Flores Girl is now on Readmill

Readmill fans can now use the last widget on the right to download Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot. Readmill is the best book reader for phones and tablets. With this widget you can send Flores Girl to their device with just one click. Share...

CISPA and the New Enemies List

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both – Benjamin Franklin 17 people died from terrorist attacks in the USA last year while 30,000 died from gun violence each and every year and yet we chose not to ban guns because they are considered an integral part of our personal liberties. Moreover, I think most Americans would also consider free speech on the Internet as an integral part of our individual liberties as well. CISPA will endanger those rights in the name of cyber security while at the same time allowing the Federal government to create new enemies lists without any judicial oversight. It’s as if Richard Nixon and his infamous enemies list never existed. Shame on the House of Representatives and corporate America, including IBM and Google, for going along on this misguided threat to our freedom. This wouldn’t happen at all if coprorate America could somehow monetize our personal freedom. CISPA will do what the terrorists wanted to do all along to US citizens: eliminate our personal freedom!   Share...

Flores Hobbit was a Dwarf

London, March 7 (ANI): Two University of Cambridge scientists believe the world’s tiniest monkey could unravel the mysterious origins of Homo floresiensis, the “hobbit” human relative. Remains of the species were discovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia. As the hobbit’s skull is similar to that of a taller hominin, Homo erectus, some scientists believe that H. floresiensis was a dwarf species that evolved from this larger one, according to the New Scientist. But its brain and teeth are proportionally much smaller than in typical dwarf species, which led others to suggest that the hobbit is merely an unusual form of our species and was not a typical dwarf. Now, Stephen Montgomery and Nicholas Mundy at the University of Cambridge have looked at pygmy marmosets (Callithrixpygmaea) to shed light on the mystery of the hobbit. These monkeys have previously been considered as a dwarf species, but they also have unusually small teeth. This pointed against dwarfism, said Montgomery. Using a primate evolutionary tree, the researchers have confirmed that these monkeys did indeed evolve from larger ancestors and undergo dwarfism. They have offered an explanation to their small teeth. The evolution of a dwarf species usually involves shortening the length of pregnancy or infancy, but recently it has been suggested that there might be a more unusual route: pregnancy length stays the same but the growth of the fetus slows down. This might influence brain and tooth size as these develop early, the researchers suggested. Montgomery and Mundy found that the pygmy marmoset’s pregnancy and infancy are similar in length to their evolutionarily close, larger relations. This...

Real Hobbits are Ugly!

Based on my first Flores Girl novel you know I have a keen interest in how the Ebu Gogo, aka the hobbits of Flores actually looked. Their scientific name is Homo floresiensis and facial anthropologist at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Susan Hayes, created a ‘facial approximation’ of what the archaic hominin probably looked like (pictured, right) using remains of a female dated at between 18,000 and 38,000 years old, discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. “In the media it’s often called ‘facial reconstruction’, but because I’m evidence-based and work in archaeological science, we prefer the term ‘facial approximation’,” Hayes said in a statement. Now extinct, Homo floresiensis was a short-statured hominin with a small brain and relatively large teeth and feet for its height, hence the nickname.She feaured a low forehead with a receding chin and at three feet tall she was the original hobbit. “She’s taken me a bit longer than I’d anticipated [and] has caused more than a few headaches along the way, but I’m pleased with both the methodological development and the final results,” Hayes said. “She’s not what you’d call pretty, but she is definitely distinctive.” That’s definitely true but compare her with these other reconstructions. Hayes’ has a background in forensic science and has applied the same facial approximation methods in work with homicide detectives to identify the remains of murder victims. How do I think Susan did with her reconstruction?  Well, I won’t say yet but my own version of Flo or Homo floresiensis will be released with the novel sequel so we will see.   Share...

You Can Fix Windows 8

You may have read my previous post outlining my Windows 8 concerns and it’s unflattering comparison to Microsoft Bob.  Now I have spent some personal time with Windows 8 and here’s my hands on take! The actual interface is ugly; I miss Aero!  Sans Metro aka the Start Craplets, the interface looks like it came from a circa mid-nineties desktop:  flat, ugly and uninspired. Getting about the new OS is a clunky mess and more work for a desktop user as you switch between Metro and the desktop. Worse, the Charm menu now pops open at the most inopportune moments. The whole interface looks and feels awkward and worse it feels almost tacked on to Windows 7. Metro is not a replacement for the Start Menu.  It’s not hierarchical and as far as I can tell does not support the loading of specific documents with an application. Definitely a step back unless you like using the Search function to load programs. Now the display of active information by the craplets could be useful and considered attractive but it’s at best eye candy. Windows 8 appears quick but that might be a function of not having Aero; however to be fair, Aero is also eye candy. That said; the new task flip function sucks. Task Manager is much improved with more granular information. As to system performance Windows 8 does has dramatically faster boot times if that is a big issue to you.  As to other benchmarks it’s a bit of a toss-up between Windows 8 and Windows 7 with the edge going to Windows 8. The solution to fixing this mess...

Windows 8 Resurrects Microsoft Bob

 It’s been a while since I posted to the Flores Girl Blog. Heck, I missed the entire Obama-Romney election cycle but voting this time around was akin to the analogy of choosing to hit the same iceberg twice or hitting a different iceberg. Or just maybe I’m just a kinder, gentler soul nowadays and then Microsoft released the mess called Windows 8. Windows 8 is what happens when a company confuses a marketing strategy for a GUI. And the only purpose of those shiny tiles is to plant a storefront on hundreds of millions of desktops. Windows 8 is not about improving the experience for desktop users, it’s a failed hail mary pass by Redmond to become relevant within a single OS release. Frankly, the new Metro interface is such a mess it’s enough to give Melinda Gates a recurring bout of night terrors. I’ll pass and wait for Steve Balmer to say once again, “we decided that we have not succeeded and let’s stop”. And I am not an Apple troll as some of my earlier posts will attest to. Hey, for kicks and giggles I once in the darkly past installed MS Bob. The horror! It’s not just the Metro tiles that get to me, it’s that fact that if I want to go to any of my dozens of programs I have to jump through hoops whereas it’s easy to get to the few usable craplets that MS provides. And please I don’t want to use search when before I could start an app with the appropriate document in three clicks of the mouse. Make my life...