Gleanings of the Week Ending September 21, 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.

These Caterpillars Can Detect Color Using Their Skin, Not Their Eyes | Smart News | Smithsonian – A little surprise…but insects probably have a lot of adaptations developed over eons that are challenging to imagine.

Five weird and wonderful ways nature is being harnessed to build a sustainable fashion industry – New dyes from enzymes, ‘leather’ from mushrooms, lacy fabric made from plant roots that grew that way (watch the video), cellulose for fabrics derived from manure!

Aesthetics of skin cancer therapy may vary by treatment type -- ScienceDaily – Hopefully these findings will guide doctors to use the more aesthetic treatments…since they all have about the same recurrence rates a year after treatment.

On the Alabama Coast, the Unluckiest Island in America - Yale E360 – Dauphin Island…when does everyone decide that these places can’t be saved…should not be rebuilt. It’s not something we are dealing with very well as individuals or as a nation.

Deer browsing is not stopping the densification of Eastern US forests -- ScienceDaily – Deer hurt the understory but the canopy is more impacted by the greater density of the big forest trees (because of fire suppression) and that red maples are growing in areas where young oaks, hickories, or pines would have grown previously. But wouldn’t the deer browse young trees? In our area – the forests have also changed quite a lot in the last 20 years with the decline of the hemlocks and now the ashes. This study – done in Pennsylvania – did not comment about those issues.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: September – These photographs are always worth a look….birds are so beautiful.

North America has lost 3 billion birds – And fresh from looking at the wonder pictures of birds….this sobering news: North America has lost 25% of its bird population and it’s all happened in the last 50 years. More than 90% of the loss is in just a dozen bird families that includes the sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, and finches. Grassland birds have suffered a 53% loss. Potential causes: habitat degradation, urbanization, and the use of toxic pesticides.

Staying at elementary school for longer associated with higher student attainment – My daughter didn’t seem to have a problem transferring from elementary to middle school after 5th grade…but the middle school was next door to the elementary school, and she was doing well in school. The results of this research will have to overcome the school building infrastructure in many areas. Change happens slowly with school systems. So far I haven’t seen a change in start times for high schools even though there are studies that say that early starts are not good for high school students (in our area, they have always started before the elementary and middle schools).

Spotted in Kenya: a baby zebra with polka dots – I hope there is a follow up story on this baby. Will the pattern make it more susceptible to fly bites? Another note from the article: Zebras are accepting of difference…animals with atypical coat patterns fit right into the herd.

Drought Reveals Lost “Spanish Stonehenge” – The Dolmen at Guadalperal has resurfaced from the Valdecanas Reservoir in western Spain due to lower lake levels from dry, hot conditions this year. It has been submerged for 50 years. Hopefully someone will make a good 3D tour of the place.

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 14, 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.

Radio Tracking a Rare Crayfish – Cool Green Science – There are a lot more species of crayfish than I realized…and they have a bigger role in the stream that I assumed.

Mindfulness for middle school students: Focusing awareness on the present moment can enhance academic performance and lower stress levels -- ScienceDaily – I wonder if ‘mindfulness’ is something we need to teach more overtly now than in the past because technology and daily life tends to push us in ‘unmindful’ ways.

Canadian Canola Fields – I looked at this article because the Bugs101 course that I took recently mentioned the canola fields of Canada (for some reason I had never known very much about Canola as a crop). This article provides more history. It has become a cash crop for Canada in recent decades.

There's a Troubling Rise in Colorectal Cancer Among Young Adults | The Scientist Magazine® - Incidence of colon cancer is falling in older people…but becoming more common in people under 50. It has continued to go up over the past decade. In young adults, the cancer is discovered later too…usually stage 3 or 4.

A Northwest Passage Journey Finds Little Ice and Big Changes - Yale E360 – Lots of changes. Grizzly are moving northward…fewer polar bears…salmon far north of where they used to be…lungworm killing muskox…plastic in ice cores.

Researchers Discover New Family of Viruses | The Scientist Magazine® - The new viruses are found in lung biomes of people that had had lung transplants or have periodontal disease….many times the patients are critically ill. But we don’t know yet if the new family of viruses are linked to disease.

Utah's red rock metronome: Seismic readings reveal Castleton Tower's unseen vibrations -- ScienceDaily – On the plus side – it does not appear that climbers of the tower are impacting it…but this work is a baseline and there could be some longer term effects. Wikipedia has some pictures and a short article about Castleton Tower.

Infographic: History of Ancient Hominin Interbreeding | The Scientist Magazine® - Still learning about the hominin tree and how modern humans carry the genetic heritage.

Camera Trap Chronicles: The Pennsylvania Wilds – Cool Green Science – I wonder what I would see coming through my back yard. I know we have deer…and I occasionally see a fox. Maybe racoons. My first though was to put a camera on the bird feeder or the bird bath.

BBC - Future - Is there a worst time of day to get sick? – Circadian rhythms are important to health….and our medical system doesn’t use them to advantage. I remember being concerned when my mother was in the hospital years ago and the lights were very bright day and night. No wonder she had difficulty sleeping!

eBotanical Prints – August 2019

Twenty-one books added to the list of botanical ebooks collection this month. They are all freely available on the Internet. The whole list of over 1,700 books can be accessed here. Sample images and links for the 21 new ones are provided below. (click on the sample image to see a larger view) Enjoy!

These are not all the issues of Revue Horticole available from Internet Archive. I’m still working my way through issues in September!

Journal des Roses  (1906 ) * Cochet, M. Scipion * sample image * 1906

Manual of Grasses of the Unitied States * Hitchcock, Albert Spear; Chase, Agnes * sample image * 1950

The native flowers of New Zealand * Hetley, GB * sample image * 1888

Plantae utiliores V1 * Burnett, Mary Ann; Burnett, Gilbert Thomas * sample image * 1840

Plantae utiliores V2 * Burnett, Mary Ann; Burnett, Gilbert Thomas * sample image * 1840

Revue Horticole (1844-1845) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1845

Revue Horticole (1846) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1846

Revue Horticole (1847) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1847

Revue Horticole (1848) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1848

Revue Horticole (1850) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1850

Revue Horticole (1851) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1851

Revue Horticole (1849) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1849

Revue Horticole (1852) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1852

Revue Horticole (1853) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1853

Revue Horticole (1854) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1854

Revue Horticole (1855) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1855

Revue Horticole (1856) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1856

Revue Horticole (1861) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1861

Revue Horticole (1862) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1862

Revue Horticole (1863) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1863

Revue Horticole (1864) * Librairie Agricole de la Maison Rustique * sample image * 1864

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 7, 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.

BBC - Future - Is city life really bad for you? – Some additional reasons we need to make changes to cities --- if that is where the bulk of humans will live in the future.

A Field Guide to Commonly Misidentified Mammals – Cool Green Science – How many of these animals can you correctly identify?

Blood vessels turning into bone-like particles -- ScienceDaily – The headline caught my interest…bone-like particles in the blood. Then I noticed that the researcher was from the school where I did my undergraduate work back in the 1970s!

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Raptors and Migration – Catching up on these weekly posts from National Geographic. I always enjoy them.

BBC - Future - Can you cool a house without air conditioning? – We’ve probably had our last 90 degree plus day for the season at this point….but over the long term, I expect broadening the technologies we use to cool our homes and buildings is going to be important.

Turquoise-Tinted Tarantula Discovered in Sri Lanka | Smart News | Smithsonian – Iridescent color that must startle the spider’s prey (or a predator) --- and a discussion of collecting by scientists.

See a different endangered animal in every U.S. state – The map is easy to explore. The Puritan Tiger Beetle was the one listed for Maryland….not something I had heard of before.

Infographic: How Muscles Age | The Scientist Magazine® - A little muscle anatomy lesson – for young and old.

The Earth's Vegetation Stopped Expanding 20 Years Ago - News | Planetizen – Another indication that climate change is already having a worldwide impact?

Forest-killing bark beetles also might help ecosystem, experts say - UPI.com – It’s distressing to see a forest of dead trees…but maybe it’s an indicator that monoculture forests and fire suppression are not healthy. And then there is climate change in the mix as well. The beetles now survive the winter temperatures in much of their range.

Bugs 101

I took a lot of Coursera courses between 2015 and 2017….then I got so busy with other things that I didn’t do any in 2018. Now I am back to an occasional course when I have a lull in other activities.

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The most recent course was in August – Bug 101: Insect-Human Interactions from University of Alberta.

I enjoyed the course beyond the content too. It was more thought provoking that I thought it would be.

  • It was very evident how much has been learned since my biology undergraduate courses in the 1970s and I found myself thinking more about taking some biology courses again – challenging myself to identify all the deltas between the first time I took them and now.

  • The world has changed too…much caused by what we have done (or were doing prior to 1970 but didn’t quite realize the impact of our actions at the time). We were just beginning to fully understand the impact of DDT on the environment when I was in school.

  • Scanning ScienceDaily in my news feed helps keep me updated at a ‘headline’ level but having a course integrate the topic is something I should pursue for areas I am really interested in.

  • It’s good to know that Integrated Pest Management is pushing toward more sustainable agribusiness.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 31, 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: August and Sunbirds and Spiderhunters -  Two sets of bird pictures this week…catching up a little on the gleanings…and good picutres to start out the post this week.

Rare Lightning Strikes Detected 300 Miles from North Pole | Smart News | Smithsonian – I’d never thought about lightning or thunderstorms over the arctic….so this was ‘news to me’ from several perspectives.

Impact of largescale tree death on carbon storage -- ScienceDaily – In our area, invasive insects have caused the deaths of two tree species in recent years: Eastern Hemlock (wooly adelgid) and Ash (Emerald Ash Borer)…die-offs that are definitely not the norm. I wondered if the research included these in their ‘insect outbreak’ category.

The practical ways to reduce your carbon footprint (that actually work) | WIRED UK – How many of these have you considered…implemented?

Here's How the 'Fish Tube' Works | Smart News | Smithsonian – And it doesn’t injure the fish? It seems like it would be very traumatic for the fish.

Tracing the History of Decorative Art, a Genre Where "Form Meets Function" – Short…with some good pictures…and links.

Microplastic drifting down with the snow: In the Alps and the Arctic, experts confirm the presence of plastic in snow -- ScienceDaily – Aargh! Something we have in our minds as being ‘clean’ because it is white, is polluted by things so tiny we can’t see them.

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides – Why are we still using such huge amounts of pesticides when we don’t need to….we have methods to grow our food without decimating pollinators and other beneficial insects.

BBC - Future - The wildlife haven in a Cold War ‘death strip’ – The land between what used to be East and West Germany…the borderland between Finland and Russia….places where the Iron Curtain divided people. This is a long corridor of land left alone for the decades of rapid growth in Europe – land where people didn’t tread but where plants and animals could thrive. It is the European Green Belt through 24 countries. Some species are already using it to migrate north to escape the effects of global warming.

What drives inflammation in type 2 diabetes? Not glucose, says new research -- ScienceDaily – A surprise finding….and now a lot more research needed about fat derivatives and mitochondria in people with type 2 diabetes.

3 Free eBooks – August 2019

My picks of ebooks freely available online for August were a bit of a challenge; I was a little surprised at the variety that ended up as the top three – fashion history from the 1920s, drawings of junks (also from the 1920s, and Vermont Life Magazine from the 1950s onward (still haven’t looked at all of them up to 2018).

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Barbier, George. Le bon ton d'après-guerre. Paris: Dorbon-Aine. 1922. Two volumes available from Internet Archive (one and two).

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Donnelly, Ivon A. Chinese Junks: a book of drawings in black and white. ShanhaiL Kelly and Walsh. 1920. Available from Internet Archive here.

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Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. Vermont Life. Montpelier: Vermont Development Commission. A quarterly publication available from Internet Archive here.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 24, 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.

‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades – How will public health be impacted by warming climate? This article summarizes a county-by-county analysis of likely temperature and humidity over the coming decades.

Waist size is a forgotten factor in defining obesity -- ScienceDaily - Waist size is just as important as BMI in defining obesity-related health risks. The study used data from 156,000 women ages 50-79 from 1993-2017 and confirms a similar study published in 2015 based on a much smaller population.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Little Brown Jobs (LBJs) – National Geographic Society Newsroom – Not as colorful as usual…but I still enjoyed the pictures. I also like the acronym (LBJs)

Algae living inside fungi: How land plants first evolved -- ScienceDaily – And the study was done with algae and fungi that produce high amounts of oil…could be useful growing together for bioproduction (reduce costs).

Food insecurity common across US higher education campuses -- ScienceDaily - Lack of access to reliable supply of nutritious food may affect student's ability to succeed, researchers say. Is it more a problem now that it used to be….or are we just recognizing it? Universities are scrambling to set up programs to address the issue.

With New Perennial Grain, a Step Forward for Eco-Friendly Agriculture - Yale E360 – How can the ideas for prairie and forest sustainable agriculture be moved into the mainstream faster? It seems like there is still a lot to learn about how to do it on a large scale.

Non-native invasive insects, diseases decreasing carbon stored in US forests -- ScienceDaily – It seems like more of these problems are cropping up….and at a time when we need our forests to retain carbon. In our area, the emerald ash borer has killed all the ash trees in the past 5 years…a noticeable change in our forests.

Focus on Native Bees, Not Honey Bees – Cool Green Science - Lots of beautiful bees out there…pollinating right along with the honey bees. We need to support all the pollinators to build (and sustain) health environments for us all.

Solar Panels on Farmland Have Huge Electricity-Generating Potential - Yale E360 – A vision to think about….agrivoltaics (a new vocabular word for me!).

Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all. – I was intrigued by the pictures of landscapes of melting permafrost – collapsing land, methane (enough to burn) bubbling from a thawing pond, crumbling cliffs.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 17, 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.

Well-Preserved Mosaic Floor Found in Roman Egypt - Archaeology Magazine – Lotus patterns!

Nations with strong women's rights likely to have better population health and faster growth-- ScienceDaily – A study analyzed databases which held information on health, human rights, and economic and social rights for 162 countries for the period 2004 to 2010.  The results suggest that gender equality is not just a women’s issue but a development issue.

More Climate Surprises Expected – THE DIRT – “Climate change together with environmental degradation and social and political instability is the threat multiplier.” It seems like more and more climate-linked surprises/disasters are happening every year. When do we reach a tipping point where everyone realizes that we cannot continue the status quo?

Liver transplants could be redundant with discovery of new liver cell -- ScienceDaily – From Kings’ College London. It would be a big step forward if this finding translates into standard treatment for liver failure.

Viking Woman Warrior May Have Been Slavic | Smart News | Smithsonian – Not all ‘Vikings’ were Nordic men…some were Slavic and some were women! It’s good to understand long ago cultures in more depth…particularly when it causes us to rethink our assumptions.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Birding – National Geographic Society Newsroom – Variety and beauty of birds…I always enjoy the ‘25’ collections.

How to keep buildings cool without air conditioning – according to an expert in sustainable design – We are going to need all the technology we know (and some new ones) to keep buildings and homes cool as the planet gets warmer.

America's packaged food supply is ultra-processed: Americans are overexposed to products that are high in calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt -- ScienceDaily – Unhealthy ‘food’ --- most of us have an inkling about this but it doesn’t keep us from indulging. The article mentions the Foodswitch app that allows consumers to scan packaged foods to determine their healthfulness; I loaded the app and scanned things in my pantry. The pasta I buy (whole wheat and green) rates a 5 of 5! Soymilk was 4.5. The canned tamales my husband likes are a 3 (salt and fat).

Thamugadi, a Roman outpost in Algeria, was saved by the Sahara – Buried in sand after it was abandoned around AD 700…and rediscovered in the 1700s but not explored. In the 1870s it was again rediscovered. It was excavated by the French from 1881 to 1960 in its entirety. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.

100 days, 100 nights: Sensor network reveals telltale patterns in neighborhood air quality: Custom-built sensors deployed for 100 days and nights to track black carbon pollution -- ScienceDaily – A test was done in West Oakland with new technology to monitor air pollution with more specificity over the area and time of day(s) than has been done before now. The technology worked and demonstrated that the finer grain measurements provide deeper understanding of what impacts localized air quality…something we have to understand to make progress in improving city environments.

Laptop Trauma

My laptop is almost 4 years old…the warranty expires in mid-September. The only trauma I experienced with it up to this point was right after I got it and the Solid State Drive (SSD) turned out to not be compatible with Windows 10. A technician came to the house and installed a new drive. But now there are several things that have gone wrong.

The first was the machine not booting. It isn’t clear what happened overnight, but the upshot was the SSD was no longer bootable first thing Thursday morning. It was a horrible way to start a day. My husband had a thumb drive that we booted from and decided that the easiest way to recover was to do a Windows Reset. The positive aspect of that strategy is that it preserves the data files. The negative is that the applications are uninstalled. Aargh!

Another problem then became evident. While we were working directly with the laptop itself on the recovery process, we noticed that the mouse pad is bulging….a sign that the battery underneath is swelling – which is not a good thing at all.

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I’m not sure how long the problem has existed. For the past few months I’ve been using the laptop with a monitor and external keyboard (note the letters worn off the keys of the keyboard…it’s a good thing I am touch typist).

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I called Dell and will be sending it in for battery replacement and general hardware checkup and cleaning…the last (and only second) warranty work on the machine. It should be back by Wednesday. My husband has graciously said I can use his laptop until mine is returned and I have my external drive with everything I need ready to go. Still – I am a little discombobulated at being without my (up until now) very dependable laptop.

Sometime this fall, I’ll probably buy a new laptop…maybe the top of the Dell XPS 13 line. It’s what I did last time and they’ve gotten even better in the last 4 years.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 10, 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: Green – National Geographic Society Newsroom – Starting off the gleanings list with birds this week – green ones.

Indigenous Maize: Who Owns the Rights to Mexico’s ‘Wonder’ Plant? - Yale E360 – The nitrogen fixing maize --- farmed in Mexico – but who will profit if the trait is replicated in corn to feed the rest of the world.

Vast majority of dietary supplements don't improve heart health or put off death, study finds -- ScienceDaily – Massive analysis…277 clinical trials. The supplement industry is large and advertises; how do studies like this counteract that even if the supplement in many cases is having only a placebo effect.

Brothers Use Drone to Reveal Beauty of Ordinary Objects – Art of objects seen from above.

Making HVAC heat exchangers five times better -- ScienceDaily – We’re going to need all the innovation we can muster to get air conditioning more efficient…and power it with renewable energy.

BBC - Future - Do we need to walk 10,000 steps a day? – Hint – 10,000 is not a magic number at all. I’ve had my goal set at 12,000 steps for quite some time. I make it when I am home but am usually challenged when traveling.

Toyota plans to launch its first full EVs, in a deal with China’s BYD - MIT Technology Review – I hope by the time I get ready to replace my Prius Prime there are a lot of EVs to choose from!

What it Means to Design with Nature in 2019 - News | Planetizen – Is this the thinking of all design going forward?

A Fungus Is Now Infecting Humans & Global Warming May Be to Blame | CleanTechnica – Candida auris started showing up in humans in 2009 and it is multiple drug resistant already. New research is indicating that the fungus might have adapted to warmer temperatures until it can now multiply in the human body…which it couldn’t before.

Water Cycle is Speeding Up Over Much of the U.S. – Lots of changes in the time period between 1945 and 2014.The article includes a color-coded map. It will be interesting to see if the trends continue over the next decade

Deborah Griscom Passmore

The Deborah Griscom Passmore watercolor album was made available on Internet Archive last May. She always meant to publish the album as “Wildflowers of America” but never got around to it before she died in 1911 at age 70. Enjoy a few more sample images from this album below and kudos to the USDA archivist that is making these available now.

Based on the biographical paragraph on the catalog page for the book on Internet Archive, the typed biography and  3 obituaries from 1911 taped into one of the early pages of the book and scanned, and the Wikipedia article about Passmore, I started looking for some more of her work. There are 1525 of her works in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection available online here. They are not as easily browsed as the books are within Internet Archive. Some of them are included in the “Promising New Fruits” articles of the Yearbook of Agriculture beginning in 1901; those volumes are available on Internet Archive but it’s a few pages out of almost 1000. I discovered that I had found her cactus illustrations in Botanicus back in 2010 (another female artist , Mary Eaton, was the primary artist) but they are more easily browsed on Internet Archive (here). I’m putting them on my list to look at again!

Jane Webb Loudon and Gardening

Jane Loudon started out her writing career in 1827 with a three-volume science fiction novel (before the genre was named) describing a future filled with advance technology…and featuring a reanimated mummy. By the 1830s she shifted the focus of her writing to making gardening more appealing to young women. I had read her gardening books available on Internet Archive previously but there was a new book from her that became available recently: British Wild Flowers published in 1846 (available on Internet Archive here). It is a great addition to my list of botanical eBooks (here). Enjoy 6 sample images from the book!

Summer Camp Volunteering – week 2

The theme for last week’s Howard Count Conservancy’s summer camps was ‘Fantastic Beasts.’ I spent a morning at Mt. Pleasant and the next morning at Belmont. At Mt. Pleasant there were three groups of campers….45 minutes for each. I used the dinosaur and mammal track rock found at NASA Goddard (saw it back when I was in the HOLLIE program) to initiate the conversation about extinct animals and fossils. There were some fossil shells from Calvert Cliffs and some of the campers had been there to explore themselves. I had on my ammonite shaped earrings too.

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Then for some action: Two pans of water, a measuring tape and white board. A person put one foot into each pan (shoes on) and then stepped out and walked normally. The measurement team (usually two campers) measured heal print to heal print to determine the walking stride length. We measured the walking stride of the tallest and shortest in each group (and then everyone else because everyone wanted to know their stride length…or game it and take extra-long steps!). In the oldest group of campers, we measured the running stride (heel first and on toes). It was a great activity to further explore what information can be gleaned from tracks.

We transitioned into evidence of animals living today with some whelk shells and egg cases found on a beach. Some campers were surprised that the whelks were animals that still live in the ocean along the east coast of the US.

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One of the junior counselors had participated in a dinosaur dig in Montana…and shared some pictures for her adventure with the campers.

It was a busy 45 minutes!

At Belmont, there were two groups of campers making Zentangle® tiles. I introduced the session using the NASA Goddard rock, the welk shells and my ammonite earrings….and then showed them patterns for beasts. The first group (younger) made octopus/jelly fish and tracks. The second group experimented with an ammonite type pattern, tracks and shells. The theropod tracks were the most popular. Many made some big therapod tracks and then some small ones (moms with babies). A variation from one camper: a therapod track….then a blank area where the therapod flew….then more tracks. One camper made mammal tracks. Both groups enjoyed adding colors after they made their patterns with the black Sharpie ultrafine pens.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 3, 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.

Dive beneath the pyramids of Egypt’s black pharaohs – The challenge of excavating a 2,300-year-old tomb that is submerged in rising groundwater.

Another Fire in Greenland – There have been more reports of fires in the far north this year. Evidently warm dry air causes Arctic circle landscapes (that are not ice and snow) to be very flammable…fires start and burn quite easily.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Pigeons and Doves – National Geographic – I was surprised at the diversity of these birds.

Call for green burial corridors alongside roads, railways and country footpaths -- ScienceDaily – I wonder how many other countries have a similar problem. Space for burials is probably already a challenge for almost all large cities.

How the sound in your office effects your mood – Aural architecture….how we listen to buildings, the sound within buildings, and how we react. It isn’t considered very often in the current built environment except for things like concert halls and sound proofing. Maybe in the future it will be. One segment of the article talked about the need for quite and nature sounds in city soundscapes…much better than sirens and traffic noise.

Air pollution speeds up aging of the lungs and increases chronic lung disease risk -- ScienceDaily – A large study…another reason to do everything we can to improve air quality.

Banding Hummingbirds – Banding larger birds has it’s challenges but a hummingbird….I’d never heard someone describe it. Kudos for the people that have the touch to do it well.

Engineers develop chip that converts wasted heat to usable energy -- ScienceDaily – Interesting idea…I wonder how long it will take to get this type of technology into laptops and solar panels?

How a Pokémon-like Card Game Is Changing the Way People Learn About the Environment – What a good idea. I hope more teachers start introducing their students to the Phylo game!

Solar panels cast shade on agriculture in a good way – Research from the University of Arizona…how solar panels could shade plants to help them survive in a hotter environment…and the plants help cool the air under the solar panels as they produce electricity! The plants that might do best are the leafy greens that tend to wilt in the mid-day heat. The leaves grow bigger in the shade too! Production of nutritious food and renewable energy in the same system.

3 Free eBooks – July 2019

So many good books…so little time.

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International Museum of the Horse. A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse. Lexington, Kentucky: International Museum of the Horse. 2010. Available from Internet Archive here. This is the illustrated catalog from an exhibition held in 2010; the presenting sponsor was the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation. The photographs of objects and locations included in the digital book tell the story more than the words.

Bing, Siegfried (editor). Le Japon artistique : documents d'art et d'industrie. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-arts. 1888. Available from Internet Archive here. The French version of a magazine that appeared simultaneously in English, French, and German. It helped introduce Japanese art and artworks to the West. I had previously looked at the English version but didn’t realize they were the same thing until I looked back at my master booklist. I still enjoyed the illustrations…again.

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Gould, John. The Birds of Australia. London: R and JE Taylor. Seven volumes originally published in the mid-1800s and available from Internet Archive here . The illustrations are probably the work of his wife – Elizabeth Gould. She died in 1841 shortly after giving birth to her 8th child. It wasn’t until 1938 that a collection of her letters from Australia were discovered and became the basis for a biography.

Gleanings of the Week Ending July 27, 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.

Narwhals and belugas can interbreed -- ScienceDaily – It is a unique case….apparently not something that is common at all. It also utilized some relatively recent analytic tools to determine that the hybrid was a first-generation hybrid between a female narwhal and male beluga…and it was a bottom feeder rather than feeding like either of the parents.

Photography in The National Parks: Where Will That Trail Take You? Creating A Theme – For me - themes most often emerge from the experience rather than something I think about specifically in advance.

'Anthropocene Project' Artfully Captures How Humans Change Earth's Landscape: Goats and Soda: NPR – Some photographs from an exhibit currently in Bologna, Italy…depicting obvious, physical incursion on the Earth’s landscape created by humans.

Photographer Explores the Quiet Beauty of Venice at Night – A very different perspective on the city…sinking in its lagoon.

'Bathtub rings' around Titan's lakes might be made of alien crystals -- ScienceDaily – Rings made of solid acetylene and butane – maybe. It’s what happened in the lab. A spacecraft will need to visit Titan to know for sure.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: July – National Geographic Society Newsroom – Birds!  There are so many different kinds out there.

Cholesterol medication could invite diabetes, study suggests: Patient data shows association between statins and type 2 diabetes -- ScienceDaily – A drug prescribed to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke…doubles the risk of diabetes diagnosis which would require other drugs to treat…for the rest of the person’s life. Not a good prospect.  

The Pomological Watercolors: A Collection of Watercolor Fruit Paintings – Watercolors of fruits and nuts created over 56 years beginning in 1886 by the US Department of Agriculture. They have recently been digitized and are available via the Pomological Watercolor Database. It’s not as easy to browse as a book in Internet Archive, unfortunately.

Ice Cores Preserved 1,500 Years of Industrial Lead Levels - Archaeology Magazine – I was surprised that lead levels in the atmosphere now are 60x higher than in the medieval period and that is an 80% decline since the enactment of the 1970 Clean Air act in the US. How is the lead in the air we breathe impacting our cognition – particularly for children?

Found: An ‘Undisturbed’ Roman Ship Near Cyprus | Smart News | Smithsonian – Lots of amphorae. Cyprus’ location would have made it a link on the trade route that spanned the Mediterranean but studying a wreck like this one could fill in more of the details.

Road Trips to Springfield, Missouri

I’ve now made 3 road trips from Maryland to Springfield, Missouri  (one in June and 2 in July) so I am getting familiar with the route. It’s a two-day trip which I prefer to do with one slightly longer day. On one of the trips to Springfield we drove from near Pittsburgh to Springfield in one day….and I won’t do that again. Springfield, Ohio is a good midway point that my daughter picked (she liked the idea of going from Springfield MO to Springfield OH); it is my preference too.

I’ve learned where there is hard driving (lots of curves and trucks going at high speed) and where the current construction is. Hopefully the construction will be mostly done by the next time I go and there might be a better route through the Alleghenies that we’ll try.

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There are two favorite rest stops along the way. One is close to Springfield and focused on Route 66 which makes a diagonal path through Missouri from St. Louis angled toward Tulsa, Oklahoma. They have a map on the floor of the rest top.

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2)The other rest stop was in Indiana and I like it for two reasons: 1) It has plants that remind me of my grandparents in Oklahoma back in the 60s. They grew ‘rubber trees’ indoors in the winter then put them out in the flower beds near the house in the summer…almost burying the pots…then trimmed them back and brought them indoors for the next winter. This rest stop has the plants in the center planter inside the rest stop!

The rest stop also had ‘pocket wetlands’ on two sides. The red-winged blackbirds were numerous, and I heard frogs as well. The sky was threatening (thunderstorm imminent) and we were pushing to get to the hotel before the storm, so I didn’t have time to investigate more. Maybe next time. ..

Gleanings of the Week Ending July 20, 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: Conceal – National Geographic Society Newsroom – Starting out with bird images this week. The first picture in this series … a little owl … is my favorite.

Ghost orchid pollination revealed for first time in incredible photos – I heard about ghost orchids at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival…so enjoyed this article (includes a video)

Centennial E7 - Night of the Killer Smog - Third Pod from the Sun - AGU Blogosphere – A little history of air pollution events that spurred the Clean Air Act of 1970.

Biomedical bleeding may impact horseshoe crabs' spawning behavior and movement -- ScienceDaily – My interest in horseshoe crabs has increased since the Cape May Birding Spring (birding) Festival.

BBC - Future - The poisons released by melting Arctic ice – Observations of a warming Arctic….some surprising even to scientists that study the area.

When Will Renewable Energy Prices Stop Dropping? | CleanTechnica – The question becomes…where the tipping point is when almost everyone is using renewable energy for just about everything….at home…on the road…at work.

How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week Doctors Say | Children & Nature Network – The study included data from 20,000 people in England and was conducted from 2014-2016. 120 minutes a week was the answer. I wonder what factors might make it different – age, culture, environment, etc.

Clouds and Rain Carry a Menagerie of Photosynthetic Microbes | The Scientist Magazine® - Life in the atmosphere.

Are doctors treating more thyroid cancer patients than necessary? -- ScienceDaily - New research may help change treatment practices for patients diagnosed with low risk thyroid cancer. Sometimes doctors opt for maximum treatment and the treatment ends up being worse than the disease would have been.

Monarch Butterflies Born in Captivity Have Trouble Migrating South Study Says: NPR – I like that the schools in my area are getting their Monarch caterpillars (or eggs) from the wild to raise in the classroom and then release. These Monarchs will migrate!

Gleanings of the Week Ending July 13, 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.

We organized a conference for 570 people without using plastic. Here’s how it went – It’s hard to do anything without plastic….but we’ll find ways eventually. I am focused on the ‘single use’ items first but when I can I choose materials other than plastic even for more durable items.

Arches National Park Recognized As "Dark Sky" Park – Now for my husband to find a way to get there with his telescope….

Timber Rattlesnakes: Cool Facts and an Uncertain Future – This snake is found in western Maryland….not in the county where I live. But we always mention it to students interested in snakes. This article provided some additional ‘cool facts’ to pass along.

Macro Photos of Water Droplets Reveal the Overlooked Beauty of Nature – Beautiful images in water droplets - And the artist included some pictures of the set up he uses to get the pictures!

In an Era of Extreme Weather, Concerns Grow Over Dam Safety – There have been dams in the news in recent years (like the Oroville Dam spillway failure in 2017). In our area, some small dams have been removed. But there are 91,000 dams in the US that are aging and need repairs. It’s going to be expensive…and the extreme weather we’ve been having probably makes it more urgent…but the funding is just not forthcoming so far.

Chiggers are the worst – Agreed.

Photo of the Week – July 5, 2019 – Milkweed in bloom. This is a blog post from The Prairie Ecologist…showing some bugs too. No Monarch butterflies though.

8 ways wild animals beat the heat – The mucous that hippos secrete was new to me…it’s acts as sunscreen, antibiotic, moisturizer, and water repellant. Now that we’ve learned that the sunscreen we’ve been using may be toxic to corals (and maybe to us too), perhaps we could develop an alternative by learning more about the hippo mucous.

Winter Bee Declines Greatest in 13 Years: Survey – Habitat loss, pesticides, Varroa mites….it adds up. Evidently in recent years the strategies that beekeepers have been using to deter mites have not worked as well. Some crops rely more on commercial beekeepers than others. Almonds, cherries, and blueberries are mentioned as examples.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Flowers – Last but not least this week…..birds and flowers. Enjoy the photographs.