Tag nature

Thermodynamics in Our Daily Lives

R. Stephen Berry— Thermodynamics is a beautiful illustration of how needs of very practical applications can lead to very basic, general concepts and relations, very much in contrast to the view that the practical and applied facets of a science are consequences of prior basic studies.  Thermodynamics teaches us that

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Multitasking Trees

Sonja Dümpelmann— Multitasking Trees Since their systematic planting throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, street trees have fulfilled various purposes in our cities. They have been considered variously as aesthetic make-up and creators of space; as territorial markers and instruments of defense, emancipation, and empowerment; as sanitizers and air conditioners;

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The Aliens Among Us

Leslie Anthony— Life on our planet is changing, of that there can be no doubt. That alien invasive species are a measurable component of this is also clear. The questions raised, then, are simple, and essentially those we began with: do we care about this? And if so, what are

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An Arboreal Meditation

Fiona Stafford— In spring, you can feel life stirring in the barest twigs and the silhouetted catkins look as if a diminutive duck has run across the sky. One day the twigs are just beginning to thicken and brighten and bulge; by the next they are covered in pincer-paired leaves

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Surprises Springing from Trees

Fiona Stafford— At a secret location somewhere in the White Mountains of California is the world’s oldest individual tree. This ancient Great Basin bristlecone pine (pinus longaeva) has been growing there for more than 5,000 years, at least two centuries longer than its nearest rival, which is a mere 4,850,

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The Discovery of Acid Rain

Gene E. Likens and Richard T. Holmes— Acid rain or acid precipitation or acid deposition as it is variably called, was first identified in North America more than five decades ago at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Scientists who were initiating the Hubbard

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For the Love of Trees

Peter Crane— Recent estimates suggest that there are roughly three trillion trees in the world, almost half the number that are thought to have existed prior to their widespread use and manipulation by people over the past 10,000 years.  Every year it is estimated that perhaps 15 billion trees are

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Hawthorn Power in Fairy Tales, the Cult of the Virgin, and the Cult of the Undead

Bill Vaughn— In “Hawthorn Blossom,” the Brothers Grimm rewriting of the folk story Sleeping Beauty, a queen is informed by a frog that the royal couple finally will have a child. Among the guests at the celebration of the princess’s birth are twelve “wise women” (the sort of traditional village

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Six Surprising Owl Facts

Tony Angell— To most of us owls are mysterious and elusive creatures of the night.  That they can freely operate in darkness that leaves us gripping a flashlight to make our way, contributes to their singular standing among birds.  Of course their broad feathered faces collect all available light to

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Your Backyard Summer Reading: 10 Facts on Coexisting with Wildlife

Follow @yaleSCIbooks Looking for a little motivation to reconnect with your backyard now that summer is officially here? James Barilla’s My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard into Habitat and Learned with It is the summer reading book for you. Now available in paperback, the book makes

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