Hydrogel for damaged joints

“Once it’s been injured, the protective cartilage in our knees and other joints heals very slowly – if at all. A new injectable gel, however, could both reinforce the tissue after it’s been damaged, and encourage new cartilage to grow over top of it.”

If you’re like me, and starting to find that your joints are not as young as the rest of you, the following article in New Atlas should be of interest: https://newatlas.com/medical/hyaluronic-acid-hydrogel-reinforce-regrow-cartilage/

If you’re young and have no idea what cartilage is, or how a joint works, or why it can cause pain, here’s a simple picture:

Image courtesy Wise Geek https://images.wisegeek.com/frontal-view-of-joint-with-cartilage.jpg labels by me

As you can see, the bone ends that meet in our joints, don’t actually meet. They’re held in place by ligaments [the blue bit] that act a bit like rubber bands. And to make sure the two bones don’t grind against each other, each end is capped by cartilage. Cartilage is a tough but flexible material that acts like the tyre on the wheel of a car – it stops you from driving on the metal rims.

And just like tyres, the cartilage protecting the ends of your bones wears down over time. How much time depends on how much wear and tear it is subjected to. The knee cartilage of runners tends to wear down faster than that of couch potatoes because it’s used more. Unlike tyres, however, joint cartilage can’t be replaced when the ‘treads go bald’, which is why this research is so important.

My tread isn’t bald yet, but it’s getting there, so I can hardly wait for the hydrogel to be commercialised. πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend everyone,

cheers
Meeks


WP Media Library – ‘Uploaded to’??

I’m not usually stumped by what appears to be a common ‘feature’ in WordPress, but I’ve just found one that has me utterly baffled.

This is a screenshot of the Media Library as accessed from the Dashboard:

I have the view set to ‘list’ instead of ‘grid’, but the column heading of ‘Uploaded to’ doesn’t mean ‘this picture was inserted into XX post’ because most of my pictures are shown as ‘Unattached’, despite the fact that I know they were inserted into posts.

The blue ‘Attach’ option doesn’t do what I thought it should either – i.e. it doesn’t insert a saved picture file /into/ a post. I actually tried it out and when you select the ‘Attach’ option, you’re given a list of posts to attach the picture file to:

But…selecting a post and clicking ‘Select’ does NOT place the image into the post. I tried. It doesn’t do anything that’s visually obvious. The only thing that changes is that for that file, ‘Attach’ changes to ‘Detach’.

I tried searching for an explanation of what the ‘Uploaded to’ column means, or what the ‘Attach’ option is meant to do, but found only programming type gobbledegook that sounded as if it had nothing to do with inserting a picture into a post.

To save /my/ sanity. Does anyone out there know what this is all about? -cough- In plain English?

Meeks


WordPress Media Library

Meeka’s Mind is a ‘word’ blog rather than a picture blog. Nevertheless, I do use quite a lot of graphics – 2,172 at last count – so when I tried to insert an old pic into a post and couldn’t scroll past 2017, I dashed off a help request to WordPress. The problem is now fixed, but in the process, I learned that the Media Library you see within a post is a dumbed down version of the Media Library you see from your Dashboard.

This is what you see from within the post:

It’s a basic grid layout with the ability to filter your pics by the month [Filter media], or via a search function [not shown]. If you have over 2000 pics like me, finding one particular thumbnail is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

But have a look at what you can do from the Dashboard!

See the small blue icon circled near the top left of the screenshot? That corresponds to the ‘Details’ option in Windows Explorer. It lists all your pics according to 5 different categories: file [filename], Author [some sites have more than one], Uploaded to [name of post], Comments and…ta dah…Date. Clicking on the name of the category – e.g. File – causes all the files to be sorted in alphabetical order. Or date order etc.

So instead of scrolling through hundreds of thumbnails, you can narrow your search down by year, or filename [if you happen to remember what it was called] and so on. And because the icons on the list are so small, everything loads so much faster.

Now, the reason I did not know you could sort your pics in a list view was because I never use the Media Library from my Dashboard [that’s the black panel on the left]. I upload new pics from within whichever post I’m writing or editing. Or, if I know I’ve already got the perfect pic in my Media Library, I also look for it from within the post. And I have to tell you, that can be excruciatingly painful.

Anyway, I thanked the nice tech person who answered by original call for help, and then I asked him why such a useful function was not available in the one place where it would be most needed – i.e. in the post. I haven’t received a reply yet, but I assume this is all part of the mobile phone devolution. Thumbnails in a grid can be rearranged to fit smaller screens fairly easily. Columns cannot, and who’s going to swipe sideways every time they want to see the Date column?

So you see, I do understand. I also understand that the bulk of WordPress users are probably quite young and very efficient with their thumbs. They probably don’t want to write, or read, long word posts. They probably write multiple, very short posts, with pics, whenever the mood strikes them. And that may be the direction in which all social media is heading…but…those of us who’ve been with WordPress the longest signed up for a blogging platform focused on…words.

Have we become the old demographic, in all senses of the word? A dying breed?

What say you, fellow dinosaurs?

Meeks

p.s. As a form of protest, I decided against including a graphic. Instead, please picture me in fluffy slippers, taking on all comers as I wield my trusty rolling pin. πŸ™‚

p.p.s. I notice that the preview function is back the way it used to be! Glory be. Must have been a lot of people complaining.


Proof of concept – Innerscape

Forgive the grandiose title, but I’ve just read an article on Medium that details the current research aimed at creating a computer-brain interface. And that concept, taken to an extreme level, is precisely what Innerscape is all about.

I’ve known about some of the technologies for some time, but I was truly surprised by how much, and how varied, those technologies are. Some are clearly still in their infancy, but I see great potential for others…including football fans. πŸ™‚

No, I’m not kidding. The article below contains a video about a very special ‘kickoff’. The person doing the kickoff [first kick of the game] is wearing an exoskeleton, and he’s paralyzed. He’s moving the exoskeleton with his brain. That is little short of a miracle.

You can watch a video of that kickoff, and read about the other technologies in development here: https://medium.com/predict/brain-computer-interfaces-the-next-step-in-human-evolution-a0e0723a1791

One thing I very much like about the article is that it talks openly about the elephant in the room – the ethics of some of these technologies. We humans have a habit of jumping into new tech feet first, so enamoured of the potential for good [or profit] that we wilfully ignore the potential for harm. And there is always potential for harm.

It’s Good Friday here in Australia so I’ll wish you all a Safe and Happy Easter if you celebrate it. If not, may you have a Safe and Happy Holiday.

Much love,
Meeks


Final Freebie – 3 more days

The 6th, and last, free ebook I’m offering is the Innerscape Omnibus which includes all three books of the Innerscape trilogy.

As the title says, the Innerscape Omnibus is free for about 3 more days, depending on your timezone. The promotion ends on April 3, 2021.

US https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103285&sr=8-1

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103337&sr=8-1

Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103385&sr=8-1

Canada https://www.amazon.ca/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103433&sr=8-1

India https://www.amazon.in/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103493&sr=8-1

If you are not in one of these Amazon marketplaces, you can find the Omnibus by going to the Amazon search box and typing:

Innerscape Omnibus acflory

While you’re there, perhaps you could check out some of the wonderful books written by Sue Vincent: https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1617227018&sr=8-1


Meeks



Sue Vincent – 1958 to 2021

I knew it was coming, but I hoped for more, for longer, for a miracle…

Ani’s Voice is gone, but she will never be forgotten. Goodbye Sue.

14th September 1958 – 29th March 2021


Final Freebie – Innerscape Omnibus

The 6th, and last, free ebook I’m offering is the Innerscape Omnibus which includes all three books of the Innerscape trilogy.

If you’ve already downloaded the individual books, there’s no need to download the Omnibus, unless you want to, of course. πŸ˜‰

The Omnibus is free on Amazon now, and I’ve provided some of the major links to the various Amazon market places below. As with the first five books, the Omnibus will be free for 5 days [ending April 3, 2021].

US https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103285&sr=8-1

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103337&sr=8-1

Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103385&sr=8-1

Canada https://www.amazon.ca/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103433&sr=8-1

India https://www.amazon.in/Innerscape-Omnibus-Books-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0871W9YDH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Innerscape+Omnibus&qid=1617103493&sr=8-1

I left the Omnibus until last because I intend to unpublish it on April 14, 2021 which is two days after I first published it on April 12, 2020 – an almost-anniversary. I know we’re not in the clear from Covid yet, but at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel, so I feel it’s a good time to retire this particular version. I may drag it out of mothballs for the odd special occasion, but for now it will enjoy a well earned rest. πŸ˜€

I would love everyone to grab a copy of the Omnibus while it’s free. I’d also urge anyone who hasn’t grabbed a copy of the other books to do so now, while they’re still 99c. On April 3, they will all return to their normal pricing.

I’ve tried not to check the Amazon reports too often so I’ve been gobsmacked by how many people have downloaded the books. I’ve also been incredibly heartened by the wonderful reviews they’ve all received. That was a very pleasant surprise as I’d only been hoping for a couple of reviews for Miira and Vokhtah. Thank you, all of you. -hugs-


Meeks



My new favourite instrument…the cello!

My thanks to the Pinkagendist for introducing me to a cellist by the name of Hauser. Just watched his version of Albinoni’s Adagio [often paired with the Pachelbel Canon], and the sheer, virtuoso, passion of his playing almost broke my heart.

And, icing on the cake, the conductor is a woman. A first for me. All I can say is “at long last!”

Even if you don’t like classical music, or the cello, please give this video a try because it truly is something special:

cheers
Meeks


How to make a primitive torch

One of the things that distinguishes the iVokh Traders from the normal iVokh is that Traders aren’t afraid of fire. In fact, they light their underground cave system with burning torches. This means the colour of the light is different – yellow flame vs blue glowworm – and the smell is distinctive.

That all came from my imagination, but now I’m writing scenes that require a more factual approach, so how did primitive peoples make torches?

I was extremely lucky to find this fabulous article online: http://www.junglecraft.com.my/index.php/how-to-make-a-burning-torch/ Not only did it explain which, easy-to-find materials were used, it also included a video showing exactly how the torches were made:

The whole video is fascinating, but the highlight for me was around the 6 minute mark.

So, what are these primitive materials, and would the iVokh have access to them?

The main ingredient in primitive torches [in the Malaysia jungle] is rosin. If any of you have played the violin, you’ll know that rosin is vital for the bow [thanks Dad]:

Rosin is a solid form of resin, the sticky substance that comes from trees that is not unlike sap….Violin rosin is made by heating fresh liquid resin, until it becomes solid. It smells a bit like pine and has a glassy, orange look.

Quote taken from: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/violin/what-is-rosin-why-violinists-need-it/

I underlined the bit about the smell of ‘pine’ because that too is a distinctive feature of the Traders’ caves.

But wait…there’s more. I did ballet as a kid and I remember putting rosin on the soles of my ballet shoes – for grip . In fact, as I went from link to link, I discovered that rosin has a million and one uses, even today. Not so primitive after all. πŸ™‚

Anyway, rosin is only one of the ingredients used to make primitive torches; ‘punky wood’ [dried rotten wood] is the other. Crumbled together in a 50/50 ratio, this mixture will burn quite happily for a couple of hours.

In the Junglecraft video, the presenter used bamboo as the locally sourced ‘container’ for the torch, but I’m pretty sure most of the inhabitable parts of Vokhtah are savanah rather than jungle, so I think the iVokh would have used animal horns instead. I haven’t actually created a horned creature per se, but I’m sure there must be a few somewhere in Vokhtah. Maybe down south where where only the Traders have been… πŸ˜‰

So there you have it, my latest bit of research. I had fun, and I hope you did too.

Before I finish though, I have a small rant to get off my chest: I HATE the new preview function in WordPress. With the old Preview function, I could preview my post in a new tab and can jump back and forth between the two tabs, fixing typos as I find them.

With the new Preview function, I get a floating [sic] pane that can’t be moved. As the ‘edit post’ screen is underneath the preview pane, I have to close the pane each time I find a typo. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit. Then reopen it to continue proofing. Then close it to edit…

Grrrr! Do none of the ‘Happiness Engineers’ ever test run their ‘improvements’? Or do none of the testers bother to fix bloody typos? Ahem… Okay, end rant.

cheers
Meeks


Hitting the ‘of course!’ moment

The ‘of course!’ moment is when a Reader suddenly understands something pivotal about the plot, or one of the characters. To me, the moment should feel like a light bulb going off in the Reader’s head, or that moment of triumph when the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle falls into place. The problem, as always, is how to get there.

If your breadcrumb trail is too broad, the Reader will guess the ‘of course!’ moment long before it happens, resulting in a boring anticlimax. But if you don’t leave enough breadcrumbs, the Reader will feel cheated because the moment will have little connection to what’s gone on before, and they will have had no part in working out the great reveal.

Of course, this all assumes that the writer isn’t trying to cheat. I can’t say it’s happened to me a lot, but I have read a few books in which the writer paints him or herself into a corner, and then brings in a hitherto unknown, secret weapon that demolishes all in front of it. Or gives one of the characters a god-like power that wasn’t there before, and which none of the villains can resist. In other words, a cheat.

In my not so humble opinion, we writers create worlds, and those worlds should have rules which all of our characters obey. If we are going to change those rules half way through, there must be a compelling reason for it, and it must be presented to the Reader bit by bit until the change becomes a new rule rather than just a ‘get out of jail’ card.

In my own writing, I try to leave small, apparently irrelevant breadcrumbs all the way through my stories. Some actually remain as irrelevant titbits, but others grow until they become a necessary part of some ‘of course!’ moment.

In the Innerscape trilogy, I introduced Kenneth Wu’s signature scent [lemon] very early in the first book, more to flesh out his character than anything else. By the last book, however, the scent of lemon triggers a breakdown in his Grandmother, and helps fool Miira when she sees Kenneth’s avatar at Jaimie’s house.

A far more critical breadcrumb trail involved the Innerscape avatars themselves. Identity and deception are two of the main themes of Innerscape, but I wanted Readers to feel a sense of shock when they realise that the staff avatars can be used by anyone. I started laying breadcrumbs in book 1 by having David the sound technician join Miira’s orientation wearing Stanley’s avatar. The importance of those avatars continues until it reaches its climax in book 3.

I won’t tell you what that climax is, but I hope it gave Readers an ‘of course!’ moment. πŸ˜€

Do you consciously, or unconsciously, create ‘of course!’ moments in your own writing? I’m particularly interested in what the plotters amongst you have to say. Do you plan these moments right from the start? Or do you realise their significance only as you write?

It’s Saturday here already, and I have a hot date with an mmo. Have a great weekend everyone. πŸ™‚

cheers
Meeks

p.s. is anyone have trouble accessing images in their media library? I can’t seem to go back beyond 2017. 😦


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