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All the Beauty!

All the Beauty!

ChildrenIntroductory

Every season of the year provides its share of interest for young adventurers, or the young at heart. In winter, for example, have you considered how beautiful the silhouettes of the trees are against the snowy background? The deciduous (without leaves) trees look particularly artistic because we can see the branching pattern. Every tree has a characteristic canopy shape as a result of the way that the branches grow. This shape enables the tree in summer to display its leaves to best advantage so that the maximum possible sunshine is intercepted and the minimum number of leaves remains in the shade. Read the rest of this entry »


As a society, it is obvious that we are very impressed with the sophistication of our modern technology. It is also evident that the theoretical basis for this technology is fancy mathematics. Not surprisingly then, although not everybody can do advanced math, we consider our society to be advanced both in terms of knowledge base and physical know how. Read the rest of this entry »


Animals display many remarkable behaviours. To better appreciate their talents, how often have we wished that these creatures could communicate with us? We would love to know where they go during migrations, for example. In recent years however, animal ecologists have developed techniques to allow us to track some of these creatures. As a result, these animals communicate with us simply by doing what comes naturally, during the course of which our little espionage devices report where the animals have gone. Read the rest of this entry »


A tail is a distinct, flexible appendage attached to the torso of the rear section of an animal’s body. It is the body part that corresponds roughly to the coccyx in mammals, reptiles, and birds. Tails are primarily a feature of vertebrates, although some invertebrates, including scorpions and springtails, have tails. Even snails and slugs have tail-like appendages sometimes referred to as tails. Read the rest of this entry »


Animal Travel Plans

Animal Travel Plans

IntermediateIntroductory

Since the advent of global positioning satellites, or at least since their availability to civilians, scientists have found many uses for these devices. One of the more interesting applications is to track animals, as in the “fish with chips” program. This is a multimillion dollar Census of Marine Life project. In conjunction with this program, thousands of marine animals in the Pacific Ocean, including many fish, have been fitted with electronic surveillance tags. Read the rest of this entry »


Antarctic Odyssey

Antarctic Odyssey

IntermediateIntroductory

Were the Russians smart, or what? While their colony in Antarctica was obviously one of superlatives, scarcely anybody envied their choice. Established in 1957 in the southeast sector of the continent, it was 1500 km from the coast and definitely the highest, driest and coldest choice possible. Here, in this interior region, the ice pack was extremely deep so that the elevation of the camp was a lofty 3500 m above sea level. Despite all that ice, the climate was very dry indeed. Some have claimed that dry cold does not feel so intense, but at -89C, (the coldest temperature ever recorded on our planet and observed at this site), such arguments mean nothing. Even a more typical -55C in this vicinity is too cold for comfort. As far as the eye could see at Vostok, as the Russians named their camp, there was nothing but bleak cold whiteness. Almost forty years would pass before the Russians discovered that Vostok offered more than desolation. Read the rest of this entry »


Most people have a love-hate relationship with rodents. That is, people love to hate them. This is a pity since rodents exhibit various interesting talents. For a start, when we think of rodents, we think of rats. Rats certainly have a bad reputation because they thrive in so many environments where nobody wants them. Nevertheless rats are smart and individually very clean. Most rats live less than a year in the wild. Mama rats however are definitely overachievers. Read the rest of this entry »


On the weekend of November 6/09 large crowds came to hear Dr. Steven Austin, senior research scientist from Institute for Creation Research, discuss his work in geology. On the Friday evening, he described events surrounding the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May 1980. One result was pyroclastic (very hot) mud flows which deposited and quickly eroded a canyon similar in appearance to the Grand Canyon, only at a smaller scale (one twenty fifth the size). This miniature, but still impressive, canyon, demonstrates that obvious layering of sediment and erosion of these layers can happen very quickly. No long ages are required. Read the rest of this entry »


August Sky

August Sky

IntermediateIntroductory

Do you ever take a moment to gaze at the night sky? During late August and early September of 2003, who could miss the sharply focused bright red spot in the sky? Other celestial bodies may have seemed faint and far away, obscured perhaps by light pollution, but that bright body claimed our whole attention anyway. It was Mars, the red planet, which burnt into our memories. The interesting thing is that this scene was just as remarkable and unique as it appeared. Astronomers tell us that Mars has not been this close to Earth in 60,000 years. They base such conclusions on computer models of planetary motion. However, in a young universe, it may be that Mars has never approached us this closely before. We live in special times. Read the rest of this entry »


Beauty Reconsidered

Beauty Reconsidered

Introductory

Sometimes scientific studies seem more frivolous than serious work. That does not happen too often, of course since scientific research is expensive. However there was one study published in 2005 that did seem “cute rather than deep” (in the words of psychologist Steven Pinker of Harvard University.) Actually the study was intended to demonstrate serious evolutionary implications. As such it was chosen as the cover story for the December 22/29 December 2005 issue of Nature. Thus the caption on the cover featured the expression: “Fascinating Rhythm: Dancing’s Role in Sexual Selection.”  However on November 27/13 Nature withdrew this article from its published collection. Read the rest of this entry »


“Beyond the Bare Bones” is the theme of CSAA’s Creation Weekend October 15 and 16, 2010 with palaeontologist Dr. Marcus Ross. All the events will take place at Mill Woods Assembly, 66 Street and 23 Avenue in Edmonton. Read the rest of this entry »


Every family, whether into science of not, should obtain a copy of this book for the sake of their children (upper elementary through high school). This deluxe book, The World of Animals, is a wonderful reference book which describes anatomy and ecological significance of the main groups of animals. Read the rest of this entry »


Among living creatures, it does not take a specialist to realize that jellyfish are not dainty delights of the deep. Although they may be beautiful in appearance, jellyfish are successful predators. Read the rest of this entry »


If you have followed the adventures of scientists who collect fossils for a living, you may have noticed that travel to distant lands is often part of their profession. One such account by Derek Ager, published posthumously in 1993 (The New Catastrophism.Cambridge University Press) contains insights garnered from his travels and experiences during the course of a long career in palaeontology. Read the rest of this entry »


The long awaited Illustra Media DVD on the Cambrian fossil record has finally been released. It was worth waiting for! The results are sensational. As far as visual effects go, this one exceeds the quality of Unlocking the Mystery of Life, and The Privileged Planet which Illustra Media also produced, and which set a new high standard for videos about nature. Read the rest of this entry »