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Milkweed in midsummer

The timing varies with latitude and microclimate, but in general, common milkweed reaches its floral maximum in midsummer.

The first 1000 digits of pi

I should save this to post next March 14.  Discussed at Reddit.

The skin of some animals contains light-sensitive opsins

YouTube link. By far the most interesting item I've read this week is at Not Exactly Rocket Science: When Domenico Fulgione placed Moorish geckos on dark surfaces, he saw what he had seen for years.

"Daylighting" explained

Trout Brook long had been buried in a pipe by the railroads, which laid tracks atop the streambed to ensure a smooth descent into the downtown yards.

Don't be embarassed by a colostomy bag

Backstory and additional photos at Huffington Post, via Neatorama.

Tax cuts do not necessarily "pay for themselves"

The situation in Kansas is detailed at Vox: In 2012, Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed a massive tax cut into law, arguing that it would boost the state's economy.

Honeycomb as art

"Ren Ri creates sculptures using plastic, wooden dowelling and a swarm of bees…" Via The QI Elves @qikipedia.

President George Washington was not "reanimated"

In the hours after his death, some of the people close to Washington discussed reanimating his corpse because they couldn’t stand burying “the indispensible man.” The person most passionate about this idea was William Thornton, a close friend of Washington, a physician trained in European medical schools, and an amateur architect who designed the United States Capitol.

Confederate graveyard - in Wisconsin!

This past week I went for a walk at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin. The oldest graves date back to the 1850s-1860s, many of them resting places for native-born Irish, the first settlers in the area.


"A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered to help police throw the book at whoever torched a “Little Free Library” — a wooden house-shaped box atop a post — along a residential street in south Minneapolis...  Anyone with information is urged to call the Minnesota Arson Reward Project at 1-800-723-2020.


Preikestolen or Prekestolen, also known by the English translations of Preacher's Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, is a famous tourist attraction in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway.

Bowling going down the gutter

An article at Bloomberg Business Week makes note of the downward trend in the popularity of bowling: The U.S.

Word for the day: sillage

YouTube link. Al Pacino doesn't use the word "sillage" when he comments about the flight attendant: "Well, she’s wearing Floris.

"Crazy worms" can severely damage forest ecosystems

I have previously posted about the damage that fisherman inflict on forests when they dump unused bait on the shore: At dusk Chaffin provided a tour of a colony of night crawlers — the most damaging of the worms — residing beneath a massive basswood tree behind his campsite.

Quadrupedalism is NOT evidence of "reverse evolution"

As reported by the Washington Post: The man is one of five children in a religious family bedeviled by an unusual condition that has flummoxed and fascinated scientists since the scientific community first discovered them in 2005.

I'm not dead

YouTube link. I've been very busy with summer things, family activities, and hobbies.  Blogging will resume...

Earth and Sky Photo Contest winners for 2013

YouTube link. According to the contest criteria the submitted images are taken since the beginning of 2012 and are all created in the "TWAN style"—showing both the Earth and the sky—by combining elements of the night sky set in the backdrop of the Earth horizon, often with a notable scenery or landmark.

Swallows have learned to open parking garage doors

YouTube link. "When the University of Victoria in Canada opened a new campus bike centre in the parkade located under the University Centre last November, motion-activated doors were installed to discourage swallows from nesting in the new facility.

There is a celestial map at Hoover Dam

From the Bureau of Reclamation's webpage on artwork at the dam: Surrounding the base is a terrazzo floor, inlaid with a star chart, or celestial map.

The Nimrud lens

The Nimrud lens or Layard lens is a 3000-year old piece of rock crystal, which was unearthed by Austen Henry Layard at the Assyrian palace of Nimrud, in modern-day Iraq.