Pollen Architecture

Pollen grains – not all of them, but some of them – have specific architecture which allows them to seal in upon themselves to maintain enough internal moisture to remain intact over distance. Upon arrival, the grain unfolds again, and is ready to reproduce. We are having a bit of the summer pollen blues at…

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Rippling the Surface

Great white sharks make for such wonderfully fearsome nightmares, those terrfiying tooth-rimmed maws opening into that most primeval of fears, being eaten alive. This apex predator feeds mainly on marine mammals – seals, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins – and fish. The only real predator that faces the great white is another mammal. Humans. For…

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Monday Rain

This is what I get for complaining about the searing summer heat over the weekend: A Monday of torrential summer rain. We’ve had an impressive display of window-rattling thunder and showy mountain lightning over the past twelve hours, and the kind of non-stop, utterly vertical precipitation that is actually a warm joy to dance in…

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A bit of whisky, a few Bad Seeds

The summer oven of heat got turned up a few notches this week, and I’ve been keeping within the cool confines of our stone house as much as possible. If I don’t move much, and stay mostly in rooms kept shadowed from the sun by the greenĀ volets (the old wood shutters that close with iron…

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Krill Gratitude

Massive ocean krill swarms – hundreds of millions of tons of them – are a keystone of one of the great planetary life cycles. A new Australian study published in the journal Nature Climate ChangeĀ called Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification, looks at the threshold at which krill – specifically, their…

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Microbe Migration

When we think of healthy soil, we usually think of pH levels, mineral content, and availability of water. When we think of biodiversity, we think of animals and plants. And then there’s soil biodiversity. One tonne of soil can harbor up to 25% of its weight in living microorganisms. And it is this group of…

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Temperature Loss

I noticed earlier this year that the moose-hunting season had been cancelled in Minnesota due to concerns over the decline of the state’s moose population. While some areas of North America have seen the numbers of these animals increase – notably North Dakota – other areas like New Hampshire and Minnesota have seen their numbers…

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Re-seeing the Already Seen

I’ve posted Nick Veasey’s work before, but just thought it was worth revisiting. X-rays of anything and everything. Just remarkable – a new view of what we think we’ve already seen.

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Shaking the Tree

The current phylogenetic tree, which organizes the known types of life into groups that share certain characteristics, may have just gained an extra branch way down near the roots. There are three domains: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukoryota. While we are used to hearing about a new species of frog or beetle or plant being discovered,…

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Redcurrant and Galileo

There are events and opportunities that demand attention in the moment they occur. One of those is processing and preserving fresh garden produce. It doesn’t matter whether there are a multitude of other worthy distractions, the fruit won’t wait. So in spite of our current heat wave, I’ve been at the stove, processing the bounty…

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