We’re Almost Out of Sand

By Adrienne Montgomerie Windows, concrete, silicone chips, and even water filtration systems have one thing in common, and it’s getting harder and harder to find: it’s sand.Can you believe that? The stuff between your toes at the beach, in your bathing suit, in your bag… the stuff that is so hard to get rid of, that sticks everywhere. That sand is running out. It’s getting so hard to find that people are even stealing it,…

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Carpenter Bees

Last weekend I had an unwelcome visitor. A carpenter bee decided that my deck would be a good place to raise a family. I disagreed. If you don’t know about these amazing insects, here goes: Carpenter bees are quite different from honey bees. Carpenters don't make honey and they don't live in communal hives. They seldom sting - only the female (queen) is capable of stinging. The males will buzz around you and try to intimidate…

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Snakes at the Seaside and Birds in the Bush

By Claire Eamer"Snake!" yelled 8-year-old Carys, and dove for the grassy bank beside the trail. She emerged clutching a deeply puzzled garter snake at least 60 centimetres long, with elegant checkerboard markings on its sides and a jagged yellow stripe running the length of its back.Western garter snake, found at Pipers Lagoon Park, Nanaimo.The rest of the group -- more than two dozen kids and adults, with an age range from 8 to 80-ish --…

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The (Missing) Link Between Smartphones and Horns

by L. E. CarmichaelLast weekend, suffering from an airplane cold and soaking my coughing muscles in a hot tub while listening to old episodes of The Daily Show on Sirius on Demand, I heard an incredible story about how smartphone use is causing millennials to grow horns. Here's the link to coverage at the BBC.Image by Shahar D. and Sayers M., Scientific Reports, 2019/CC BY 4.0Hacking up my second lung, my first thought in reaction to this story…

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Why NASA monitors Penguin Poop (and Other NASA Stuff You Didn’t Know)

Yes, they really doo-doo. Sorry. Yes, they really do. Back in 1966 NASA launched the Landsat program – a bunch of satellites which orbit the earth recording images at various wavelengths (blue, green, red, infra-red, etc.) The latest satellite – Landsat 8 – scans 11 different wavelengths at a resolution of 30 meters. Since Adélie penguins are mostly a lot smaller than 30 meters across, they can’t be seen individually. But where there's a will,…

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Time to Let the Kids Lead – and Follow Them!

Image by Goran Horvat from PixabayBy Claire EamerIn 2001, I went to work for the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College in Whitehorse. I was the Yukon coordinator of the now-defunct Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN). My job was to help climate change researchers communicate and work with each other across disciplines and geographic barriers.(Most scientists are not too good at talking to scientists in other fields, let alone to people outside…

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Why You Should Be Following #Fieldworkfail

by L. E. CarmichaelIt's #FF (Follow Friday) over on Ye Olde Twitters, and if you're not already following #Fieldworkfail you should really get over there and get on that. Like right now.When scientists write journal articles, they make it sound like they knew what they were doing every step of the way. #Fieldworkfail reveals the truth - they're making it up as they go along, pretty much like the rest of us.Just with more bears.While…

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Secrets of the Credit River – guest post!

Secrets of the Credit Riverguest post by Nina Munteanu  I began my limnology career teasing out the secrets of stream life as a grad student at Concordia University, Quebec. My master’s research focused on several rural and urban streams in the Eastern Townships, not far from where I grew up.Later, as a limnologist for various environmental consulting companies in British Columbia, I used stream macro-benthos communities—the critters that live on the stream bottom—as indicators of…

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The Surprising Truth About a 100-Year Flood

The surprising thing about 100-year events is that they can happen year after year, not just once every 100 years. That's because the term 100-year event is about chance (probability), not a schedule. It’s a statistical term that means a 100-year event has a 1 in 100 chance of happening each year.It's One in a Hundred, Every YearThink about flipping a coin. There's a 50/50 chance of getting heads each time you flip the coin.…

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Dressing for Science

The usual picture of a scientist shows someone in a long white coat, working in a lab. And indeed, that's a very practical idea for science clothing - for some scientists. For other scientists working in the field, it might be more appropriate to wear insulated coveralls in cold weather, or a neoprene wetsuit when diving under water. And what about when scientists are presenting their research at a university or conference? Some scientists dress…

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