Six seconds into this YouTube clip of John Ford’s classic western, “Cheyenne Autumn”, you can hear the narrator identify the date as September 7, 1878. Meanwhile, as the opening scene fades from darkness into view, you can see a vertical contrail hanging in the sky. This creates a slight problem - because contrails are made by airplanes and airplanes didn’t start flying until 1903. Whoops!
I’m not sure I can ask this question without smirking just a bit: Cold enough for you? That’s because I went to college in Minnesota; in St. Paul, the average temperature in December ranges from 27 (high) to 12 (low). But last week, I discovered something that dimmed that smirk just a bit. Something I thought I knew about snow was WRONG!
As we move into the beginnings of the rainy season, our sunsets are becoming more colorful. They remind me of the early Twix cereal commercials, the ones with the “silly rabbit” singing “Raspberry red, lemon yellow and orange orange”? As a child, I was drawn to those colorful Trix packages in the cereal aisle. But as an adult, I’m much more impressed by the fiery reds I see at twilight. And I love how those nuggets of lemon yellow and orange orange have magically transformed into blazing yellow and flaming orange.
Thanksgiving is in two weeks...but for many people... the preparation has already begun. Inviting family & friends, menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking and CLEANING. At our house, it’s time to do a bit of dusting. It’s amazing how quickly dust can collect on the furniture.
It was the pun that first caught my attention - “Twitter Principles of Social Networking Increase Family Success in Nesting Birds”. OK, so it wasn’t a great pun. But it does illustrate that since the first “tweet” was sent on March 21, 2006, tweeting (among humans, not just birds) has become so popular that now even scientists are making puns about it. I decided to read further.
What do bats and toothed whales have in common? Certainly not size, not habitat, and not even how they get from one place to another.
But they both hunt using sound waves to locate their prey, a technique known as echolocation. A recent report from the University of Southern Denmark concludes “that bats and toothed whales produce signals for echolocation in the same frequency range, from 10 to 200 kHz.”
Shifty eyes, beady eyes, bat an eye - we have many ways to describe how our eyes express our emotions and character. But we come at this from the perspective of an animal with forward-facing eyes. What if we were creatures with lateral-facing eyes, eyes at the sides of our heads? What would change? What would stay the same?
This Valley Oak tree at the Bridgeport Marketplace was a least 150 years old when it collapsed last April. Put in the context of U.S. history, it was ancient - a mere sapling when Lincoln was president. But put in the context of its own species, with a lifespan of about 300-400 years - it was a middle-aged tree.
“Hoary Fuchsia” is a contrarian wildflower. For starters, it’s a contradiction in terms - a combination of words whose meanings are in conflict with one another. The word hoary means “having grey or white hair”, while fuchsia means “a bright reddish-purple color”. What were those botanists thinking when they named that flower?