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.

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.

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.

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 May 25, 2019

Eye's vulnerability to macular degeneration revealed -- ScienceDaily – All cells of the macula are not the same. The ones in the central part (Muller cells) are smaller and shaped differently than the cells around the edges…and they are the ones involved in macular degeneration. Knowing more about the central cells may lead to more focused treatment.

Dangerously High Air Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S. National Parks - Yale E360 – Our national parks are places to enjoy natural beauty…be outdoors. Its very sad to know that air pollution is a problem.

Banana disease boosted by climate change -- ScienceDaily – Black Sigatoka – a fungal disease impacting bananas – is not virtually worldwide. It’s surprising that bananas are still such a bargain in our grocery stores.

Ten Tips for Being a Good Partner - On the Job - AGU Blogosphere – Good tips…and I liked the illustrative examples from real projects.

Oldest known trees in eastern North America documented -- ScienceDaily – In North Carolina there is a Bald Cypress that it at least 2,624 years old!

Does insulin resistance cause fibromyalgia? A newly confirmed link with insulin resistance may radically change the way fibromyalgia and related forms of chronic pain are identified and managed -- ScienceDaily – Researchers dramatically reduced pain of fibromyalgia patients with medication that targeted Insulin resistance.

Dogs Sniff Out Invasive Mussels at Chickasaw National Recreation Area – In the early 1970s, my husband and I often visited this area of Oklahoma (also visiting what was then Platt National Park). Kudos to the people trying it keep Zebra Mussels out of the Lake of the Arbuckles!

Soaking up pharmaceuticals and personal care products from water -- ScienceDaily – A new acronym (PPCPs = Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products). These are being detected in water everywhere usually in low concentrations but increasing…so it’s good that research is underway to develop ways to remove them from water.

A New View of Bird Vision – Cool Green Science – The article describes ways bird vision is being studied and provides examples of specific UV sensitivities in turkeys and red-winged black birds.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: May – National Geographic Society – Last but not least for this week --- enjoy some bird pictures.

Gleanings of the Week Ending May 18, 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.

Beautiful Photos by Manuelo Bececco Captures the Essence of the Forest – Awesome views of the forest…mostly looking upward.

IYPT 2019 Elements 023: Vanadium: Hardened steel and yellow blood | Compound Interest – Vanabins are vanadium-binding proteins that make sea cucumber blood yellow!

Titanium: Sunscreens and space stations | Compound Interest – Lots of makeup and other cosmetics have titanium (for its sunscreen properties) and fighter jets do too!

Marine Viruses Detailed from Pole to Pole | Technology Networks – There are a lot more viruses than previous cataloged in the ocean. The are in roughly 5 groups based on location and depth. The Arctic Ocean has high viral diversity…higher than at the equator.

NASA's Cassini reveals surprises with Titan's lakes -- ScienceDaily – The data from Cassini’s final flyby of Titan in 2017 has revealed that the lakes in its northern hemisphere are more then 300 feet deep and are methane. Lots more science still to come as more analysis of the Cassini data is done.

Could high-flying drones power your home one day? - BBC News – How could this not cause problems with aircraft if it was widespread? Both the drone and the tether could cause problems.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Passerines – Always room on the gleanings list for bird photographs!

Four ways to attract birds and butterflies – Native plants, bird bath, brush pile in my yard….3 of 4 is not bad!

Black, Hot Ice May Be Nature’s Most Common Form of Water – Superionic ice – a new kind of ice crystal with the oxygen atoms forming a cubic lattice and the hydrogen atoms flowing like liquid through the rigid cage of oxygens.

We’ll soon know the exact air pollution from every power plant in the world. That’s huge. –It won’t just be regulators and politicians that can see the data…it will be accessible by the public too. It will become a lot clearer to everyone which power plants are negatively impacting air quality.

Gleanings of the Week Ending May 11, 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.

Epic Proportions - Archaeology Magazine – Standard measures of Stonehenge and other Neolithic monuments?

Potassium: Soaps and radioactive bananas | Compound Interest – Potassium regulates blood pressure and transmission of nerve impulses in our bodies!

Colorful Birds  and Terrestrial birds – From the National Geographic Society. Still catching up on the backlog. I enjoy birding – and seeing birds in action…and photographs of birds taken by others. That’s why these photographic collections show up on my gleanings list.

BBC - Future - The princess who transformed war medicine – A little medical history not widely known from the early 1900s.

Ancient secrets of medicinal mint -- ScienceDaily – There are so many members of the mint family. This article is about the DNA sequencing from a plant…learning how to more rapidly tap the therapeutic benefits of that plant and the mint family at large.

Four Out of 10 Americans Breathe Unhealthy Air - Yale E360 – That’s 141 million people…up 7 million since last year….partly due to impacts of climate change on air quality. So – we need to find ways to clean up air better than we do now either by reducing emissions or cleaning them out once they are produced.

Aging gracefully: Study identifies factors for healthy memory at any age -- ScienceDaily – The good news is that some of the factors are things we can control - engaging in more social activities, more novel cognitive activities, losing excess weight, and living with others.

What is a Naturalized Outdoor Learning Environment? -The National Wildlife Federation Blog – Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) program….daily access to the outdoors for young children. When I was growing up, we were outdoors most days but that is not happening consistently these days. I applaud the initiatives that are honing ways to get children outdoors more.

Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered - The New York Times – A hefty article on the topic…with pull down details.

Medical guidelines may be biased, overly aggressive in US -- ScienceDaily – Thought provoking. How is a patient to know when a doctor recommends a test or procedure that it is truly in the best interest of the patient when the doctor has a financial interest in the recommendation, or the doctor is so specialized that they always think their specialty is the best solution?

Gleanings of the Gleanings of the Week Ending April 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.

Berkeley Soda Tax, 3 Years In: What New Research Shows About Its Effectiveness | Berkeley Wellness - Consumption of sugary drinks has fallen by half in low-income areas of Berkeley, California.

The Real Reason You See Earthworms After Rain – Cool Green Science – There could be multiple reasons. Maybe they are moving to new territory while the surface is wet, and they won’t become dehydrated. Or maybe they want the extra oxygen that is at the surface.

Exploring The Parks: Great Sand Dunes National Park And Preserve – It’s been a long time since I have been to this park…and we didn’t explore it thoroughly when we were there. Maybe time to plan another trip.

Image of the Day: Pretty Jellies | The Scientist Magazine® - Genetic comparisons of jellyfish types

These Cities Are the Most Dangerous for Migrating Birds | Smart News | Smithsonian – Chicago, Dallas, and Houston….an area that Texas would probably prefer to not be at the top. Maybe the “Lights Out” trend with help.

Washington Monument Opening Pushed Back To August Due To Contaminated Soil – I was surprised when I saw this headline because I didn’t even know is was closed! The soil is below the surface and probably from the 1880s.

Allergy Season Is Getting Longer and Nastier Each Year | Smart News | Smithsonian – It’s happened gradually but the length of allergy season and the amount of pollen has been increasing over the past 20 years. There are new treatments for those suffering enough to go to allergists - many allergists are prescribing immunotherapy tablets for people suffering from grass pollen, dust mite or ragweed allergies.

Scientists Say They Have Found a Viable Replacement for Petroleum-Based Plastic - Yale E360 – Plant based material that has the strength and aesthetics…suitable for food packaging. The research described in the article is from Ohio State but there are probably others working on the problem too. If a replacement for petroleum-based plastic can be found it would make it much easier to ‘go green.’

BBC - Future - How air pollution is doing more than killing us and Air Pollution Increases ER Visits — Largest US Study On The Topic Confirms It | CleanTechnica – Lots of public health issues being studied in light of air pollution….and the findings are concerning. The linkage to things like asthma has long been discussed but now there are more details and more negative impacts of air pollution on health being identified.  Emerging studies show that air pollution is linked to impaired judgement, mental health problems, poorer performance in school and most worryingly perhaps, higher levels of crime.

#IYPT2019 – What elements do you need to live? – in C&EN | Compound Interest – An infographic to answer the question.

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 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 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 November 10, 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.

Uncapped Wells Have Been Leaking Oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 14 Years - Yale E360 – Why can’t the oil companies do a better job of preventing leaks…or, at least, stopping leaks if they occur? Don’t they have the technology to address this issue?

With Shorter Winters, Plants Bloom Early and Die Young – National Geographic – Green springs…but the plants don’t sustain the green through the drier summers. Not good for our yards and our farms…and us.

Photo of the Week – October 19, 2018 – The Prairie Ecologist – Fluffy seeds from the prairie…including common milkweed,

Image of the Day: Clubbing | The Scientist Magazine® - Peacock Mantis Shrimp have a spring-like structure that enables them to beat the life out of their prey.

Beautifully Painted Shrine Emerges from the Ashes of Pompeii | Smart News | Smithsonian – Much of Pompeii that we know from tourist books was excavated before modern methods…and sometimes ‘restored’ in a way that we don’t know exactly what it looked like when originally uncovered. New excavation can provide clues about older excavations as well as the particulars of the newly uncovered walls.

Substantial changes in air pollution across China during 2015 to 2017 -- ScienceDaily – Particulates are down but ozone is up….so good and bad trends.

BBC - Future - The flu that transformed the 20th Century – The 1918 flu epidemic…100 years ago this year. There is still research on the virus and what happened…some surprises in the findings.

This Humongous Fungus Is as Massive as Three Blue Whales | Smart News | Smithsonian – 91 acres, 110 tons, and about 1,500 years old. And this is not the biggest one discovered…it was the first that was well documented.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Black plumage – National Geographic – I always like to include birds in my gleanings. I was surprised that there were no crows or ravens or starlings in this collection of birds with black plumage.

The Winners of the 2018 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest Are Out of This World – Three are some pictures from the 2017 solar eclipse in this collection.

Gleanings of the Week Ending November 3, 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.

Planned intermittent fasting may help reverse type 2 diabetes, suggest doctors: And cut out need for insulin while controlling blood glucose -- ScienceDaily – There needs to be follow up study…but if this works, maybe it should be some everyone with type 2 diabetes tries.

10 States Now Get At Least 20 Percent of Their Electricity from Solar and Wind - Yale E360 – Progress! Hopefully other states will join the club and go beyond 30%. During some months in 2017, Iowa and Kansas, wind accounted for over 50% of in-state electricity generation.

Largest ever genetic study of blood pressure -- ScienceDaily – So much for find a root cause for high blood pressure. There are lots of genes and there is overlap with life-style exposures to things like fruit, water, tea, caffeine, alcohol, and salt. It’s complicated!

Too much vitamin A may increase risk of bone fractures -- ScienceDaily – Another study about the danger of getting ‘too much’ via vitamin supplements.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Courtship Displays – National Geographic Blog – The treat of bird photos!

Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting - Yale E360 – Interesting summary…hardiness zones on the move, Tornado Alley is shifting, the tropics are getting bigger, the Sahara desert is bigger, the 100th meridian has shifted eastward by 140 miles.

The Enchanting History of Notre Dame Cathedral's Famous Gargoyles and Grotesques – The stone carvings are pitted…but the sculptures are still awesome.

BBC - Future - How a daily 10-minute exercise could boost your happiness – The 10-minute exercise is jot down the answer to 6 questions each day: 1) What experiences, however mundane, gave you pleasure? 2) What praise and feedback did you receive? 3) What were the moments of pure good fortune? 4) What were your achievements, however small? 5) What made you feel grateful? 6) How did you express kindness? It’s a good way to end the day on a positive note!

U.S. Air Pollution Deaths Nearly Halved Over Two Decades - Yale E360 – A good trend but there were still 71,000 deaths in 2010 attributed to air pollution – more than traffic accidents and gun shootings combined. Air pollution remains a public health issue.

The chemistry of Venus flytraps in C&EN – I’ve always been fascinated by carnivorous plants. This infographic describes how it take two hairs to trigger the closing of the trap…that it only takes 0.1 seconds to close…and then up to 5 days to digest the insect.

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 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.

Curiosity rover surveys a mystery under dusty Martian skies -- ScienceDaily – What makes Vera Rubin Ridge so hard?

The Environment's New Clothes: Biodegradable Textiles Grown from Live Organisms - Scientific American – ‘Growing clothes’ that are sustainable – very different form the current fashion industry.

Change your diet to save both water and your health -- ScienceDaily – Research that looked at the water footprint (the volume of freshwater to produce goods) relative to types of diets. It turns out that many of the foods that take a lot of water to produce also are overconsumed – in the EU where the study was done and maybe even mores o in the US.

How the People of Pompeii Really Died - The Atlantic – New technology looked at bones and teeth of the 19th century plaster casts from Pompeii. Two surprises: they had good teeth, and many died of head injures rather than suffocation.

A Great Brown Storm Is Raging on Jupiter – It’s not like the red spot. They come and go and Jupiter. This time NASA’s Juno spacecraft is there to monitor its progress and show more of its structure.

One big reason why women drop out of doctoral STEM programs: The fewer women in entering class, the less likely they'll stay -- ScienceDaily – This study ruled out grades and funding as the main reason….the academic climate for women is not only harder to measure, it’s also harder to change.

First evidence that soot from polluted air is reaching placenta -- ScienceDaily – There is a health cost for burning fossil fuels…and it begins to impact us before we are born. Previous research had linked air pollution with premature birth, low birth weight, infant mortality, and childhood respiratory problems. This research was focused on determining if the particles in the lung – breathed by the mother -  can circulate through the blood to the placenta.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Gamebirds – National Geographic – Peacocks are considered game birds!

Total of 21 new parasitoid wasps following the first ever revision of their genus -- ScienceDaily – The first revision since 1893…and using specimens from 20 natural history museums.

Something Blue | The Prairie Ecologist – Blue sage…insect magnet.

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 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.

Poor sleep triggers viral loneliness and social rejection: Lack of sleep generates social anxiety that infects those around us -- ScienceDaily – Yet another reason that getting enough sleep is important to us as individuals and society at large.

The Armchair Photography Guide to Canyonlands National Park – Island in The Sky | National Parks Traveler – So many of the pictures had snow! It would be good to go when it was not terrifically hot….so any time but summer and even better close to the beginning or end of winter (a little now…not enough to be hazardous).

Stunning Underwater Photos of Microscopic Plankton by Ryo Minemizu – Beautiful, small life.

In Eastern US, adult trees adapt and acclimate to local climate: Tree cores reveal flexibility, more work needed to understand mechanisms -- ScienceDaily – 14 species of trees were analyzed using tree cores from 1940-1980….shouldn’t we look at more recent tree cores too?

Bed Bugs: When Biodiversity Bites – Cool Green Science – Informative….maybe I should check for bedbugs more consistently when I travel. I shouldn’t keep relying on ‘luck’ to avoid a very bad experience.

A Record Year for Measles Cases in Europe | The Scientist Magazine® - When I was a child, the measles vaccines didn’t exist yet. It was awful. Everyone got sick with them and, for some, there were lasting consequences. I was fortunate and survived without lasting damage except for missing enough school that I never quite understood certain volumetric measurements because I completely missed when it was taught.

Which country has the most expensive education? - Are the comparisons really apples and apples…or are there some pears and oranges thrown in? It is about educations but there are a lot of variables beside cost. All countries and parents and teachers struggle with how to make education relevant to students for now and into the future.

Air Pollution Linked to Decline in Cognitive Performance – The study was done in China but I wondered if it was true in other areas of the world with high levels of air pollution (like India). The US could be vulnerable if we relax our clean air standards.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx begins asteroid operations campaign – We were in Florida in September 2016 for the launch…so I always notice the updates about its progress.

50% of Industrial Climate Change Emissions Tied to Fossil Fuel Companies – An interview with the two authors of a recently released report: Decarbonization Pathways for Mines.

Gleanings of the Week Ending July 21, 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.

Some visual feasts: Peep the Stunning Winners of the Audubon Society’s Photo Contest | Smart News | Smithsonian and National Park Service Releases Iconic Paintings of Parks and Stunning Drone Photos of Venice Show Unique View of the City  and Winners of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year  – Starting out the gleanings list this week with images!

Fossil Fuels Account for Lowest Share of U.S. Energy Consumption in More than a Century - Yale E360 – Hurray for some positive news about trends and the environment…but there is still a tremendous effort needed to shift toward a sustainable future for our planet.

Air pollution contributes significantly to diabetes globally: Even low pollution levels can pose health risk -- ScienceDaily – Clean air is something every living thing needs for a healthy life – even humans.

New Website Unearths Amsterdam’s History Via 700,000 Artifacts Spanning 5,000 Years | Smart News | Smithsonian – If you can’t travel…there are lots of ways to look artifacts via the web. This is one of them and includes bits and pieces of just about everything.

Rivers and Streams Compose Much More of Earth’s Surface Than Thought | The Scientist Magazine® - The results of a study using NASA’s Landsat images.

BBC - Future - How your age affects your appetite – Food is fuel…and a social/cultural experience. How well does your experience of food link with your age?

Net-zero emissions energy systems | Science – A scholarly article about what it will take to achieve net-zero emissions…what existing technologies can do and what still needs a lot of development.

Germany’s "Stonehenge" Reveals Evidence of Human Sacrifice | Smart News | Smithsonian – Maybe Neolithic circles were more common that originally thought and they weren’t always made of stone. This one was wood and was torn down about 2050 BCE.

Opinion: Rise of the Robot Radiologists | The Scientist Magazine® - A white color job that might give way to artificial intelligence…soon. If it does – will it help slow the rise of medical costs?

Mummification Workshop Excavated in Egypt - Archaeology Magazine and Mummification Workshop and Trove of Burial Relics Found in Egypt | Smart News | Smithsonian – Two sources for the same story…different perspectives/details.

Gleanings of the Week Ending May 12, 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.

Why I Speak Up for Science – National Geographic – A short piece about the need for science in everyday life….why science is important for everyone.

From property damage to lost production: How natural disasters impact economics -- ScienceDaily – The economic impact is more than just a single point of property damage and lost production…there is a ripple effect that can increase the overall impact significantly over what insurance covers and it beomes a very complex problem to estimate.

European Union Bans All Outdoor Uses of Neonicotinoids - Yale E360 – Shouldn’t we in the US be at least this concerned about the health of bees and other pollinators? Why have we not done more to curtail the use of neonicotinoids?

Top 25 Urban Birds – National Geographic – Some birds are thriving in the cities of the world.

Common Eye Disorders Explained: Cataracts, Glaucoma, AMD | Berkeley Wellness – Prevention, signs and symptoms, treatment…well organized and easy to understand.

These daggers made from human bone were a deadly asset on the battlefield | Science | AAAS – They are from New Guinea….and decorated. Most of the time they were made from cassowary leg bones….but sometimes human thigh bones were used.

US gains in air quality are slowing down: New study indicates challenges of meeting ozone goals -- ScienceDaily – I live in an area that has an increasing number of ‘code red’ days (high ozone). This study indicates that emissions from cars and power plants are understood well enough…but not other sources and that is probably why the trend toward better air quality is slowing down.

BBC - Future - How prison changes people – Evidently the personality change that dominates is an inability to trust others….but there are other common changes as well. Prisons almost seem design to change personalities for the worse.

City upbringing, without pets, boosts vulnerability to mental illness -- ScienceDaily – We need to figure out how to make cities a healthy place for everyone --- including children.

BBC - Future - Why pristine lakes are filled with toxins – A study done on Lake Geneva revealed cadmium, mercury, lead…sometimes in high concentration…from decades of plastic build up in the lake. Other studies of the microplastics in the water (and in water that has been processed for drinking) and then beer and honey from the area. Lots more research is needed on the impact to wildlife in and around the lake.

Gleanings of the Week Ending May 5, 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.

Top 25 Birds Protected by the MBTA – National Geographic Blog – The Migratory Bird Treat Act was passed in 1918…and covers over 1000 species. Enjoy pictures of 25 of them!

Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest point in more than 1,500 years -- ScienceDaily – Something else that could cause more rapid increase in sea level rise on the US East Coast.

Spring Sediment Swirls in the Great Lakes – Image from April 20th after a storm. The areas are the lakes are losing soil.

NASA planet hunter on its way to orbit: Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite successfully launched -- ScienceDaily – Hurray! TESS was launched on April 18th…and should be ready to begin work something in June.

Compound Interest - The chemistry of tulips and tulip fingers – After seeing the tulips display at Brookside…this article caught my attention. I didn’t notice if the gardeners taking up the bulbs were wearing gloves…or whether they were the right kind.

Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: Data represent first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions -- ScienceDaily – I like dark chocolate. It’s a good thing that it has positive health benefits but I would probably still eat it even it didn’t.

Which US Generation Has the Best Eco-Conscious Habits? A Survey+ | CleanTechnica – Boomers, Gen-Xers or millennials. It’s a clever way to highlight ways to become more eco-conscious.

On The Hunt For The Elusive Morel Mushroom In Ohio’s Appalachian Country: The Salt – Morel mushrooms are tasty….enough that people keep their spots secret and turn off their GPS locators when on the hunt!

These Are the Cities With the Worst Air Pollution | Smart News | Smithsonian and Compare Your Air | American Lung Association – Read the summary from the Smithsonian blog then go to the American Lung Association site to compare cities. Where I live gets and ‘F’ for Ozone.

Diseases from Ticks and Mosquitoes Have Tripled | The Scientist Magazine® - Lyme Disease and Zika have caused a lot of the increase.