Monthly Archives: September 2010

No wolves, no water.

So I’m cheating here by only giving a smidge of the article and not bothering to interpret it, so I’ll give you the link here, and leave you with this mind-blowing snippet.

As it turns out, wolves are critical for water. And, as any ecologist with half a brain will tell you, removing a predator is not as simple as “no more predator.” There are effects all the way down the line – no wolves means no beavers means no macroinvertebrates, etc. Doesn’t make sense? Then please, for the love of all things holy in this world, read the rest of this article and educate yourself.

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1.5 Hours at the Beach.

Today is not the day for education, my friends.

Today is a day for sharing a story. A story from the weekend. A weekend when I decided to take my dog and my roommate’s dog to the delightful sandy shores of the Western coast. Today is not a day for natural interpretation. Today is about nature being a big fat bitch.

(Which is half the reason I love her.)

Here’s how the day went.

1. Drive many hours. Arrive at beach during monsoon.

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Weekly Photo Wunderbar!

Okay, so these aren’t the best quality but do you remember the baby-with-a-mohawk from a couple of weeks back?

Well, they all went and grew up! Look at those funny faces…

What is the Aurora Borealis? (And Happy Autumnal Equinox!)

Today I hopped onto NatGeo and came across these beautiful photos of northern lights taken in Norway. I immediately realized I had absolutely no idea what the northern lights really are, or how they’re formed. When you think about it, the sun is the only natural cause of light (besides fire anyway), so how do these phantasmal strips of color form, and why do they undulate across an otherwise dark nighttime sky? Since it’s just recently the Autumnal Equinox, let’s celebrate by learning about a little solar activity!

Moms Rule!

I got to spend the last week with my wonderful momma bird, so I thought I’d celebrate moms today. Here are a few examples of awesome animal mommas!

Alligator and Crocodile Mommas build huge mounds of rotting vegetation for their eggs and guard them zealously. Crocodilian moms can be extremely aggressive in protecting their nests and listen for the sweet chirping of newly hatched gator babies. Mom digs up the babes and delicately places them between her deadly jaws. She ferries them to a swampy alcove, thick in protective vegetation, and some species may guard their babies for a whole year!

Big Cat Mommas are serious providers. Cheetah moms may spend two years teaching their little ones to hunt successfully – which mean mom is catching an awful lot of food to feed herself and a handful of hungry youngsters. African Lion moms spend a lot of time playing with their babies and protect them ferociously from predators and the rest of her pride. Ocelots and Mountain Lions are solitary species but will spend a substantial amount of time training their babies to take on the world.

Elephant moms not only give birth to 200 pound babies, but keep a sharp eye on them throughout childhood. Babies are never allowed to stray far and moms will mow down anything that can be perceived as a threat. There’s also some conjecture about the fact that older females simulate the physical gestures associated with estrus to younger females perceived to be naive, perhaps to teach them how to attract males later in life. There’s no direct evidence that it’s a teaching mechanism, but it’s a definite possibility.

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More?

Animal Planet’s Top 10 Moms.

NatGeo’s list of bad mommies!

Discovery’s list of Best Moms in photos! (Did you know that cow mommas are amazing mothers? I didn’t! They’ll break down fences to find lost calves and suffer extreme emotional stress if separated from their babies too early!)

Weekly Photo Wunderbar!

My favorite time of the week. Here’s a spunky crab from the Pacific Coast. The Atlantic Coast, where I grew up, is all sandy shores and warm water, perfect for summer vacations beneath big umbrellas. The Pacific Coast in the north, on the other hand, is all rocky and craggy and full of rainclouds and mystique. I love the contrast.

Now, I thought this was a Purple Shore Crab, but this guy’s carapace was easily 2-3 inches longer than that of the average Purple Shore Crab. Any invertebrate geeks out there know what he is? (Look closely and you’ll notice the barnacles growing all over him!)

[Activity] Easy Sushi Fun

Although making sushi isn’t something I usually do whilst interpreting, I’ve discovered that eating delicious, raw food is a great way to connect with nature (at least in my little world). I thought it would be fun to put together a little tutorial since a lot of people seem to want to know how to make sushi, but have never taken the plunge.

The fact is that it’s REALLY easy, not terribly expensive, and is fun as heck. It’s also a brilliant way to get people making food together. In fact, whenever I have a dinner party, it’s almost always a sushi party. Everyone must bring a vegetable or any seafood they may want, and I provide the rest.
This is a super basic way to make sushi and once you master the basics, you can go on to learn more of the complicated methods. I personally prefer doing it this way because it’s simple for everyone at a dinner party to learn and it tastes great. It involves basic vegetables and rice-inside-nori, rather than just rice or rice-outside-nori.

Step One: Assemble your ingredients. You’ll need: sushi nori (seaweed), sushi rice, several vegetables of your preference, and rice vinegar. Nori can be purchased in the “Asian” section of the grocery store, or in natural foods stores. Use any veggies you love; my favorites are green peppers, tomatoes, green onions, and cucumbers. Extras: many people love the burn of wasabi and the soothing tang of ginger. (Many people like to put the wasabi right in the sushi roll.) Add these if you like that kinda thing. Most people also use soy sauce either to dip their sushi, or to mix with the wasabi (personally I love dipping my rolls in the rice vinegar). If you are interested in meat but not ready to take the raw plunge, use wild-caught smoked salmon, it’s delish. Also, if you’re a cream cheese fan, cream cheese makes an excellent addition to sushi rolls.

Above, starting at top left: nori seaweed sheets, sushi rice, rice vinegar, salmon and cream cheese, sliced veggies.

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Have You Gotten Your Overload of Ugly Today?

If you haven’t been to Ugly Overload yet, you are seriously not having as good of a day as you could be. And who would intentionally choose to have a crappier day?

Ugly Overload features photos and [hilarious] commentary on animals that are, uh, well, not like those you find at ZooBorns. By that I mean they’re not typically cutesy, cuddly, fluffy, and otherwise goo-worthy, like a red panda cub cuddling with a stuffed raccoon, for example.

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Scientia Pro Publica Blog Carnival

I’m really excited and honored to have been featured in Scientia’s blog carnival today; you can check out the full list of amazing articles and blogs here: http://tinyurl.com/35saqrb. I’m just beaming with joy. Thanks to all of my faithful readers for the support!

Please go to the carnival and check out the other articles – it’s a GREAT range of topics, from homeopathy to bees to sharks to star systems. To new visitors to the site, I hope you enjoy what you find here and thanks for taking a moment to check out my little corner of the web!

Have an awesome day everybody! :) Mine definitely just got made.

Insect Egg Photoset from NatGeo

Insects are typically our lesser-loved cousins and I came across this spectacular article and photoset on National Geographic (because as a nerd, I visit there often). These photographs are of insect eggs, which are too small to even use a macro lens. The sizes of the eggs range from 0.7 to 2 millimeters, which means an electron microscope had to be used for the photos. Amazing!

That first link will take you to the photoset, which is unbelievable, and the article is worth reading too. I’m only posting a couple shots here because you should really go to the set and see the rest!!

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