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.

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 29, 2018

The Amazing Ancient Fishes of Africa – Cool Green Science – Lungfish, butterfly fish, bichir, bonytongue…most of them are air breathers!

Thinking beyond yourself can make you more open to healthy lifestyle choices -- ScienceDaily – Maybe we need to psyche ourselves to make better choices!

Japan's Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Successfully Deploys Landers to Asteroid Ryugu's Surface and Bouncing robots land on asteroid 180m miles away amid mission to fetch sample for Earth • The Register  – Exciting stuff from a rover on an asteroid! And the return mission in 2020 will be exciting too.

Molecule with anti-aging effects on vascular system identified -- ScienceDaily – A ketone body was identified that is produced during fasting or calorie restriction. It appears to delay vascular aging.

Free Technology for Teachers: A Good Resource for Learning About the Science of Food – 14 short videos about food research.

Scientists investigate how DEET confuses countless critters -- ScienceDaily – Evidently DEET interferes with organisms’ response to odors thus confusing the organism rather than repelling it!

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Birds with Yellow Plumage – National Geographic Blog – I always enjoy the bird photographs

BBC - Future - How to use seawater to grow food – in the desert - An experiment in Jordan to farm with solar powered desalination of Red Sea water for greenhouses cooled as part of the desalination process. Jordan currently imports a high percentage of its food…if this type of farming can be cost effective the country might be able to feed itself and even export some foods.

How leaves talk to roots -- ScienceDaily – When I was in college taking biology courses in the 1970s – micro RNA was not in our vocabulary!

Well-Preserved Roman Road Uncovered in the Netherlands - Archaeology Magazine (more details at ) – New finds like this are always a little surprising…things that were there for a very long time but covered over by a few feet of soil.



Last week, I volunteered when the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Fishmobile visited an elementary school in Carroll County, Maryland.

The Fishmobile is a bus fitted with aquarium tanks for live exhibits of animals from the Chesapeake Bay and bookcases/walls of related materials. It’s a field trip that comes to the school! Groups of 10-12 students take about 15 minutes in the bus to see everything…spending another 15 minutes outside getting more details about horseshoe crabs. There were 4 classes of 4th graders that came through in 2 hours!

I managed to take pictures of some of the animals in the Fishmobile before the students arrived. There were small horseshoe crabs – the smallest being a little larger than a quarter. They were active all over the bottom of their tank.


The oyster toadfish was not happy after the first few groups and retreated to the back of the tank. I was glad I got a picture of him.


The lined seahorse was one that was harder to photograph. It was a good discussion starter since the seahorse depends on the grasses in the bay and is becoming more numerous now that they are recovering. I was impressed that the 4th graders were aware of the grasses even if they didn’t know about the seahorses.

The only animal in the Fishmobile that the students could touch was the diamondback terrapin. They were told to use 2 fingers gently on his back…because he can bite! He evidently is very accustomed to handling…and he has a name: Larry. There was a baby diamondback terrapin (hatched last fall) in a neighboring tank that didn’t move around very much.

There was also a small box turtle and a mystery box with a box turtle shell. We prompted the students that tried the mystery box to feel whether the shell was flat or domed…and then to look at all the turtles on display to identify what kind of shell was in the mystery box.


The fish that had a name linked to history was the hogchoker. It is a flounder like fish that lives in the grassy areas of the bay. When the colonists collected the grasses to fee to their pigs, sometimes this fish was harvested with the grasses….and choked the pig that tired to eat it. That’s how it got its name.


The bookcases had jaws from a modern shark…and a fossil tooth, a dolphin skull, and the molt of a horseshoe crab. There was a wall of various kinds of trash with estimates of how long it took to degrade. Plastic water bottles and fishing line take 100s of years!

Gleanings of the Week Ending December 9, 2017

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.

What is Impressionism? Impressionism Art and Impressionism Definition – Maybe your recognized Impressionism….but here is a definition!

United States Map from Over 1000 Million Acres of Forests – based on Landsat data. If you want to look at some maps online – try the Global Forest Change link in the article. I looked up the forest change for my home address (and hence the area immediately around where I live).

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Completed its Eighth Flyby Over Jupiter – This is item is almost a month old now – images are too awesome to not include in the Gleanings this week.

Two NASA Science Planes Are Capturing Some Glorious Images of Antarctica – More images from NASA – this time looking back at our own planet.

Free Technology for Teachers: 6,500 Vintage Travel Photos - Free to Use – Refine the results to find some of your favorite places. I looked with the US collection at Yosemite and Yellowstone. There is an image of “Old Faithful” from 1898.

Infographic: Understanding Our Diverse Brain | The Scientist Magazine® - Surprise! The idea that all cells within and organism sharing an identical genome may be – at best – an oversimplification.

Can Exercise Prevent Knee Osteoarthritis? | Geriatrics | JAMA | The JAMA Network – Increasing age and obesity levels do not totally account for the increase in osteoarthritis! Maybe those other factors mean that it is more preventable that we think.

The National Parks in Winter – Keep warm…and enjoy the view of some special places:

Meet The Magnificently Weird Mola Mola – Cool Green Science – I’ve seen Mola Molas in aquariums….have always thought they were an unlikely fish.

Image of the Day: Butterfly Wing Scents | The Scientist Magazine® - The wings of some male butterflies are not just for flying; they also have special ‘scent’ scales that attract females!