Time for Thorns

An independent view on life.

Posts Tagged ‘science

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.

Written by timeforthorns

February 3, 2020 at 1:51 pm

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Rock on!

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Scientists are  total suckers  for rocks Mother Nature has precariously and whimsically balanced.   One reason is that they serve as “reverse seismometers” —  the mere fact that they are still balanced means an earthquake did not happen in the last few thousand years.   Sometimes knowing what didn’t happen is just as important as knowing what did,  especially when it comes to geological explanations and forecasts.

As for me, I always wonder how they arrived at that tiny point between balance and failure  — were they deposited by moving glaciers,  erosion,  or perhaps earthquakes?   i don’t know,  but  PBRs strike me as amazing and amusing and I need do nothing more than enjoy them.

 

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

January 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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Whence fall colors….

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Cooler fall weather produces some breathtaking coloration in leaves.   Here’s the  chemical explanation of why and how.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

November 6, 2019 at 5:38 pm

Painted lady year…

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No,  I’m not talking about prostitutes plying their wares,  but the influx of half a million “painted lady” butterflies into Britain from mainland Europe.   It is the largest such event since 2009,  but it is a natural phenomenon which occurs about every decade.    You can  see here  how the insects got their popular name,  but the three-week Big Butterfly Count revealed that other common species also displayed substantial increases over the summer,  due in part to fine weather.

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

October 26, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Trees — do you…

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…wonder about them?   Robert Frost did,  poetically,  and now a large number  of scientists  are studying and using less invasive technologies to answer some questions and correct some past  “settled science.”   As in most areas,  we are finding out how little we actually know about the lives of trees.  Even if you think you won’t be interested,  you will be.

And the truly delicious part is that after reading only a few paragraphs,  you will know more than the eco-Nazis,  including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

 

 

 

Written by timeforthorns

August 31, 2019 at 2:39 pm

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