Just after sunset…


Click to enlarge

That time of summer when a late afternoon walk can’t catch any clouds to filter the sun’s heat. So, I wait till just after sunset. Down past the back meadow and into my fenceline laps. Top off steps and a few miles for the day.

A very peaceful time.

Ancient tree recorded Earth reversing magnetic field


Nelson Parker

An ancient tree that contains a record of a reversal of Earth’s magnetic field has been discovered in New Zealand. The tree—an Agathis australis, better known as its Māori name kauri—was found in Ngawha, on New Zealand’s North Island, during excavation work for the expansion of a geothermal power plant…

The tree, which had been buried in 26 feet of soil, measures eight feet in diameter and 65 feet in length. Carbon dating revealed it lived for 1,500 years, between 41,000 and 42,500 years ago…

❝ The lifespan of the kauri tree covers a point in Earth’s history when the magnetic field almost reversed. At this time, the magnetic north and south went on an excursion but did not quite complete a full reversal.

Looking forward to a polished picture of the tree rings.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

All of Mississippi’s beaches are closed by toxic algae


Get out your jogging sandals, folks. You ain’t going swimming.

❝ Summer’s the perfect time to hit the beach — unless you live in Mississippi.

Along the state’s Gulf Coast, all 21 of the state’s beaches have been shut down for swimming due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality…

❝ HABs occur when “colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people” or wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.

The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned…

HABs aren’t rare. In fact, every US coastal and Great Lakes state experiences them, the NOAA says. However, they are popping up with increasing frequency due to climate change and increasing nutrient pollution, according to the NOAA.

Shameful. Causes are inclusive. Decades of mismanagement of most of the waterways in the Mississippi system. Lousy regulation of farm chemicals. You name it – the Mississippi probably suffers from it.

French to build two roll-on/roll-off cargo ships…Sail-Powered


Renault

❝ France-based Neoline has selected a shipyard to construct to construct its first two sail-powered roll-on/roll-off cargo ships to operate between France and United States as soon as 2021…

❝ Neoline was established in 2015 with the intention of the becoming the world’s first shipowner specializing in modern sailing cargo ships. The company has partnered with French automaker Renault to develop the ships, which will be 136-meter long and equipped with 4,200 square meters of sail area.

The ships will initially operate on a pilot route joining Saint-Nazaire, France with the U.S. East Coast and Saint-Pierre & Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland.

Oh, would I ever love to ship out aboard something like this. A truly modern adventure.

“Flying salt shakers of death” are heavy; but, they ain’t metal


Click to enlargeMatt Kasson

❝ If cicadas made horror movies, they’d probably study the actions of their counterparts plagued by a certain psychedelic fungus.

West Virginia University researchers have discovered that a cicada fungus called Massopora contains chemicals similar to those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The fungus causes cicadas to lose their limbs and eccentric behavior sets in: Males try to mate with everything they encounter, although the fungus has consumed their genitals and butts.

❝ You’ve heard of “The Walking Dead.” This is “The Flying Dead.”

A bit of cross-pollination with zombie movies – and some truly interesting consideration of a species infected with multiple funguses.

Noah’s Ark Owners Sues Over Rain Damage!

❝ A gigantic ark gets built with the help of a higher power, a symbolic refuge from the depravity of humankind. It is a huge, grandiose structure constructed out of wood that is perhaps larger than anything comparable in the world. Then heavy rains begin to fall, inundating the earth around it.

And that is when the lawyers are called.

OK. The damage results from how the grounds around the Ark were contoured – and affected by 40 or 50 days of rain in a year. Not quite up to the biblical standard. Still, pretty funny.