Category Archives: science

rocks.

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it took a while and a team of busy gatherers

but the kinder were happy to announce

they had collected and lined up

79 rocks

and that equals 1 museum. 

 

“as with other phases of nature, I have probably loved the rocks more than I have studied them.’

-john burroughs

who are the dinos in your neighborhood?

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is this midtown manhattan?
amazing interactive map shows you would dinosaurs roamed your neighborhood millions of years ago
facebook While most of us know that all sorts of prehistoric creatures once inhabited Earth, you might not realize which ones used to wander around your particular city. Thanks to this interactive map, you can easily find out. Type in your city name, and you’ll see it plotted on the globe, along with a list of species whose fossils have been discovered nearby. If you click on the name of a species, a new webpage will open with details, images, and a map that shows where else that species lived.
Omaha, Nebraska, for example, was once home to the pteranodon, the trinacromerum, and the mosasaurus  Those last two are both marine reptiles, meaning that Nebraska used to be underwater—which the globe will show you, too.

In addition to searching by city, you can also see what Earth looked like during a specific time period by choosing an option from the dropdown menu at the top. Choices range from 750 million years ago—the Cryogenian period, when glaciers abounded—to 0 million years ago, which is Earth as we know it today. Using a different dropdown menu on the right, you can view Earth during its many notable “firsts,” including “first land plants,” “first dinosaurs,” “first primates,” and more.

As CNN reports, the map was created by California-based paleontologist Ian Webster, who added to an existing model that mapped plate tectonics and used additional data from GPlates, another piece of plate tectonics software.

“It is meant to spark fascination and hopefully respect for the scientists that work every day to better understand our world and its past,” Webster told CNN. “It also contains fun surprises. For example: how the U.S. used to be split by a shallow sea, the Appalachians used to be very tall mountains comparable to the Himalayas, and that Florida used to be submerged.”

You can find other fun surprises by exploring the map yourself here. For the best experience, you’ll want to access the site from a desktop computer or tablet versus a smartphone.

 “observation: i can’t see a thing. conclusion: dinosaurs.”

-carl sagan

 

 

credits: cnn, mental floss, ellen gutosky, orla, getty images

rainbow trout.

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not my trout, but an artist who creates in my style

 a few or five decades back

in my elementary school years

i undertook a project that i loved

an end-of-the-year

comprehensive non-fiction report

covering a wide swath of the animal kingdom

involving research, factual write-ups, and illustrations.

i worked on this tirelessly

gleaning material

from the only source i used for everything 

our set of encyclopedias

(no google to be found)

all was going well

until i came to the rainbow trout

with no illustration provided

 i used my imagination

creating my own vision

of what a rainbow trout might look like

a beautiful striped fish

with every color of the rainbow

spanning across its shiny and scaly skin

at last

the final piece in my big report complete

rechecked everything

put it all in my new yellow folder

decorated the cover

proudly turning it in

waiting for my teacher’s response

 she perused our reports

while we had silent reading time

 then called me up to her desk

with the hugest of smiles on her face

my report open to the rainbow trout page

telling me that she was going to give me an a+

she said she could see

 i was truly a creative

even more than a scientist

that both were good things to be

and she was right.

“the fish was a twelve inch rainbow trout with a huge hump on its back – a hunchback trout.”

-richard brautigan

‘i refuse to accept pluto’s resignation as a planet.’- amy lee

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 though not the first to go,

pluto lost its planetary status 15 years ago

 and not everyone agrees.

“as a planetary scientist, I don’t know what else to call Pluto: it’s big and round and thousands of miles wide.’ alan stern

 

 

 

 

credits: mental floss, jeopardy, getty images, courtney k

out of thin air.

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water from air

Two billion people on earth are without clean drinking water, and this problem will only be exacerbated by the climate crisis.

Fortunately, independent businesses are working on a myriad of differing solutions. One Israeli company, Watergen, has taken advantage of the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere contains 13 billion tonnes of fresh water and developed technology that filters water vapor out of the air.

Michael Mirilashvili, the leader of Watergen, told BBC, “A big advantage of using atmospheric water is that there’s no need to build water transportation, so no worries about heavy metals in pipes for example or cleaning contaminated water from the ground or polluting the planet with plastic bottles.”

The technology works by quickly drawing air into the machine and using condensation to produce fresh water at the low cost of seven to 15 cents per liter. The machine does use electricity, but if this can be supplied via renewable sources, the machine would have a very little environmental impact.

Water gathered from the atmosphere still faces the issue of condensing air pollution. Although lead was banned in 1999, it is still found in UK air in 2021. However, partner researchers from Tel Aviv University proved this to be a small obstacle when they were able to extract the water to a quality set by the World Health Organization.

Watergen’s technology can provide up to 1,585 gallons of water per day and has already been used at hospitals in the Gaza Strip and villages in Central Africa.

“water is the driving force of all nature.”

-leonardo da vinci

 

 


source credits: BBC news, Natalie Lisbona, Optimist daily

11.

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(in honor of all the recent space activity and a soon to arrive full moon – a repost from 2 years ago)

50th anniversary of the week of the Apollo 11 moon landing

I was 11

on the cusp of everything 

we went over

to my parents’ friends’ house

everyone was transfixed

air was electric

all gathered around the tv

watching

silent and awestruck

gobsmacked

as the first man walked on the moon

spoke his first words on the moon

 lots of emotion in the house

I ran to the window to look at the moon 

hoping I would see him up there

right in the middle of all of this

the hostess

left to go to the hospital

to have her baby

she named him neil

after that man on the moon.

“we ran as if to meet the moon.” 

― robert frost

image credit: Ann Arbor district library archives

think pink.

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Today in animals you might not believe are real (but are!): the pink fairy armadillo. This species (Chlamyphorus truncatus) grows to just about 6 inches long, making them the smallest armadillos in the world.

They are found only in central Argentina, and because they’re nocturnal and spend a lot of time burrowing underground, the elusive creatures are difficult to study. 

Like other armadillos, pink fairy armadillos have a shell (or carapace) but theirs is softer, thinner and more flexible. The shell’s color comes from blood vessels close to the surface.

source credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

“always be yourself unless you can be an armadillo,

then always be an armadillo.”

-author unknown

some animals are so unusual, it’s hard to believe they’re real.

what’s the most interesting/unusual animal you’ve ever encountered?

the music of spiders.

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spider music

The humble spider has always been well represented in the musical world, from Ziggy Stardust to the Who and Wilco. For too long, though, we’ve refused to let them relate their experiences to us more directly. That’s now changed, thanks to the work of scientists who are turning spiders’ vibration-based perceptions into music.

Vice recently profiled the work of MIT engineering professor Markus Buehler, who leads a team that’s working to translate web vibrations into sounds we can actually hear. The project uses “the physics of spiderwebs to assign audible tones to a given string’s unique tension and vibration” through a process called data sonification.

The resulting models can be explored through virtual reality software or listened to via examples recorded by Buehler and his collaborator Tomas Saraceno. The music created by manipulating the models is incredible—an eerie approximation of how spiders understand their environments.

Buehler says that the project’s goal is both to “expand how we generate sound in music and how we compose music” and to practically demonstrate how “for something like a spider, there’s a whole different way of experiencing the world.”

“Researchers say the project could eventually be used to reverse engineer spiders’ reality and communicate with the arachnids,” Vice explains, somewhat ominously. Buehler elaborates, saying that he’s planning to play AI-generated spider sounds to the creatures and “gauge [their] reactions.”

For more on Markus Buehler And The Spiders From Earth, read the full article.

 

“is there anything more beautiful and protective than the simple complexity of a spider’s web?”

-e.b. white, Charlotte’s Web

 

 

 

source credits: Reid McCarter, Michelle Bender, Vice