Sunday, May 10, 2015

Massasoit Arts Festival

Both of my paintings have been accepted for the above festival. They appear to the right. The black and white moonlit ocean scene won an honorable mention.

Ribbon Winners of Taunton Art Association Fall and Spring Art Shows to Exhibit Works

My painting, seen to the right, 'Gulliver Street in the Fall', will be displayed at the Trescott Street Gallery starting May 15th for about a month, along with the other winners. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Silvapithecus Americanus - Will DNA be the final word if a specimen is taken?

What will DNA tell us about Bigfoot?
If and when a Bigfoot specimen is taken, it is expected that the DNA results will help place the Bigfoot somewhere in the ape-human family tree. Don't be so sure. 

DNA is not the be-all, end-all 'blueprint' when it comes to defining differences and similarities between species like the great apes and humans, or for that matter, any species.  There is also morphology to consider. (Wiki describes Morphology as a branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features. This includes aspects of the outward appearance (shape, structure, color, pattern), i.e., external morphology as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like bones and organs, i.e., internal morphology or anatomy.)

You've probably heard that humans are most closely related to the great ape, the chimpanzee. Nucleotide mismatches with humans occur in the African great apes, as is determined by DNA hybridization, at the rate of 1.1%. Humans and orangutans differ by a factor of 2.4%. That's a pretty close genetic similarity.*

Yet, as small the percentage is, why aren't chimps and humans almost identical in a morphological sense? (i.e. why don' t they look more alike?) * Did you know that human males differ from human females in their DNA by about 1.5%. A major reason is that the male Y chromosome is much smaller female X chromosome. If you took only the percentage differences, wouldn't you conclude that human males are more closely related to chimps than human females? The difference, of course, is that human males and females are much more similar to each other morphologically. Some of these are derived features of the Homo sapiens species. (In the study of evolutionary relationships, derived refers to traits that exist in a present organism, but did not exist in the organism's ancestors.)*

Let's talk about another great ape, the orangutan. There are two species of orangutans, Bornean and Sumatran. The mitochondrial DNA difference between these two very similar species exceeds that between humans and chimpanzees. Yet, the two types of orangutans are much more similar to each other morphologically than humans are with chimps.* As an aside, I think the study of orangutans is very important because the possible ancestors of Bigfoot are Sivapithecus and the later Gigantopithecus, both who have strong ties to current day orangutans.

The comparison of gene sequences is not enough. Importantly, it's the effect of communication between regulatory genes and RNA, so-called genomic processes that is going to result in an improved understanding of evolution and genes.
(*ideas from 'The Red Ape' by Jeffrey H. Schwartz)

So, what's my point?

When that big, hairy ape's DNA is truly taken from a valid specimen, expect there to be more questions than answers about whether it is human's closest relative. The morphology of the creature should be considered. There is no scientific justification to favor DNA over morphological data.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The First Returns re: Silvapithecus Americanus are in!

"Wow. I enjoyed it very much. I couldn't anticipate what would happen next." - V.B., Orlando

The Book is available at Barnes & Noble and the Apple iBook Store.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Silvapithecus Americanus Approved for Premium Distribution

The book has been approved by Smashwords for premium distribution. This includes sellers like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Page & Foundry, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, OverDrive, FlipKart, Scribd and Ouster. It will be available for sale online in these in several days to a week or so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Silvapithecus Americanus - Discovery of a New Species

That's the title of the new book. Silva is Latin for 'woods' or 'forest'. Pithecus is Latinized Greek for 'ape'. Americanus is the Latin adjective for 'American'. The eBook will be available soon. It has been submitted to my distributor, for Premium Distribution. Stay tuned. It tells the tale of events leading to the discovery of our closet relative, a bipedal nonhuman ape living  for centuries in the forests of North America...and what follows the discovery. See the book cover on the right.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The New Book Will Be ~40,000 Words

I'm still not ready to disclose the details of the book. I'm working on the last edit. I have completed the book cover. That would give away the subject. And I've finished the description of the book.

Monday, March 30, 2015

25,000 words and working toward a wild finish....

This is where I am thinking through the ending to this. Up to this point, there are reports and encounters to support the story line. Now I will take this to an ending that I do not deem to be completely out of line with reality, but possible. OK, not very likely, but aren't some of the true stories actually turn out to be the weirdest?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Untitled Book - Status Report

I'm moving right along. 20,000+ words in the bank. Takes place in northern California. A late 50s grandmother who is an accomplished Veterinarian with guardian responsibility for her 10 year old (or so) granddaughter, both who have moved from the Boston area. No Zombies in this one. It's fiction. A cryptozoology bend to the story.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Working on a New Book - as yet untitled

I'm not ready yet to disclose anything about, except to say what it is NOT about. It's not a Zombie thriller novel. It's not Science Fiction. What else could it be?

It's fiction, but like a lot of other fiction, it could be true. For me, it's not a 'WAY OUT THERE' type of book.

5000 words are written and the writing is easy. Things I want people to know about the subject.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Are You Enjoying the Snow and Cold?

The weather is epic. It's not been this cold for this long and this snowy in my lifetime. Golf season seems so long from now, but probably not more than about a month...I hope.

Anyway, I've had some time indoors. The paintings to the right are some more recent ones. Plus I have started a book, a novel. Not a Zombie thriller. Something else that interests me. I've penned a couple thousand words so far and have the general structure of the book settled in my mind. I will wait a while before I reveal any subject material.

Hope you enjoy the paintings.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This Winter's Work...thus far

My painting this winter has often taken a back seat to shoveling snow and refilling the bird feeders. Then more shoveling. Shoveling out the mailbox. Shoveling the walkway. Shoveling a tunnel so that the oil delivery guy can get to the side of the house. I've also read a lot and taken quite a few notes for a possible new book. Not a zombie thriller, but a novel. It's just something I'm working on. It may never result in anything, but I do enjoy the research.

I did attend a critique session in January for artists at the Attleboro Arts Museum and found it helpful. It was a two hour session. There were six of us. Each of our works was 'critiqued' by our peers and the session leader who was an assistant professor. We were easy on one another which lead to feelings not getting hurt. However, I was expecting just a little more brutality, e.g. 'what do you really think of my subject, my composition, color, technique?' We got a little of that, but with the 16 ounce boxing gloves with short rounds. At any rate, I'd go to another.

This winter's work in painting is not yet finished. I've posted some of my work off to the right in the column. You also will see some in prior posts. Hope you find them interesting and enjoyable.