Archive for April, 2005

Ramp Fests Add Flavor, Stench, to Appalachian Spring

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 29, 2005   View Article

On Sunday, Cathey Owens vows to give the ramps on her dinner plate to the first person who will take the onionlike herbs. With upward of 3,000 people expected to attend the 52nd annual Cosby Ramp Festival in Cosby, Tennessee, finding a taker should be easy.

“If you eat one, you’re going to stink, and the more you eat, the more you’re going to stink,” said Owens, who is helping to organize the annual event in Cosby.

Tsunami Proofing: Where to Put Walls, Why to Keep Trees

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 28, 2005   View Article

The images from the Indian Ocean tsunami that left nearly 300,000 dead or missing last December are striking. Amateur video shot in Phuket, Thailand, for example, shows huge ocean waves ripping across beachfront swimming pools and crashing through hotel lobbies.

“All of those videos were shot from the upper floors of hotels; [the buildings] survived,” said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist and tsunami expert at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Honolulu.

Does “Intelligent Design” Threaten the Definition of Science

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 27, 2005   View Article

Where did we come from? It’s one of the oldest and most profound questions. Now “intelligent design” theory may change the very definition of science by allowing the supernatural into the lab.

“Ever since the birth of science as we know it, a cardinal rule for theists [believers in the existence of a god or gods] and nontheists alike has been to limit scientific explanations to natural causes,” said Ronald Numbers, a science historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kudzu Entrepreneurs Find Gold in Green “Menace”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 22, 2005   View Article

Nancy Basket agrees with the sentiment that kudzu, a fast-growing vine originally imported to the U.S. from Japan, is a menace. But 15 years ago she learned to respect that menace and now it’s rewarding her with a profitable—and growing—business.

Basket is a Native American artisan who runs Kudzu Kabin Designs from her home in the Appalachian foothills of Walhalla, South Carolina. She is one of a handful of people who are seeing gold in the vine that North Americans love to hate.

Arizona Tries to Save “Living Cave”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 19, 2005   View Article

In 1974 cool, moist air billowed from a crack in Arizona’s sunbaked desert and lured cave hunters Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen underground. There, glistening formations of rock hung from the ceiling like icicles and sprouted from the ground. The explorers were overwhelmed. They’d discovered a so-called living cave.

Tufts and Tenen were the first humans known to set foot in the Kartchner Caverns, which today are among the world’s top show caves.

“Toad Tunnels” Built to Help Amphibians Cross Roads

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

Later this month, when the next warm, wet rain soaks the northeastern U.S., it will signal thousands of American toads to hop to their breeding ponds. To get there, many of the toads will cross roads that slice through their habitat.

John Serrao, a naturalist in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, says that unless Buffo americanus and other amphibians get help crossing the road, their local populations will disappear.

Dinosaur Eggs Discovered Inside Mother – A First

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

Scientists have discovered for the first time a dinosaur with shelled eggs inside her belly. The find yields insight into how dinosaurs made babies and supports the theory that modern birds and dinosaurs are close relatives.

“I don’t think too many people had expected [us] to discover a specimen that actually had eggs inside its body. It’s something we wanted to have, but it’s very surprising we actually got it,” said Tamaki Sato, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach