Archive for February, 2013

There’s electricity is in the air

So the book I’m reading now is entitled The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body by Frances Ashcroft and I must admit, it’s not a topic I thought I would be interested in but so far it’s been a really good read.  I just finished the first chapter this morning on the way to work and there is one section entitled The “Mad” Scientist that was very interesting to say the least. I’ve always been someone who enjoys history and so this section talked about how scientist all over Europe (in the early 1800’s) were working to prove that electricity existed in the human body by experimenting on human cadavers. Sort of creepy right?

Then shortly after I got to work, I came across this article entitled “5 weird things that happen after you die” by Katherine Butler at the Mother Nature Network and I thought okay, lets post it.



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Finally, some snow in the midwest

A couple of days after our first real snow/sleet/ice storm here in the midwest, I finally got the chance to shovel around my house but before I did that, I came across a couple of more of those archival articles I have and all I can say is “wow“!

This first one took remind me how just it was just a couple of years ago when we practically had snow in every state according to “49 states dusted with snow; Hawaii’s the holdout” at USA Today.

I also found this article over at Chelsea Green Publishing to remind me of another what you might call a smaller version of this year’s super storm. This was also along the east cost according to “Sy Montgomery: Ice Storm” by dpacheco.

So as I  sit here in the midwest with my kids (at least until earlier this week ) wishing for more snow, one has to wonder what the future holds? I mean just a couple of weeks ago it was in the 60’s and in fact, tomorrow it’s suppose to hit 50 degrees.



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So how does someone who studies the weather get the title of meteorologist?

Okay, so I guess until I find out the answer (or maybe not), I’m going to go ahead and follow up my recent post on meteors, meteorites and asteroids with this obituary that I found while digging around in those stacks of articles as well. The article is entitled “Pioneer Meteorologist Peered Into Storms” by Stephen Miller at the Wall Street Journal. Turns out that Joanne Simpson was quite the pioneer in the field of meteorology!



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A bat that crawls and a bee that lives alone

With much of the midwest covered in snow today and since I got off work early, I decided to go through my stack of old (really old) articles and found a couple about animals that apparently go against the grain.

The first one is about a bee that likes to go solo in this article entitled “Rare Bee Species Lives Alone, Makes Nest Out of Flower Petals” by Jerry James Stone at Treehugger.

The other article is about a bat that not only likes hanging around but can also get along on the ground in  “A Bat That Crawls as Much as It Flies Shows Ancient Lineages” by Katherine Harmon at Scientific American. Unfortunately since the article is rather old (2009),  I was unable to track it down online. If I do find it available somewhere else, I will keep you posted.



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Update: I found the link!

Meteors, meteorites and asteroids

Okay, after talking with my daughter this weekend about meteors and asteroids and how often they happen/hit earth, did I come across these two great articles here in our St. Louis newspaper the St. Louis Post-Dispatch while at work today.

The first article dealing with what is being referred to as a cosmic coincidence in “Earth sees meteor and asteroid on the same day” by Steven Perlberg at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There is also a video courtesy of CBS in Philadelphia.

The other article is a great educational tool to help define meteors and meteorites (something I hadn’t thought about) and is entitled “Examining meteors, meteoritesby Alan Fredman and also at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We learn something new everyday.



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The day of the Lorax and super storm Sandy

One of the first things I stumbled upon today over at MNN  was the fact that February 14th besides being Valentine’s day, is also the day that the original Lorax premiered on television (you can read about it here).  I remember a few years ago when I took my oldest two children to see it on Earth Day and they just loved it.

Now for those of you who have read the book, it all starts with the trees and so imagine my surprise when I saw this video on how one individual is taking all of the trees lost through super storm Sandy and as the old saying goes, ” making lemonade out of lemons by producing these beautiful bowls from those fallen trees. In addition, some of the profits are going to help others. Check it all out at “Artist gives new life to Sandy’s fallen trees” by Melissa Bryer, also at MNN.

Those trees, those Truffula Trees!


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History of space here on earth

1,000 or 66,000,000 years ago, it’s amazing how we are able to reconstruct what has happened in space with clues here on earth.  According to one article, “Space Explosion to Blame for Tree Ring Mystery, Astronomers Say“by Clara Moskowitz at, we see evidence in tree rings about an  gamma-ray burst that happened somewhere between 3,000 and 12,000 light-years away from earth.

“While just recently we’ve found more clues to support one of the possible ideas as to how dinosaurs became extinct over 66,000,000years ago in the article “Asteroid Impact That Killed the Dinosaurs: New Evidence” by Charles Choi at LiveScience.



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Ode to a Whale

Tonight I thought I would post a poem that my daughter wrote a while ago entitled Whales:


I am a Whale

I am very pale

I am very smart

and have a big tail

I live in the ocean

Where there is a lot of commotion

I am very big

but I do not wear a wig

I live in warm water

where it is a lot hotter

I am a whale

Now what inspired me (in part) to post this poem is an article I read the other day over at LiveScience entitled “Whale-Poop Find May Fetch Man $180,000” by Marc Lallanilla. That article reminded me of a great book I read a while ago on whales entitled The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare. I seem to recall that he went into some detail about the value of whale poop. Anyway, when I came across this poem, I knew I had to post it.



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If a tree blooms in the woods…

Okay, so it should say if a tree falls in the woods but the point here is it seems a little early for trees getting ready to bloom but if you look outside in my front yard, I have a Bradford Pear tree that looks ready to bloom. So that got me to thinking about trees and climate change and the like.

So anyway, first up is an article entitled “Pine Beetle Attacks Alter Climate Over Canadian Forests” by Deanna Conners over at EarthSky.

Then I saw this article on the same day entitled “Peatland Forest Loss and Climate Change” by Alex Peel over at the Environmental News Network via Planet Earth on Line. So one plus one equals what again?

Finally there was this article over at Science Daily that was titled “Spring May Come Earlier to North American Forests, Increasing Uptake of Carbon Dioxide” originally written by Cather­ine Zan­donella. Okay, you do the math.



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From the top to the bottom of the Ocean

Despite the fact that nearly 70% of the earth is covered in water, we seem to know very little about it, particularly that which is in our oceans. Take for example this article over at the New York Times by Carl Zimmer about what’s on top entitled “In Ocean’s Teeming Top Layer, Scientists Find a Microbe Haven“.

While down at the bottom (of Lake Whillan in Antartica) researchers have brought up samples 2,625 feet (800 meters) below the surface of the ice, also looking for microbes and other signs of life. You can read about it in “Antartic Drilling Team Nabs 1st Samples of Buried Lake” by Becky Oskin at LiveScience or at National Geographic in “Life Found Deep Under Antartic Ice for First Time? U.S. Scientists Discover Microbes in Lake a Half-Mile Under the Surface” by Marc Kaufman. They’re both good reads.

Hmmm! There seems to be a theme here.

So I’ll go ahead and throw in this article about microbes to give you an idea (if you haven’t already figured it out) how tough they are. The article is “Stormy Weather is No Match for Microbes” by Alex Reshanov over at EarthSky.



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