Flower

Warmest springs on record bring earliest flowers

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 16, 2013   View Article

During the exceptionally warm springs of 2010 and 2012, plants bloomed earlier in the eastern U.S. than they have since the American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau started keeping records near Walden Pond in 1852.

Many plants now flower several weeks earlier than they did in the 19th century, a response linked to increasingly warmer springs due to global climate change.

For example, in Massachusetts, plants are flowering 20 days earlier now than they were during Thoreau’s time. In Wisconsin, where data on flowering dates was recorded by environmentalist and writer Aldo Leopold in the 1930s, flowering dates are, on average, 24 days earlier.

Sunflowers inspire improved solar power plant

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 11, 2012   View Article

The well-tuned geometry of the florets on the face of the sunflower head has inspired an improved layout for mirrors used to concentrate sunlight and generate electricity, according to new research.

The sunflower-inspired layout could reduce the footprint of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants by about 20 percent, which could be a boon for a technology that’s limited, in part, by its massive land requirements.

CSP plants employ arrays of giant mirrors, each the size of half a tennis court, to beam the sun’s rays up to heat a tube of fluid in the top of a tower. This hot fluid drives steam turbines that generate electricity.

Shoes sprout flowers when planted

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 25, 2011   View Article

Your old sneakers may smell like something found only in fetid corners of nature, but chances are there’s plenty that’s not natural about them. A pair of Dutch entrepreneurs wants to change that. They’ve created a fully biodegradable shoe that will sprout flowers when planted at the end of their life.

Pictures: Rare Bees Make Flower-Mud “Sandwiches”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 10, 2010   View Article

What appears to be part of a spring wedding bouquet is actually a nest for a rare species of solitary bee, a new study says.

Called a “flower sandwich,” the three-tiered arrangement consists of a thin layer of petals on the outside, then a layer of mud, and finally another layer of petals lining the inside of the chamber, according to study leader Jerome Rozen, a curator of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

At the core of the sandwich is the bee’s larva, which feasts on nectar and pollen deposited inside the chamber by its parent before the egg is laid and the nest is sealed.

10 inventions with ties to NASA

Publication: MSN Tech & Gadgets   Date: May 1, 2009   View Article

NASA, the U.S. space agency, has put people on the moon and robots on Mars, and has sent a probe rocketing towards Pluto and beyond, but contrary to popular belief it did not invent the powdery drink mix Tang. In fact, General Foods began to test-market the orange-flavored concoction in 1957, a year before NASA was born. However, the space agency did help launch Tang on the road to fame when astronaut John Glenn, in 1962, selected the mix for eating experiments in orbit. Tang flew on all Gemini and Apollo missions, a fact that General Foods used to its advertising advantage. Check out nine more technologies tied up with NASA’s history.

10 spring flings with science

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: March 19, 2009   View Article

Spring, the season of fertility and frivolous flings, is a bounty for science as well. Learn about the science of spring from festivals to floods.

Buzz Kill: Wild Bees and Flowers Disappearing, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 21, 2006   View Article

Parents may soon be telling their kids about the birds and the … birds.

Bees—and the flowers they pollinate—are disappearing, according to a new study of bee diversity. The results raise concerns about food crops and plant communities that rely on animal pollinators to reproduce.

Scientists compared a million records on bees from hundreds of sites in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands before and after 1980.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach