Globster

A typo brought me to this page. Weird. A globster, or blob, is an unidentified organic mass that washes up on the shoreline of an ocean or other body of water. The term was coined by Ivan T. Sanderson in 1962[1] to describe the Tasmanian carcass of 1960, which was said to have “no visible eyes, no defined head, and no apparent bone structure”. A globster is distinguished from a…

The Nature of E.B. White – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education

During my research into the inspirations for and the writing of Charlotte’s Web, which took me back to White’s early childhood, I was intrigued by many aspects of his personality: his anxieties and hypochondria, his passionate defense of free speech and civil liberties, his one-man campaign for world government. But nothing else about him caught my own imagination more than his attitude toward animals. –Michael Sims, The Nature of E.B.…

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For Seton Hall Hill students and professors, iPads open new paths

Because the headline gets the name of the school wrong, it’s a little hard for me to assess this objectively. I’m glad Katie got so much space to share her experiences, and very glad this story mentions the importance of training and tech support. The story of my students reading Emerson’s Nature is a little abbreviated — it was actually a student who noticed the sunset, not me. “I just…

Nature’s Living Tape Recorders May Be Telling Us Secrets

Posting this to share with students interested in The Hunger Games, which features birds genetically engineered to act as spies. Many birds can mimic sounds but lyrebirds are the masters. They are nature’s living tape recorders, and sometimes their songs can be troubling. For example, when the BBC’s David Attenborough ran into a lyrebird deep in the Australian woods, the bird not only sang the songs of 20 other forest…

The incredible floating fire ant

Creepy-cool description of emergent behavior in ant colonies — complex survival strategies that develop when relatively dumb individual insects interact with each other in surprisingly complex ways. Back in the lab, Mlot deposited colonies of 500 to 8,000 ants in large beakers. When gently swirled, each colony spontaneously formed a sphere. Mlot dropped these spheres into water, and the amazing social behavior of ants became evident. The ants on top…

The Blue Marble Shot: Our First Complete Photograph of Earth – Atlantic Mobile

The incredible story behind an image we’ve all seen hundreds of times, possibly the most reproduced photograph in history It’s an iconic image we have all seen hundreds of times, possibly thousands, and probably the most widely reproduced photograph in history. Because it’s in the public domain it has been used for everything from car commercials to the Earth Day flag, printed on T-shirts, postage stamps, billboards, book covers, mouse…

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Why GeekDad wants better videogame deaths for his kids (Wired UK)

When my son was young, I noticed that videgames had taught him that problems are surmountable, so long as you have enough tries. That’s not always true, of course, or practical. We had a chat about things dying, and as I struggled to lightly broach the subject with him I ended up talking about the games he watches his older siblings play. I started with Lego Star Wars, but he…

Stink bugs meet their nemesis in Asian wasp

Someone needs a basic geometry lesson. Brown marmorated stink bugs lay especially beautiful egg clusters — sea green with exactly 27 to 28 eggs in each mass. The assemblage of eggs looks a little like a one-dimensional view of a stack of cannon balls. Stink bugs meet their nemesis in Asian wasp – USATODAY.com. A one-dimensional view would be only length, with neither width nor height. This reporter was probably…

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Sledding in Spring Break Snow

My wife suddenly decided I should be a Good Dad (TM) and take the kids sledding. (I said okay, as long as she was coming along, too. There she is at the bottom of the hill, way in the background.) Our hilly campus was almost deserted, since we’re starting our three-day spring break.