Just another sunset in paradise


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That’s the southern end of the Caja del Rio Mesa at the bottom. We’re at the Southeastern edge of the Colorado Plateau which extends through a portion of each of the states comprising the Four Corners of the American Southwest.

We live in the bottom of the valley created by the Santa Fe River. We’re at ~6300 feet altitude.

On our last walk of the day.

Even in the wildest corner of your yard (or prairie) mice will run on wheels

Yes, I know this is a couple years old. But, I somehow missed it first time round.

In 2009, neurophysiologist Johanna Meijer set up an unusual experiment in her backyard. In an ivy-tangled corner of her garden, she and her colleagues at Leiden University in the Netherlands placed a rodent running wheel inside an open cage and trained a motion-detecting infrared camera on the scene. Then they put out a dish of food pellets and chocolate crumbs to attract animals to the wheel and waited.

Wild house mice discovered the food in short order, then scampered into the wheel and started to run. Rats, shrews, and even frogs found their way to the wheel—more than 200,000 animals over 3 years. The creatures seemed to relish the feeling of running without going anywhere.

The study “puts a nail in the coffin” of the debate over whether mice and rats will run on wheels in a natural setting, says Ted Garland, an evolutionary physiologist at the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the work. More importantly, he says, the findings suggest that like (some) humans, mice and other animals may simply exercise because they like to. Figuring out why certain strains of mice are more sedentary than others could help shed light on genetic differences between more active and sedentary people…

On average, the backyard mice she and colleagues observed ran in 1 to 2 minute stints, roughly the same duration as that seen in lab mice, they reported online…in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The team also set up a second wheel in a nearby nature preserve of grassy dunes and attracted a similar crowd of enthusiasts.

Conservatives Attack Starbucks Holiday Coffee Cup “Gay Agenda”

Another year, another nutball controversy over a Starbucks holiday cup.

This season, Twitter is convinced that the cup features a same-sex couple holding hands. The illustration in question is part of this year’s “Give Good” theme, which lets customers color in their coffee cups.

Starbucks did not confirm or deny “the lesbianism of The Hands.” In a statement, the coffee company said, “Each year during the holidays we aim to bring our customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season, and we will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”

In past years, conservatives have criticized Starbucks for the “war on Christmas” and being too secular in its holiday designs. Many also denounced the new cup for its possible “gay agenda,” with some promoting the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks.

Bigoted, backwards and useless for anything but conservative cannon fodder. Please, meatheads, start a campaign for anyone whose mind is this corrupt to enlist in the US military. Encourage them to volunteer for Trump’s warzone-of-the-week. If we’re lucky their prejudice will overcome their natural-born cowardice and they can die for their 19th-Century stupidity.

As for me, even though I think my wife makes the best coffee on the planet, next time we’re in town I’ll have to stop and have a Starbucks Holiday Coffee. Just to stick my finger in the metaphorical eye of some bigot.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Simulation of 2017 Hurricanes and Aerosol Tracking

How can you see the atmosphere? By tracking what is carried on the wind. Tiny aerosol particles such as smoke, dust, and sea salt are transported across the globe, making visible weather patterns and other normally invisible physical processes.

❝ This visualization uses data from NASA satellites, combined with mathematical models in a computer simulation allow scientists to study the physical processes in our atmosphere. By following the sea salt that is evaporated from the ocean, you can see the storms of the 2017 hurricane season.