I would like to share with you three stops on my wanderings on the Internet last week.

1) The beautiful voice Sissel singing Pie Jesu

Pie Jesu                                 Merciful Jesus

Qui tolis peccata munda       Who takes away the sins of the world

Dona eis requiem                  Grant them rest.

Angus Dei                              Lamb of God

Qui tollos peccata mundi      Who takes away the sins of the world

Dona eis requiem                  Grant them rest

Sempiternam.                        Everlasting.

2) The symbiotic relationships that occur in nature are a consistent source of wonder to me.  The largest meat-eating plant in the world, the Nepenthes rajah, from Borneo, that can hold two litres of water if filled to the brim, had been thought to digest small rodents, but it actually feeds on their feces.

The inside of these lids are covered with glands that exude huge amounts of nectar.

The distance from the front of the pitcher’s mouth to the glands corresponds exactly to the head to body length of mountain tree shrews.

In order for the tree shrews to reach the plants nectar, they must climb onto the pitchers and orient themselves in such a way that their backsides are located over the pitcher mouths.

The tree shrews get nectar, a valuable food source, and in return, the plants get to catch and absorb the tree shrew’s feces which likely supplies the majority of nitrogen required by the plant.

Giant Carnivorous Plant and Tree Shrew

3) We don’t give enough recognition to the sacrifices veterans made to defend their country.  For the 1,000 plus women who served in WWII in Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), including 38 who were killed in service, it took 30 years until after the war for their sacrifice to be recognized by their own country.

Thirty-eight WASPS were killed in service in World War II. But they were long considered civilians, not members of the military, and thus were not entitled to the pay and benefits given to men.  When their service time was over they had to pay their own way back home. When some died on duty, it was fellow female aviators who helped pay their funeral expenses.

They finally got that recognition when 200 survivors received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor given by Congress, in a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

As a military band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one of the women who had been sitting in a wheelchair stood up and saluted through the entire song as a relative gently supported her back.

June Bent of Westboro, Mass., holds a portrait of fellow pilot and friend Doris Duncan Muise, deceased, who also was also a pilot

“Women Airforce Service Pilots, we are all your daughters; you taught us how to fly,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. She said the pilots went unrecognized for too long, even though their service blazed a trail for other women in the U.S. military.

In accepting the award, WASP pilot Deanie Parrish, 88, of Waco, Texas, said the women had volunteered without expectation of thanks. Their mission was to fly noncombat missions to free up male pilots to fly overseas.

“We did it because our country needed us,” Parrish said.

WASP Ty Hughes Killen, 85, of Lancaster, Calif., put it more simply: “We’re a bunch of tough old ladies,” she said in an interview.

Associated Press article: