Frost above zero

Photo: Pixabay In Southern Ontario, May 24th is the traditional day for planting annuals. That’s because the probability of frost after that date is negligible. Not this year. A few days after the 24th, Environment Canada warned us of the possibility of frost overnight, and they were correct. We had quite a lot of frost damage. The strange thing was that the overnight temperature was predicted to be above zero by a degree or two. I…

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The "Ew!" Factor

By Claire EamerI have a new book out -- and it's so disgusting that it once put my editor right off her dinner. I'm proud of that! (Sorry-not-sorry, Stacey.)The book is called Extremely Gross Animals: Stinky, Slimy and Strange Animal Adaptations, and it's exactly what it claims to be -- a book about the animals that make you go "Ew!" The thing is, once you get past the "Ew!" moment, these animals are fascinating. And adaptation…

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Nominees for Red Cedar Book Award!

 This Red Cedar Book Awards have just announced their nominees for the 2020/2021 season. And on this list there are books by two people among the Sci/Why writers!Boreal Forest by L.E. Carmichael is one of the nominees, and another nominee is Jude Isabella's book Bringing Back the Wolves: How a Predator Restored an Ecosystem. Both books are from Kids Can Press.   Red Cedar Book Awards are British Columbia's Young Readers' Choice Book Awards. Click on…

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Forensics and Justice

 by Paula JohansonThe news in Canada this summer is troubling, with stories of unmarked graves on the sites of former Indian Residential Schools. Searches are being done on other former school sites, and in the United States as well. The little that was ever taught in public schools about the Residential School system is not enough, and people are looking to learn more.Forensics is the science of examining physical evidence. There can be a forensic…

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A Meromictic Treasure in Petroglyph Park

 by Nina Munteanu  Looking for ancient treasure, I drove north from Peterborough to Petroglyph Park in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands Forest Region, a sought-after destination for its impressive ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings). Holes in the rock were considered entrances to the spirit world, situated directly beneath the surface (spirits prefer to live near water). When I reached the park, I discovered that the glyphs were off-limits because of COVID. Disappointed, I looked to salvage…

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Celebrating the (Banting and) Best Anniversary Ever!

 by Anne MunierLeonard, a Toronto teenager, arrived at the hospital weak and pale, his hair falling out. Like everyone else who had Type 1 diabetes 100 years ago, he was dying.People with Type 1 diabetes (let’s call if T1D for short) stop producing the hormone insulin. In fact, their immune system -- which should be busy fighting off diseases -- gets confused, and starts killing the body’s own insulin-producing cells! Diagram credit: MyHealthDigestThat’s a big deal,…

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A Clownfish Comic

 by Raymond NakamuraFinding Nemo maybe an entertaining animated movie about clownfish, but it is not exactly a nature documentary. A recent bit of science news  about clownfish stripes inspired me to make a little comic about them.Unlike the movie, juvenile clownfish do not start out with all their stripes (or bars). They don’t even live with a parent. But they do live among sea anemones, which normally sting and eat other types of fish. Some species of…

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Seagrass and Neptune Balls

 Seagrass and Neptune Balls by Yolanda Ridge Here’s something you probably know (or could figure out): seagrass is grass that grows in the sea, usually close to shore in clusters called meadows. Here’s something you probably didn’t know: seagrass is helping to fight plastic pollution. How? By removing microplastics from the ocean. Here’s how it works: Step 1: When blades of seagrass die, they sink to the ocean floor and hang out between long blades…

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I Found a Baby Bird!

 by Paula JohansonImage shared with permission from @GeorgiaAudubon on Twitter.Continuing our Bird Theme on Sci/Why for another week, here's another post for fans of ornithology, the study of birds. Birdwatching is one of the most popular pastimes in North America, for people of any age and particularly families. For this study, amateurs don't need much more than a notebook and maybe a pair of binoculars. There are SO MANY resources to find at public libraries…

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