Monday, July 27, 2009

Robins and a plant id question

Juvenile robins are science

I was cleaning out a flower bed in the front yard last week and leaned up against a crepe myrtle to rest. The tree shook, I was unaware that there was a bird nest above me, and three robin juvies flew out. The mama and the poppa were around too, and went ballistic. Sorry birdies, I didn't know you were there.

Plant identification is science

This plant and another just like it came up among the hills of squash in the garden. None of the gardeners know what it is. It has a really pretty flower.

The leaves have an almost rubbery feel and the entire plant is covered with a sticky substance that gets on your hands.

A fruit is beginning to develop.

They think some seeds must have mixed in with the squash seeds.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hurricane killers

Stopping hurricanes is science.

Wow, I've been away from science blogging for a while. I've been concentrating on finishing a book (writing) and another new writing opportunity.

But today's article in the Birmingham News about stopping hurricanes in their tracks is intriguing. Software wiz and zillionnaire Bill Gates is seeking patents on a gizmo that would suck the warm water from the surface and replace it with cool water from the depths.

I just hope I'm not floating in a sailboat nearby when the big suck begins.

There are other problems I see with this, but I am sure these things will be taken into account. My main concern is that the rain from tropical systems, hurricanes included, often saves the southeast from drought conditions. Now if his idea just reduces the killer storm to a tropical storm and we still get the rain, then maybe OK.

And I understand his concern that climate change may be leading to more powerful and more frequent storms. So getting ahead of the game is good.

"This type of technology is not something humankind would try as a 'Plan A' or 'Plan B, ' " he (Paul Holman) wrote. "These inventions are a 'Plan C' where humans decide that we have exhausted all of our behavior changing or alternative energy options and need to rely on mitigation technologies."

Lots of people on blogs and on are noting that concern about weather patterns and heat transfer and such and are warning not to mess with Mother Nature.