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    Delayed Gratification, Citizen Science and Why You Might Not Have Received an Email about Your Sample Yet

Delayed Gratification, Citizen Science and Why You Might Not Have Received an Email about Your Sample Yet

But, If You Are So Willing, You’ll Receive Emails and Updates for the Next 10 Years. Also, Did I Tell You about the Cats?

I do not have any particular predilection for delayed gratification. I can’t watch YouTube videos because I don’t like not being able to control the pace and see where I am going. I don’t like departmental seminars because almost inevitably one can read the paper faster (and get to the good parts) than one can listen to the talk. Actually, this is too meek of a statement. I actually hate departmental seminars. My wife is patient. My wife can sit by a riverbank and wait for [...]

Big City Social Life

As urbanization spreads and city structures replace many social insect colonies’ natural habitats, these insects still manage to survive—and even thrive. The secret to their success? A fluid colony structure, which guards against big-city dangers. Here’s to social insect longevity!

 

How Staying Social Can Save You in Winter

Winter can be deadly for many of our insect friends, yet, rarely for honeybees. How do they survive winter’s perilously cold temperatures? By staying social!

The Art and Science of Life After Chernobyl

At first glance, the insect paintings by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger look no different than the images in a Peterson field guide. The subjects are set against a white background and copied in exact detail. Stare at them long enough, and something seems off. A rumpled wing, or a misplaced antenna. The insects are not merely damaged, claims the artist, but have been mutated by chronic exposure to radiation. For the last 30 years, Hesse-Honegger has been collecting and documenting insects that live in and around Chernobyl, the site of the world’s largest nuclear disaster.

I have admired Hesse-Honegger’s paintings for years, so when I saw one of her pieces [...]

Novel Navel Notes: Get Omphaloskepsisizing!

Speaking of SciArt, the Buzz Hoot Roar folks were so inspired by our own Belly Button Biodiversity that they too started navel gazing.

What are you waiting for? Go check out their Vocabulary Friday post today!

Science + Art = SciArt!

Dr. Eleanor and friends have a fun new blog called Buzz Hoot Roar. In each post, they explain a scientific concept that interests or excites them (for example, the best thing about baby ants) in 300 words or less, and then work with graphic artists to illustrate it in a snazzy, jazzy way. We’re SUPER FANS and think you should be too – Below, Dr. Eleanor explains why she’s melding science and art together in this really cool and innovative way.

Ever since the folks in the Middle Ages revolutionized medicine by peeking into corpses, scientists have appreciated the power of the visual aid.

Actually, scientists LOVE visual [...]

  • Researcher Dan Fergus pipettes a DNA sample at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Photo (C) Paige Brown.
    Permalink Researcher Dan Fergus pipettes a DNA sample at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Photo (C) Paige Brown.Gallery

    The Biggest Microscope in the World–How do We See the Microbiota Around Us?

The Biggest Microscope in the World–How do We See the Microbiota Around Us?

In this guest post, Dan Fergus, a researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, picks up where Rob left off in the previous post, explaining how we use genetics and molecular biology to see the invisible life that covers our bodies and homes.

Many of you have participated in one of our microbiome projects, using sterile swabs to collect bacteria and archaea from your pillow, your doorframes, or even your belly button. You then close that swab back in its tube, seal it in an envelope and anxiously wait to learn the identity of the microbes that you kindly provide a nice comfortable [...]

The Biggest Microscope in the World

and it is focused on your toilet seat…

My grandmother, Barbara, often talked about growing up in a bedroom that was an observatory. She also, in her telling, sat on Faulkner’s front lawn and listened to him tell stories and swam in a small pond with her siblings while a man with one arm stood guard, shotgun in that one good arm in case he had to shoot a water moccasin. Most of these stories have, amazingly, proven to be true, but the one I could never make sense of was the idea that she grew up sleeping in an observatory, an observatory she claimed was to be found at [...]

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    What does the climate in Minnesota have in common with the climate in Arizona?

What does the climate in Minnesota have in common with the climate in Arizona?

We’re continuing to explore new climate data collected inside and outside homes across the United States. Starting in March 2013, 50 participants in the Wild Life of Our Homes project kindly installed small data loggers inside and outside their home to record temperature and humidity.

We recently downloaded the first three months of collected data, and with each new pass at the data, we’re finding interesting relationships and patterns. Check out this new figure produced by Lauren Nichols:
March_April Temp Indoor vs Outdoor
Here you can see the average March-April temperature inside homes (the vertical y-axis) plotted against the [...]

The Climate Inside

Our houses modify the climate around them. In great densities, our houses and other buildings can change weather patterns. Urbanization increases temperatures. It can also affect storms. Atlanta, Georgia actually causes lightning to form that would not otherwise exist. If one wanted evidence that we were messing with Zeus, this seems to be it. Cities change the weather outside, but what about the weather inside?

A single house on its own can create new climate conditions, conditions far different from those outside the front door (We love to be comfortable). But just how different? Ecologists have spent centuries characterizing the climate outdoors but very little time describing that indoors. [...]

By |August 5th, 2013|Explainer, Homes, Projects|1 Comment|