Mon, 06/18/2018 - 11:15am

NC Science Now Reporter's blog

Oh Weather!

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” – Mark Twain

“I’ve lived in good climate and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.” - John Steinbeck

Earth Day

I’m going to really date myself here.

I remember the first Earth Day. It was April 22, 1970. Let’s just say I was in Ladyfield Elementary School and our teacher, Sister Lucia, explained to us how Earth Day was a day that was being set aside to remind us to love the earth and help take care of it.

We all thought that loving the Earth seemed like the right thing to do, and it seemed pretty easy. Although I don’t think I, or any of my classmates, could really articulate what “taking care of the Earth” meant. Didn’t we do that already?

Predicting the Weather

I think my knee can predict the weather!

A few years ago, I tore my ACL. Not in some dramatic way, such as skiing down a slope in a whoosh of snow or leaping high over defenders to make a dramatic slam before crashing to the basketball court.

No, I was just hiking at the Delicate Arch in Utah and felt a pop as I was stepping down from a higher trail to a lower trail. Not dramatic, but every bit as painful. My orthopedic doctor tells me most of his patients tear their ACLs in pretty routine ways and not necessarily playing sports. That helped, a little.

The Virtual Battle of the Atlantic

You can’t find a more picturesque drive than Highway 12, the road that runs the length of the Outer Banks. Crowded during the summer tourist season, occasionally washed out by hurricanes and Nor’easters, the roadway tells the story of the region’s maritime heritage. From historic towns and lighthouses, to shipwrecks and the birthplace of aviation, Highway 12 has a rich history.

You can stop at highway markers along the way, but now technology has a new way to experience the drive.

I Miss Brontosaurus...

There are times some folks might think I grew up in the age of the dinosaurs, although a check of my driver's license and other official paperwork continues to prove I am not quite that old.

Nevertheless, I am here to say I miss Brontosaurus.

Actually, I called him Bronto. He was a green sauropod dinosaur with a long neck and tail. I played with him when I was little and will tell anyone who will listen that Bronto was very cool.

But then science came along. 

Antarctica Matters to North Carolina

Why does Antarctica matter to North Carolina?

When it comes to a story about scientific research in Antarctica, the question “WHY?” becomes really important. Why should we concern ourselves with what is happening in Antarctica?

After all, Antarctica is at the bottom of the world. It’s forgotten. It’s far, far away from most of the world’s population. It’s dark for almost half of the year. As far as we can tell, there aren’t many natural resources there. And let’s face it, it is really, really cold! So again, why worry about it?

Wick Away

Wick Away, Wick Away - How Does High Tech Wicking Fiber Work?

I’m a pretty nice guy, so I’ll just come right out and forgive you if you call me “old school” after reading the first few lines of this blog.

For most of my life, when I worked out, I grabbed a cotton t-shirt and shorts and hit the gym. Yes, it was sweaty and the shirt got heavy and even cold. But compared to the polyester t-shirts that seemed to hold the heat in, cotton clothing tends to breathe and lets the sweat evaporate. It wasn’t pretty but it worked. You can call me old school now!

Tidal Power

What won’t work in North Carolina?

Scientists are focusing on three sources of renewable energy from the oceans: wind power, wave power, and harnessing of the energy of the Gulf Stream. All of them have tremendous potential as a source of energy. They also present major challenges. However, there is another ocean energy source that has already been ruled out: tidal power.

The Great Egret Rebound

What the researchers, and the students, in my story about the Great Egret, Where In the World is Mrs. Palma?, are discovering about these unique birds is truly amazing. Just imagine a bird flying at more than 60 miles per hour from Beaufort to New York, without stopping! It would be challenging for a person to do that in a car. I can’t imagine a Great Egret accomplishing the feat, even with a tail wind.

The Miracle Crop

So after talking with the researchers at SoyMeds for the North Carolina Science Now story Just a Spoonful of Soybeans, I started to wonder just what soybeans are used for and why so many people call soybeans “The Miracle Crop.”

But first, a little history.

As far as anyone can tell, the first soybeans were planted by a colonist/farmer near Savannah around 1760. By 1770, Benjamin Franklin records sending soybean seeds to a botanist, John Bartram, to test in his garden in Philadelphia.

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