Macro Petals and Leaf

The last hurrah of some flowers I bought over the holiday was after it was spent – just before the stems and petals and greenery went to the compost bin. I experimented with my macro lens clipped to my cell phone – particularly the 60x one.

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After some trial and error, I discovered that putting the specimen (a petal or a leaf) on a window provided good backlight and I could easily stabilize the lens too. I zoomed a little – just enough to take away the vignetting around the edges.

The petals looked almost white to the eye, but subtle colors of the veins and cell walls came out at the higher magnification. The petals were desiccated and fragile. Some cracked as I held them. Fortunately, there were plenty more to try. 

In general, I like the lower magnification macro (15x) better than this lens…but the 60x was great for this project.

Gleanings of the Week Ending February 16, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Mountain Birds – National Geographic Society Newsroom – Starting off the gleanings this week with bird pics!

BBC - Future - The perils of short-termism: Civilization’s greatest threat – It is very difficult for individuals and groups of humans to think strategically. And maybe since we are now quite capable of catastrophically destroying civilization (atomic bombs and climate change are the two most probable) – we need to make strategic thinking a higher priority.

Could Spider Silk Become a Natural Replacement for Plastic? – Cool Green Science – It is still very far from the goal – mass production cheaply. But it is hot material science topic.

Report: Americans Are Now More Likely to Die of An Opioid Overdose Than on The Road: NPR – Gives another take on the magnitude of the opioid deaths.

Not One, Not Two, But Three Fungi Present in Lichen | The Scientist Magazine® - For a long time the textbooks used lichen to exemplify symbiosis of a lichen and a fungus. It’s more complicated than that….and it’s a good example of how science is refined over time to improve our understanding.

BBC - Future - Why it pays to declutter your digital life – Getting rid of stuff needs to be about more than the physical junk we accumulate…we now have email and photos…all kinds of digital media stored and rarely – or never – used. It’s clutter. And it might need different strategies to declutter.

Central Texas salamanders, including newly identified species, at risk of extinction -- ScienceDaily – It seems like I’m seeing several stories like this recently – a newly identified species that is already almost gone. Depressing.

Elevated Nitrate Levels Found in Millions of Americans’ Drinking Water - Yale E360 – I don’t like articles like this because they point to a situation that has negative consequences…then doesn’t have anything that individuals can do to reduce the risk. It’s very frustrating.

Flowers Sweeten Up When They Sense Bees Buzzing | Smart News | Smithsonian – Flowers increase sugar content by 12-20% within 3 minutes of hearing a bee’s buzz.

Food is medicine: How US policy is shifting toward nutrition for better health – Glad this idea is getting more attention. We’ve been way to gullible to think that medications can overcome poor day-to-day dietary habits. I hope the 2018 Farm Bill and the “Food is Medicine” working group in the House are good ‘first steps’ to change the way we think about what we eat.  

eBotanical Prints – January 2019

Twenty-three more books found last month and added to the collection. The new ones are listed below the sample images and the complete list can be found here. The January books were found on both Internet Archive and Hathi Trust sites…all freely available to peruse online. I’ve picked a couple to highlight in subsequent blog posts.

A flora of North America : illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature (volume 2) * Barton, William Paul Crillon * sample image * 1821

A flora of North America : illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature (volume 3) * Barton, William Paul Crillon * sample image * 1821

Vegetable materia medica of the United States * Barton, William Paul Crillon; Boyd, John; Waenicke, John G. * sample image * 1818

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1816 (1) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1816

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1817 (2) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1817

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1819 (3) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1819

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1820 (4) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1820

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1821 (5) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1821

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1822 (6) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1822

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1824 (7) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1824

Herbier général de l'amateur, contenant la description, l'histoire, les propriétés et la culture des végétaux utiles et agréables 1827 (8) * Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, M. * sample image * 1827

Voyage autour du monde execute pendant les annees 1836 et 1837 sur la corvette la Bonite - Atlas * Alleizette, Charles d' et al * sample image * 1840

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V1 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V2 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V3 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V4 pt1 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V4 pt2 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V4 pt3 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V5 pt1 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V5 pt2 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V5 pt3 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V5 pt4 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa V6 pt1 * Hegi, Gustav * sample image * 1907

Gleanings of the Week Ending February 09, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Neandertal slaughters · john hawks weblog – Analysis of 5 sites indicates that Neandertals were excellent tacticians, casual executioners, and discerning diners.

Rare Gemstone Hidden in Ancient Teeth Reveals a Surprising Truth About Medieval Women – Lapis Lazuli found in the remains of a middle aged woman’s teeth and jaw. She was buried in an all-female monastery in Germany sometime around 1000-1200 CE. The researchers concluded that she most likely was painting with the pigment (licking the end of the brush while painting) creating manuscripts.

More solutions needed for campus hunger – A new report states that 9-50% of America’s college students face food insecurity…and that does not include graduate students. There are some programs that could help but often the students are not aware of them…and there may be enough stigma attached to them that students shy away. These are young adults that need adequate nutrition to continue their schooling and growth into adulthood.

Image of the Day: What We've Dumped | The Scientist Magazine® - Yuck! Stuff that washed up on 12 shoreline sites on barrier island along the US Gulf Coast…and it’s all stuff that people put in the water.

Two billion birds migrate over Gulf Coast -- ScienceDaily – Combining eBird observational data helps translate radar data into estimates of bird numbers. The peak time was April 18-May 7. The highest activity is over the west Texas Gulf Coast (Corpus Christi to Brownsville).

US Cancer Death Rate Dropped for 25 Years Starting in 1991 | The Scientist Magazine® - Down 25% over 27 years…a positive trend.  But there are still issues of race and socioeconomic inequality when it comes to prevention and treatment. The trend is not good for obesity related cancers; they are on the rise.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: December – National Geographic Society Newsroom – I always like bird pictures.

Natural Disasters Caused $160 Billion in Damage in 2018 - Yale E360 – It did seem like there were a lot of disasters last year: fires in California, Hurricanes Michael and Florence…and that’s just the ones in the US.

Medical marketing has skyrocketed in the past two decades, while oversight remains limited -- ScienceDaily – I have been suspicious of medical marketing (particularly ads on television) for some time. The study seems to show that state and federal regulators are overwhelmed.

Image of the Day: Geckos on the Run | The Scientist Magazine® - It must take a lot of energy for the gecko…but it can indeed run across the surface of the water.

Port Canaveral Boat Tour

After we picked up our registration material for the Space Coast Birding Festival, we went out for lunch then headed to the Kelly Park dock for a boat tour of Port Canaveral. It was a pontoon boat with bench seats. Shortly after we sat down – it started sprinkling then raining harder. We got off the boat to stand in the drier picnic pavilion in the park. The wind was blowing enough that we had to stand well under the pavilion roof.

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I took a picture of a little blue heron that did not seem bothered by the rain and wind at all.

Then the rain stopped, the seats were dried off and we headed out only about 15 minutes late. I took some pictures of barnacles around the dock area.

We saw evidence of manatee in the water….the flat circles of water as they swim along…and then the tips of their noses when they come up for air. The ‘slow speed’ signs did indeed mark areas where there were manatee in the water.

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We saw birds along the canal before we got to the locks: anhinga,

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Great blue heron (looking scruffy from the recent rain),

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Osprey,

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And double crested cormorants.

We entered the lock and tied up.  I took some brown pelican portraits while we waited.

Then the gates started to open.

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The pelicans road the little water wave as the water leveled…and one took flight.

There was an immature brown pelican outside the lock area. The light on the water was perfect.

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The high point of the trip was a frigate bird soaring overhead. I just watched it. My husband got the picture.

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There was a cruise ship and the SpaceX barge (used for rocket recovery) in Port Canaveral itself. I was more interested in bird pictures…so didn’t document those sights.

We headed back through the lock. I turned back to take a picture of the white pelicans grouped on the bank and

The horseshoe crab shells that accumulated to the side of the lock.

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I managed to take a picture of a bald eagle just before it flew way…a good ‘last picture’ before we docked back at Kelly Park.

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Gleanings of the Week Ending February 02, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Camouflage – Lots of birds can hide in plain sight! Owls are the ones I think of first in this category.

When 'alien' insects attack Antarctica: Terrestrial ecosystems are vulnerable to single introduced insect species -- ScienceDaily – A threat from a tiny flightless midge

Anak Krakatau: Planet Labs imagery of the aftermath of the landslide - The Landslide Blog - AGU Blogosphere – Imagery of the landslide that caused the deadly tsunami just before last Christmas.

What is the most commonly found ocean litter? – Yuck! Another reason that cigarettes are a bad thing.

A series of posts from NOAA’s 2018 Arctic Report Card: Visual highlights , Multi-year stretch of record and near-record warmth unlike any period on record, Reindeer and caribou populations continue to decline, Less than 1 percent of Arctic ice has survived four or more summers, Red tides and other toxic species expanding across the Arctic, increasing risks to marine mammals and humans – Quantifying the changes occurring in the arctic

Image of the Day: In Sync | The Scientist Magazine® - Infants playing with their parents…syncing of brain activity

New Ultima Thule discoveries from NASA's New Horizons -- ScienceDaily – A space mission to something we’ve never seen before….the aptly named ‘New Horizons’

Why are biology classes ignoring insects? · john hawks weblog – When I was in high school, insects were a big deal for biology classes; many students created an insect collect the summer prior to the biology year. I don’t remember too much about insects in my first courses as an undergraduate in biology I the 1970s…but there was probably more coverage than in the more recent textbooks.

Keeping fit: how to do the right exercise for your age – A good summary…although the key message is to keep moving…sustained exercise is the best strategy.

Our bodies may cure themselves of diabetes in the future -- ScienceDaily – It’s at the basic research level…but could be an approach to ‘diseases’ caused by cell death in the future (diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cells damaged by heart attacks, etc.)

January Sunrises

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I used the Sun Alarm app on my phone to remind me a bit before sunrise each day this month. My plan was to photograph sunrises. It worked great on the 1st. There were a few clouds to reflect the color near the beginning of the sunrise then they thickened, and the rest of the sunrise blinked out.

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There were a lot of very cloudy days with no color. On the 3rd, it was cloudy, but the clouds had an interesting texture so a took a picture anyway.

The 7th was probably the best overall sunrise of the month. The clouds and color were good for the whole sunrise

And the sun on the trees to the west of our house was rosy too.

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On the 9th, the clouds appeared to be too thick in the east for any sunrise color but a little after sunrise there was a break in the clouds and the color was very red on trees behind (to the west) of our house. The tulip poplar pods looked surreal!

There were some scattered clouds on the 10th that preceded a sunny morning.

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The sunrise on the 14th and 17th were so cloudy the color could barely be seen.

Overall – I am planning to keep the Sun Alarm going in February…and recording the best sunrises of the month.

Gleanings of the Week Ending January 26, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Learning Rule: Quantity, then Quality | Scott H Young – Quantity as an initial strategy is probably what I do most of the time….but I throw in a healthy dash of variety of mediums as I go after quantity. And I push myself to actively apply while I am learning all along the way.

Serious loneliness spans the adult lifespan but there is a silver lining: Feeling alone linked to psychological and physical ills, but wisdom may be a protective factor -- ScienceDaily – Most of the time we hear only about the negative impacts of loneliness (the emotion….not necessarily the physical situation). But there are many people physically alone but who don’t feel lonely. This study had a broad age rage of participants and looked at loneliness from multiple perspectives.

Aerial photos of U.S. national parks from space – National treasures…hope that the damage during the government shutdown is not widespread. Joshua Tree has been in the news….very sad.

Nutrients in blood linked to better brain connectivity, cognition in older adults -- ScienceDaily – Reinforcement that we need to eat foods with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, carotenoids, lycopene, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. The fatty acids and carotenoids are particularly linked to better functional brain network efficiency.

The Biggest Science News of 2018 | The Scientist Magazine®  - Just catching up on some end-of-2018 interesting posts. I had heard about some of these during the year – but missed some too.

The immune system's fountain of youth: Helping the immune system clear away old cells in aging mice helped restore youthful characteristics -- ScienceDaily -Early days…a lot more research needed. But an interesting idea…helping the body clear out old cells.

There’s a huge and hidden migration in North America — of dragonflies - The Washington Post – It appears that dragonflies migrate. The Monarch is the ‘poster insect’ for migration but it seems like there are more and more articles coming out about other insects that migrate too.

Meeting the Challenge of Feeding 10 Billion People Sustainably in 2050 - News | Planetizen – Land and water to grow food for an expanding population. It’s going to be challenging.

I Dug a Green Grave and Learned the Truth About the Dirty Death Industry – There is a Green Death Movement…and an example is in the Adirondacks called Spirit Sanctuary. In this case the goal is to return bodies to the Earth and preserve a landscape. Interesting…and far more sustainable that the more common burial practices (that include preservatives and waterproof vaults, sealed caskets) and cremation.

The Surprising Evolution of 'The Great Wave of Kanagawa' by Hokusai – A little art history.

Smartphone Nature Photography – part 2

Continuing from yesterday’s post….

Identification. Sometimes I take a lot of photos so I can identify something later. This was the case with these caterpillars. They were devouring dogwood plants at Brookside Gardens last summer. They remind me of lemon bars (yellow custard underneath powdered sugar). I defaulted to thinking they were a moth or butterfly larvae…but they turned out to be a dogwood sawfly larvae!

Stories. Some pictures tell a story. If you are aware at the time…make sure you take the pictures of the whole story. This Achemon Sphinx Moth was discovered by summer campers going out between rain showers during a nature photography activity. Moths are more active at night and usually are hiding in foliage during the day. This one was on the ground and twitching. I knew from experience in the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy exhibit that it had probably been bitten by a spider. We took our pictures and left it where it was. I regret that I was too busy helping campers to keep my camera at the ready to shoot the moth being pulled between two rocks – presumably by the spider that never did make itself visible.

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Insects. Insects can be very fast moving and difficult to photograph no matter what camera you have. They often are slow or immobile when it is cooler. Cool mornings are good to find cicadas – silent and still…but maybe not dead. Butterflies can be under leaves roosting if it’s cool…or it is dusk and they are seeking a place to spend the night. Then there are masses of milkweed bugs that are prevalent in the fall. They are moving but there are so many that it’s easy enough to get a good number; I always try to figure out how many instars are shown in the same picture.

And sometimes it is just luck. This blue morpho sat on my wrist while I was at the exit of last summer’s butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens. I had my phone on the lanyard so was able to pull it out and one-hand the phone to take the picture.

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Specimens. There are nature photography shots that might be of specimens rather than out in the field. The shot of the blue morpho wing was from a specimen that had died using the 15x macro lens. I’ll try the 60x next summer. I included the label in the picture of the dogwood tree cookie…for documentation; I liked the irregularity of the rings.

Wet day color. Sometimes a rainy-day hike is a good thing. The color of fungus is often more intense on these days – and the phone handles the raindrops better than more traditional cameras.

Light. Sometimes an image is made by something special about the light – spotlighted ferns, the shadowing of a sectioned Nautilus shell, a sunrise.

Clipping. Because the camera only has a digital zoom, I often take the picture without zooming then make a clip after I get home. In the example below – the two butterflies (tiger swallowtail and male monarch) are clearly identifiable even though the clip has a painterly look.

So – go out and take some pictures! The only blooms we have outdoors right now are the witch hazels. There are other winter opportunities too: tracks in the snow (or mud), seed pods, snow landscapes, and ice crystals. And maybe a squirrel will be close enough and still enough….

Smartphone Nature Photography – part 1

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We almost always have our smartphones with us….ready for those natural events that just happen and for planned photoshoots. I pulled together a presentation of a Maryland Master Naturalist retreat on the topic and am using it as a basis for the blog posts for today and tomorrow.

Gear

Learn about the camera in your phone. Two critical aspects: 1) Usually the autofocus is reasonably good but tapping on the screen where you want the focus to be can sometimes improve results. Do some experiments to see how close you can be and maintain the focus on your subject. 2) Realize that the zoom is digital – not optical. You are better off getting close to your subject rather than zooming. This is difficult if your subject is an animal that will move if you get close. Birds are notoriously difficult to photograph with a phone.

Consider a lanyard. I like to carry my phone on a lanyard (one that is structured to not obstruct the camera) so that I can be ‘hands free’ while I am hiking or rolling over logs…just doing regular naturalist things.  I want my phone to be easy to access – easier than getting it out of a pocket or pack.

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I enjoy using macro lenses. I have 3 different kinds (8x, 15x, and 60x) and tend to use the 15x clip the most. Sometimes I just have it on my phone so that I can move it over the camera as needed. The depth of field is very shallow with the magnification and the phone must be close to the subject. Practice the best stance to steady your hands. I find that tucking my elbows into my body helps….and using one had to hold the phone and the other to take the picture.

Examples of Smartphone nature photography

BioBlitz. Almost all the BioBlitz pictures are taken with smartphones or tablets. Sometimes we use hands for scale – and sometimes the macro lens gives a new perspective! These are pictures taken during BiobBlitz: spotted salamander, wooly bear caterpillar, milkweed.

Landscapes.  The joy of being outdoors! Try to get something of high interest in the landscape: the trail as a leading line, clouds over the trees, an early winter scene with bare trees/large rock/pines.

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Macro. The macro lens offers to many opportunities to observe more closely than you can observe with just your eye: clams filter feeding, the center of sunflower.

A chicory flower, a newly hatched Monarch butterfly caterpillar turning to eat its egg covering, and damselfly larvae.

A few minutes observing. I play a game with myself looking closely at one thing and taking photos as fast as I can over a short period of time. In this case it was a sweet bay magnolia. There were seed pods at several stages of development and some eggs under a leaf (maybe a leaf footed bug…if I was patient enough I could see what hatched but that was outside my time box).

(To be continued tomorrow…)

Lunar Eclipse 2019

I went to bed early and set an alarm on my phone to wake me up at 11:45 PM to photograph the total lunar eclipse last night. The time for totality in our area was 11:50 PM – 1 AM. My first plan to was photograph it through a window…but my husband told me before I went to bed that it was likely going to be too high in the sky to see from a window. He was right. I bundled up and went out to the driveway with my camera on a monopod. I knew I would not want to stay outside long.

It was very cold and windy too. My eyes started watering almost immediately. I set my camera to ‘handheld night scene’ and let it do its best. In that setting it takes multiple pictures and stitches them together in the camera. It worked reasonably well and within 10 minutes I was back in the house and heading back to bed.

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My husband – who had his camera on a tripod and stayed out a lot longer than I did – got a better shot.

When I got up the next morning the moon was descending into the trees behind our house – back to its normal full-moon color. This time I could take pictures through a window. The temperature outside was in the low teens.

Gleanings of the Week Ending January 19, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

After More Than 4,000 Years, Vibrant Egyptian Tomb Sees the Light of Day: NPR – Hopefully they will take steps to keep the colors vibrant now that the tomb is open to people and light.

The Bizarre and Disturbing Life of Sea Cucumbers – Cool Green Science – Way more complicated than they appear at first glance.

Norway's Energy-Positive Movement to Fight Climate Change - The Atlantic – Norway has some buildings that generate more energy than they use.

Life Deep Underground Is Twice the Volume of the Oceans: Study | The Scientist Magazine® - That’s a massive among of carbon in life that we know very little about….so many unexpected and unusual organisms.

Foods that lower blood pressure | Berkeley Wellness – And the list even includes dark chocolate!

Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor – This article includes time phased projections from 2018 to 2100…lots of track is going to need to be moved – or some other flood mitigation will need to be built.

Google Virtual Tour Preserves Collections Destroyed in Brazil Museum Fire | Smart News | Smithsonian – Some heartening recovery from the tragedy of the fire…Google’s virtual tour work, 1,500 pieces recovered from the debris, and a growing collection of photographs and video clips of the museum the way it was.

Soggy 2018 for the Eastern U.S. – An article from mid-December…showing just how wet we were in 2018. We live between Baltimore and Washington DC….soggy indeed.

New houseplant can clean your home's air -- ScienceDaily – Our houses have become so tightly sealed that concentrations of chemicals that are hard to filter out can accumulate. Maybe ‘engineered’ plants can be a solution.

Periodic graphics: How different light bulbs work – The trend is toward less cost/hour….more hours. Hurray for the LEDs that are not as blue as the compact fluorescents!

Gleanings of the Week Ending January 12, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

I have a growing list of gleanings from sites that are not operational because of the partial government shutdown; they’ll come out in the list for the Saturday after the sites are operational again.

Climate, life and the movement of continents: New connections -- ScienceDaily – Sediment, which often includes pieces of dead organisms, may create a lubricating effect between plates, accelerating subduction and increasing plate velocity!

BBC - Future - Six reasons your memory is stranger than you think – Timelines are hard (many times inaccurate) from memory…I’m glad I keep a running list of important family travel and events.

Regenerative Cities: An Urban Concept Whose Time Has Come! | CleanTechnica – Re-thinking what cities of the future could be.

Scientists call for eight steps to increase soil carbon for climate action and food security: International coordination and financing essential -- ScienceDaily – Big benefits…but hard to come by the collective push to obtain them.

Earthquake Damage Detected in Machu Picchu - Archaeology Magazine – Evidence of an AD 1450 earthquake that damaged Machu Picchu is seen in cracks and stone damage of the buildings. The Inca’s modified their construction techniques after the event too.

Shrinking of Utah National Monument May Threaten Bee Biodiversity | Smart News | Smithsonian – Grand Staircase-Escalante is home to 660 bee species, 84 of which live outside of protected land under changes. At a time when we know pollinators are under stress…one more reason why our Federal lands are needed as refuges from human activities that damage the environment.

Scientists Don't Stay for Long in Their Jobs Anymore: Study | The Scientist Magazine® - About half of scientists who enter a scientific discipline drop out after 5 years; in the 1960s, it was 35 years. We are probably training more people in science fields but many don’t stay in academia. This study used publishing records to determine if a person stayed ‘in the discipline.’ I’d prefer to see numbers of people that had careers in a STEM related field rather than just the one they trained in and find another metric than published papers to make the determination. There are a lot more jobs today where people use their science training that do not use ‘publication’ as a measure of success.

BBC - Future - Can we cheat ageing? – Some areas of active research to help us stay healthy longer (may or may not help us live longer).

Corn Domestication May Have Taken Thousands of Years - Archaeology Magazine – It all started 9,000 years ago in southern Mexico. The process continued in Mexico and the southwestern Amazon for several thousand years. It was a slow process.

Ring in the New Year With Dazzling Total Lunar Eclipse of a Supermoon | Smart News | Smithsonian – Hope we have good weather on January 20-21….since it should be visible from our house!

Gleanings of the Week Ending January 5, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Ambitious VR Experience Restores 7,000 Roman Buildings, Monuments to Their Former Glory | Smart News | Smithsonian – Is this the way we’ll experience buildings that are ‘lost’ in the future?

Most Top Burger Chains Flunk Fast Food Antibiotics Scorecard | NRDC – We don’t often go to burger chains any more. After this report – maybe the best choice would get chicken rather than beef.

Hundreds of Supplements Spiked with Pharmaceuticals | The Scientist Magazine® - Not good at all. The pharmaceuticals are undisclosed and some of the pharmaceuticals are those that have been withdrawn or were never approved. Advice: use single-ingredient supplements…and not buy supplements that are riding a fad.

7 surprising ways your body changes with age | Berkeley Wellness – I’ve noticed my feet are wider based on the way shoes fit. The others might be harder to see since they happen so slowly.

Twenty-Five Useful Thinking Tools | Scott H Young – Describing thinking tools my using professions where they appear to dominate. I hope that all the professions use multiple tools in their day to day work…even if there is one that is used most frequently.

Your guide to enjoying winter birds – It’s been so wet this year that we don’t have birds coming to our heated bird bath like we did last year. I put the bird feeder up a few days ago. Maybe we’ll start seeing more visitors.

Scientists Find Large Amounts of Methane Being Released from Icelandic Glacier - Yale E360 – A previous unknown source of methane…glaciers that are melting and happen to be covering active volcanoes and geothermal systems are probably all releasing methane. The gas is produced by microbial activity. This extra methane is not factored into current climate change models.

The Best of 2018 from the Prairie Ecologist (part 1) (part 2) – Lots of great prairie pictures.

New butterfly named for pioneering 17th-century entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian -- ScienceDaily – I enjoyed here books on Internet Archive in 2018 (find them here).

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’ – History backed up with ice core data.

eBotanical Prints – December 2018

27 more books added to the big list (find it here) in December. The sample images for 27 new this month are included in the slideshow below.

The copyright dates range from 1760 to 2010….lots of changes in the world over that time period.

Botany Illustrated * Glimn-Lacy, Janice; Kaufman, Peter B. * sample image * 2006

Botany for the artist * Simblet, Sarah * sample image * 2010

The Florist * Sayer, Robert * sample image * 1760

Billeder af Nordens flora * Lindman, Carl Axel Magnus * sample image * 1901

Taschenflora des Alpens-Wanderers * Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1892

Flore coloriée portative du touriste dans les Alpes  * Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1904

Flora fossilis Arctica - V1 * Heer, Oswald; Cramer, Karl Eduard; Nordenskiold, Adolf Erik; Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1868

Flora fossilis Arctica - V2 * Heer, Oswald; Cramer, Karl Eduard; Nordenskiold, Adolf Erik; Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1871

Flora fossilis Arctica - V3 * Heer, Oswald; Cramer, Karl Eduard; Nordenskiold, Adolf Erik; Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1874

Flora fossilis Arctica - V4 * Heer, Oswald; Cramer, Karl Eduard; Nordenskiold, Adolf Erik; Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1877

Flora fossilis Arctica - V6 * Heer, Oswald; Cramer, Karl Eduard; Nordenskiold, Adolf Erik; Schroter, Carl * sample image * 1880

Botanical Illustration In The Nineteenth Century * Schmidt, Alesandra; Jocoby, Trudy B. * sample image * 1996

Grevillea * Cooke, Mordecai Cubitt; Massee, George * sample image * 1872

British Fungi * Massee, George * sample image * 1911

Portefeuille des horticulteurs V1 * Gerard, Frederic (editor) * sample image * 1847

Portefeuille des horticulteurs V2 * Gerard, Frederic (editor) * sample image * 1848

African Violet Magazine - 1983 *  * sample image * 1983

Choix de plantes rares ou nouvelles * Miquel, Friedrich Anton Wilhelm * sample image * 1863

De Noord-Nederlandsche vergiftige gewassen * Miquel, Friedrich Anton Wilhelm * sample image * 1836

William Coxe: manuscript (atlas) * Coxe, William * sample image * 1831

Emily Dickenson Herbarium Pages * sample image * 1846

Beatric Potter, mycologist * sample image * 1897

Elements of Botany * Duppa, Richard  * sample image * 1812

Orchids: their cultures and management * Watson, William; Chapman, H. J. (editor) * sample image * 1903

Cactus culture for amateurs: a concise and practical guide to the management of a little understood family of plants * Watson, William * sample image * 1920

A flora of North America: illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature (Volume 1) * Barton, William Paul Crillon * sample image * 1821

Description des plantes rares cultivees a Malmaison et a Navarre * Bonplan, Aime; Bessa Pancrace; Didot, Pierre; Redoute, Pierre Joseph * sample image * 1812


Gleanings of the Week Ending December 29, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

From High Above, A New Way of Seeing Our Urban Planet - Yale E360 – Cities – growing and growing. It is mind boggling that urban population has grown from 751 million in 1950 to 4,200 million today.

How changing labs revealed a chemical reaction key to cataract formation: Researchers studying eye lens find a new function for a protein previously thought to be inert -- ScienceDaily – Learning more about the chemistry behind cataract formation….not a treatment yet but better understanding can be the path toward slowing or more targeted treatment of cataracts.

Curious Kids: What are some of the challenges to Mars travel? – A series from The Conversation (in Australia) for children…but interesting to adults too. Kids ask the best questions!

A DOZEN WAYS FAMILIES CAN #OPTOUTSIDE EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR | Children & Nature Network – I’m on a role with the child focused gleanings right now…I would add to the list: find easy access natural spaces (near where you work or live) and visit them as often as possible.

VIDEO: We Hope Your Day Is As Great As This Snow-Loving Panda’s: NPR – Pandas are such a visual treat. This is Bei Bei at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo back in November.  My husband and I missed the snow (we were in New Mexico).

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Owls – National Geographic Blog – 2018 was my first sighting of barn owls in the wild…awesome.

Ragweed Is on The Move – National Geographic Blog – Not such a big change in the south….in Kansas City the season is prolonged by 23 days. For those people allergic to ragweed…that is a miserable trend.

Some health related posts: Blood pressure: Early treatment advised by US guidelines has no survival benefits -- ScienceDaily and Your heart hates air pollution; portable filters could help -- ScienceDaily – At least the second one was actionable; I now have a portable filter in my bedroom and I think it is reducing my cat allergy – maybe more.

Aerial photos of U.S. national parks from space – I love national parks. Everyone I have been to has had something spectacular to offer. It’s sad that they are all mostly closed (if the bathrooms and visitor centers are not open….they are closed) for this week (partial government shutdown).

How do different light bulbs work? – in C&EN | Compound Interest – Light bulbs have changed a lot during my lifetime. Hopefully now we are on track to have bulbs that are closer to the natural sunlight spectrum so that the light does not cause eye or sleep problems.

Gleanings of the Week Ending December 22, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

2018 National Geographic Photo Contest | National Geographic – Galleries of great photography.

Maps Give Detailed Look at Dramatic Land Use Change Over Two Decades - Yale E360 – Land use changes…widespread environmental degradation…between 1992 and 2015.

Himera: One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of recent decades emerges from oblivion - The Archaeology News Network – More than 12,000 almost untouched burials – many from a battle fought between Greeks and Carthaginians in 480 BC. The Greeks were victorious in the first battle but the second battle in 409 BC was won by the Carthaginians and they razed the city.

We broke down what climate change will do, region by region | Grist – No part of the US will be unscathed.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Herons, Egrets and Bitterns – National Geographic Blog – Enjoy some bird pictures. Herons and egrets are my favorites to photograph.

How tree rings tell time and climate history | NOAA Climate.gov – A nice summary of tree ring dating…and an example using Mesa Verde.

Amazing Sands from Around the World – Cool Green Science – I’ve seen the Olivine Sand and Black Sand beaches in Hawai’i (on a very windy day….posted about it here). I’d like to see the star sand in Japan.

Grand Canyon National Park Celebrates Centennial Year at Grand Canyon and Around Arizona – 2019 is a milestone anniversary for the park; lots of events to celebrate this national treasure.

Only 12 percent of American adults are metabolically healthy, study finds: Trends help sound alarm for efforts to lower associated risk of types 2 diabetes, heart disease and other complications -- ScienceDaily – Not a good statistic since the long term risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious health issues are higher for those that are not metabolically healthy.

Rethinking Raw Milk, 1918 | The Scientist Magazine® - Alice Evans and the path toward avoiding milk borne diseases. Her work was published in 1918. Draft ordinances for states and localities to implement pasteurization requirements for milk to be consumed by humans were written in 1924. The first federal pasteurization law was passed in 1947…saving lives and millions of dollars in public health costs.

Gleanings of the Week Ending December 15, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Stunning Abstract Aerial Photos of Namibia's Desert Landscape – A part of the earth with almost no vegetation. There are parts of the US that would be just as stark.

Anopheles mosquitoes could spread Mayaro virus in US, other diverse regions -- ScienceDaily – Another mosquito born disease that may increase in North America as the climate warms. There are already mosquitoes capable of transmitting it here – Andopheles species.

Bad molars? The origins of wisdom teeth – I’ve always wondered why so many people must have their wisdom teeth out. All 4 of mine were pulled when I was 19 because they were impacted. It turns out that eating a crunch/chewy diet when we are young may help the jaw grow long enough to accommodate these late molars. Wish I would have known that; I might have fed my daughter a bit differently. Too late now.

Climate Smart Farming CSF Climate Change in Your County and Climate Smart Farming – Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions – The first link is a county by county look at the history of temperature and precipitation in the Northeast. The second it about the research being done to help farmers plan for extreme weather events…that have become more common in recent years.

How tracking people moving together through time creates powerful data – A discussion of how cohort data is helping us understand health and disease. The example used in the article is the Framingham Heart Study.

Air Pollution from California Wildfires 60 Times Above Safe Limit - Yale E360 – Air quality is impacted by fires. In areas where the frequency of fires is increasing, fire may overtake all other kinds of air pollution for a time.

Can Tourism Save the Ocellated Turkey? – Cool Green Science – What an unusual looking bird! It’s a tropical turkey (Mexico, Belize and Guatemala) that behaves like the North American Wild Turkey.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: November – National Geographic Blog – And more birds.

Forage Wild Nuts for Your Holiday Feast – Cool Green Science – Nuts native in our forests. Too bad the American Chestnuts are no longer plentiful…maybe some of the recent hybrids will survive to repopulate our forests.

BBC - Future - A 'samurai' swordsmith is designing a space probe – Creating corers to use for sampling an asteroid using metallurgy learned making samurai swords.

Gleanings of the Week Ending December 8, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Parts of the Ocean Floor Are Disintegrating—And It's Our Fault | Smart News | Smithsonian – Ocean acidification has a downside – already.

Drought Persists in the Southwest – The drought had been long…like the one in the 1950s…but there are a lot more people living in the region now than there were in the 1950s. 7 states have drafted drought contingency plans.

Body clock researchers prevent liver cancer growth in mice -- ScienceDaily – Our circadian clock has a broader role that just the sleep/wake cycle.

Get a New Perspective on Prague With These Spectacular Drone Photos – A city at sunrise. Hopefully the drone didn’t awaken anyone.

Floating Solar Is Best Solution for Colorado Town’s High Electric Bills | CleanTechnica – A small town with limited available land is installing solar panels over its waste water plant.

Which country is best to live in? Our calculations say it's not Norway – Two metrics are compared. Using the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) – Norway is ‘best.’ But there are issues with that indicator. The Human Life Indicator (HLI) has Hong Kong at the top…with Norway at 9.  The US is 10 on the UN HDI but falls to 32 on the HLI scale largely due to lower longevity and high inequality in ages of death when compared to other countries like Canada (which was 10 on the UN HDI index and 17 on the HLI scale). Maybe these indexes are not that useful for individuals but may be helpful in comparing the broader implications for government actions of all 189 countries analyzed.

Punctuated earthquakes for New Madrid area, Missouri, U.S. -- ScienceDaily – The 1811 and 1812 earthquake is well known…but what about the earlier ones? Recent analysis shows quakes around 1450 AD, 900 AD and 2300 BC.

How do pregnancy tests work? | Compound Interest – They’ve only been around since the 1970s – biotech on a stick!

BBC - Future - Why we are living in the age of the chair – Furniture that has changed lives …relatively recently in human history.

Florida monarch butterfly populations have dropped 80 percent since 2005 -- ScienceDaily – A 37-year study of Florida where the monarchs come up from Mexico to recolonize much of the east coast. No wonder we are not seeing as many in Maryland when the numbers in Florida have dropped by 80%.

Gleanings of the Week Ending December 1, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

How to feed a cat: Consensus statement to the veterinary community: Reducing stress-related eating problems -- ScienceDaily – Puzzle feeders and putting food in different places….make meal time more interesting!

Examining Grad Student Mental Health | The Scientist Magazine® - There are a lot of stressors during graduate school….and many students become depressed or develop other mental health issues. Students, faculty and university administrators are noticing that more needs to be done to help grad students through the challenges of this phase of their education.

Why Fall Color Has Been So Meh in Parts of the U.S. This Year | Smart News | Smithsonian – This article came out a few weeks ago….just getting around to putting in the gleanings. The explanation of why our area had such a lack luster fall is interesting and it might become the norm as the area gets wetter and warmer.

BBC - Earth News - Legless frogs mystery solved – Predatory dragonfly nymphs eat legs of tadpoles! This is an article from 2009…but it was news to me. We find dragonfly nymphs in almost all the streams and rivers around where I live…but I haven’t seen any legless frogs.

2 Solar Ovens Reviewed | CleanTechnica – I wonder how many people living in their RV or travel trailer make use of this type of oven to minimize propane and/or electricity usage.

Large-Scale Tar Production May Have Fueled Viking Expansion - Archaeology Magazine – Tar to waterproof ships. I was reminded of the ‘Connections’ series that often showed how a key technologic advance enabled something historically significant.

Yellowstone streams recovering thanks to wolf reintroduction -- ScienceDaily – The willows are growing taller along the banks of streams, making the banks more stable…since the wolfs are back and impacting elk browsing.

Gaudí's El Capricho, an Early Gem Located in North Spain – It’s hard to see it as a place that people would really live!

How invasive earthworm feces is altering US soils -- ScienceDaily – Asian jumping worms are changing the soils of the Midwest and East Coast of the US….and not for the better.

Why did Tutankhamun have a dagger made from a meteorite? – When Tutankhamun died, iron was rarer than gold. The Egyptians did not know how to process iron from ores…but they did know that iron meteorites came from the sky which might have made the material symbolic for them. Objects made from it would have been reserved for high-status people.