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Tom Clancy:  April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013

By Shlomo Maital

            P612300 RED

Tom Clancy died on Oct. 1, age 66.  His first published novel was The Hunt for Red October, published in 1984, about a Russian submarine.   More than 100 million copies of his novels are in print, and 17 became NYT best-sellers.  

  We can learn much from Clancy’s life.  He was an insurance salesman in Baltimore, but had a lifetime fascination for the Navy and for military technology, from an early age.   He read books about ships and the Navy when he has a child. In his spare time he wrote “Hunt for Red October”. It had a great many details about Soviet submarines, weaponry, satellites and fighter planes; Navy Secretary Lehman asked Clancy, in 1986, “who the hell cleared it?”  The answer: Nobody. All the data came from technical manuals, interviews and published books.    A lot of great intelligence simply comes from gathering openly published material. 

    Clancy sent his manuscript to the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, MD.  An editor, Deborah Grosvenor, was mesmerized by it, but had trouble persuading her boss to publish it.  She finally got Clancy to cut 100 pages and remove some technical descriptions.  The Press paid $5,000 for the book.  It became a smash best seller when President Ronald Reagan said it was “my kind of yarn” and mentioned that he couldn’t put it down. 

   We can learn an important lesson from Clancy and his life.  He was 36 when his first book was published.  That means he spent long years selling insurance, while pursuing his true passion in evenings and on weekends.  Clancy died relatively young – but he had 30 good years doing what he loved and doing it well.  We should all pursue our true passions, after finding out what it is, and at least try to make our living from it, even while earning a living from something else.  Rest in peace, Tom.  Thanks for all those great books – and the movies based on them.

 Meet Your Neighborhood Bee – Up Close!

By Shlomo Maital

         Bee closeup

 Ever wondered what a bee looks like, up close – really close?   New photos of insects using new technology, published in Bloomberg Businessdaily,  are highly revealing. The photographs are by  by Sam Droege/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.  The US government monitors bees because mysterious diseases have been depleting bee colonies in the US and abroad. 

   Bees are miraculous creatures (See Harun Yahya,  The Miracle of the Honeybee, available online at http://fs.fmanager.net/files/flashpages/index.php?bookid=4193

   Here are a few amazing facts about bees:

* A beehive contains thousands of larvae, at many different stages. The worker bees will visit each larva 10,000 times!  In its first 6 days of live, each larva increases its weight by 1,500 times, feeding on royal jelly for the first three days. Royal jelly is an exceptional compound, comprised of  67% water, 12.5% crude protein, including small amounts of many different amino acids, and 11% simple sugars (monosaccharides), also including a relatively high amount (5%) of fatty acids. It also contains many trace minerals, some enzymes, antibacterial and antibiotic components, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and trace amounts of vitamin C. 

 * Worker bees produce “propolis”, an anti-bacterial substance they produce by combining their saliva with sticky resin collected from trees, in the pods they use to gather pollen.  When there is ‘junk’ in the hive that is too heavy to be carried away, the workers cover it with propolis and seal it.  They basically mummify it. E.g., invading wasps.  Somehow the worker bees know that dead bodies in the hive will decay and cause disease, and through evolution have developed an effective method for preventing this.  Imagine if we humans were able to produce our own antibiotics – inside our own bodies.

* Guard bees release a strong odor, known as pheromones, when they sting an intruder.  This acts as an alarm or siren for the entire hive to mobilize and defend itself. 

* Bees protect their hives with their lives.  Their sting sacs are amazing weapons. The stinger detaches itself, with its poison, from the body of the guard bee, which quickly dies.  But the stinger continues to inject the poison into the intruder, even though detached from the bee’s body.  If you’ve ever been stung by a bee, you may have seen this in action. 

* When a hornet invades a Japanese bee hive, it is too large to be killed. So the bees envelop it in a ball of 500 bees, and with their wings rotating rapidly, generate immense heat – high enough to kill the hornet. 

    Bees have very very tiny brains.  How then do they do all these miraculous things, that seem to require very high intelligence?   Evolution.  The power of evolution through accidental mutations generated bees adapted to survive. 

    Some believe teaching evolution is anti-religion.  But the result of evolution, those amazing honeybees, are simply Divine in nature.  We humans have much to learn from them.   

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
October 2013
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