Friday, July 30, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
One day the field is filled with yellow composites ~ dandelion-like blooms atop tall, hairy stems. Within days the petals fade and the flowers go to seed. Even as that's happening, new buds are getting ready to bloom.
Look for aging flowers in your yard and around the neighborhood. Take a photo or draw an aging plant that you find. What do you notice?
Friday, July 23, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
|an Essex Skipper ~ look at that tongue!|
Friday, July 16, 2021
Other spreads explain how to identify things, such as what kind of snail shell you’ve found, and how to tell a tree by its leaves or needles.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Friday, July 9, 2021
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
There are lots of yellow flowers blooming in the wild patch in my yard, and in my gardens where I've let the wild things grow. Yellow and orange seem to be the color of the season right now.
What colors are the flowers blooming in your neighborhood?
Friday, July 2, 2021
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
I have a poppy that has steadfastly grown near my garden gate. Every year I watch it, from it's hairy leaves unfolding to the fat buds that eventually open into bright red flowers.
This summer, get to know the lives of the flowers in your neighborhood.
Friday, June 25, 2021
|photo by Ilona Loser, creative commons|
When they go through the pupa stages: Now are they bees? In love the “are we there yet” questions. But finally – finally! – they are bees. And boy, do they have work to do. Clean the nest. Gather food. Care for larvae. Then bee season ends, and the bees die. Except for one bee, snugly hibernating in her hole. Next year’s queen that will start the cycle again.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Most people are familiar with honey bees and bumble bees pollinating flowers. But tons of flies do that work as well.
Friday, June 18, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
For a short time in the spring (late May through early June) it looks like someone has decorated the twigs of our hickory tree with green tinsel. These are the flowers on our shagbark hickory tree. For all the years I've watched our tree, I haven't paid much attention to the flowers. And yet I know they're there because every fall we've got hickory nuts. Turns out that shagbark hickories are monoecious - that means they have male flowers (the long catkins) and female flowers (tiny flowers at end of the twig). They depend on the wind for pollination.
You know what else is monoecious? Cucumbers, summer squash, melons, and pumpkin plants. If you grow any of those, take a look at their flowers this summer and see if you can tell which ones are the female flowers and which ones are the male flowers.
Friday, June 11, 2021
by Sandra Nickel, illus. by Aimée Sicuro
48 pages; ages 6-9
Harry N. Abrams, 2021
Vera always liked looking at the night sky.
What I like about this book: Vera is persistent. We see her ask questions: do galaxies rotate around the center of the universe like the constellations circle the North Star? How do stars at the edge of the galaxy move? And could she create a women’s bathroom at the observatory where she worked simply by taping a skirt to the figure on the door? Over time, the male astronomers begin to accept Vera’s idea that dark matter stretched between the stars.
Also – there is Back Matter! The author’s note contains more info about Vera Rubin and how galaxies move. There’s a timeline of Vera’s life and a selected bibliography for curious young astronomers who want to learn more.
Observe the night sky. What do you notice? How does it change from one month to the next, from early night to late night? Do the constellations rotate around the North Star?
Learn more about Dark Matter over at NASA’s Space Place.
Sandra Nickel is a member of #STEAMTeam2021. You can find out more about her at her website.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
One corner of my yard lies under dappled shade of maples and cottonwoods. A colony of mayapples lives there, and has thrived (and even grown) over the years. Mayapples are native to our area, so I am always delighted to see them bloom and grow.
- white flowers
- hidden flowers
- plants with umbrella-leaves
- flowers with lots of stamens
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Maple samaras are seeds with papery wings. When I was a kid, we used to collect maple samaras to play with. Some were big, and when you opened up one of the seeds, they were sticky - sticky enough to put them on our noses and pretend we were rhinoceroses. A better game was whirlybirds. The samara is perfectly designed to helicopter from a tree to a distant location. That paper wing helps it fly, so it can find a place to grow beyond the shade of its parent tree. They are built for seed dispersal.
When you find some maple or ash samaras, drop them from a height and measure how far they travel. Or toss them in the air and watch them twirl their way down.
If you're adventurous, try snacking on maple seeds. They're a bit bitter, but the folks over at Eat the Weeds suggest leaching them before roasting.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Come with me on a nature walk at the Fleisher preserve (Watertown, CT). It's cool in the shaded forest, and the ground is still muddy in many places. You can hear a pileated woodpecker hammering away in the distance; closer are calls of robins and warblers and the burbling brook.
and all around.
and ferns, uncurling into spring.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Last week I took a "nature hike" around my yard. It had just rained (2.1 inches) and a front was blowing in.
The may apples were just leafing out - they have beautiful white flowers if they don't freeze. And the fruit trees were blossoming - but it was too chilly for bees. And yet a third kind of daffodil was blooming. I love the buttery color!
I'm taking a few weeks off from Archimedes Notebook to finish a book.
But I'll be taking daily nature breaks to look at the flowers, bugs,
snails, birds, mushrooms, lichens, clouds, trees, stars, puddles, frogs.
Please join me in doing that. And if I have time, I'll post some nature
Friday, April 30, 2021
Cyberspies: Inside the World of Hacking, Online Privacy, and Cyberterrorism
by Michael Miller
120 pages; ages 11-18
Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner, 2021
In this book, Michael Miller provides a primer on cyberspying. He shows how digital threats are used against individuals, businesses, and entire governments. Each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of cyber threats, and includes steps you can take to protect yourself.
The first chapter takes readers into the world of cyberintelligence – and yes, there are jobs for those who are interested. He gives a glimpse into cyber command at NSA. From there, he shows how people can use computers to legally search government records, news archives, and more. He contrasts that with a chapter describing how people use computers to obtain private – and in some cases secret – information. They often employ phishing emails to obtain access to business and government secrets.
A pair of chapters take a close look at cyberspying and politics. Miller shows how individuals and government entities have used digital technologies to hack elections. He pays particular attention to the 2016 election in the United States, the fake twitter accounts and propaganda spread through social media. And he answers the question: Which is more hackable – voting machines or mail-in ballots? He also defines the difference between real “fake news” (propaganda and outright lies) versus the tendency for some people to label real news as “fake” when they don’t like it. And he discusses why some people are more prone to fall for fake news/propaganda than others. Miller knows his stuff, because a couple years ago he published an entire book about Fake News, reviewed here.
Miller discusses cyberattacks against businesses and governments. Hospitals have lost access to their computers, tying up admissions and patient care for hours. Towns, school districts, and library systems have been held hostage to ransomware attacks. The perpetrators are usually criminals extorting victims for money.
Cyberterrorism is a broader attack on a country or region’s systems and infrastructure. These attacks, backed by governments, tend to go after power grids, telecommunication systems, financial institutions, and other systems. The goal is to destabilize the society and create chaos. Miller documents cases of cyberwarfare.
The need for cybersecurity has skyrocketed leading Miller to close with a chapter on career advice for potential cyberspies.
Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
There is so much happening during this season. Forsythia blooming, dandelions and violets popping up all over my yard. And birds everywhere: drumming on dead trees, calling from the hayfield, honking overhead. So about ten days ago I stood outside my house, in a nice sunny spot, and just listened.
And I made a sound map. (here's how)
Notice - this time I jotted down the date, and even the time and temperature. And there'e even a minute flying insect squashed on the page (top left) - not that I intended the little guy any harm... just meant to brush it away.
This week take a listening break. What do you hear?