visitors to this blog have been captivated by the first five installments of THE EDGE OF FINALIA and have demanded the rest. At last, Delores Hawk has acquiesced. Personally, as a rabbit, I find the idea of ravens, snakes, and other beasts (not to mention an author who is a HAWK!) to be almost too alarming, but I found it impossible to look away.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with this story, THE EDGE OF FINALIA is about a world where there is a box for everything - except imagination. Even certain colors are verboten. Dreaming is forbidden. Gemma, a rebellious girl, and her best friend, Lecko, must fight the Maw, a dark and infinite void which is devouring their universe.


This fantastic tale shows how one person can break free from the bounds placed on them and alter the course of history.

Read the first installment here.

The whole book is available here.

Roald Dahl's Birthday - September 13

Posted by on in Urgent Message

In honor of Roald Dahl's birthday on September 13, check out this page with some of his best quotes.

Click on these for more:


a word for raconteurs

Posted by on in words of the day

The Wordnik Word of the Day for September 11, 2012 is


(noun) A short narrative or tale, esp. one dealing with surprising or marvelous events.

‘Conte’ comes from the Old French ‘conter,’ to relate, recount.


The modern short story - as distinguished from the old conte and also from that quite insignificant kind of brief lovetale which flourished in crude American miscellanies before 1850 and came to its height of conspicuous immaturity in T.S. Arthur's stories - owed its existence to that artistic impulse which had reshaped the novel, not only bringing all its parts into harmony with a central motive but, in every part, working from within outward, for living growth rather than for accretion, substituting expansion and radiant illumination for mere extension.

two giants

Posted by on in NASA images

Back to school - author school picture edition

Posted by on in Email of the day

Here are some class pictures of famous authors. Click on any of the pictures to see more of them.

J.D. Salinger

Stephen King

Sylvia Plath



Back to school time

Posted by on in Email of the day

For back to school time - check out these images of some of the most beautiful and imaginative public schools. We hope yours is as nice - though when it comes to schools what's most important is good teachers, books, and a can do attitude!

Click on the images for more.

a bit of bite

Posted by on in words of the day

The Wordnik Word of the Day for September 6, 2012 is


(noun) The act of biting.

‘Morsure’ comes from the Latin ‘morsus,’ biting, a bite.


Farther, that nothing less than a violent heat can disentangle these creatures from their hamated station in life; or give them vigour and humour, to imprint the marks of their little teeth. That if the morsure be hexagonal, it produces poetry; the circular gives eloquence.

Look out for this word

Posted by on in words of the day

The Wordnik Word of the Day for September 3, 2012 is


(noun) Nautical, a watch of two hours, arranged so as to alter the watches kept from day to day by each division of the crew. The first dog-watch is from 4 to 6 p.m., the second from 6 to 8 p.m.

'Dogwatch' probably comes from 'dog-sleep,' a light or interrupted sleep.


When Claggart's unobserved glance happened to light on belted Billy rolling along the upper gun deck in the leisure of the second dogwatch,. . .that glance would follow the cheerful sea Hyperion with a settled meditative and melancholy expression, his eyes strangely suffused with incipient feverish tears.


Posted by on in NASA images

This composite image shows a superbubble in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way located about 160,000 light years from Earth. Many new stars, some of them very massive, are forming in the star cluster NGC 1929, which is embedded in the nebula N44, so named because it is the 44th nebula in a catalog of such objects in the Magellanic Clouds. The massive stars produce intense radiation, expel matter at high speeds, and race through their evolution to explode as supernovas. The winds and supernova shock waves carve out huge cavities called superbubbles in the surrounding gas. X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) show hot regions created by these winds and shocks, while infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (red) outline where the dust and cooler gas are found. The optical light from the 2.2-m Max-Planck-ESO telescope (yellow) in Chile shows where ultraviolet radiation from hot, young stars is causing gas in the nebula to glow.


A long-running problem in high-energy astrophysics has been that some superbubbles in the LMC, including N44, give off a lot more X-rays than expected from models of their structure. These models assume that hot, X-ray emitting gas has been produced by winds from massive stars and the remains of several supernovas. A Chandra study published in 2011 showed that there are two extra sources of N44’s X-ray emission not included in these models: supernova shock waves striking the walls of the cavities, and hot material evaporating from the cavity walls. The Chandra observations also show no evidence for an enhancement of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium in the cavities, thus ruling out this possibility as a third explanation for the bright X-ray emission. Only with long observations making full use of the capabilities of Chandra has it now become possible to distinguish between different sources of the X-rays produced by superbubbles.


The Chandra study of N44 and another superbubble in the LMC was led by Anne Jaskot from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The co-authors were Dave Strickland from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, Sally Oey from University of Michigan, You-Hua Chu from University of Illinois and Guillermo Garcia-Segura from Instituto de Astronomia-UNAM in Ensenada, Mexico.


NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra's science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.


Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Mich./S.Oey, IR: NASA/JPL, Optical: ESO/WFI/2.2-m


the homunculus counts as one of these

Posted by on in words of the day

The Wordnik Word of the Day for August 30, 2012 is


(noun) A hypothetical primordial life-form or chemical precursor to a living organism.

(noun) An artificially-created creature; a Frankenstein's monster.

‘Eobiont’ comes from ‘eo,’ characterized by the earliest appearance of (which comes from the Greek ‘eos,’ dawn), and ‘biont,’ individual organism.


Perplexingly, Mulisch does not devote much space to Victor's scientific breakthrough, the creation of the 'eobiont,' a living organism produced spontaneously from nonliving matter. The eobiont is Victor's Golem, a new creation of life, and a trespass on Divine authority; thus it should be at the center of Mulisch's fictional web.

Q&A time with the readers.

Posted by on in Email of the day

Q: Why do you like chocolate so much?

A: The answer, clearly, is because I've tasted chocolate.

This place is the pits

Posted by on in words of the day

The Wordnik Word of the Day for August 28, 2012 is


(noun) A rocky place or pit outside the walls of ancient Athens, into which criminals were thrown.

(noun) The abyss; hell.

(noun) Anything that swallows up or devours; the belly; an insatiable glutton or extortioner.

‘Barathrum’ is Latin in origin, and is also the name of a Finnish ‘black doom’ band.


“The gallows” perhaps is the English term most nearly corresponding to the barathrum, as commonly spoken of in the Athenian popular language.

Good places to hide in plain sight

Posted by on in TOP SECRET

Here are some water towers cleverly turned into domiciles. The perfect places to hide out in plain sight, and get those 360 degree views - that way you can keep an eye on all sides. Great positioning!

Click on the images for more.




Neil Armstrong 1930 - 2012

Posted by on in NASA images

Space Medal of Honor

Astronaut Neil Armstrong received the first Congressional Space Medal of Honor from President Jimmy Carter, assisted by Captain Robert Peterson. Armstrong, one of six astronauts to be presented the medal during ceremonies held in the Vehicle Assembly Building, was awarded for his performance during the Gemini 8 mission and the Apollo 11 mission when he became the first human to set foot upon the moon.
Armstrong died on Aug. 25, 2012, at the age of 82.

Image Credit: NASA


Garden of decaying books

Posted by on in Book Recommendations

Check out this garden of decomposing books in Quebec.

We can only hope that some copies of the Secret Series are decomposing in such a beautiful way - and NOT being read!

The garden was designed by Berlin landscape architect Thilo Folkerts of 100 Landschaftsarchitektur and Canadian artist Rodney LaTourelle.

Books were piled up to create walls, rooms and seats which are slowly rotting to become part of the forest.

Click on the images to see and read more (though you won't be reading the books in the garden).


Posted by on in NASA images

By any other name

Posted by on in writerly advice

This question comes in from a Secret reader who also likes to write:

Dear Mr. Bosch. I wrote a book and I have given the characters aliases. I'd like to know, should I also use a pseudonym when I am done writing the book?

Mr. Bosch says, the short answer is:

Using a pseudonym depends on how good the fake names of your characters are. The better they are, the less you need a pseudonym (but still use one). But scrimp in one department and you'll have to overpay in the other.

Copyright © 2010-2013. All rights reserved.  Illustrations by Gilbert Ford