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AUSTRALIA IS IN THE GRIP OF A TERRIBLE DROUGHT. A month ago, I took a trip that landed me right in the middle of this drought. Didn’t see a blade of green grass for two whole days. Sadly, just a lot of dead kangaroos.

A second trip was at the other end of the spectrum: north-east Queensland where the tropical forest and sugar-cane fields were totally green. And I saw a part of the Great Barrier Reef that is still very much alive. This will be another blog — Australia Part 2.

The current great Australian drought is shown on the map. Dark red splotches are the lowest rainfall EVER in the two-year period ending March 2019, and things have changed very little since then.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Victoria Gray, 34, from Mississippi has sickle cell disease. • A genetic defect deforms the red blood cells, causing terrible bouts of pain. • A new gene-editing treatment involves a grueling round of chemotherapy, weeks in the hospital, months of tests. • But there’s hope…

THERE WAS AN UPROAR OVER GENE-EDITING EXPERIMENTS carried out in November 2018 by Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui. He claimed to have done experiments on human embryos that resulted in twin girls whose DNA had been engineered to make them less susceptible to contracting HIV. The controversial experiments drew condemnation in China and internationally and led to the scientist’s firing from his University in January.

The problem: it’s possible that the twins inadvertently increased their susceptibility to other infectious diseases.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: • Inspired by friends Kevin and Dorota. • Jesus defined two sides of loving. • Who is my neighbor? • What about today?

I RECEIVED AN EMAIL TODAY FROM FRIENDS KEVIN AND HIS WIFE DOROTA. It was an appeal for money to support a young nurse in her education. It was a GoFundMe format that my friends helped set up. Not only that, the nurse lived in Tanzania, in Africa. They are dreadfully short of nurses over there: only one for every 27 patients.

I found this individual effort inspiring — to help a young person, who is not well off and living in another country. Despite the political confusion here in the USA over immigration, there are people in the USA who genuinely want to help disadvantaged people overseas.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG:Rafting on the Animas river.Hiking along the Purgatory Flats trail.A roadside hot spring.An outstanding Mexican restaurant.

I WENT BACK TO DURANGO. With my step-daughter Kim and my granddaughter Kara. I wanted to see Smelter Rapids, to see how much the water had risen in the ten days since I’d last been there. To read my earlier Durango blog, click HERE. The Animas River had risen – and was now 7,000 cubic feet per second – highest flow rate for many years. The major rafting companies had stopped running Smelter Rapids because they were class 4 and the risk of a raft overturning was too high.

THE FIRST RAPID IN SMELTER was constructed artificially by placing huge boulders in the stream.… More

TWO COSMIC MYSTERIES. I have personally encountered two cosmic mysteries early in my career – like about 40 years ago. They both involved massive, unprecedented sources of energy. The mysteries continued for decades and occasionally the two encounters kept popping up in my memory. Only in the last few years have both these mysteries been solved – and both explanations involve black holes. This is Part 2. Part 1 was posted about a month ago.

QUASARS. The first time I heard about this high-energy radiation was at the University of Arizona in 1981. I was doing research there on cosmic rays during a sabbatical from Oral Roberts University. A portly astronomer was giving a presentation on quasars, which were objects in the sky that he had mapped in visible light using the large Kitt Peak telescope in Arizona.… More

WHAT KIND OF EVENT DOES THE FOLLOWING REMIND YOU OF: A small group of a dozen men meeting for two hours on a Saturday morning. Ages range from 40-something to almost 90. Singing gustily along with a three-piece band. Eating an excellent breakfast from a Mexican menu. Listening to a guest speaker share how his life was changed. Requesting others to pray – honest, touching, and serious prayers.

AND WHAT WOULD BE THE LIKELY VENUE? A nursing home? A hospital? An AA meeting? A Shriner’s gathering? A church group? +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ LET ME TELL A LITTLE MORE ABOUT SOME FOLKS WHO ATTEND THE MEETING: • One man is a successful and well-known businessman in Santa Fe. • One man runs a TV station and a radio station.… More

WHATS IN THIS BLOG: Pics from a jeep tour and a hike around Durango. High water and river play – best snowmelt runoff in 25 years. Best places to visit in Durango. How Olga Little saved 17 miners.

NOTE FROM THE GRAY NOMAD: IF THE BLOG PRINT IS TOO SMALL ON YOUR SCREEN AND HARD TO READ, CLICK ON CTRL AND + SIGN TOGETHER, AND THE PRINT SHOULD GET LARGER. CLICK ON CTRL AND – TOGETHER AND THE PRINT SHOULD GET SMALLER.

Durango is in southwest Colorado, just over the border with New Mexico. Just a 4-hour drive from Albuquerque, the town is bustling in summer when the famous tourist train runs from Durango through the mountains to Silverton. Silver and gold and other metals were discovered in the mountains in the 1860s.… More

TWO COSMIC MYSTERIES. I have personally encountered two cosmic mysteries early in my career – like about 40 years ago. They both involved massive, unprecedented sources of energy. The mysteries continued for decades and occasionally the two encounters kept popping up in my memory. Only in the last few years have both these mysteries been solved – and both explanations involve black holes. This is Part 1. Part 2 will come later.

GAMMA RAY BURSTS. I flew into Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1972 to work at the famous scientific laboratory there (only an hour and a half drive from where I now live in Albuquerque). My job was to study data recorded by satellites (called Vela) that looped around the earth – data on high energy protons and electrons specifically.… More

I DROVE INTO TUCUMCARI A FEW DAYS AGO. Tired, after eight hours on the road from Kansas, I pulled over and called my hotel, meaning the one that I found when I was stuck in Tucumcari a previous time (see HERE to read about that adventure.)

A small voice answered, “Would you mind holding for a minute…” After 10 minutes of waiting, I hung up. I drove away from Amarillo for 30 minutes and tried again. Nobody picked up. I drove another 30 minutes… still nobody picked up. After another 30 minutes I tried once more but nobody answered. I gave up.

I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT, I WAS STUCK AGAIN IN TUCUMCARI. As I drove into town, tired and upset, I mulled over what to do.… More

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