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?

Becoming a Volunteer

It’s been 6 years since I retired and started volunteering more regularly. I got off to a slow start during the first year – taking 18 months to settle on what I wanted to do as a volunteer and the organization. Being outdoors in nature and working with a variety of age groups turned out to be ‘calling;’ it helped that the Howard Country Conservancy provided focused training to give me the know how to do it – first with elementary school field trips and then to preschool through high school. The interactions with hiking groups is something I don’t think I will ever want to give up!

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Over the years, I’ve ramped up the amount of time volunteering and increased my knowledge over the last 4 years to be more effective as a volunteer by

  • becoming a Maryland Master Naturalist,
  • taking a 2-day course on benthic macroinvertebrates,
  • attending an annual Maryland water monitoring conference, and
  • (currently) enjoying HoLLIE (Howard County Legacy Leadership Institute for the Environment).
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Last summer I added volunteering at Brookside Gardens (Wings of Fancy butterflies and model trains) in addition to the volunteering for Howard Country Conservancy programs. That filled in the volunteering lull in summer and December in prior years.

At this point, the only season of the year that I don’t have a lot of volunteer activity is the depths of winter! Right now – that seems like a good thing since the lull is allowing time to savor the HoLLIE days.

Gleanings of the Week Ending February 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.

BBC - Future - The world’s most nutritious foods – A short video and a list. I found that I ate quite a few from the list!

Bumper-Crop Birds: Pop-Up Wetlands Are a Success in California – Cool Green Science – Creating habitat for birds where and when they migrate…through the California Central Valley.

Interview with Photomicrographer Justin Zoll About His Microscopy Series – I was surprised to get ideas from Zentangle from crystals!

A search for insomnia genes involving 1.3 million people is the largest genetic study ever - MIT Technology Review – Lots of people in the study…956 different genes linked to insomnia but genes explain less that 10% of the overall chance that a person has insomnia.

Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire creating new health care company – Hopefully these big companies will be able to find ways to make health care better and more affordable for their employees…and then be the model for everyone else.

Frogs Through Time, Modern Portraits of Species Discovered Two Centuries Ago – National Geographic Blog – Looking at frog species documented by the Spix and Martius expedition to Brazil…using their drawings and modern photographs.

This is your brain: This is your brain outdoors: Neuroscientists find differences in brain activity depending whether people are outdoors or in a lab -- ScienceDaily – Most studies have been done indoors … until this one. Until relatively recently in our history, we spent a lot more time outside so I wondered if the warping our brain activity by spending long stretches of time indoors is changing us in more ways that we realize.

Researchers create digital map, cultural history of Carlsbad Caverns  and A day in the park: Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Using LiDAR to create a very detailed map of the cave. The article reminded me that tt’s been a lot of years since I visited the park…maybe it’s time to plan a repeat.

Magnesium makes chromosomes: A new chemical tool, MARIO, shows how free Mg2+ ions regulate chromosome shape -- ScienceDaily – It appears that a mineral we know we need … is key in ways we had not anticipated!

The Prairie Ecologist – Photo of the Week – Pictures of dragonfly larvae that frozen near the surface of a pond! We find dragonfly larvae frequently when we do stream surveys – when things are not frozen. Next time we get many days of very cold weather I’ll take a walk to a local stream (or pond) to see if I find any larvae on the surface.