Time for Thorns

An independent view on life.

Posts Tagged ‘science

If you missed…

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…the SpaceX rocket launch with a retired Marine and Airman aboard,  you can  watch it here.  Enjoy — we’re back in space!

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June 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm

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Tunguska…

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…has been the subject of intense discussion since the nearly 800 square miles of flattened Siberian forest was examined in 1927,  nearly 20 years after the event.   Now there is a   new theory  that an asteroid caused the destruction without impacting Earth.    I’m no astrophysicist,   but I grasp that an asteroid could explode above the ground and still cause extraordinary damage.   The latest theory proposes that  “…the event was caused by an iron asteroid body,  which passed through the Earth’s atmosphere and continued to the near-solar orbit.”  OK,  I’ll bite,  but can they prove it?

 

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June 2, 2020 at 7:05 pm

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Glacier mice…

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…not real mice,  but cute little squishy balls  of moss  that appear only on certain glaciers and appear to move about as a group.   What fascinating objects of study and discovery!

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May 27, 2020 at 6:29 pm

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Ocean critters…

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When you think of the sea, what animals do you envision?   Most people think of fish first,  because there are lots of them and we eat a bunch of species.   But what about tunicates,  sponges,  corals,  or anemones?   Relax –  I had to look up the tunicates,  too.   Enjoy this  short biology  tour without getting your feet wet.

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm

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Jupiter infrared…

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The infrared picture at the top of  this article  is a far cry from the little round plastic balls stuck on wire frame in the science classes of old.   I am so  glad Glenn Orton chose to use Jupiter for his high-school science-fair project,  in which he used his own photographs.   He won first prize that year,  1965.

Decades later he is still studying Jupiter,  but now as a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.   Thanks a lot, Glenn!

Written by timeforthorns

May 15, 2020 at 6:36 pm

Murder hornets…

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As if COVID-19 and the imperious response of some officials isn’t enough to disrupt your sleep,  now we’re getting the so-called  murder hornets.   They are two inch long beasts with venom potent enough to kill a mouse and even some people.  But you will be less nervous when you watch this clip of a praying mantis killing one of the hornets.   The mantis occasionally visit my garden,  but I don’t buy eggs to hatch unless I have an active infestation of something they normally predate.  The last time I did so was when one of my neighbors,  thankfully now moved far away,  failed to maintain his property and it was overrun by various infestations and diseases.   300 mantis eggs solved my impending problems and most of his existing ones.

I have lots of bumble bees and honey bees because I have citrus plants.   I use lavender oil spray to keep carpenter bees from boring holes in my window frames,  but I also have a variety of wasps,  including aggressive yellow jackets with their painful stings.    Yes,  I do speak from personal experience here.   If I see one Asian giant hornet on my property I’m buying a case of mantis eggs.   The mantis will eat beneficials if they are hungry and the opportunity presents,  but I’d prefer to lose a few of the good insects in an attempt to ward off the dangerous ones.

Researchers  claim that  they aren’t generally interested in humans or large animals,  including pets.   They mainly hunt insects for food and only sting as a defense mechanism if their nest is disturbed.    But they also admit they don’t know what impact the new arrivals will have.   In the meantime I am planting more citrus and sweet flowering shrubs and plants for my pollinators so they have an abundance of food.

By the way,  Japanese bees have learned how  to deal  with the marauders.  Sen. Ted Cruz is a fan!

 

Written by timeforthorns

May 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Sun cable…

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I have some understanding of how undersea cables work,  and of how the high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable in its extra-long format works.   Where I come a cropper is figuring out how the Aussies can convert solar power and transmit it  over such  distances.   I have a great deal of practical knowledge from growing up on a large farm,  and I use a number of solar lights around my house,  but I am clearly short on the engineering skills necessary to cope with such a project.   Here’s hoping success for them in 2027!

 

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

March 1, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Coyotes and badgers…

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Native American folklore features tales of the two species hunting together,  and scientific  research has  confirmed it.  The cooperation makes sense when you consider the specific skills each animal brings to a hunt.   I would not be surprised to learn that the original researchers were academics who had a vast amount of  “book learning” but little actual knowledge of the real natural world.   I have seen foxes and dogs playing  “tag”  with each,  apparently just for the sheer fun of it.   Science should not be so hasty in dismissing folklore and cultural myths,  which are often based on experience and observation.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

February 12, 2020 at 1:09 pm

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Talking sand…

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Sand fascinated me long before I took any geology in school.   Where I grew up featured red clay  —  like glue when wet,  hard as a rock when dry,  and produced first-rate cotton.   It also had black loam in which you could grow just about anything.   And then here were strips of sand of varying coarseness.  Carrots and some other tasty food grew happily there,  but mostly I liked the feel of it as I dug my hands into it.

The first time I came upon real sand dunes in a desert I was impressed by how artistically the wind had arranged it,  much as the ocean had sculpted tiny little dunes on the floor of the ocean.  Now they have decided that the things communicate with  each other as they move.   Communicating via spatial relationships is a bit odd,  but I have seen cattle silently rearranging themselves for better graze,  or for a better view of something.   If you’ve ever watched busy pedestrian intersections,  you will have noticed that people manage to miss each other unless they are impaired in some way.

Written by timeforthorns

February 8, 2020 at 1:40 pm

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Only one this century…

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That was yesterday,  February 2nd,  or 02/02/2020,  a palindrome,  meaning something which reads the same backwards and forwards.   It’s also  the first  date one in 909 years,  so it’s extra special.   You’ll have to wait a century for another.

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February 3, 2020 at 1:51 pm

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