Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Pill Bug By Any Other Name

So what do you call them? And if you say you've never seen them before or held one (or a couple of dozen) in your hands as a child, well--the pity. We called them roly-polies. You might have called them pill bugs or sow bugs or wood lice, but they are not bugs nor lice, and they are not even insects. They are more closely related to shrimp and lobsters, and are Crustaceans living on land--the only ones fully capable of doing so. And judging from the widely-divergent and varied names they have been given, you can assume that these innocuous detritivores are globally … Continue Reading ››

Amphibian Angst

Click image to enlarge at SmugMug
This red-spotted newt was a reluctant participant yesterday as the thunder rumbled closer and closer. He appeared under the same cluster of Jack'oLantern mushrooms I showed you a few days ago--with another amphibian hiding therein. But to create the shot I wanted, I had to stage the orange vertebrate over and over on the fading orange mushroom and hope to stop the blur of his motion. What I notice looking at the full resolution image is that the tiny black spots that adorn these creatures so familiar to … Continue Reading ››

Meet the Shrooms: A Forest Family

Purple-gilled Laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea)
Purple-gilled Laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea)
Meet the Shrooms--a couple and their small child (in the middle) that we encountered on the Middle Path after this week's welcome rains. She, gesticulating on the right seems to be pleading with him, on the left, to blahblahblah, while he seems to be... Sorry. Woodland Whimsy strikes the already-deranged and cloistered Forested Firsts.

Through the Looking Glass: A $1 Paper Microscope

foldscope900 I heard an interview with the inventor on NPR last week and had to pull over to jot down the term "fold scope" lest I forget. I really don't think I would have forgotten after all, since this fellow from Stanford is not only a mechanical genius, but also expressed in his NPR interview that kind of science-education hopes that resonate with me. And above all, he holds great stock in the role that curiosity and discovery must play in our lives as science-and-nature literate citizens of a planet that could be … Continue Reading ››

Mercury Rising

mercury680 You have, perhaps by now, read a story that broke a week or two ago. There are still unanswered questions about the source of several ounces by volume of liquid mercury that a school child innocently brought to his school. Talk about a freak-out. A swarm of hazmat-garbed toxicology agents besieged the school, which is opening back up for classes again just today, to clean up the potential toxin. Now this story is close to my heart, being thankful, in hindsight, that my similar stunt in grammar school back shortly after the end … Continue Reading ››