Referential Gestures

Referential gestures sounds like something we might perform when paying obeisance to something, but the term actually describes what might be called ‘sign language’. For a gesture to be considered ‘referential’, it must have the following five attributes: it is directed towards an object; it is mechanically ineffective; it is directed towards a potential recipient; it receives…

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Both Sides of the Fence

They look so simple to humans, and they are considered part of what constitutes the true settlement of a wild region: Wire fences. They outline territories and keep livestock within bounds. Cutting a fence is considered a crime. Simple as they are, they also block ancient migratory routes. Small animals can go under or through…

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Dandelion Lawn

I usually wait until the last possible moment to mow the lawn for the first time in spring. People set different lawn priorities – mine has never been a lawn of putting-green pristine uniformity. Every year I swear I’ll dig up our little patch in autumn and give it a face-lift. Every spring and summer,…

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Chain of Sunshine Supply

It was George Bernard Shaw who called whisky ‘liquid sunshine’. Given the outdoorsy characteristics of two of the three key single malt raw materials, namely barley and water (the third being yeast), sunshine does actually figure in quite heavily. Both at the beginning, and as Shaw said, at the end. A quarter of all barley…

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Pollinator Decline

The Harvard Microbiotics Lab is working on tiny robotic insects for a number of applications, among them: pollination. I can understand why, considering how important pollinating insects are for the environment and the human food supply. Most of the news tends to focus on the decline of the crucial honeybee population around the world, but…

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Elvers In Hand

Predictably, now that elver season is well underway, the poaching has begun and the first fines for illegal fishing have been issued. With prices for a pound of live young eel expected to rise to $3000 over the next week or so, it’s no surprise that poaching fines are simply the cost of doing business. …

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Corridors, Open & Closed

Here’s a sad picture I found today (at Treehugger.com), a young male koala sitting atop the remnants of a forest. As someone helpfully commented on the article, the koala had been relocated (along with the rest of the koala population of the area) to a new home prior to the begin of an approved logging…

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Ancient Laboratory

I’m adding this destination to the places I’d like to visit around the world: The Incan ruins of what are considered to be an experimental laboratory for agriculture at the Moray site in the Cusco region of Peru. The terraced depressions and complex irrigation systems are thought to have been used to simulate different environmental…

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