Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The American Crow scientifically referred to as Corvus brachyrhynchos isn’t really a new species to me and Plattsburgh isn’t the first place I’ve ever seen a crow. However, while living in Macdonough hall I couldn’t help but notice that the building is constantly surrounded by black crows, to the point where they’re parked outside my window (on the 3rd floor) and won’t even flinch when I yell out the window. Since I am extremely annoyed by these huge birds, I decided to dedicate my nature blog to them.

According to the Adirondack Almanac the American crow has been in the Adirondacks at least since colonization. They also prefer open areas with nearby trees. The only feature I like about crows is there jet black color that has a glossy and slightly iridescent look.

Some interesting facts about crows, they weight about 450g and about 20% of male crows are larger than female crows. Also, young crows are roughly the same size as adult crows but their eyes are blue and their mouths are pink, both the eyes and mouth darken as the crow gets older.

American crows are sometimes confused with common ravens. However, I know that it is crows that surround Macdonough hall because of the glossy iridescent feathers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Jupiter's Bizarre Moon Our Best Hope for Finding Extraterrestrial Life?

Lede- The crackling radiation would kill you in 10 minutes—that is, if you did not first asphyxiate in the nearly nonexistent atmosphere, die of exposure to the –300 degree Fahrenheit temperature, or plunge into a thousand-foot-deep icy crevice. Jupiter’s moon Europa is a forbidding world, yet NASA intends to devote billions of dollars over the next decade to getting there. At the center of this effort will be the most complicated orbital explorer ever built, each of its components carefully armored against the deadly stream of particles in Jupiter’s massive wake. The orbiter will require six years to reach its destination. Then, when it arrives at Europa, engineers will consider the mission successful if it survives for just three months of exploration before shorting out.

I chose this lede because I am a fan of all things space. However, even if I wasn't intrigued by our solar system, I still would have chose this lede because the first line of the lede immediately jumped out at me and caught my attention, "The crackling radiation would kill you in 10 minutes," as a reader I wanted to know if I was in danger of being killed by crackling radiation. The lede then proceeds to tell of other ways one can be killed by the natural elements of another planet. I felt as if the lede was both eye-catching yet very informative, the writer manages to provide the reader with interesting facts all while pulling them deeper in to the article.

The article as a whole was satisfying. I never knew that there were frozen oceans of one of Jupiters many moons, or any where in our solar system for that matter. I immediately thought of the phrase, "where there's water there's life," which is basically the topic of the article, can there be life of Europa simple because there is water?

The writer also talks about an "orbital explorer" that will be built to tour the icy moon. I assume it's similar to "Rover Spirit," which captured images of Mars while roaming the planet. The mission is tentatively titled, "Europa Jupiter System Mission," so catchy. Like most NASA missions, Europa Jupiter System Mission, is a long time coming as it is slated to take place around 2026. I should be alive around that time.

Another interesting fact that the writer points out is that, "The 9,000-pound NASA probe will bristle with a dozen specialized instruments designed to see, smell, and explore Europa from a choice vantage point 60 miles away." I can understand seeing the moon and taking pictures of it but I couldn't imagine that a probe would be able to smell a planet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nature Blog II

Adelges tsugae better known as Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an invasive species that Destroys Eastern hemlock trees. The funny thing is that these insects arrived in the U.S. accidentally in shipments from Asia. The species was found in the 1920s in the West Coast and in the 1950s in the East Coast. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Is commonly found in China, Japan, and northwestern North America.

Scientist say that Wooly Adelgid kills its host rapidly in a matter of years, stripping once luscious green Hemlock trees of all green. Hemlock woolly adelgid can be transported long distance on planting stock (as it did from Asia to the U.S.) The species can also spread from planted stock to native trees.

An interesting fact provided by the USDA Forest Service says that “In their native range, these populations of HWA ( Hemlock Woolly Adelgid) cause little damage to the hemlock trees they feed on as natural enemies and possible tree resistance has evolved with this insect pest.”

Science times Lede

An Odyssey From the Bronx to Saturn’s Rings

Lede- It is twilight time on Saturn.Shadows lengthened to stretch thousands of miles across the planet’s famous rings this summer as they slowly tilted edge-on to the Sun, which they do every 15 years, casting into sharp relief every bump and wiggle and warp in the buttery and wafer-thin bands that are the solar system’s most popular scenic attraction.

I chose this lede becuse I am a solar system fanatic. I love everything about space from our 8 planets to the unexplainable. I felt like the lede in this article shared my enthusiasm about the solar system and space. I like the opening line "It is twilight time on Saturn," as it hints that something special or unusal will be happening on Saturn, usually something that will happen once in a life time. I also love the description that the writer used to describe the illustrious rings of saturn. Overbye writes " every bump and wiggle and warp in the buttery and wafer-thin bands," I like this description in particular because it is a different take on a stale topic, so to speak, (every one knows that the rings of saturn are beautiful.) However the writer manages to use descriptions that I would never associate with Saturn like "buttery," and he makes it all work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Walk Outside- Japanese barberry

Japanese barberry scientifically known as Berberis thunbergii is an invasive plant in the Adiorndacks.

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program says that the non native plant should not be sold or planted in the Aidorandacks and that people should rid the area of the invasive plant.

Japanese barberry can be found everywhere, especially in median plantings around parking lots. They also keep deers at bay, since deers don't like to feed on Japanese barberry some planters outline their plants or bushes with the invasive plant.

Japanese barberry is both sun and shade tolerant and can thrive in both places.

The major concern with the plant is that the berries are ingested by birds and then excreted in the woods and other open places. evidence also suggest that
Japanese barberry can alter soil pH, nitrogen levels, and even disrupt the soil’s biological activity.

Pretty but deadly

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blog Report Week 3

Tool to Offer Fast Help for H.I.V. Exposure

This article sound like it’s up for debate, but if scientific research backs it up, who am I to disagree.

I actually heard about this treatment a while back, while it was still in the “experimental phase.” People who thought that they may have been exposed to the HIV Virus were urged to take part in a clinical study (within 3 days of exposure) that would prevent them from becoming infected with the virus.

This article is a testament to the fact that scientist are breaking barriers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Although it’s not a cure it’s the next best thing. Nowadays we’re all about prevention and catching things before they severely affect us.

The article basically talks about a new computer application (Not available on the iPhone) that screens patients, who may have been exposed to HIV, to see whether they are candidates for post-exposure prophylactic treatment. The application also “provides specific information about the 28-day course of antiretroviral drugs.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blog Report week 2

"Finding a Scapegoat When Epidemics Strike."

This article is packed with historical and scientific facts and yet it's still ENTERTAINING! The writer possesses a hypocritical/sarcastic tone that make the reader laugh while seeing the questionable ways of many countries.

The article itself doesn't talk extensively about the fatal effects of epidemics such as the Black Death or the H1N1 Swine Flu, instead it talks about how theses deadly plagues get/got their names and the origins of the first know cases; many of which don’t coincide with their given names. For example The Spanish flu originated in Kansas not Spain.
It was also interesting to see that over the years many epidemics have been given names that suggest they originated in one place when they in fact originated elsewhere. The last one to shift the blame often gets the name.

So much for he who smelled, it dealt it...

Blog Report week 1

"A Doomed Planet, and Scientists Are Lucky to Have Spotted It."

This article was very informative and would satisfy the hunger of any astrology lover (like myself.) It tells of an extra-solar planet that an international team of astrologers have found called WASP-18b (the name alone is so Sci-Fi, I love it) which is a part of the Hot Jupiter’s, an extra-solar system beyond ours whose planets have a mass close to or exceeding that of Jupiter. The catch is that the planet is on its way to self destruction. Astronomers believe that the planet (WASP-18b) who’s orbit around its star is 22 hours, 35 minutes, 41.5 seconds (meaning that a year on WASP-18b is less than a full day on earth) will crash into its star in less than a million years. Astrologers are unsure of why WASP-18b is falling inward to a fiery death.

This article was a great read because I enjoy anything about astrology, it always amazes me how astrologist are constantly finding new planets and other things in space and the weird names they come up with.

Hope you enjoy it as well !!!