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SCV Outdoor Report

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Studying For An Exam


    This week's SCV Outdoor Report is a "Best of Wendy Langhan's" report: 

    When it comes to studying for exams, I think most of us fall into one of two catagories:  either we study together in groups or we study alone.  And whether we’re together or alone, we often rely on caffeine to help keep us alert and focused while we cram as much useful information as we can into our brains.

     

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Beetle Voicemail

    Thirty years ago, I was working in Silicon Valley for ROLM Corporation, one of the pioneers in voicemail telecommunications.  But recently, I learned that insects have been communicating with their version of “voicemail” for much longer than 30 years - more like millions of years.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Working Skunks

     

    This week’s Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report by Wendy Langhans explains how solitary animals, like skunks, and social animals, like meerkats, protect themselves.

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: One Way Street

    Breathing. It’s something we normally do 12-18 times every minute. But just for a moment - pay attention to the flow of air. Take a deep breath. Hold it for five seconds. Then slowly breathe out. You have what is called a bi-directional flow of air to and from your lungs.

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: Juniper “Cones”

    Most well-equipped kitchens have a place where the dried spices are kept.  It could be a drawer, or a cabinet shelf or even a spice rack on the counter.  And when we think of spices that we use, we think of bark - like cinnamon.  We think of roots - like ginger.  And we think of dried fruit - like black pepper, allspice and juniper berries.  But did you know that juniper berries are not, strictly speaking, berries?

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Skunky Beer

    Q1.   Did you every wonder why some beer bottles are brown?  A1.    To protect the beer from the unwanted effects of ultraviolet light.

    Q2.   And what are the unwanted effects of ultraviolet light?  A2.    Skunky beer!

    Santa Clarita Outdoor Report: 21-Second Rule

    Growing up in Wisconsin, I had the good fortune to spend part of my summers on my Aunt and Uncle’s dairy farm.  There, I discovered a fundamental principle of four-legged mammals - they all pee.  Dogs, cats and especially cows all need to get rid of the waste products produced by their bodies.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: What's In A Name

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    This is a "Best of Wendy Langhans" Report

    What’s in a Name?

    Chevy Volt. Ford Mustang. Mazda Miata. When we speak about automobiles, we often include both the manufacture’s name and the model name. It’s the automotive equivalent of “binomial nomenclature”, the formal naming system (genus and species) that biologists have used since the mid 16th century to name plants and animals. Binomial names allow biologists to speak to each other across distance and time, knowing they are talking about the same organism. Binomial names promote precision, but limit creativity.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Contrails

    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!