What have you been doing this summer? Have you gone to the beach? How about fishing? Or do you prefer to stay home and garden? A few weeks ago I took a look through this summer’s Science Borealis blog feed to find stories where science overlaps with summer fun. Click on over there to read about the invasive fish that might land in your boat, swimsuits that repel water, what fireflies have to do with stem cells, and lots more summer science.
When you’re done, come on back and take a look at a few more summertime topics that have come up since I wrote that piece —
Science in your Picnic Basket
When you’re out hunting chanterelles for your dinner, try not to get sidetracked like Jan Thornhill, and find yourself collecting 39 fungus species from a single maple log. And speaking of fungus, watch out for that yogurt in your picnic basket.
Your Beach Reading
If you are into mysteries, here is one: How did a small tropical butterfly from Texas end up dead on a roadside at the University of Guelph? Here is another: Where did Victoria Lake Beach go?
Remember this from Alice In Wonderland?
Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice, “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
Science says that an object and its property cannot exist independently … unless, of course, that object is a Quantum Cheshire Cat.
If you like science and sci-fi, and want to take a book to the beach, maybe Charles L. Adler’s Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction is the book for you.
Here’s a bird you might not have checked off on your life list: The Twitter bird. Do you know what kind it is? And here are two neat stories about the science of butterfly color and ways that scientists are able to manipulate it — one through breeding and one using bioengineering. Or maybe you’d rather go out and watch extinct species, brought back to life through “rewilding.” (But sorry, the whole mammoths thing isn’t going to happen.)
Oh, and before you go out on one of those wolf howls that many parks offer, make sure you know that the idea of an “alpha” wolf is an outdated theory.
Time on Your Hands
Have you ever wondered what scientists do all summer long when they don’t have lectures to give and exams to mark? Biologist Alex Bond says the answer is fieldwork, and provides a bunch of examples of who’s doing what in Canada. If you’d rather stay in your own yard, how about inventorying your garden for all those little unnoticed species that live amongst your geraniums and tomatoes. Here’s Jen’s garden list, updated since my Science Borealis post.
And again a reminder from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, that getting outdoors is good for your body and mind.