Category Archive: Nature

Nov 16

Carbon Sequestration: Our Only Hope?

I am a big fan of Elizabeth Kolbert’s writing. I’ve read just about everything she’s written in the past few years, and I also attended a talk she gave at a local college (she lives not too far from me). The most recent (November 20, 2017) issue of The New Yorker published a piece by …

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Oct 09

A 5-Mile Ride Through the Alford Valley

A recent day (October 2) was an absolutely spectacular autumn day for a long ride on the trails near my house. Alice (on Spot) and I (on Stewart) headed north (as we usually do) and wandered through the sun-dappled forest, seeking out some trails we hadn’t traveled for a while. There are so many trails …

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Sep 29

In Search of Doctor Beebe

I hardly know where to begin this story, because its roots stretch back a long way before my time. It centers around an old foundation, abandoned more than 100 years ago, that is now in the middle of the woods, but in its day was at the center of much activity. I first encountered this …

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Jul 24

Swarm Intelligence: I

I’ve been meaning for some time to write about swarm intelligence. The basic insights have been around for at least 30 years, and,¬†since then, the ideas have percolated into awareness and are now appreciated outside the scientific community. One excellent summary can be found in Len Fisher’s 2009 book, The Perfect Swarm. I read this …

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Jan 16

Let’s See if I Can Tape This All Together

What do cupcakes and chocolate have in common? I guess that’s pretty obvious, but Scotch Tape? In September 2009 Scientific American devoted an entire issue to “Origins” and I’ve chosen three of my favorites to link together here. First up: cupcakes: where and when were they invented, and whence the name? ¬† If you click …

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Jan 14

Birds Did Not Evolve from Dinosaurs; They *Are* Dinosaurs

The January 2017 issue of Scientific American contains a fascinating article (behind a paywall) on the evolution of birds. Using birds as an example, the author makes several interesting points about evolution. Some are quite specific to feathers and such; others are more general, such as Evolution has no foresight; it acts only on what …

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Jan 12

What Do Plants See?

The latest (January 2017) issue of Scientific American has a short blurb entitled “Veggies with Vision” that harks back to speculation and studies of over 100 years ago.   In 1907 Francis Darwin, Charles’s son, hypothesized that leaves have organs that are a combination of lens-like cells and light-sensitive cells.   For some reason, research …

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