Sunday, April 20, 2014

Theme: nature

  • In a lozenge-shaped hall just beyond the main entrance to the museum, builders constructed a series of chambers to house the “habitat dioramas.” Each chamber was fitted like an alcove with a 180 degree curved wall, providing maximum depth-projection for the artists who were commissioned to paint the backdrop—the Serengeti Plain, or a bank of the Upper Nile, the slopes of Mount Kenya, a forest beside the Zambezi River.Read more
  • Jim Holt speaks about rocks, modern-day science and the nature of the universe.Read more
  • Migration likely brings to mind the familiar sight of geese flying overhead in their iconic V formation, honking stridently as they fly toward their faraway goal. But the migration of many birds is a rarely observed phenomenon. Most passerine birds, a group that includes songbirds and groups taxonomically related to them, migrate at night. Read more
  • For most of my adult life, beginning, really, in the rebellious years of adolescence, I have been against nature. This phrase, against nature, is the standard title for the English translation of J.-K. Huysmans' splendid 1884 novel, À rebours, but when I use it here, I don't mean generally perverted or out-of-whack. I mean I have cultivated a consummately urban existence, and have insisted that people who rush off to commune with the great outdoors are wasting their time. Read more
  • It's been a busy few weeks for announcements about how smart non-human life-forms are. First there was the talking beluga in California, then there was the elephant in Korea who could articulate a few words, then, finally, the report on a lowly slime mold's ability to make sophisticated decisions. Read more
  • Fall falls. Footfalls squish and squash through redorangeyellow leaves, their green energy sucked back into roots, an understandable hoarding for the winter. The casual bicyclist dismounts for the season, buries the bike in the basement, perhaps intending to walk through the winter.Read more
  • Toward the end of summer, many songbirds in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere migrate south to overwinter in more favorable climates. But some species stay put. One of the most common groups of resident songbirds is the chickadees and titmice of North America and the tits of Europe and Asia. Read more
  • From a public perspective, biology in the oceans, like biology on the land, tends to favor the charismatic megafauna. Stop by your local aquarium and you'll find masses huddled around the seal pool or the shark tank. People will even attempt to interact with the octopodes. Meanwhile, smaller creatures sit on the sidelines.Read more
  • I killed a great silver fish, cut him open with a long thin knife. The river carried his heart away.Read more
  • A comic strip by Rosemary Mosco.Read more
  • A sense of outsideness. Buildings turned inside out on 9-11, and people outside in the streets of Manhattan. The mind, outside of itself with disbelief. The brutal and temporary restoration of the natural world in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities.Read more
  • Bone shows through the opening of her snakebite. Calloused foot on cool grass, naked save the rosary of swallow beaks. Like a good blacksmith's daughter, only neither pale nor meek she drags a cane through unmarked graves Read more
  • From his father, who loved the natural world, Hemingway learned in childhood to fish and shoot, and a love of these things shaped his life along with a third thing, writing.Read more
  • Currently, the town is embroiled in a minor controversy, played out on the municipal listserv, about a local pond that has been purchased by the town and preserved under a conservation easement. Read more
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