Archive for February, 2005

As Arctic Ice Melts, Rush Is on for Shipping Lanes, More

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 25, 2005   View Article

The melting Arctic ice is fueling a rush for the North Pole region’s resources.

Governments are jostling for political control over new passages for ships between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The disappearing sea ice could also open the way to exploit a bounty of oil, gas, minerals, and fish once protected by their inaccessibility, scientists and environmentalists caution.

New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Argentina

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 23, 2005   View Article

A newfound dinosaur species from Argentina suggests that fleet-footed, meat-eating dinosaurs with sickle-like claws on their hind feet roamed both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres through the end of the dinosaur age.

The new species, named Neuquenraptor argentinus, was about seven feet (two meters) long and similar in shape and size to Velociraptor mongoliensis, the smart, speedy, sickle-clawed dinosaurs immortalized in the movie Jurassic Park.

No Nuts, No Problem: Squirrels Harvest Maple Syrup

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 18, 2005   View Article

Though daylight lingers longer this time of year, winter’s grip remains strong, and many critters’ food stores are running low. How do they survive?

“There’s always some mechanism that allows animals to make it through the winter as a species,” said John Serrao, a naturalist in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Winter Birds Begin Singing Their Rites of Spring

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 16, 2005   View Article

For some, the magic moment happened a week ago. For others, it happened just the other day. Many are still waiting, but some morning soon they too will wake to the lilt of a backyard bird pleading for a mate.

Chickadees will whistle “Phoebe,” nuthatches will honk like a tinny horn, titmice will screech “Peter, Peter, Peter,” and woodpeckers will hammer out their heart’s desire with their beaks against hollow branches.

Potato Vaccine for Hepatitis B: Syringes off the Menu?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 15, 2005   View Article

Scientists have shown that, for hepetitis B vaccine, genetically modified potatoes may be an alternative to the syringe and needle.

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes liver failure and liver cancer. Despite the availability of a safe, injectable vaccine, the virus currently infects an estimated 350 million people worldwide and kills about a million people every year.

Winter Wondering: Where Have All the Birds Gone?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 15, 2005   View Article

When the groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil was pulled from his fake tree trunk in Pennsylvania on February 2, he saw his shadow. According to legend, that means the winter blues are sticking around.

So, what’s the good news?

According to John Hanson Mitchell, an editor with the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Lincoln and author of the book A Field Guide to Your Own Backyard, insects in the winter lie so low they seem to have disappeared. Worry about bug bites can also wait for warmer weather.

Animal Detectives: Decoding the Tale of the Tracks

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 14, 2005   View Article

Aspiring storytellers take note: Your backyard is full of tales about the daily trials and tribulations of the natural world.

The stories are embedded in the tracks made by the yard’s inhabitants, and winter’s snows make this season the best time to learn to read them, naturalists say.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach