Mt. Evans, Revisited

Yellow-bellied Marmots_MtEvans-CO_LAH_5999

Here in Colorado, when it’s hot out on the plains, we head to the mountains. And there’s no better mountain to head to than Mt. Evans. No hiking required, unless you want to reach the 14,265 foot peak, and even that is only a quarter mile up a series of switchbacks from the summit parking lot. And while the view from the top is worth the effort, most of the really good stuff is on the way there. It’s a good metaphor for life.

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But Can I Repeat It?

LaughingGulls Lineup @Florida Keys 1jan08 LAH 970Reproducibility is one of the foundations of science. If something is true, it should be true every time. While it’s exciting to create new studies with new results, it is equally important to recreate studies done by others.

It may come as a surprise to many that science never proves something to be true. We can falsify a hypothesis, but there is always a chance that our positive results are due to chance. Reproducing studies is one way to reduce that possibility.

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GMO Crops

Corn @Tacoma LAHI was reading an article about purslane (a weed). The author scolded anyone who would pull it up and toss it. She recommended eating it because it offers “amazing health benefits.” The article had a long list of these nutritional benefits (it was a little too good to be true, so I intend to verify them at some point), but the one that caught my eye was “It is GMO free, ….”

Of course it is.

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Critters in Trees

Birders_BrettGrayRanch-CO_LAH_1888Birders spend a lot of time looking in trees. Of course, we’re hoping to see birds, and often we do. But birds aren’t the only animals that live in trees. And, while I get a thrill spotting a less-than-common bird among the branches, I also get rather excited when it’s a less-than-common mammal—or other creature.

fox-squirrel_dbg_10200118_lah_7185Besides the birds, what do I see in trees? Squirrels! It’s a rare birding trip when we don’t spot at least a couple of squirrels, and typically there are plenty more. Here in the Colorado Springs area, by far the most common species is the Eastern fox squirrel, which some idiot nostalgic person from the East introduced to Colorado during the 1940s. Fox squirrels spend their time sneaking around urban yards, emptying bird feeders and chewing up grill covers and the fabric cushions of our patio furniture.

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I’m Thankful For This…

Wild Turkey_CheyenneMtnZoo-CO_LAH_2224

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure you’re busy today, so today’s post will be short.

In honor of all the turkeys that will give their lives so we can celebrate God’s generosity, I’d like to share a cartoon I recently discovered. Not that it’s new. This website has been around a while now. But I didn’t know about it, and if it’s new to me, then it might also be new to you.

Please click on over to Bird and Moon and prepare to be delighted. I’m linking you to one of my favorite cartoons, but be sure to check out the rest of them, plus the store and everything else. Just don’t let dinner burn while you’re distracted!

Bird and Moon: Science and Nature Cartoons

(No, I wasn’t paid to promote this. I just think it’s awesome!)

Vampire Plants

Humpback_anglerfishWhen I think of parasites, I typically think of creatures such as tapeworms, fleas, ticks, and leeches—nasty invertebrates that drain the life out of us humans. Then, I might recall that some higher animals can also be parasites, such as the deep sea anglerfish. You’ve likely seen pictures of anglerfish, with their huge, pointy teeth in a large head, followed by a tapering body. When these fish mate, the male permanently attaches itself to the female and lives off her bloodstream for the rest of his life, his sperm his only contribution.  (See National Geographic’s video of a particularly beautiful anglerfish species.)

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