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SCV Outdoor Report

    SCV Outdoor Report Best Of: Twitter Principles

    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.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Oak Tale

    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.

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Contrarian Wildflower

    “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?

    SCV Outdoor Report: Superpowered Rose Petals

    When I think of something soft and delicate, rose petals come to mind.  It could be from a childhood memory - the scent of my mother’s hand lotion.  Or perhaps it could be the memory of a flowergirl scattering rose petals along the bride’s path. 

    Best Of SCV Outdoor Report: Sniff Sniff

    For those of you who remember the pre-cellphone era: have you ever scanned a crowd to find someone?  Perhaps a friend you were supposed to meet.  Perhaps a child who wandered away from your group? 

    Can you remember how your eyes transitioned from a “wide area scan” to a narrow focus when you thought you’d found them?  Well, it turns out that animals have this skill too.  Not only can they focus their sight, they can also focus their nose.

    SCV Outdoor Report: Keep Your Eye On The Ball!

    Do you remember playing dodge ball as a kid?  Do you remember ducking and weaving as you tried to avoid the large rubber balls flying at you from every direction?  Or how about hitting baseballs? How long did it take you to learn keep your eye on the ball?  Neuroscientists describe our “ability to select and respond to one sensory stimulus in the presence of distractions” as “selective attention”.

    Best Of SCV Outdoor Report: You CAN Be Too Rich

    Remember the old saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin”?  Well you can be.  Too nutrient rich, that is.  Especially if you’re a salt-water marsh.  Scientists working at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory recently reported “that nutrients—such as nitrogen and phosphorus from septic and sewer systems and lawn fertilizers—can cause salt-marsh loss.”

    Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Must Go Faster....

    When being chased by predators, it’s best to move quickly.  I remember a scene in the movie, “Jurassic Park”, where the characters were being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  As the jeep sped down a dirt road, Jeff Goldblum kept repeating, “Must go faster”.  And then there was a scene in the movie, “Independence Day”, where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum were fleeing from the bowels of the alien mother ship.  Jeff’s words of advice to Will Smith:  “Must go faster.”

    SCV Outdoor Report: If You Can’t Stand The Heat....

    We learn to avoid touching hot stuff at an early age.  I was reminded of this one Sunday afternoon, a few week’s ago, when I spent some time baking cookies with two of my cousin’s 9-year-old daughters.  My job was straightforward and simple.  I was the “oven assistant” - I put the cookies into and took them out of the hot oven.

    SCV Outdoor Report: Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

    Anyone who’s ever taken care of a baby knows that babies sleep - a lot.  According to this NIH report, “Infants generally require about 16 hours a day”.  And these, “Infants...spend about half of their sleep time in REM sleep”, which, as we know, is the stage of sleep where most dreams occur.  Adults, on the other hand, sleep fewer hours asleep (7-8 hours) and generally spend less of their sleep time in REM sleep (about 20%).