Like a Moth to a Flame

Like a Moth to a Flame Thus hath the candle singed the moth.  –Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice Many of the oldest similes and metaphors feature an elemental timelessness. The notion of “a moth to a flame” connects us to our ancestors around fire rings before the advent of artificial light. Watching an insect inexorably drawn to […]

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The Walking Sticks of Ball’s Pyramid

The Walking Sticks of Ball’s Pyramid Today’s topic might win an award for the most misleading title. Given our penchant for hiking, one might surmise we’ll explore a special cane used on trails to a majestic pyramid crafted by humans (or aliens, amirite?) to look like a sphere. I’m not exactly sure how a spherical

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A Stormcloud of Bees

A Stormcloud of Bees Throw out the word “electricity” today and one clear connotation rules. The juice that runs the world, coming to us through hanging power lines or buried cables. The electricity that runs computers, televisions, appliances, and, increasingly, automobiles. This type of power is current electricity, a stream of charged particles that travels

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Plants Can Hear

Plants Can Hear As humans, we are experts at anthropomorphology. We easily identify aspects in other organisms that match our own. For example, we understand the eyes of animals, which appear largely similar to our peepers, provide the critters with sight. In art, a long tradition of attributing human traits to non-human entities has provided

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Denizens of London’s Underground

Denizen’s of London’s Underground   The British constructed the world’s first underground passenger railway in London in 1863. The first tunnels built for the Metropolitan Railway used the cut-and-cover method, forming conduits just below the surface. Circular holes at deeper levels soon became the preferred method. The round tunnels provided a nickname by which locals

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Fireflies: Suns of the Terrestrial Night

Fireflies: Suns of the Terrestrial Night In the dry summer field at nightfall,fireflies rise like sparks.Imagine the presence of ghostsflickering, the ghosts of young friends,your father nearest in the distance. –Marilyn Kallet For me, one of the greatest parts about summer is the emergence of fireflies. For a month or two each year, I love to

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Prime-Period Cicadas

Prime-Period Cicadas Depending on where you are in eastern North America, every 13 or 17 years something magical happens, figuratively and literally. Out of the soil emerge broods, all at once, of Magicicada, otherwise known simply as cicadas. For most of the lives of these insects, they exist underground, sucking up the juices from deciduous trees. When

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