Goosebumps in summer
July 31, 2006, 12:51 am by Jess. Filed under: seasons, summer.

No, it’s not from the thrill of warm-weather romance (unfortunately).

In summer, I always have two outfits on hand (or on body). One is cotton and as skimpy as societal norms will allow; the other is woolen and as long as long-sleeved can be. The former is for walking to my destination, whether it be a movie theater, a library, or an office; the latter is for being in my destination. The drastic temperature differential between indoor and outdoor spaces leads to much bothersome, chafing, and eyeglass-discombobulating donning and undonning on my part.

Me after wrestling with a tight neckhole; Photo by homegirl Carolyn Eckrich

To be fair, I err on the chilly side. (My mom, when I was new to this world, asked the pediatrician why I always looked slightly purple. The doctor responded that I had not yet adjusted to postnatal circulation. But nothing ever changed, so I guess I’m still adjusting.) But I also grew up in the Northeastern United States, so I am used to frigid, snowy weather. And though I have no official data, I have heard, over the years, similar reports from people of various body types and stages of fetal development: air-conditioned buildings are too freakin’ cold!

…more



My own Biosphere, minus the jumpsuits
July 27, 2006, 6:45 pm by bottleman. Filed under: closed ecological systems.

I was trained as a biologist, and for some years worked in ecological research. I’ve authored papers in highfalutin journals like the Journal of Ecology and the American Naturalist. But I’ve learned more about ecology from gardening.

I never understood the depths of cooperation between plants and animals until I had spent half a year of mornings, sitting outside half-awake with my coffee, watching a lupin going through its cycles. The same damn bumblebee (it seemed) was there at the lupin every single day, tireless and systematic in its quest to visit every blossom on every stalk, once, twice, maybe 3 times. Soon enough those flowers were turning into hundreds of seed pods — entirely due to this individual (or his dopplegangers).

Now it’s time to take my gardening a little farther into the future. Like this far:
picture of exterior of biosphere 2 by flickr user pwachaser, licensed under creative commons - thanks!! http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffrey2112/178909037/

In an effort to understand the way ecosystems work, I’m creating some materially sealed, energetically open microcosms. Translation: I’m creating little “Biosphere 2″ style worlds, except no one wears jumpsuits. Translation: I’m sealing up some plants and bugs in glass jars and seeing what the heck happens.

There’s a certain logic to it. …more



A delicious bully
July 23, 2006, 10:40 pm by Jess. Filed under: invasive species, love those goofy b*st*rds.

We think of plants as passive. They are alive, but it’s a different kind of alive than animal-alive. But the more you get to know plants, the more you can see how desperately alive they are.

Photo by Flickr member billy verdin---thank you
I know blackberry well enough that it can stir up the same emotions in me as any human enemy. …more