Archive for February, 2016

Back in the day

Australia, the one continent that sits out in the middle of the ocean by itself. Chalk full of animals and plants that are found only there.  A place that is unique in the fact that in order for a species to either come or go, takes some doing. It also usually involves humans.

That’s what made this article so interesting. The article is entitled “New Zealand’s little penguins are recent Australian invaders ” from the University of Otago. As someone who is fascinated with migration and the path taken, the question of course remains, how did they get to New Zealand? Stay tuned!



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Chemistry 101

Now as I told my daughter a while back, science was never my strong point in school but as an adult, I’ve really come to love it. That said, these two articles are really just going to cover chemistry 101. To be honest with you, I never took chemistry, either in grade school or college.

The article that is focused on grade school is entitled “Chemistry crayon labels add an ‘element’ of playful learning to coloring” by over at Inhabitots. I wish I had those when I use to color.

The second article, focused on the college level, is entitled “New elements recently added to periodic table” by the University of Tennessee. I don’t know what’s there now, so that’s not going to help. FYI,  there will be a quiz next week.



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Phantom Forest Conservation Area

Today  the kids and I walked a new trail over in the Phantom Forest Conservation Area. It’s a rather small green space, only about thirteen acres total but the view from the top is pretty nice.

That’s where the remains of an house sit, along with a small plaque describing the area. It belong to Ray and Claire Moore and it turns out that he, was the illustrator of the Phantom Comic.

I also took a few pictures. Here’s one of my favorites:




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Pretty much every morning and evening, when I going to work and coming home from work, I always look up to see where the moon is in the sky. On the weekends, at night, I always like to look up and see where the moon is and what stars and/or planets are out.

So while I’m always looking out for the moon, outside of knowing that it affects the ocean tides, I must admit I’m more than a little illiterate on how the moon affects life here on earth. Now that I’ve requested this book, Moonstruck by Ernest Naylor, hopefully I’ll become a little more educated.

You can also check out the article “First Rock From the Earth” by John Huth over at the Wall Street Journal. It’s a review of the book but unfortunately, unless you have a subscription, the article isn’t available online.



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All trees break equally

So a long time ago, back in the days of Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo, many tried to quantify how well wooden beams would resist bending. It wasn’t until 2009 however, following a huge storm called “Klaus,” over in France that scientist began to realize that most trees tended to snap when winds reached about 94 miles per hour (151 kilometers per hour).

Check out all the details in the article entitledWhy Trees Everywhere Break at the Same Wind Speed” by Tia Ghose over at LiveScience. Me, I always worry any time the winds reach over thirty miles per hour. Good to know.



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Skippin stones

Having watched both my boys skip many a stones over at Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park in the Meramec River, this article gave me some insight into as to what is actually happening when they do that.

The article is entitled “The science of skipping stones on water: Conventional wisdom favors flat rocks, but Splash Lab researchers in Utah get interesting results with squishy spheres” by Michael Graham Richard over at the Mother Nature Network.

Unfortunately the rivers quite high these days, so I don’t know when we’ll get back there but hopefully it will be soon. Sometimes however, they just like to throw really big ones and watch them splash. Oh well!

Skipping along-


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Dams be damned

I’ve been following this story since back when I was still working at Webster University’s Emerson Library and that’s been over ten years ago. Anyway, four dams on the Klamath river (located on both sides of the California and Oregon border) and that many have been trying to get removed, are finally coming down (be it in 2021).

For many years, environmental groups were worried that in order for this deal to happen, they would have to make some sort of deal with local irrigators, but those negotiations fell  through last year and so the best part of this deal is, that there are no strings attached.

You can check it all out over in the article entitled “On the Klamath, a surprising win for river advocates” by Paige Blankenbuehler over at High Country News.



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Nature in pictures

I’ve been trying to expand my horizons for what seems like forever and now I finally have. Tonight I entered a photo contest, really for the first time, that is being put on by the Defenders of Wildlife.

Taking pictures is something I use to love to do when my dad was around. He use to develop pictures down in the basement in his black room and now with my daughter’s interest in photography, I’ve finally become interested again.

You can only enter six and so I entered four of mine and two of my daughters. Here are one of her’s and one of mine:



I described the first one (which is her’s) as nature taking back our driveway and the second one (which is mine) as the welcome mat to our lake.

Sweet dreams!


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Weekend in nature

So we started with Raptor Night on Friday evening, after I got off work and while it made for a long night (though we did get dinner first), we listen to a lecture, watch a video on falconry and then a little meet the birds session.

My daughter of course, wants to dive in head first and start building a cage and become an apprentice, the whole nine yards. My youngest one wasn’t too interested but he did enjoy petting one of the birds.


Then on Sunday we went over to check out the Meramec river at Emmenegger Nature Park. It was amazing how high it still is. Usually we can walk in and look for fossils and shells or just skip rocks. Today, we can’t get to close because of the unstable ground. We did however, manage to take a few pictures.


Overall, a really great weekend.



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