La Biblioteca

Hello everyone!

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of my post I just want to thank the couple of bloggers that sent me messages checking up on me. You know who you are and I appreciate you because that is so very thoughtful. 🙂

Now, I’ve come to a decision!

I’ve decided I’m going to get a library card! I know what you’re thinking, that’s not very monumental and really Nel, everyone has a library card! Guess what, I don’t. I used to have one and technically still do but it hasn’t been renewed for a long while and I’ve moved far away from the place so my laziness is like, don’t want to drive that far to pick up a book. However, a book was highly recommended to me over the weekend by a friend and it was an author I’ve never read before.

As you all are aware, my reading game is dismal. I’ve been managing one to two books a month just because of time and bodily (body snatcher) issues but this was a freebie on Kindle so I jumped at the chance and grabbed it. For once I didn’t read the description and just jumped right into reading the book. Needless to say, I was hooked and devoured that book in a day and a half. Always amazes me when I do that. So I was looking into getting the rest of the series but I stopped to think, what if I didn’t like the books? Cause you know, just because the pilot of a series is great, doesn’t mean the rest of it will be too and I’d hate to buy a digital book, hate it and then can’t return it you know?

Enter, the library. I went to look at my local library to see if they have the books. They didn’t. However, I still hit the jackpot. There is such a marvelous thing called The Ohio Digital Library. A friend of mine who is a librarian by trade actually informed me that it’s the 5th largest digital library in the country! LA county being the 1st largest if you were curious. Anyway, it basically goes through Overdrive which is a platform you can rent ebooks and audiobooks from and the collection is astounding. I found the rest of the series there but I have no access currently because of no library card. Once I get the library card, which is free btw (can’t beat free!), not only will I have access to ODL but I’ll also have access to a service called hoopla which allows you to rent movies, full music albums and more books and audiobooks with just your libary card!

My mind exploded.

So anyway, I wanted to show you a couple screenshots of what these wonderful websites look like. You may want to do some research cause you could have a similar situation at your local library. They rent out Kindle books, Kobo books and I-books so you can read them on any device and the bonus beauty is you don’t have to worry about late fees for forgetting to return them because they automatically go back when they’re due (assuming you don’t extend your borrowing time)!

Also, if you were wondering, even though you are renting for free, the authors and artists are still being paid! Libraries actually provide a good chunk of revenue along with all the other avenues. It’s a win-win-win all around I tell you! Plus, if you decide you must have your own copy, it’s as easy as going to Amazon and buying the hardcopy which is supporting the artist even more. And, one more note about libraries, you can get out of county or even out of state library cards for a yearly fee! The only downside to that though is you have to reapply in person every year.

What do you think of libraries? Does your library have something like this? Let me know in the comments below!

Copyright Conversation

To round out this week chock full of discussion posts, and because my girl Linda expressed interest in wanting to know more, I want to talk a bit about copyright laws and how they differ from trademarks which I discussed yesterday.

To start, this is the copyright symbol:

©

We’ve all seen it and some of us even use it for some of the content we posts in our blogs. The official definition as defined by the United States Government is as follows:

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

So, what does this mean? It means that if you create an original work, whether it’s published or not, it’s still copyrighted. This applies to poetry, music, books, songs, software, movies… the list goes on. The term you’re most likely familiar with is called intellectual property and means it is protected under law. Now, the list of things that are able to be copyrighted are pretty much a form of art right; as in it’s some form of artistic expression. For example, all 300+ of my blog posts are my forms of artistic expression right? So that means all my stuff is automatically copyrighted right?

If you answered right, you’d be wrong. Sorry to break it to you but copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, theories, symbols, phrases, facts and other similar things along those lines. This means that even though I typed up some pretty cool life stories or suggested some ideas on my blog, I can’t claim official copyright and if someone decided to copy pasta my post and call it their own, there’s nothing I can do about it besides ask them nicely to take it down and hope for the best. Domain names are not even protected under copyright law so all our WordPress names we so cleverly came up? Not covered even though they are original.

Now, I know what you’re thinking here. Did I not just say original authorship works whether published or unpublished are automatically copyrighted? Well, yes I did but a post published on a website is considered an original idea, not an original work even if its stories or a logo design you made, it can be duplicated on someone else’s website without consequences. Logo designs actually can be protected but that falls under trademark territory as does words and phrases but it’s a process to get that certificate; as mentioned in the previous post. Copyright law can’t help with that.

However, there is a bit of a silver lining where copyright on websites are concerned. If you post a lot of photos or a compilation of serials, you can file to have the page on which these appear on copyrighted. But remember, even if you just use the symbol and someone comes along and steals your work, you can fight them if and only if you file for a copyright certificate or have already obtained one. Otherwise, you’re a bit SOL to put it simply.

When a copyright is filed, the information becomes public record. It also means the hard copy you sent becomes the property of the United States Government. They do not give it back so if you want to file for copyright, make sure it’s your best version. This also means that you filed the application, paid the fee, it was approved, you got your certificate and the whole country knows that that piece of art belongs to you. If someone would like to use it or reference it in their own piece of expression, they have to get permission to do so and once a copyright is public record, so is information like your name, phone number and address which makes it easy for an individual to try and get said permission. You can file for a copyright under a pseudonym and use a different address such as a post office box if you don’t want your personal details out in the world. This is what a lot of authors do when they copyright their books.

So remember when you see the little © symbol in a book, it only applies to the content on the inside. The book cover, title and logo are not copyrighted. Those fall under trademark laws. In the case of the cockygate author, her content is most likely copyrighted but her cover art, the title and logos of her book are not. She filed for a trademark for the word “cocky” and, as I said in yesterday’s post, you can trademark a word or phrase while your application is pending using the  symbol but it’s not official until you get a certificate of registration in the mail showing the ® symbol.

Generally, anyone can file for a trademark or a copyright but remember, this is not an automatic approval process. You really need to show sound reasoning or, in the case of copyrights, physical copies of your work in order to get even a sliver of consideration.  My mother sees trademark applications come across her desk everyday and she said it can take literal years to get a trademark whereas hard copies of original works are a bit easier to wade through. And yes, to reiterate again, words in the dictionary can be trademarked to a certain extent (example: apple is trademarked) but you’d have to be really convincing to get approved.

Isn’t the law just a boat load of fun?

I hope you all enjoyed all the educational posts this week. Hope it wasn’t too much of an overload and hey! tomorrow we get to see some fun stuff cause it’s TGIF or Facebook Friday around these parts and I’ve got at least one share guaranteed to make you laugh.

What do you think about copyright law? Does it make you want to copyright some of your own works? Let me know in the comments below!

(Source: CopyrightGov)

Blue is the Color of…

Last week I planned to write a sort of different type of post for Endangered Thursday. It sort of had to do with nature in a sense but I thought it was really cool and since I’m thinking of changing Endangered Thursdays to Endangered Mondays, we’ll see how this works out.

If you listen to NPR regularly, Saturdays they usually play podcasts; TED Talks and Radio Lab. They’re quite educational and cover a wide variety of topics. My husband is Next Day Air UPS driver on Saturdays and he happened to tune in to the RadioLab podcast that day and came home quite excited to tell me about it.

The premise of this show was a researcher who was obsessed with Homer and his works. He’d read these books back to back to back and one day had a bit of an epiphany. When describing things in nature such as dirt and trees and the like, naturally one would use adjectives of course but main descriptors such as color. What he realized is that the color blue was never named in any of the works. For example, the sea was described as “wine red”. He took his research even further to see if it was in other ancient texts. In the original Hebrew translation of the Bible, blue was never named. Then he looked in Hindu texts, Chinese texts even, and no blue. It wasn’t until he came across some Egpytian texts that the color blue was actually named.

You listen to this and you have to ask yourself, how did these ancients not know the color blue? All you had to do was look at the sky or the ocean and, boom blue right? Well scientists saw this as anamoly and assumed ancient peoples were color blind. But that wouldn’t make sense either because they were able to see reds, browns, yellows and even greens. Digging a littler deeper, scientists began to realize that blue very, super rarely occurs naturally in nature. What these ancient peoples’ were essentially doing was basing colors off tangible things. For example, the dirt was red or oxen were brown, tree leaves are green, etc. And if you were to grind these things up, that is the color it would be. Blue was not something that could be touched. Granted you can touch the water but when you scoop it up in your hands its not blue, its clear and you can’t touch the sky.

I was so intrigued by this that I went on a Googling spree because I feel like I’ve seen plenty of blue things in nature. Well there’s a video of a professor who talks about the blue morpho butterfly and even blue jays. To the human eye, these animals are naturally blue.. except they’re not a true blue pigment. If you flip a blue jay feather over, its brown underneathe. And even with the blue morpho butterfly wings, he did an experiment where he poured alcohol on the wings and the wings turned a greyish brown color. He even tested to see if he could get a blue pigment powder by crushing the wings but the powder came out brown. I even thought about how you crush blueberries which are clearly blue to me but they end up having a purplish black tinge when crushed, not blue.

It all came down to the molecular structure of these things. I don’t have an expert way of explaining this but basically the cellular structure of things that are blue are able to reflect the smaller wavelength of blue waves in comparison to other color wavelengths that get absorbed. Even people with blue eyes don’t have naturally blue eyes. It’s been about reflection this whole time!

How cool is that right? Just blows the mind.

I hope you all enjoyed this different type of educational segment. Please let me know in the comments below if you would like to see more posts like this included with the endangered posts.

Master of Disguise

Today I’m so excited to talk about a fantastic creature who has a process that spans across other oceanic creatures and even insects but this one is truly the best at this! Now we’ve all heard of or seen some type of camouflage I’m sure. They sell camo clothes for humans, especially hunters, bird watchers and nature photographers who are looking to blend into their surroundings while observing a creature without disturbing them. There are also a lot of insects and marine creatures and even reptiles who are able to change their skin to blend with their surroundings. It’s like a “Where’s Waldo?” type of challenge to find them. One creature, however, stands out above the rest.

The cuttlefish!

Cuttlefish are a type of cephlopod that roams deep ocean. A cephlopod is a predatory mollusk that is unique in that its body is very symmetrical; meaning if you cut one down the middle, both sides would be identical. The most common cephlopods that people are aware of are octopi and squids. The cuttlefish is kind of a mesh between the two because it’s back end is like that of a squid but its face is very octopus like with all it’s tentacles.

Now, octopi and squid are able to change their coloring to match their marine surroundings. It’s not an exact science and you can still spot them most times but what the cuttlefish does in comparison is quite extraordinary. Not only can it change its coloring, it can also change it’s coloring and pattern to match literally any of it’s surroundings. The article I read by NatGeo News expressed it best when they made the comparison to a high definition television. The cuttlefish has what amounts to electric skin but instead of pixels, cuttlefish have what are known as chromatophores in their muscles that are able to broadcast different colors depending on their surroundings.

The chromatophores are basically muscles the cuttlefish are able to bend and contract to form reds, yellows, browns and blacks. What’s super cool is they are able to do this even in the dark. The neurons in their brain are just that advanced. Funnily enough, cuttlefish are colorblind but their skin is like a rainbow when it comes to reflecting their surroundings because white light bounces off of them and is able to transmit any color because white is, after all, all the colors combined.

This amazing method of camouflage is literally the difference between life or death for the cuttlefish. Most mollusk species have a hard outer shell. The cuttlefish is completely squishy so not only does the color change help them capture unsuspecting prey, it keeps them from being prey themselves. One of the coolest things however is besides the color change, they can shape shift! Yep, you read that right.

The best example is when it’s mating season. Not all male cuttlefish are the same size and it’s always a huge competition to get to the female and inject her with their baby makers. One such incidence, which happened to be caught on video, shows a male cuttlefish on the smaller side trying to get his chance at the female and being barred and even attacked by the bigger males. This cunning little cuttlefish then does the genius thing and changes not only his coloring, but his body to make him look like a female! The males surrounding him can’t tell the difference and he’s able to get through them to the female. Success! Check it out below:

Have you heard of the cuttlefish? Would you agree that the cuttlefish is a master of disguise? Isn’t that male cuttlefish in the video a genius? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Balance

Recently there’s been a lot of talk in my world about jobs and what people sign up for when they take on a job. For example, I heard a story on the radio this morning about special needs teachers and their preparedness for anything that could possibly happen while teaching the students. I won’t get into the super details but the story involved a teacher who I believed grossly overreacted to a situation she encountered with an autistic student. It got me thinking about my own experiences with jobs I’ve had and jobs my friends have had and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter today.

With everything there are positives and there are negatives. I believe the way in which we handle these occurrences head on is what makes us either better or worse individuals. I’m sure anyone would love to live in a world where ignorance is bliss. In fact the entirety of that quote is “ignorance is bliss; knowledge is misery”. It’s usually equated to a child vs. a grown up. As children (hopefully) we live in this blissful world where nothing affects us much except for the next time we get to play our favorite game or go outside or hang out with our cousins. We aren’t thinking about the real world. Then there’s that point in life where you have to deal with those facts because it either creeps up on you too soon or it’s around the corner waiting to creep up on you eventually. We all have to grow up and be adults even if we don’t want to.

The “knowledge is misery” part of the quote quite fascinated me because I happen to think knowledge is an essential part of life. Most people are thirsty for knowledge instead of viewing it as something miserable. For example, I don’t want to know about politics but I still pay attention because I want to be prepared for anything that occurs in this country that may or may not affect me and my loved ones in some way.

Circling back to the bit about jobs, I feel like when you sign up for a particular job, you have to know what to expect going in. For example if you’re an artist of some sort: writer, movie director, music producer, painter, you have to know going in that when you release your art to the world that there are going to be some who absolutely love it and some who absolutely hate it. Now, I am none of those things but I feel like on some level you have to know what to expect and how to handle what gets thrown at you in any form. Obviously you are going to praise the ones who give you glowing reviews but should you ignore the ones who don’t or worse, call them all trolls or put them down? I don’t think that’s right. If anything, you’d learn from every bit of feedback or critique you receive so that you have a better direction going forward; learn how to to turn a negative into something that can strengthen you and your fan base so that you don’t lose anyone, including the negative Nancies because there is always that possibility that they’ll still support you and even like future works even if this one flopped for them.

Another example, and this is personal experience, is being a manager. Being promoted is a great feeling but with it comes great responsibility and one of those things is the ability to handle a rude customer. First you have have to acknowledge that it’s not a personal attack at you. The person may be having a shitty day. Such is life. Then you have to strive to fulfill their needs as best you can without making it worse than it already is. Now are there some customers who are just rude out the gate? Absolutely. Even so, there are methods in which you can handle the situation that could potentially open their eyes to their own behavior and get them to calm down. Is this a perfect be all end all method? Of course not. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, I’d say.

One last example is having that tough conversation with an employee who is just not doing what they are supposed to do. I don’t want them to think I’m personally attacking them because they are not doing a great job lately but I also want to make it clear that it’s not going to be tolerated either. Sitting them down one on one and going through what I see and trying to get to the root of what’s going on so that we can figure out how best to proceed going forward is usually the best route. Again, is it foolproof? Absolutely not and sometimes it ends more badly than you wanted it to but sometimes that’s just the right route.

I think life is all about balance. You need to make mistakes and fail to become a better, well rounded person. Sometimes our emotions dictate our actions before we fully comprehended what happened later but if you have the ability to acknowledge that and correct it either in the now or in the future, I think that makes a good recipe for greatness.

What do you think about balancing positives with negatives in life? Do you agree about jobs and what to expect when you take a specific job on? Any examples you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Why I Like Social Media

I was debating whether or not I should write about food today but I have a habit of making everyone hungry every single time so I decided to switch it up this morning and talk about social media. Lately there’s been a big hoopla about how evil social media is these days especially in regards to tragic events and the like. I understand how it can be viewed in a negative light. I mean it’s come a long way since MySpace days where it was very basic and all you had to worry about was exes sending you harassing messages or subjecting yourself to chatrooms to meet new people and smartphones weren’t a thing (man I feel old). Regardless of all these factors however, I’m a huge fan of social media and I wanted to outline a few reasons why.

For the record, I only dabble with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and YouTube.

Diversity

The number one reason I love social media is it’s diversity. There are so many subjects that I never would have even thought of thinking about if it wasn’t for the many people discussing these things. I follow a lot of animal related pages, cooking pages, book related pages, some of my TV shows, etc etc. The list goes on for a while but I feel like my mind is constantly becoming more open and my tastes are constantly evolving. It’s also great to see other people’s reactions to the same thing I’m viewing to get another way at looking at something. Before social media, it was pretty restricted to what you learned in school and what you physically experienced but now you have the added aspect of virtual experience. You also get to meet different types of people from all around the world and learn about their culture and heritage. WordPress is a great example here and blogging in general because you’re exposed to new and interesting content each day.

Communication

Second reason I love social media is the communication aspect. I was reluctant to get Facebook for the longest time because I was so heavily involved with MySpace and thought it was the best. However, as more of my family joined the platform and I saw how clean and sophisticated it looked, I decided to switch. In the beginning I mainly used it to communicate with cousins and family I didn’t often see. Now I can communicate with pretty much anyone. Its honestly a genius resource regardless of all the negativity it receives. It’s nice when you leave a job and can still have contact with a person you became close with without having to call or text message them constantly. And the amount of control you have is great. There all kinds of settings for how you want your Facebook to operate and I think nowadays, a lot of people don’t take advantage of those so they end up hating it. I have mine set to Private and only Friends can see what I post; not friends of friends and the general public can only see a very basic profile from the outside. There is also that wonderful block button and unfriend/unfollow button whenever you need it. Same goes for Twitter essentially and I love Twitter because who’d ever thought they’d have the ability to speak to their favorite authors or celebrities without writing a letter and pray it gets answered?? I mean that’s just the coolest thing ever.

Learning

Lastly, at least for today, the third thing I love about social media kind of ties with the diversity aspect. I learn a lot each day. For example, last night I watched a cooking video and literally after work went grocery shopping for all the ingredients, went home and proceeded to cook it. Turned out to be a huge success that my husband praised me for and I just felt really great because it was social media that encouraged me to do that. You also learn other cool things like household cleaning hacks, upcoming book and movie releases and even the news. For someone who’s “cut the cord” long before cutting the cord was even a thing, social media is a huge resource in keeping me in the know about what’s going on in the world without having to visit a million news sites. YouTube is especially helpful in DIY videos that help you save money or for me right now, prenatal exercises without having to go out to a gym and paying someone to guide me in these (I’m so cheap).


These are the three big ones for me. I could go on but I don’t want to subject you to reading a super long blog post. How about you? How do you feel about social media? Do you agree with my reasons? Disagree? Have any additional reasons you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below!

New Star in the Universe

I don’t know what I really had planned to write today but probably something along the lines of pie because today is Pi Day. For those of you who don’t know, Pi is an impossible, yet genius mathematical formula that’s regarded highly across physicists and mathematicians alike. That’s pretty much the extent I know about it because I personally suck at both subjects. Here’s what it looks like:

π

Now today is the greatest excuse to eat pie as well. Places all over the world celebrate today with various types of pies. There’s even a Google doodle because today marks the 30th anniversary of Pi Day:

30th Anniversary of Pi Day!

However on top of all that, I woke up to the sad news that Stephen Hawking has died. It’s very sad but also kind of fitting that he would die on such a day. This Pi day will go down in history because Stephen Hawking will always be remembered. If you did not who this is, just Google the man. He was absolutely brilliant for someone who fought ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) for over 50 years. This disease did not stop his creativity nor his ingenuity in the field of physics. It’s thanks to him that we know as much about black holes as we do. He was a very encouraging individual and we’ve definitely lost a great hero. But that’s okay because all you have to do is look up to the stars as he would always say and never give up. Rest in paradise, professor.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Tasmanian Devil

Growing up watching Looney Tunes did not do the Tasmanian Devil the justice it deserves. Being the size of a small dog, they’re actually sort of cute little Austrialian pups. …see for yourself. 😛 

The name for these guys may be a little deceiving, as scientists have found. They mainly live in the state of Tasmania and are extinct in their original homeland of Australia. Hunters were killing dingoes for their pelts and when they ran out of dingoes they turned to the next best thing. The claim was that they were a massive threat to livestock and so they needed to be dealt with accordingly. Some 50 years later researchers are finding that they, along with many humans, are victims of facial and skin tumors and cancers. As a result, many are being sent to zoos in order to help provide better care for them.

While they do rip and shread their prey, they are somewhat communal animals. Once mated they protect and fight for their female at all costs…and we all know how that goes! 😉

All in all, just some food for thought. I’m sure those farmers and hunters didn’t dream that what they were doing to a group of animals in the mid 1940’s would impact them so many years later. Unfortunately, it is still happening today with many other groups of animals for a variety of reasons. You’d like we’d have learned something by now.

If you’re interested in learning more the Parks and wildlife service have got you covered.

‘Alala aka The Hawaiian Crow

Crows of any sort aren’t typically my thing, but because my co-author spent quite a bit of time in Hawaii, this post is pretty near and dear to her. As with anything, if something is extinct or nearing extinction there’s a pretty clear problem. Getting to the root of that problem can sometimes be a little challenging, but well worth it, IMO.

…because there are no living ‘alala in the wild these birds have been reproduced in captivity. Upon being released into the wild, researchers are learning of many difficulties that these little guys have been facing. Some aren’t finding proper mates and others aren’t feeding their babies properly.

Crows on the mainland are a large part of the literary world. They can symbolize death, mystery, and magic. Have any of you had any experience with wildlife conservation in any capacity? I’ve been lucky enough to befriend two conservationists. I believe that they are invaluable to the sustainability of our little winged friends and hope that you do, too!

For more information on them here’s a quick excerpt from the San Diego ZooContinue reading “‘Alala aka The Hawaiian Crow”

Something New

Throughout my days, whether it’s at work, home, or hanging out with friends, I find myself trying to learn something. There’s always something to take away. There’s also plenty to give.

My days are typically filled with work – from working out, to actually going to the job that pays me, sending or receiving emails, trying to network with rescue organizations, and beyond, I’m always working on something.  I’ve learned a lot from the younger people who work for me…and I’ve learned a ton from the older ones, too. It’s interesting to subjects from another lense.

I’d say that overall I’m a realist. I have realistic views, expectations, and hopes for the future. I’m not asking for or seeking perfection: but I want to see people trying. Trying is often times different than doing – but sometimes all you can ask is that people are trying.

Working in the pet food industry has taught me a lot. Managing people has taught me even more. Doing my best to gain something from everyone has shown me a lot about life. Having wonderful friends and a supportive family has certainly helped along the way. I challenged myself to create time to write something today. Something. Anything. …to try to be part of this blogging experience with a great friend. …to try to pull my weight, or at least part of it. The longer I sit the more emails flood through. Questions, comments, concerns, things that require fairly immediate action, others that just want my opinion on what to do or how to do it.

Yesterday, I learned about plasma and just how cool and helpful it is. Today, I’ve learned (and really have known for a while) that good friends truly are a dime a dozen. My co-author has carried the weight and the work of this blog since conception. I am thankful for her and I learn from her and about her everyday from this opportunity.

What are you learning about today? Is it something new? …perhaps it’s something you’ve known and are revisiting. Share it with us so we can all learn together! 🙂

Timely