Christine Gardner suggested a writing challenge entitled, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.”  She suggested one paragraph, but I wrote two.  Here is my response:

It was a dark and stormy night; the wind was impatiently tugging at roof-tiles and screaming at the trees. Their were only a few rain drops here and there, sprinkled like promises on the pavement. The air was warm and thick and lightning flashed sporadically, casting the world into sharp relief for brief, but bright seconds. The sky heaved with boiling clouds and the thrumming of thunder echoed across the parking lot. Chrys struggled to keep her lightweight duster closed as she stalked angrily to her car. Maintaining a good, furious stalk was much more difficult than she’d anticipated, however, as the wind seemed intent on batting her around like a cat-toy. Great, thanks wind. Thanks for ruining my indignant exit.

Fighting with her flapping coat, she managed to locate her keys and open the car, sliding across the seat with relief. The sudden muting of the raging weather outside made her breathing sound unnaturally loud. She leaned her head back against the seat and took several deep breaths. The sharp smell of pseudo-leather combined with day-old Chinese food and reminded her that it had been nearly 24 hours since she’d eaten. “You know what? F*ck that guy, f*ck him with the bus he rode in on.” Still fuming, she jammed her key into the ignition and brought her car to life. “Patronizing, ass-hatted, misogynistic, smarmy little weasel,” she muttered through her teeth. Pulling out of the parking lot and onto the main road, her muttering rant continued without pause: “If I had a nickle for every time that pernicious asshole…” and continued all the way back to her apartment on the southeast side of the city.


World IPv6 Day

Posted: June 8, 2011 in 400-700 word samples


The next 24 hours has the nation’s largest content providers, hardware supplies, software vendors and telecom carries buzzing with expectation as they participate in World IPv6 Day.  This is the most anticipated event the tech industry has seen since New Year’s eve, 1999, when fears about Y2K dominated the thoughts of the world.

There are more than four hundred organizations participating in this large-scale experiment aimed at identifying and isolating problems associated with IPv6.  IPv6 is an upgrade to the Internet’s main communications protocol, IPv4.  This event, sponsored by the Internet Society, started last night at 8pm EST and ends tonight at 7:59pm, EST.  Participating organizations have had their IT departments spend the last five months preparing their website for the anticipated rise in IPv6 based traffic, tech support calls and hacking attack.  This is the largest trial of IPv6 that’s been attempted to date.

“The point of IPv6 Day “, says Cricket Liu, Vice President of Architecture at Infoblox, “is to uncover issues and to prepare for a day when we do have much broader IPv6 adoption.”

Hari Krishnan, Director of Product Management at Nominum (a DNS vendor) suggests that they are seeing more IPv6 traffic already.  “It’s still a very small percentage.  But there is definitely a lot of interest in our customers in terms of rolling out IPv6-based Internet services.  This is something they are planning or in the evaluation phase.”

There has never been an experiment this huge in the Internet’s forty years of history.  The goal of the experiment is, ultimately, to discovery and quantify problems that will create broken connections for some users.  Describing this as the largest and possibly most significant Internet Experiment in history to date isn’t an exaggeration.  Akamai, a content delivery network that carriers anywhere from 15% to 30% of the Internet’s traffic is participating and Andy Champagne, their Vice President of Engineering had this to say:

“I don’t think I remember an event where we have had so many different companies working together to fix a problem.  We have folks who are usually staunch competitors sharing information.”

This is one example of the tech community going above and beyond fiscal consideration and, instead, reaching higher, together, to benefit the entire industry.

Some of the Internet’s biggest companies are participating in World IPv6 Day.  Among them are:

  • ISPs such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon
  • Software suppliers such as Microsoft, Mozilla and Nominum
  • Network equipment vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Blue Coat and Radware
  • Popular websites such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Bing
  • Universities like Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration
  • Tech industry groups including W3C

Alain Durand, Director of Software Engineering at Juniper, feels confident that things will go smoothly. “My hope is that nothing happens on world IPv6 Day,” he said.  “The goal is to make sure that nothing happens and to build confidence that it is OK to deploy IPv6 and that IPv6 is not going to break the IPv4 Internet. We have been putting in place mechanisms to minimize the potential damage. This is the real learning from World IPv6 Day.”

Alain Fiocco, who heads up the IPv6 program at Cisco, agrees. “We haven’t really uncovered any big technical issues, nothing that was a show stopper.  So we feel pretty good about where we are today.”

Posted: May 4, 2011 in 400-700 word samples

There are many possible reasons for a woman to be induced. In fact, in our current birth culture, the list is long. What situations are genuine medical indications for induction of labor? Induction most definitely saves lives and here are some sterling examples:

Pre-eclampsia: Pre-e is a life-threatening condition that develops after the 20th week of pregnancy in some women (rarely it can present up to 6wks post-partum). The disease is characterized by swelling in the hands and face, sudden weight-gain, blurry or spotty vision, terrible headaches, protein in the urine and in particularly bad cases, pain around the liver area (usually associated with HELLP). If left untreated the mother will develop Eclampsia. The only treatment for this disease is the prompt delivery of the baby.

HELLP: HELLP stands for the abbreviation of the main findings of the disease- Hemolytic anemia, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelet count.  According to research, this appears to be considered a variant of Pre-eclampsia; however, it was determined to be a distinct clinical entity (as opposed to just severe pre-e) in 1982. Symptoms include a marked increase and severity in headaches, as well as vomiting, “band-pain” around the upper abdomen, and arterial hypertension (though it may be mild). If seizures or coma is present, it has already progressed into full-blown Eclampsia. Around 8% of the cases of this disease don’t appear until after the pregnancy. In most cases, delivering the baby will cure the condition and, in fact, it’s the only cure for the disease that is known.

Pre-eclampsia and HELLP are referred to together as Hypertensive Disorder of Pregnancy and Toxemia of Pregnancy

Eclampsia: This is what happens when the above two diseases are not treated. It is marked by the above mentioned symptoms along with seizures or coma. Renal failure is possible, as well as pulmonary edema, liver failure and oliguria (lack of urine). Eclampsia is deadly, and the only cure is delivery of the placenta but obviously, in order for that to be possible, the baby must be born, as well.

Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation: This complication is usually referred to as IUGR. Sometimes, for various reasons, the baby isn’t growing well or thriving in the womb and when this occurs, the baby may have a better chance of survival if delivered early.

Cholestasis of Pregnancy: This disease involves decreased liver function caused by the slow-down or cessation of the flow of bile from the gall-bladder to the liver. Characteristics of this disease are itching on the palms of the hands and feet (often the only symptom for many women), dark-colored urine, light coloring of bowel movements, fatigue or exhaustion, lack of appetite and depression. Severe and less common symptoms are jaundice, upper-right quadrant pain and nausea. Cholestasis of Pregnancy affects 1 or 2 women out of every thousand. So while it’s not terribly rare, it’s not terribly common, either. This disease can have negative consequences for both mother and baby, and as such, the pair must be monitored closely. The baby depends upon it’s mother’s liver to cleanse out the impurities of its blood. Therefore, her body not being able to do so can cause stress for the baby. Cholestasis may increase the risk of fetal distress, preterm birth or stillbirth. Once again, the only cure for this disease is delivery of the baby.  Induction isn’t always indicated and depends upon the severity of disease and how it is affecting mom’s liver.

Various Pre-existing conditions in the mother: These may include certain cancers, heart conditions and other unique issues that make a controlled, induced delivery necessary. These conditions can range widely, from severe illness (such as pneumonia) to congenital heart problems. The difficulty can be that the pregnancy puts an extra stress on the body, complicating the pre-existing condition or, conversely, the pre-existing condition is complicating the pregnancy.  Induction considerations for these conditions are made on a case by case basis.

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Family

“Mummy, can we get a puppy?” It’s the question heard by mother the world over. Children have no idea what it is they are asking for when requesting a puppy. All they see is the cute ears, the wet little nose and the potential for hours of fun. Mothers know better, though. Mothers know that puppies are a lot of work and that careful thought must go into the selection of a dog.

Ideally, when looking for a dog, the first consideration should be how much time you have to spend with her. Dogs are not cats; they will not be happy left to themselves all day and require a lot of affection and attention. Puppies in particular need a lot of hands-on care in order to remain emotionally and developmentally healthy. Puppies require training, which is something that takes a lot of time and effort. Do not get a puppy unless you have the time and the focus required to care for him properly.

The second thing to consider is what kind of dog suits your family best. Dog breeds are divided into “groups” based upon their size and temperament. Sporting and Working dogs, for example, tend to be large dogs and require a great deal of exercise. They can range in size from 50lbs to more than 200lbs!  Dogs in the Toy group are much smaller; ten pounds or less on average. They are ideal for apartment situations. Don’t let their small size fool you, though. The Toy group is comprised of very feisty dogs that often have egos ten times their size.

Thirdly, before purchasing a dog, spend some time considering the expense. You will need to make sure you can afford quality vet care. Your dog will need certain vaccines and regular check-ups to ensure he remains in optimal health. Dogs are naturally curious creatures and may occasionally get into trouble because of it. Before taking on the responsibility for an animal’s health and well-being, make sure you can afford appropriate care should a mishap occur.

Why Rats Make Excellent Pets

Rats are not usually among the first animals that come to mind when one considers getting a pet. For most people, rats are synonymous with disease, crowded cities and garbage heaps. The delightful truth, however, is that purchased from a breeder and properly cared for, they make wonderful pets!

For centuries now, rats have been selectively bred for a variety of purposes. Companion breeds are bred for their personalities, intelligence and their appearance. Domesticated rats usually live for 2-3 years, though some will live for as long as five years.

Rats are bonding creatures, much like dogs and cats, and have been bred for centuries to be companions for humans. They are very intelligent and respond well to loving attention. Rats can be taught many tricks, including coming when called and learning to “ask” for treats. Rats are not expensive pets to care for; however, they do require a significant amount of attention. They need to be handled on a daily basis and need to be allowed to exercise outside of their cage for at least an hour a day.

Male rats are called “bucks” while mothers are referred to as “dams” and un-bred females “does”. Newborn rats are called “kittens” or “pups”. Dams are excellent, attentive mothers and will share pup duties if they are caged together. The male and female pups need to be separated at 5weeks of age as the females reach sexual maturity by that time.

Hello world!

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Welcome to RCostelloWrites!  This blog is where I showcase my writing.  Please enjoy and feel free to provide constructive feedback.