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the wavewatcher's companion
THIS HOBBY WILL KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE CLOUDS: Discovering something new is always a thrill whether it’s a band, restaurant or a new type of cloud.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney, 46, studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Oxford before becoming a cloud enthusiast and founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society.

His first book The Cloudspotter’s Guide became a surprise best seller. And his second: The Wavewatcher’s Companion won the 2011 Royal Society Winton prize for science books.

Members of his society – 37, 000 and growing – include artists, poets, musicians and meteorologists. They share photographs of clouds from all around the world.

Currently, there are about 80 varieties of clouds classified. And if Pretor-Pinney’s newly identified formation, "undulatus asperatus" makes it into the International Cloud Atlas in 2015, it will be the first official new classification in 60 years.



TEACH THE CHILDREN: As more of the men who fought in the Second World War leave us, a letter from former soldier Rick Mitchell (Gabriola Island, B.C.), that aired on CBC’s The Sunday Edition struck a chord with listeners.

Here is a portion of that letter:

My time in Canada’s military was of great importance to me. I was sucked in through a glossy recruitment program, stripped of my individuality and taught how to hate and kill.

Most of the young men in my platoon did not join to fight the evil regime-of-the-day. They joined because they had nothing else to do. The same was true of so many who fought in the Second World War: they went to the military for three meals a day. Oh yes . . . and because of the propaganda.

I worked in a Canadian Legion long enough to see just how the military life and war can damage a person. I would like to hear some real truth about the military, and how it represents a failure of our society.

Let young men know that. Let them know that the battle should be taking place in our schools and institutions. We need to teach them that wars can be stopped at the ballot box.



HUNTRESS LONDON: When American-born Anmarie Bowler moved to London in 2006, she opened a clothing shop called Crimson. Crimson won accolades in the press but failed to become a financial success.

After turning 50 last year, she decided to launch a fashion blog called Huntress London. Now she hunts the streets of London for vintage and lightly-worn treasure.

Bowler thrives on unearthing the history of each piece, and researching the styles of a bygone era. Her blog is a delightful mix of the practical and the whimsical.



if nuns ruled the world
IF NUNS RULED THE WORLD is a riveting read, giving us a deep look into how 10 sisters support marginalized people across the United States.

"I may not believe in God, but I do believe in Nuns," writes author and award-winning journalist Jo Piazza.

She explains: "They eschew the spotlight by their very nature, and yet they’re out there in the world every day, living the Gospel and caring for the poor."

Here is a snapshot of some of the women in her book:

Sister Tesa Fitzgerald brings hope to women in prisons in upstate New York by providing a home for their children until they are released. She continues to support them after prison by providing them with housing and education, through her charity, the Hour Children.

Sister Joan Dawber, in her 60s, runs a safe house for victims of sex-trafficking in New York City.

Sister Simone Campbell spearheaded "Nuns on the Bus," an epic road trip across nine states during the 2012 presidential election, to challenge a Republican budget that would slash services to the poor.

The inimitable Sister Jeannine Gramick helped found New Ways Ministry in 1977 to support gay and lesbian Catholics. It’s not about sex, she told Piazza. "Love is the important thing here, not sex."

The formidable Sister Megan Rice, 83, is serving a prison sentence for masterminding a break-in of a high-security nuclear facility to protest nuclear weapons and warfare.

And Sister Madonna Buder, nicknamed "the iron nun," has completed 366 triathlons. At age 82, she became the oldest person to ever complete an Ironman triathlon.