Over at The Last Word on Nothing, esteemed science writer Rebecca Boyle wrote a lovely appreciation of trees. "Apart from humans, maybe, trees are the best form of life on this planet," she writes. From Boyle's essay, titled "Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here":
Trees remain in one place, but reach elsewhere always. They stretch down into the ground, and they constantly strain toward the sun. They are the embodiment of our shared presence on a rocky planet that orbits a star. Hedgehogs and helminths may be interesting, but they don't constantly remind us, simply by existing, that we are in a solar system.
Trees are also hosts for every other form of life. Their roots chew up the very crust, a process aided by microbes, and in doing so, trees remake continents. Their bark harbors fungus and lichen. Their branches and leaves shelter and feed insects, birds and mammals. Even now, when humans are capable of building machines that fly to Mars, we still use trees for shelter. We also cut them down and burn them for warmth. Some of us cut them down and bring them inside and festoon them, for a form of psychic warmth that lasts a few weeks and is the only reason I can tolerate December.
Trees are strivers. My pin oak is one of the fastest-growing species of hardwood trees, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. It can grow two feet per year. Trees also bide their time. The oldest living thing on Earth is a tree in Arizona, a bristlecone pine that sprouted from a seed a few years before the invention of writing, in 3200 BCE.
"Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here" (via Nadia Drake)
Watch the skies! The peak of the Perseid meteor shower takes place overnight tonight! The bright quarter Moon will limit the number of shooting stars you'll see but you can still expect around 15-20 per hour depending on where you're at. The meteors are debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle burning up in Earth's atmosphere at speeds […]
"The U.S. has reached a landmark of sorts in its so far not very successful battle with the virus that causes Covid-19 — most Americans now know someone who has been infected," writes Justin Fox at Bloomberg, about coronavirus social data from Navigator Research, shown above.
Researchers successfully revived ancient microbes, some more than 100 million years old, that were buried in the seafloor. During an expedition to the South Pacific Gyre, the scientists from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and their colleagues drilled into the ocean sediment almost 6,000 meters below the surface. "Our main question […]
Vacuum cleaners have come a long way since those giant bulky bag behemoths that used to take up most of the hall closet. Machines that handle that kind of cleanup now have to be more than just carpet sweepers. They need to be small, powerful, convenient, and capable of handling a variety of big and […]
Everybody's got a story. Unfortunately, not everybody has the tools to tell that story the right way. That's especially true for someone looking to produce their first screenplay. Just as with any type of writing, penning a script for the screen has a set of rules all its own. Understanding that structure, as well as […]
Even as the world takes tentative steps toward reopening against the ebbs and flows of COVID-19, movie theaters remain in a netherworld limbo. High-profile film releases continue shuffling as theater chains, studios and filmgoers grapple with the fact that an enclosed theater may not be a safe place to be for some time to come. […]