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Checking In

Pictures of fascinating ~ and fascinatingly creative ~ hotels around the world:

Things to Do ~ April 1 & Beyond

April 1, Dirt! The Movie, The Broad Stage:

through April 2, Marinello Schools of Beauty Japan Relief Cut-a-Thon:

April 2, "Franklin's Movie Magic," Sooky Goldman Nature Center, Franklin Canyon Park:

April 2, 3rd Annual Black Authors Festival, Long Beach Public Library:

Blah, blah, blah!

Why say "gawk" or "glower" when "look" is good enough? "Stroll" or "amble" instead of "walk"? "Babble" or "intone" instead of just "talk"? BBC News has a story about the Italian manager of an English sports team who claims he's getting by on 100 words. It's thought-provoking (and a little scary, à la 1984!). Also interesting is their list of the 100 most commonly used words in the English language:

Coal Enough fer Ya?

The Sierra Club has put together an interactive map of mercury polluters and coal-fired power plants:

Health Nuts

So which nut is healthiest (at least according to a recent finding) ~ and by "healthiest," we mean "most full of antioxidants"? Thankfully, it's actually one that tastes good!

There's No One Quite Like You

Come on, deep down, you've always wanted to know how many minutes old you are at any given time, right? Or how old you are in dog years? LOL!:

Scotland the Brave

Scotland has "sent [the world] homeward tae think again"! The government is launching an ambitious and revolutionary new recycling program, Zero-Waste Scotland. It includes a Food Waste component and an Innovation Fund. World, take heed.
For details, see

Science Fiction 101

"If our research on high school biology teachers generalizes to science teachers more broadly, we can expect that many lack confidence in their ability to respond to politically motivated pressures with cogent explanations rooted in scientific research. Lacking such confidence, the sensible choice is to downplay scientific conclusions that generate controversy."

Remember Earth Hour!

Earth Hour is tonight, March 26, 8:30 to 9:30. Join the world by turning off your lights and as many electrical appliances as possible, and let's see how much energy we can save when we all work together. To find out how this all started and get more information, go to

You can make a little "virtual lantern" to share with the world and to show your support:

Handmade Home

This is really someone's homemade home:
Humans can be so cool!

What Time Is It ...

... in deep space? in Antarctica? A great interactive map of the history of "time" as we know it:
As my boy said many years ago after a long silence in the car (he was 6), "Kristine, we don't really know it's 1996, because we don't know when time began or when it will end. We just decided to agree that it's 1996."

Qatar's Artificial Cloud!

This is cool (literally!). In fact, it's so "out there," I keep wondering if maybe it's a joke:

Things to Do ~ March 26-27

March 26 is the anniversary of poet Robert Frost's birthday:

March 26, Earth Hour begins at 8:30 p.m.:

March 26, The Family Tree hike, Temescal Gateway Park, Pacific Palisades:

March 26, "Traveling Through Bible Lands: The Dream and the Reality," Getty Villa:

You Can Be "Inside Out"

You can be part of French artist/activist JR's TED Award-winning project, "Inside Out"! And even if you don't want to be part of it, the video is worth watching. Go to
And to watch JR's acceptance speech, check out (WARNING: Watch this [it's about 20 minutes long] before showing it to young and/or sensitive children, as JR does mention some violent incidents.)

"Cosmos: The Real Poetry" ~ March 26

"What we learn from other worlds goes beyond the most sophisticated rhymes, most pleasant chords and greatest human intellect. Space exploration touches upon the very understanding of us, where we came from, who we are and where we are going."
~Andrew Dowen, Program Manager, Interplanetary Network Directorate, JPL
 In this program, five JPL scientists will share their love of and excitement about space exploration. It is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Wikipedia @ School?

You knew it would happen sooner or later! A group of students at Imperial College in London is working to legitimize Wikipedia as a research resource.
"Wikipedia is here to stay ~ it's a question of whether we come up to speed with it or try to ignore it," the group's president said, and he has a point.

Organist Christoph Bull ~ March 24 and April 23

Organist Christoph Bull will be accompanying the screening of four silent films from the turn of the century (1800-1900!) at the Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades. For more information, go to
The villa is an interesting place:
Christoph will also be giving an afternoon concert at UCLA's Royce Hall on Saturday, April 23:

Is This the Return of Altruism?

Here's an interesting article (from on a possible new trend: that of graduates choosing public service over the more recently popular money-making fields like business and law. An excerpt:

   Renewed interest in public service is visible across the country. Applications for AmeriCorps positions have nearly tripled to 258,829 in 2010 from 91,399 in 2008. The number of applicants for Teach for America climbed 32 percent last year, to a record 46,359. Organizations like Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers have been overwhelmed — and overjoyed — with the swelling demand from talented 20-somethings.
   Several factors probably contributed to these phenomena. Perhaps President Obama indeed made public service “cool” as he had promised during his presidential campaign. Some experts say millennials — those who grew up in the 1990s or the 21st century — are unusually big-hearted, maybe because of the community service requirements they had in school.

The Crypt of Civilization?!?


Rally Against GMOs, March 26

There will be a "Rally for the Right To Know" (aka Millions Against Monsanto) at the Federal Building in West L.A. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. There will be similar rallies all over the country, starting with Washington, D.C. According to the press release, the demands are these:

1. We have the right to know and want genetically modified foods labeled.
2. We want factory farmed animal and genetically modified animal products labeled.
3. We want independent, transparent, long-term studies done on the safety of GMOs for animals, plants, and humans.
4. We want the organic industry protected from cross-contamination.

Earth Hour!

Earth Hour starts at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. It's a wonderful opportunity to make a statement and feel part of something greater than oneself, knowing that people the world over are sharing this moment with you. For more information, go to

Middle East Countries Profile

from BBC News:

Siddhartha, Synchronized

I believe this performance is called something like Buddha With a Thousand Hands, and if it isn't, it should be, because that describes it perfectly. Apparently, to make this all even more amazing, these dancers are deaf.


Reel Science @ Caltech March 25

Caltech has a fabulous series going. First, we watch a documentary, and then an expert in the field talks with us and answers questions. This Friday, March 25, the title is "The Human Body: Pushing the Limits ~ Sight." Cost is $5, and you'll need to call/email to make reservations:

A Safe Pet Is a Happy Pet

All in one place, the ASPCA has information on what to do/what to avoid to keep pets safe from poisons. Some of these are obvious, others less so:

Muir's March in July

Here's an opportunity to get out in nature and raise money to restore a bit of it. A group working to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite is holding Muir's March in July. You can choose either a one-, four-, or seven-day guided trip. For more information, go to .

World's Largest Ice Skating Rink!

It's the Rideau Canal in Ottawa: ! This video is part of BBC's Close-Up series, all of which is very good and worth checking out from time to time. (Oh, and P.S., rideau means curtain in French.)

The World Walks for Water March 19-22

You and your children can participate in The World Walks for Water, March 19-22, by going to this very cute, interactive site ( and signing on. You can choose an avatar who then joins the animated parade across your screen, and you can look at all the others who have signed on, where they're from, and what their message is. A great way to learn geography and help those in need!

"Supermoon" March 19!

Go to to learn why the moon will look so extraordinary this evening.

Things to Do ~ March 19-20

More (& more & more) wonderful opportunities await!:

Saturday, March 19, Return of the Swallows Celebration, Mission San Juan Capistrano:

March 19, Hands-On History Day, Leonis Adobe:

March 19, A Gaelic Gathering and The Tinkers, Music Center:

March 19, Full Moon Hike, Charmlee Park, Malibu: Enjoy the mountains, meadow, and an ocean outlook as the moon lights the trails at Charmlee Park.