Friday, April 24, 2020

Look Up, in the Sky!

planetary smiley face

Does astronomy make you smile? 

Michelle Risse, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, has offered to be available to help you learn about the night skies, so if you like astronomy, check this out:  She has some "mini sky tonight" presentations on her Youtube channel.  Maybe we'll get to do some fun stuff at the library in the future, but she says she is also happy to do Zoom room chats with people!  Here is her Youtube channel link:

In the meantime, there are always interesting things going on up there in space! 

Even now in late April, we're just trailing out of the Lyrid meteor shower, tonight is a good time to see some galaxies, the 27th is the time Venus will shine at its brightest, and you could see a "Lunar X" around 8:45pm on the 29th.

comet Atlas
Comet Atlas

The Atlas Comet sorta broke up, but the SWAN Comet is swooping in to take its place!


Comet Swan

Like apps?  There's plenty for astronomy.  

Tour the Universe works on both mobile and PC machines, it teaches about the solar system and has a lot of internal links and videos. 

I like the Skyview Lite on my mobile device--you can look up at the sky with it and it has an overlay to show you what you are looking at! 

And NASA of course has a very informative app.

It also has a NASAselfie app where you can take photos of yourself and your friends, floating out in space in front of major cosmic tourist attractions.

Sherry floating in space
My GPS is really on the fritz!

So if you like stuff out in the universe, let us know!

Here's a simple craft and a few things to explore now:

Monday, April 20, 2020

Lucas Miller!

Lucas Miller with Bluebonnet Time book
Lucas Miller spending some of his viral lock-down time singing on Facebook Live, so I asked if he’d mind sharing with his young & old friends at Leon Valley Public Library!

Here’s the song he performed that day:
   "I Won't"

Lucas is the “Singing Zoologist” and loves to compose and sing hordes of fun biological science, ecology and sometimes plain silly ditties for kids of all ages, slyly inserting scientific concepts into distracted minds.  He has oodles of CDs with his music, and has written a few books (including a couple illustrated by yours truly and my sister) and is no stranger to our library. 


 Lucas with guitar at TLA 2011 

Lucas with guitar, pointing at image of monarch butterfly

Learn a little something while tapping your toes at his well-stocked YouTube channel:

Lucas Miller with books, TLA 2011
                                              Hours of fun!!
                                   And if you don’t know about Lucas and would like to,
                                 explore his website at
Sherlock art of astronaut & Lucas Miller's Fifi in space

Meanwhile, on the Other Side of the World...

We’re stuck in our own little worlds right now, so I thought people might like to know how other folk are doing!  Some of you may remember Nicole, our library patron friend from Taiwan.  After much debate, she decided to return Asia, well before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred.  I asked her how she was doing and if she’d send a few pictures to share.  Here is what she sent (I did a little grammar translating, but this is the gist, lol):

Miao-lie county, San YI Township Northwest of Taiwan.
Here I am in Miao-lie County, San YI Township
Northwest Taiwan.
“When I left the U.S., I was worried about the really bad air quality and traffic back in Taiwan.  So I headed for Japan and tried to find a place to live there.  But that wasn’t as easy to do as I’d thought, and most people there don’t speak English and I don’t speak Japanese!

“So I returned to my hometown in Taiwan.  Only now am I getting used to life here again!  I hate the air quality and all the crazy traffic, but luckily I got a job at a furniture company, interpreting for the company’s administration.”

Nicole sent several lovely photos, hopefully I will manage to get the correct captions to each!

My scooter, for getting around the place I live, City of Taichung middle part of Taiwan
My scooter, for getting around the place I live,
the City of Taichung in central Taiwan
As far as COVID-19 in Taiwan, it sounds a lot like what we have gone through, but a good deal stricter. 

“Initially we had soldiers take part in drills and disinfect outbreak areas.  Many areas have mandatory restrictions; relying on a combination of preparedness, technology, transparency and the cooperation of people, we follow the government’s regulations to deal with the pandemic.  At this time in each public place, when you visit you must have your body temperature checked and have it be under 37.5º C (99.5ºF), and use alcohol to disinfect your hands before being allowed to enter.  Just about a week ago a travel ban started because there were too many travelers from abroad carrying the disease (believe it or not, most were from the U.S. and Europe).  A traveler from abroad arriving in Taiwan must be quarantined for 14 days.  Anyone with suspicious symptoms like fever, coughing, or other respiratory symptoms will be sent to the hospital for a COVID-19 screening.  I strongly suggest washing your hands, social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining personal hygiene—all important to manage the pandemic disease.” 

So Nicole is fine, wants you to be safe, and says hi to all her friends in America!
Lane Master Temple. Chechen is a rural Township in southern Pingtung County, Taiwan.
Lane Master Temple. Chechen is a
rural township in southern
Pingtung County, Taiwan. 

Puli-Township, located in central Taiwan.
Puli-Township, in central Taiwan.

Miao-Li County located in Southern Taiwan. Is a famous wood carving region.
Miao-Li County, located in southern Taiwan.
A famous wood carving region.

Heng-chun South Gate.
Heng-chun South Gate. Located in the southern peninsula,
also the only urban township of Pingtung County.

Sun Moon Lake.
Sun Moon Lake. Located in central Taiwan,
in the foothills of Taiwan's Central Mountain range.
A famous tourist attraction area.

Sunset at the Chechen Township, a rural area in southern Taiwan.
Sunset at the Chechen Township, a rural area in
southern Taiwan.

Long-Teng Bridges in Southern Taiwan, also in the rural Townships.
Long-Teng Bridges in southern Taiwan,
also in the rural townships.
A traditional market, in the city of Tainan, southern Taiwan
A traditional market, in the city of Tainan, southern Taiwan.

“New” Lambai Island, southwest of Taiwan
Lambai Island, southwest of Taiwan

Display at Lukang Museums, Taiwan
"historical relics"
Lukang Museum, west coast of Taiwan

family members in Taichung
Young people (family members!)
in Taichung, Taiwan
Lychee tree with fruit
Lychee tree, has fruit with a shell enclosing a sweet,
jelly-like flesh.  Puli-Township, central Taiwan

Chinese herbs (TCM)