Gleanings of the Week Ending March 23, 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.

Salt Could Play a Role in Allergies | The Scientist Magazine® - Atopic dermatitis has increased more than 2-fold since the 1970s….and researchers do not attribute the increase to greater awareness or diagnosis. Now comes the observation that people with lesioned skin from atopic dermatitis (but not psoriasis) had a 30-fold higher salt level in their lesions than in their unlesioned skin or skin from healthy controls. The connection to diet is speculative at this point…but we do have higher salt in our diet now that most people had in the 1970s.

In Siberia, Toxic Black Snow Reveals the Toll of Coal Mining | Smart News | Smithsonian – Yuck! Pollutions from open-air coal pits…in the extreme. Another reason, I’m glad we’re moving away from coal powered electricity generation. I wondered if the people living in the area of black snow develop terrible lung problems.  

See the best pictures from Bill Ingalls, NASA's official photographer – 30 years of photography

What makes joints pop and crack and is it a sign of disease? – A little lesson in joint anatomy

Piling Up: How China’s Ban on Importing Waste Has Stalled Global Recycling - Yale E360 – China’s plastic imports have plummeted by 99%, mixed paper has dropped by a 33%. Recycled aluminum and glass are less affected by the ban. So now we are sending plastics to landfills, incinerators or littering the environment. Communities across the US have curtailed or halted their recycling programs. That hasn’t happened (yet) where I live in Maryland. We must learn to produce less recycle (waste) and process it more locally…not ship is someplace else in the world.

Meet the Bizarre American Bittern – Cool Green Science – It’s a type of heron that makes a strange sound (listen to the recording in this post). It is so well camouflaged that you are more likely to hear it than see it!

Photography in The National Parks: Capturing the Grandness of The Grand Tetons – Reminds me that this is a National Park I want to see again. Last time we went, I wasn’t doing any photography yet.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Interactions – National Geographic Society – Pictures that are more than just a bird.

Prehistoric Microbes Inhabit an Oasis in the Northern Mexican Desert | The Scientist Magazine® - Fish, diatoms, and bacteria in lagoons in the Chihuahua Desert and cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. More than 5,000 species of bacteria and archaea have been documented.

Owls against owls in a challenge for survival: Researchers forecast interactions between two owl species and the quality of their habitat in the Pacific Northwest -- ScienceDaily – I learned at the Festival of the Cranes (New Mexico) last fall about Barred Owls moving into Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) territory….and winning the competition. That further reduces the NSO populations which is already endangered because of over-logging of the old growth forests.

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 November 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.

Drug pollution concentrates in stream bugs, passes to predators in water and on land: Animals that eat insects in or near streams at risk of being dosed with pharmaceuticals -- ScienceDaily – Wow – the existence of macroinvertebrates in our local rivers is an indicator of water quality (the focus of the field trips with high schooler’s I’ve been doing in recent years) but those same macroinvertebrates are probably getting a healthy dose of pharmaceuticals from the water…the fish that eat them act as concentrators….and some of those fish are eaten by people.  I hope reserarchers in the US are doing similar studies to the one described in this article. It would also be good if pharmaceutical companies would develop drugs that were not excreted in a still active form.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Flocks – National Geographic Blog and Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Seed Eating Birds – National Geographic Blog – Two bird photograph collections for this week’s gleanings. Enjoy!

RIP Kepler: NASA’s exoplanet-hunting space telescope is finally dead - MIT Technology Review – The Kepler mission that discovered 2,662 exoplanets in our galaxy finally ran out of fuel. There is already a new satellite picking up the mission and the James Webb Space Telescope will launch in 2021.

Premature Birth Report Cards | March of Dimes – Only one state gets an ‘A’ – and many areas of the country are getting worse when it comes to premature births.

High levels of previously unsuspected pollutant uncovered in homes, environment -- ScienceDaily – An organophosphate that is known to be toxic was a surprise find in household dust…more study needed on its impact on humans that live with it at that level. The chemical is used as a flame retardant or plasticizer in consumer products…and may also form as other chemicals degrade.

Wildlife Populations Have Shrunk by 60 Percent Since 1970 | The Scientist Magazine® - The impact of less and less space for habitat for any species other than those directly related to humans.

BBC - Future - Why the flu of 1918 was so deadly – There have been flu strains that have been just as contagious as the 1918 strain…but none as deadly.

Infographic: What Makes a Brain Smart? | The Scientist Magazine® - There are several models that are being studied.

11 Wildly Colored Moths to Brighten Your Day – Cool Green Science – Most of our moths are in cocoons for the winter. There are several of these that I’ve seen on Maryland…will be looking for them next spring.

Owls help scientists unlock secret of how the brain pays attention -- ScienceDaily – A study using barn owls to figure out how the brain chooses what most deserves attentions.

Gleanings of the Week Ending August 18, 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 with Red Plumage – National Geographic Blog – Starting out this weeks gleanings selections with some eye candy…..bird photographs. I was disappointed that the pileated woodpecker was not one of the 25.

Going Quietly into the Night: The Unseen Plight of Africa’s Giraffes – National Geographic Blog – Did you know that there are 4 species of giraffes? And most of them are in trouble.

10 Questions About Nut Butters | Berkeley Wellness – There is a segment near the end of the article that expands to show a table of “What’s in your ‘Nut Butter’?” – worth taking a look. I use almond butter more than peanut butter these days….but may explore some of the other options (not the high sugar ones).

Chemists discover how blue light from digital devices speeds blindness -- ScienceDaily – If this research is confirmed by other labs is seems like we should be demanding screens that are ‘less blue.’

A Tough Plant, Not A Weed | The Prairie Ecologist – Ironweed in the prairie…and the insects that it attracts.

Life Scientists Cut Down on Plastic Waste | The Scientist Magazine® - Hopefully every field/business is consciously reducing plastic waste. We are being overwhelming by single use plastics! The same type of thinking needs to happen at the individual level in our homes as well.

Sharpen your science skills with NOAA’s webinars for educators | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Webinars created for teachers….but open to everyone. They’re archived too.

Archaeologists identify ancient North American mounds using new image analysis technique -- ScienceDaily -Analyzing new satellite and aerial sensor data with Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA) more than 160 mound features have been identified in Beaufort County SC….and there could be many more along the east coast of the US. This analysis pinpoints areas for archaeologists to look at on the ground.

BBC - Future - How do you treat someone who doesn’t accept they’re ill? – A thoughtful article about how communities are responding to people suffering psychoactive disorders…and refuse treatment.

Owl Underground: A Summer Encounter with Burrowing Owls – Cool Green Science – A short video from the side of an interstate highway in Idaho….and an article about burrowing owls.