Category Archives: Scientific

Dogs Without Us

There about a billion dogs on this planet. Over the past several thousand years, they have become our helpmates and companions. Which brings up the question — what would happen to our furry companions if we were to suddenly disappear? A new book, A Dog’s World by Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff (https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691196183/a-dogs-world), considers two

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When Your Home is a Rattlesnake Rookery

Recently a California homeowner was surprised when reptile rescue pulled more than 90 rattlesnakes from the house’s foundation. The haul included 22 adults and 59 juveniles, plus eleven more on a second trip. The foundation apparently had become a rookery: a place where rattlesnakes gather to give birth. Rattlesnakes actually birth their young alive. Sometimes

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A Virgin Birth…in Another Species

The Cala Gonone Aquarium in Sardinia, Italy is reporting a female smoothhound shark has given birth despite having been in a tank with only another female for the past decade. As reported by Newsweek (https://www.newsweek.com/baby-shark-born-all-female-tank-could-scientific-first-1622272), this may be a scientific first for this species. Not that this phenomenon is completely unknown. It even has a

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Moving Toward a Synthetic Brain

There’s a lot about our brains we don’t understand, but one fact is for sure — our grey matter is very efficient. According to an article on the Live Science website,  the human brain can run all day on just the energy in two bananas. Wouldn’t it be great if our computers were that efficient? There just

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An Unlikely Savior

When you think of those who can save the human race, who do you put on the list? Superman, the X-Men, the Avengers, oysters… Oysters? Actually, these humble bivalves are now being recognized as an important part of the ecosystem. We know sea levels are rising, and sea coasts must either adapt or drown. Enter

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Mysteries of a Virus

With all the debate and turmoil over COVID-19, there is one thing we all can agree on: the virus isn’t cooperating. Worse, the virus is deliberately making things as difficult as it can. It’s not behaving in predictable ways. It has kept us off-guard throughout the entire pandemic. I was made aware of all the

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Now The Fish Could Be Addicts

I’ve just run across another unusual way our civilization is affecting the environment. Our prolific drug habits may be addicting fish. According to a recent laboratory study, published July 6th, 2021 in the Journal of Experimental Biology, freshwater fish can get hooked on methamphetamine that washes into the waterways to the point that they actively seek

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How To Make Your Own Sun

The Italian town of Viganella had a problem — the sun would disappear from November 11th until February 2nd every winter. Normally this only occurs to communities inside the Artic and Antarctic Circles, but Viganella is unique in that respect — it sits at the bottom of a steep, v-shaped valley at the border with

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Unusual Rainbows

My first visit to Yosemite National Park in California happened to coincide with a full moon. Taking in all the wonders the park has to offer, I listened to an evening presentation given by a ranger. She explained how, if you stand in just the right place near one of the major waterfalls during a

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Laughter Isn’t Just for Humans

We think of laughter as a uniquely human trait. Laughter for us is inborn — even deaf babies laugh. Plus there is a cultural component, as people in some cultures laugh more than others, but it’s a universal part of our behavior. Now scientists are saying it’s an important part of animals’ behavior too. New

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