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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Is It a Honeybee? Is It a Bumble Bee? No, It’s a Carpenter Bee

Nature
Many people love Summer, perhaps with certain reservations: excessive heat and humidity, mosquitoes, snakes, ticks chiggers, hurricanes, power outages, and certain bees. What kind of bees? Well, they're not sure altogether. There are honeybees – they're OK. Wasps and hornets are not beloved. Yellow Jackets are a no-no. Bumble bees are usually not too much of a problem, even though they can sting. Yet there is a kind of "bumble bee" or perhaps a look-alike that does not sting. In fact, it seems downright friendly! The only problem with these guys is they drill holes – the most perfect holes – in wood. Once in, they build tunnels. This also is a no-no. They're Carpenter Bees These hole-drilling bees are carpenter bees. No one wants holes in their outbuildings. If…
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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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Odor Chemistry: Lady Beetle Vs. Marmorated Stink Bug

Chemistry, Nature
It was the ol' one-two. First we were attacked by Asian Lady Bird Beetles, Harmonia axyridis, then the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys. The Lady Bird Beetles were detected first in Louisiana in 1988. Close on its heels, the Stink bugs were detected in Pennsylvania in 1996. Both exude horrible odors when provoked or crushed, though the constituent chemicals are entirely different. Stink Bug Chemistry The stench of the Stink Bug is actually rather simple, as far as stenches go. Two organic compounds, each a "first cousin" of the other, are the culprits: trans-2-octenal and trans-2-decenal (see image). These two compounds are classified as both aldehydes (-CHO) and alkenes (-C=C-). Let's first examine how they are named. Notice both compounds have a straight chain or backbone of carbon atoms…
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In Simple Terms: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Nature, Physics
[caption id="attachment_26306" align="alignright" width="480"] L to R: Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli[/caption]Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) was yet another bright German physicist. He was a "founder" of quantum mechanics, the physics of the subatomic. As with astrophysics, behavior at this level appears to vary from the physics of the everyday world. A Brief Description The velocity of an auto of mass m can be measured accurately. If its velocity remains constant, its location over time is predictable. This is the norm according to ordinary human experience. Yet, at submicroscopic levels, physicists experienced something different. For certain measurements, various pairs of variables could not both be accurately known simultaneously. Simultaneous measurement is only precise to a point. These pairs of variables are termed conjugate variables. The Standard Example The simplest example is…
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Fission Energy Vs. Total Energy of Uranium-235

Nature, Physics
The fission of one atom of uranium-235 releases 3.24 × 10-11 Joules of energy. One mole of atoms (235 grams) produces 6.022 x 1023 times that amount of energy.¹ How much energy is that? Energy From Splitting One Mole Uranium-235 Atoms We calculate, Eone mole 235U = 3.24 x 10-11 x 6.022 x 1023 = 1.95 x 1013 Joules or 19,500,000,000,000 Joules. This is a tremendous amount of energy. It is the energy of each mole of uranium found in an atomic bomb! It is millions of times more energy than any chemical reaction. But is this the ultimate energy matter can produce? By no means! Total Energy in One U-235 Atom When an atom of uranium is split, it does not entirely disappear. Rather, fragments are produced – atoms…
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Can Stagnant Leaf Infusions Decrease Mosquitoes Near Your Home?

Chemistry, Nature
[caption id="attachment_24149" align="alignright" width="480"] Can you reduce the number of mosquitos breeding near your home?[/caption] During mosquito season, most people are aware of the need to eliminate standing water near their habitation, in order to minimize, if not eliminate their number one pest, the seemingly omnipresent, buzzing mosquito. Eliminating standing water is necessary, but moving water is not much of a problem. Movement disrupts the still air-to-water interface needed in order for mosquito larvae to breathe. Mosquitoes thus favor still, even stagnant water, to deposit their eggs. You can standing water in bird baths, gutters, barrels, still pools, depressions, flower pots, and a host of other places. Eliminating standing water greatly diminishes local mosquito populations. Simple drainage works, or you could add a thin film of oil. But then, mosquito…
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The Curious, Ever-Circling, Bee-Eating Robber Fly

Nature, Plants
About 25 years ago, I entered a phase of my life in which I envisioned a kind of nature reserve for the 5-acre plot surrounding my home. The land was beautiful. It was wooded and rocky and the soil was rich. Recently, I had fallen in love with native wildflowers and since I tend to focus when I'm interested in a thing, I soon became well-acquainted with hundreds! The Trees There was a wonderful assortment of hardwoods on the property. Hickory, oak, black gum, cucumber magnolia, linden, sassafras, cherry birch, and tulip-poplar. I'm not even sure I haven't missed a few. Well I planted black locust. If I still lived there, I'd have planted Osage orange, too. The Flowers I am not going to attempt to name the hundreds of…
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