Mar
15
2010
1

Is the green flash of the setting sun a myth?

green-flash-sunsetThe green flash is a real optical phenomenon, but many have thought it was just a seaman’s yarn until they actually saw it themselves. Seamen were—and are—most likely to see it since they have a clear view of the horizon, but the phenomenon, which usually only lasts a second or two, seemed like a figment [more...]

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May
01
2009
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What is it like to view a solar eclipse?

Observing a solar eclipse, possibly 1912 in Russia (photo by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky - PD)Before eclipses were understood, they struck terror into the population. Now we know that a solar eclipse is simply the moon casting a shadow on part of the earth, and we can enjoy this incredible spectacle of nature. But what do you actually see during a solar eclipse? The date and place of an eclipse [more...]

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Apr
19
2009
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What May Day traditions can children enjoy?

May blossom for May Day - also called hawthorn, whitethorn, maythorn etc. - photo by D.H.Wright - CC-BYIf you want to celebrate May Day as a family, or with a larger group of kids, try planning some activities based on old traditions. Creating your own festival is just as good as going to see a parade, or watching other people dancing round a maypole. And you can do both! May Day in [more...]

Jan
17
2009
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What does wabi sabi mean?

Wabi sabi bowl - photo by moriza - cc-byWabi sabi is a Japanese world view which embraces the beauty of things that are modest, humble, unconventional, even imperfect or incomplete, and celebrates those things for their positive values. Perhaps the closest that westerners can come to this idea is to admire “rustic simplicity”. It’s also the concept behind the western admiration of “hand [more...]

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Jan
04
2009
4

Do Hummingbirds ever stop flying?

Hummingbirds (photo by teddy llovet - CC-BY) Yes, although it is a popular myth that they never land and spend their entire lives in flight (one that I believed while growing up). Hummingbirds perch on small branches, wires, and clotheslines, preening like other birds and will perch while drinking from a feeder (as in the photo). When you think about it, it’s [more...]

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