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.

Summer Camp Volunteering- Week 4

The theme for last week’s Howard Count Conservancy’s summer camps was ‘Friends in Flight – Bees, Birds, Bats.’ For the activity at Mt Pleasant – I added ‘Butterflies’ to the Friends in Flight list – playing a Monarch Migration game (instructions here) with each of the three groups. The numbered and laminated cards were taped to colorful cones and mug box dice were used for the cards that needed them. The route of cones was set up on the bricked path in the Honors Garden because the grass was so wet everywhere.

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All the campers discovered that there are a lot of hazards along with way during migration….and most played the game about 3 times. We tallied the successful and unsuccessful migrations…with the unsuccessful being slightly ahead!

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At Belmont, I started the Zentangle® session with a discussion of blue jays and their feathers using some pictures.

Then the two groups of campers made mono-tangles with a feather-like pattern. For the first group (skewed toward the older in the 5-12 years old range), I used 3” square coasters and a finer point pen than they had used before. The younger group used Apprentice tiles and the Sharpie ultra-fine pens. Some, but not all, of the campers had been in the previous Zentangle sessions. Overall – it was an impressive week!

It was the last week of summer camp. I’ll take a little break – but am already looking forward to the fall field trips ramping up soon.

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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 February 09, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gleanings of the Week Ending April 7, 2018

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

How Do We Carry Our Shopping Home Now? | CleanTechnica – I’ve been using my collection of reusable bags for years. Some of them are over 10 years old and still in great shape. Occasionally, I still get a Lightweight Plastic Bag (or a newspaper in plastic, or other plastic bag packaging) which I take back to the bag recycling bin at my grocery store. I’m always sad when I set a grocery cart full of stuff in the plastic bags…hope none of them escape into the environment.

A Harlequin Duck’s Long Cross-Country Migration – Cool Green Science – A bird banded in Glacier National Park migrated to Long Island! Zoom lenses on cameras and binoculars make it possible to record banding info from a distance.

BBC - Future - The small Scottish isle leading the world in electricity – Eigg has an off-grid electric system powered by wind, water, and solar…they average 90-95% renewable energy. The time of year they tend to need back up generators is in the spring.

Implications of access to high-quality fruits and vegetables: Quality has potential to impact consumer selection and consumption in rural areas -- ScienceDaily – There has been a lot of discussion about food deserts in big cities – places that lack affordable, high-quality food. It appears that food deserts occur in rural areas as well.

Top 25 Endemic Wild Birds – National Geographic – The weekly bird photography fix! The chickadee we see frequently in our areas of the Mid-Atlantic of the US is endemic to our part of the world (and is one of the 25 pictured).

New Beginnings: Cherry Blossoms and Helen Taft's Landscape Diplomacy – Some years we manage to see the peak of the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin in Washington DC….but every year we enjoy the cherry tree in our front year. It is always at least a week later than the ones in DC.

US electricity use drops, renewables push fossil fuels out of the mix | Ars Technica – Total electrical generation was down 1.5 percent in 2017. Coal and natural gas declines were more than that with renewable energy projects coming online. Energy efficiency has made a difference! Another article reported that some utilities are planning for the uptick in electric vehicles to cause the trend in electricity generation to turn upward again. Right now – it seems like people that buy electric cars are often the same people that install solar panels; that could result in no uptick to the draw from the electric utility.

The Life Issue | WIRED – A collection of thought provoking articles about ‘what it means to live in an age of improvisation.’ I started with the articles about the 55-infinity age group.

Microscopic Images of Seeds • Insteading – hmm…maybe I’ll take a magnified look at seeds before I plant them in my flower beds.

Meditate regularly for an improved attention span in old age – Nice to know that something enjoyable immediately is also good for the long term too!

Gleanings of the Week Ending March 24, 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 Migratory Wild Birds – National Geographic Blog – Lots of birds on the move this time of year.

Photobook Captures Diverse Beauty of 100 Different Types of Chickens – Who knew there were so many kinds of chickens!

Some states now advocate coexistence with–rather than killing of–coyotes – National Geographic – We have an overpopulation of deer in our area…and we hear coyotes more frequently. The only time I’ve seen them is a blurring running away from me. I’m cheering them on this spring; maybe they will help limit the size of the deer population.

BBC - Future - Why being a loner may be good for your health – Being alone is not the same as being lonely!

Strange and Unbelievable Facts About Shrews – Cool Green Science – I’ve never seen a shrew – or maybe I just didn’t realize what I was seeing. Watch the 2 videos!

Migrations and Other Colorful Natural Phenomena – Appreciating the natural world…

State-by-state causes of infant mortality in the US: State-by-state analysis links sudden unexpected deaths of infants (SUDI) to high proportion of full-term infant mortality in the U.S. -- ScienceDaily – I was surprised at the variability within the US.

Are Bird Feeders Helping Cardinals Expand Their Range? – Cool Green Science – A positive for bird feeders? I know we have cardinals that visit our feeder area almost every day…all year long.

Historical Sign of Chesapeake Winter, the Canvasback, Still Brightens the Bay – National Geographic – There numbers are greatly reduced…but they still are quite a site. I am already planning a field trip for next winter!

Zion National Park – I came close to visiting this park but the Federal Government shut down that October….it’s a place I’ll eventually visit. It’s also a great place for this article to use for a photography tutorial.