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 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.

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 July 6, 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.

Older forests resist change, climate change, that is -- ScienceDaily  - A study from the University of Vermont. But there are a lot of other changes in the forest too – the advent of non-native diseases like emerald ash borer and the explosion of deer populations so that there is a lot less understory in the forest (and few young trees). Is the net still that old forests resist change more effectively than younger ones?

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: June – National Geographic Society Newsroom – The always beautiful series of bird pictures.

Expanding the temperature range of lithium-ion batteries ScienceDaily – I’ve noticed the battery in my Prius Prime does not last for as many miles in the winter as it does in the summer. It’s one of the issues I want improved before I buy my next EV.

Chattanooga Becomes First U.S. Airport to Run Entirely on Solar – YaleEnvironment360 – Congrats to Chattanooga on this milestone. Evidently the first airport to do it was Cochin International in Kerala, India which went 100% solar powered in 2015. I’ve noticed a lot of US airports have fields of solar arrays…but maybe they haven’t also installed batteries to make the airport 100% solar powered.

You Can Now Tour the Tunnels Beneath Rome’s Baths of Caracalla – Smithsonian – A little Roman history linked to a place where tons of wood were burned per day to keep the fires going so that the caldarium would have hot water…where 18.5 gallons of water per second were consumed…copper tanks and lead pipes.

Timed release of turmeric stops cancer cell growth – ScienceDaily – Part of the search for gentler treatments for children with osteosarcoma.

A Tale of Contrasting Rift Valley Lakes – NASA Earth Observatory – Lake Tanganyika and Lake Rukwa as viewed from NASA’s Aqua satellite.  Deep and shallow. Salty and fresh. Brown and Blue.

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument: Holding History in Your Hand – National Parks Traveler – I had to look up where Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is located. It’s in the panhandle of Texas, north of Amarillo. I might go someday…on the way to somewhere else. The route would probably pass through the small western Oklahoma town where I was born.

Grand Canyon will soon be a dark sky park – Smithsonian – The park service has retrofitted lights to make it happen. This could be a good reason to camp in this national park!

What does the dust in your home mean for your health? – The Conversation – Thought provoking post. About one third of the ‘dust’ is created inside by ourselves and our pets, food debris, fibers from carpet/fabrics, particles from cooking plus chemicals like flame retardants. Are they toxic? There is ongoing research. Re outdoor sources – lead is the one of most concern.

Gleanings of the Week Ending October 13, 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.

Free Technology for Teachers: Frostbite Theater - 87 Science Experiment Video Lessons – Short videos…fun for more than just students!

Sunflower pollen has medicinal, protective effects on bees -- ScienceDaily – Sunflowers – a nice addition to pollinator gardens.

Research forecasts US among top nations to suffer economic damage from climate change -- ScienceDaily – The study found that the top 3 countries with the most to lose from climate change are the US, India and Saudi Arabia. China is in the top 5.

Do MoCA and Other Cognitive Screening Tests Work? | Berkeley Wellness – A short article that introduces some terminology….but not very satisfying. This is not an area where medical intervention has made great strides – unfortunately for an aging population.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Birds in Flight – National Geographic Blog – Birds in motion…a photographic challenge.

BBC - Future - Do we really live longer than our ancestors? – Life expectancy has increased because more of our species are making it to old age; life span has not changed much at all through history. The emperor Augustus lived to be 75 in the 1st century (his wife live to 86 or 87 years) and Japan’s Empress Suiko lived to be 74 in the 6th century. Cicero’s wife lived to be 103.

Prehistoric art hints at lost Indian civilisation - BBC News and An Unknown Ancient Civilization in India Carved This Rock Art | Smart News | Smithsonian – The same story from two sources. The first one is more detailed.

The Seven Cs of Education | What's Next: Top Trends – 2 items: the 7 Cs and the nature of creative thinking.

Secondary forests have short lifespans: Most don't last long enough to provide habitat for many forest species -- ScienceDaily – Making large scale commitment on reforestation requires long-term vision….and that appears to be lacking. The study was done in Costa Rica.

Infographic: Light Pollution Threatens Species | The Scientist Magazine® - It not just birds and bats….light pollution impacts a lot of organisms…including us (not the last item on the list ‘desynchronization’).