Could 30% of the Water on Earth Predate the Solar System?!

A September 2014 study concludes that much of the water on Earth predates the solar system itself. Say what? Here’s the L.A. Times’ Science section article with more:

Some of the water molecules in your drinking glass were created more than 4.5 billion years ago, according to new research. That makes them older than the Earth, older than the solar system — even older than the sun itself.

In a study published Thursday in Science, researchers say the distinct chemical signature of the water on Earth and throughout the solar system could occur only if some of that water formed before the swirling disk of dust and gas gave birth to the planets, moons, comets and asteroids.

This primordial water makes up 30% to 50% of the water on Earth, the researchers estimate.

“It’s pretty amazing that a significant fraction of water on Earth predates the sun and the solar system,” said study leader Ilse Cleeves, an astronomer at the University of Michigan.


WordPress DC is Back in the Loop, WC Philly Draws Near

WordPress DC Reconvenes, WordCamp Philly Schedule Posted

As PHP might say,
“if (have_WordPress_DC_meetup( ‘place’ )) :
while (have_WordPress_DC_meetup( ‘place’ )) :
else echo “climb the walls for 8 months and feel less connected”;

Woot! WordPress DC finally got together again after finding a new spot to meet at. It was our first gathering since August(!) which I think set a record for the group, which has been active for at least four years. It was also our first get-together since co-organizer Aaron Jorbin moved to the Big Apple to take on a new job there. Several folks pitched in to fill the breach, including the always helpful and encouraging Tracy ‘taupecat‘ Rotton who stepped up to become one of our co-organizers, and we landed a room for the evening which could hold 80 of us (versus our old stomping grounds which could fit 100+).

Andrew Nacin, the lead developer from several of the last few WordPress releases, took us through all the major developments and features from WordPress v3.6-3.9 since we last met, and then we got to briefly catch up with each other before the room had to close. It was great to see everyone again and our June meetup is already on the books and has a waiting list. Andy also covered the present and future for WordPress, going through what he referred to as three of the pillars of what’s to come: API, Infrastructure and Education and Mentoring.

You can catch the full presentation HERE, archived on UStream.
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Affordable Web Design Tools: Diving into Sketch

banana skate

Banana skater? Sketch experiment #5

I’ve been playing around with a new app I got, called Sketch (for Mac). The main things I’ll be using it for are to:

  1. Have a tool to make flat icons for websites (see image below)
  2. Create SVG’s (scalable vector graphics) that can re-size without pixellation on the curves
  3. Design header and logo elements for web sites
  4. Have a tool to muck about with creatively (see image at top)

While I’m finding out that learning to create with vector tools isn’t as intuitive of a process as I’d like it to be, it’s neat to have an app that can spit out the SVG code for me when I design complicated forms that in the past I would have to load onto websites as raster images.

It’s also one twentieth of what the traditional cost of entry for the industry standard (Adobe Creative Suite, or ACS) was before it switched to a subscription model this year. Up until now, I had found that the only reasonable alternative to ACS had been the excellent (and free) open-source app Gimp; which, although something I will definitely return to in the future, I had found to have too steep of a learning curve for a newbie.

4 screen sizes

4 screen-size flat icons merged into a single transparent .png with Sketch.

While Sketch is professional-level and suitable for general web design work, it is not a photo processing/editing tool, and is more akin to ACS’s Fireworks and Illustrator. So for working with photo images, maybe that’s what I’ll try to selectively learn to do with Gimp.

Of course, 90% of web designers and clients still work with Photoshop documents. That number isn’t going to drastically change anytime soon. But with easily affordable web design tools like Sketch, Gimp, iPhoto and Balsamiq Mockups, a starting web designer can still have a fighting chance without spending a small fortune (or having to buy a pirated or student copy of ACS).

The ‘Cursive’ the Keyboard?

My New Screenreader Is a… 

Here at Life Is, the office is all abuzz about our new tablet device. For one thing, it’s a bright shade of green.

It doesn’t run iOS, Windows or Android, nor is it even able to. It has no micro-processor or battery. It doesn’t come with a keyboard or touch-screen menus. We had to shell out extra dough for a stylus device just to be able to input text characters. And the receipt got thrown away so we can’t return it.  Wtf?! What moron of an office manager got this and how much are we in the red?         Continue reading