The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has announced Winter Bird Feeding 101, a free webinar set for this Thursday, November 19th. [Read more…] about Winter Bird Feeding 101: A Free Webinar
All animals need sleep of some kind. Reptiles, birds, bees – even nematodes, reportedly – require periodic bouts of unconsciousness, though I imagine it’s hard to tell what level of consciousness a nematode has when it’s awake. In a June 25, 2016 BBC report, University of Wisconsin sleep biologist Barrett Klein says that “… sleep is shared across all animals. There’s no universally-accepted exception.” [Read more…] about Science of Sleep Across Species
I’m told there is a Zen Buddhist saying that goes “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” The idea, I think, is to be mindful of the ordinary tasks which constitute one’s daily life, regardless of our spiritual state.
Unfortunately, many of us who heat with wood are not enlightened as to how much extra wood we carry because we’re needlessly boiling water inside our woodstoves all winter. In fact, if your firewood is not adequately dry, it could cost you $200 to $600 annually just to send steam up the chimney. [Read more…] about Science of Burning Fresh Firewood vs Dry
I have all the respect in the world for science, and those who practice its various disciplines, but scientists are not exempt from getting drawn into petty battles over whose ideas should prevail. I’m told there was a long-simmering dispute, apparently resolved for the moment, over how to define hibernation. The consensus now is that any critter able to actively slow its metabolism is a hibernator. Actively slowing down sounds like an oxymoron, but let’s not resort to name-calling. [Read more…] about Winter Brumation Sweeps Across Northern Latitudes
“Those kind sting!” he declared. He was the third student that month to point out the same kind of caterpillar as stinging. I remembered being warned away from hairy caterpillars as a kid, but I’ve since picked up many – of various types – with no ill effect. I wondered, could the hairy-caterpillars-sting story be a myth? [Read more…] about Urticating Hairs: The Defense Hairy Caterpillars
Autumn is coming to a close. The brilliant fall foliage is past peak, if not already layered in the compost bin. The last geese are honking their way toward winter homes. Predictions are proffered (sometimes cheerfully, mostly not) for how cold and snowy this year’s winter will be.
Sources for seasonal predictions vary. The Farmers’ Almanac and traditional tales are often cited. How soon those geese head south, for example, is supposed to indicate how difficult winter will be. We trust these bits of folklore because they often have a scientific basis and seem to work. [Read more…] about Woolly Bears And Winter Forecasts
You may be familiar with the “Scopes Monkey Trial.” In 1925, teacher Thomas Scopes was brought into court for violating a Tennessee law that forbade the teaching of evolution. Scopes was defended by famed lawyer Clarence Darrow, who actually asked the jury to find his client guilty in order that the case could be appealed to a higher court.
In 1927, Scopes’ guilty verdict was reversed on a technicality, without addressing the issue of the law’s constitutionality. (That matter was not resolved until 1968, when the United States Supreme Court struck down – on First Amendment issues – a similar law in Arkansas.)
Years earlier, Brooklyn, New York had a monkey trial – but one that was entirely different. The Brooklyn case did not involve Darwin’s theory of evolution in any way – it concerned an actual living, breathing, in-the-flesh monkey. [Read more…] about Brooklyn’s Monkey Trial of 1906
The dazzling light shows put on by synchronous fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are so popular that park managers have had to institute a lottery system for viewing them.
An entire recreation industry has grown up around kayaking through glowing surf from Florida to Washington.
And a few years ago, I even saw someone dressed as a deep-sea anglerfish at a Halloween concert – complete with glowstick lure dangling from her forehead. [Read more…] about Amphibians Aglow: Biofluorescence On Show
The Lake Champlain Committee in partnership with Lake Champlain Sea Grant have announced their expanded line up of “Zoom a Scientist” programs.
The public can tune in virtually through Zoom every Tuesday and Friday from noon to 1 pm to learn more about Lake Champlain. [Read more…] about Zoom A Lake Champlain Scientist Programs
Over the next few weeks, the Lake Champlain Sea Grant team will be hosting “Zoom a Scientist,” an interactive webinar series focused on watershed and aquatic science.
Every Tuesday and Friday from noon until 1 pm scientists will lead viewers through the Lake Champlain watershed and share their research. [Read more…] about Lake Champlain Sea Grant Hosting ‘Zoom A Scientist’