I “Discover” The Chestnut Weevil Maggot

Biology, Nature
Sitting at my computer desk one day, I spotted a small maggot crawling along. Now a couple of hours earlier, I had a couple of apples sitting there, so I wondered if they were the source of the maggot that came from those, possibly a fly maggot. No, they were not. Now in the fall, which this is, I gather seeds from various plants, to dry them and put them away for next year. Among these are sunflower, hot pepper, and zinnia seeds. I know no maggot in its "right mind" would make its home in a Serrano pepper. And I hadn't gathered the zinnia seeds yet. Then again, there was no evidence of maggots in the thousands of sunflower seeds. Source of the Maggot What was left? Well, I…
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Donkeys, Burros, Mules, Jackasses – What’s the Difference?

animals, Biology
[caption id="attachment_26416" align="alignright" width="480"] A beautiful young horse.[/caption]From youth till only recently, I've wondered "What's the difference between donkeys, burros, mules and jackasses?" Perhaps it's crossed your mind as well, yet you've never sought an answer until now. Hopefully, you will find the answer you seek in this article... What's a Donkey? [caption id="attachment_26419" align="alignleft" width="440"] A domesticated donkey.[/caption]The donkey is said to come from the African wild ass. It has been used as a work animal for ages. It is a fertile animal, multiplying in the usual way. And What's a Burro? A burro is a small, wild (rather than domesticated) donkey. And burro is Spanish for donkey. Here is a 38 second video of wild burros outside Las Vegas, Nevada... [sc name="MidArticleAdsense"] What's Different About a Mule? [caption…
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Spring Webworms, Fall Webworms – What’s the Difference?

Biology, Nature
[caption id="attachment_26380" align="alignright" width="480"] Fall web worms in nest.[/caption]You've seen or heard of webworms? Well, there are Spring webworms and there are Fall webworms. What's the difference? In some people's minds, there is no difference. Let's illustrate why that is by comparing it to the world of crime. When someone perpetrates a series of crimes, TV police closely consider the "Perp's" modus operandi, or method of operation. This is of some value in understanding the thinking of the criminal so they can better identify him or perhaps anticipate his next victim. Another person might choose to commit a crime using the same modus operandi so his crime will be blamed on the serial criminal. That way he, this other person, will not be held accountable for the crime he committed.…
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How Does Thioglycolate Hair Remover Work?

Biology, Chemistry
Hair: men bemoan its loss and women fret over its appearance. For decades during the 20th Century, women were enamored by the so-called permanent wave. The most common process for assuring permanency of a hairstyle obtained at the beauty parlor involved a chemical process involving thioglycolate. See, Permanent Wave: Chem-mystery of Curl. By Extension... Although this process was used, not to remove hair, but to beautify it, by extension, a closely related process has been used to eliminate hair that grows¹ in undesired places. Notice this chemical reaction that occurs when thioglycolate is used to remove hair². 2 HOOC-CH₂-SH + R-S-S-R → HOOC-CH₂-S-S-CH₂-COOH + 2 R-SH The above reaction reads: two thioglycolic acid molecules plus one cystine (disulfide hair bond) produces two dithioglycolic acid molecules and two cysteine molecules. To…
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DNA: The Modular Staircase of Life

Biology, Chemistry
[caption id="attachment_24326" align="alignright" width="480"] Molecular model of a Portion of a DNA molecule. – Image by Skeeze[/caption] The most common inorganic (non-carbon) compounds have molecular weights no more than about 200 or 300. Organic compounds can run easily into the many hundreds and thousands. DNA by comparison possesses a molecular weight, depending on the variety, of billions, even trillions. Examining a typical model of the DNA molecule, it appears extremely complex. However, this is from a ‘trees versus the forest’ viewpoint. When viewed as a united structure, DNA assumes a basic form – that of a twisting staircase. DNA is the staircase of life. Molecular Weight and Molecules The atomic weight of an element is defined as the ratio of the mass of an atom of that element to 1/12…
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Mono- Di- and Polysaccharides: Starches Sugars Cellulose

Biology, Chemistry
[caption id="attachment_24172" align="alignright" width="480"] This Giant Sequoia stands tall thanks to Cellulose. – Image by Tripastute[/caption] Carbon appears to be unique in its immense chemical diversity. So much so, that an entire branch is devoted to its chemical behavior – organic chemistry. Yet, the name given to this branch of chemistry indicates something of more importance than its being just another branch among many. Organic chemistry began as the chemistry of living things, the chemistry of all things organic. There are literally millions of carbon compounds incorporated into organic chemistry. The group we will consider here is the saccharides. Some among these consist of multiple saccharide units joined together. Hence, they are termed polysaccharides. What is a Saccharide? The word “saccharide” is derived from the Latin sacchararum, “meaning full of…
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Organic Chemistry and Life: Has Vitalism Been Born Again?

Biology, Chemistry
[caption id="attachment_23607" align="alignright" width="480"] Pillars of Creation[/caption] The phrase ‘organic compound’ relates to the word organism, closely associated with life and life processes. Organic compounds largely consist of carbon atoms linked in chains or rings that contain hydrogen and frequently one or more other atoms called hetero atoms – notably oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Inorganic compounds are everything else – for example, nickel chloride, ammonium nitrate, carbon dioxide, and phosphorus pentoxide. It is important to recognize that there are a relative handful of organic compounds that do not contain carbon chains or rings, but result from life processes, including for example, urea, NH2-CO-NH2.. During the 1800s, scientists widely believed organic compounds could not be generated in the laboratory. However, in the year 1828, chemist Friedrich Wöhler converted inorganic ammonium…
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Have You Ever Seen Beautiful Gray-Green, Dipped-in-Red, Soldier Moss?

Biology, Plants
I rarely ever notice the kind of car a person is driving, or the clothing they are wearing. Yet from the first time I was exposed to a tiny lichen on a piece of rotting wood, I was enchanted by its beauty. It had short shafts of pale gray-green with tips of the brightest, purest red I've ever seen in nature. But then, I've often noticed the tiny things are often the most beautiful, if you look at them closely. Soldier Moss Soldier moss is also known as British soldier. The red tips are referred to as fruiting bodies. Although the comparison is not quite the same, the mushrooms we eat are just the fruiting body. The essential part of the fungus is called the mycelium. Actually, Soldier moss is…
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Chimera African Violets – What Are They? How Do I Cultivate Them?

Biology, Plants
[caption id="attachment_23293" align="alignright" width="480"] Pinwheel[/caption] In the 1950s, if an individual owned an African Violet, it was usually a small houseplant with fuzzy green leaves and blue or purple flowers. It wouldn't be long before violets came in nearly every color except the elusive yellow. And flowers were no longer necessarily singles. All sorts of combinations were introduced. Some flowers even had curly green edges. But even more striking developments were to come. Among these were the chimera violet. We ask: what is a chimera violet? where does it come from? how can I cultivate one? What Is a Chimera Violet? First, consider the word chimera. It is a complex word with various meanings. In mythology, a chimera is a beast constructed of parts from two or more different animals.…
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Give that Old African Violet a ‘Facelift’

Biology, Plants
[caption id="attachment_23247" align="alignright" width="480"] Image: Morguefile by Ronnieb[/caption] You've grown to appreciate African Violets. You started growing them about 10 years ago. Now you have several very beautiful varieties. Your first purchase produced single purple flowers. Now the plant has a long twisted stem and is not desirable to look at. But it has sentimental value. Your mom gave it to you just before she died. You wonder if anything can be done to save it? What Needs to Change The plant lost leaves over the years, producing a long, ugly, stem. Failure to rotate the plant on your windowsill caused the plant to lean so much it tips easily. The lower leaves have discolored, curled edges. You want to fix all of this. What can you do? The Long…
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