All posts by Ian Grieve

Sea Ice

Sea ice covers several million square miles of Earth’s surface. Because salt is expelled during the freezing process, this ice is fresher than the seawater from which it forms. Most sea ice is pack ice that drifts across the ocean surface, but some, known as fast ice, is attached to coasts, the seafloor, or grounded icebergs. Factors like the age of the sea ice, air temperatures, and solar insolation all affect its freezing and melting. Why does first-year ice melt more easily than older ice? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Battle of Olustee Reenactment

The Battle of Olustee Reenactment commemorates the largest battle in Florida during the Civil War. A Confederate victory, the Battle of Olustee was fought on February 20, 1864, and a reenactment has taken place on a February weekend each year since 1977 in Lake City, Florida. Associated events include a beauty pageant, history displays and lectures, a music festival, an arts and crafts fair, Blue-Grey 5K and 1-Mile Fun Runs, and a Blue/Grey Square Dance. The Battle Reenactment, with about 2,000 reenactors, is the largest annual Civil War reenactment in the Southeast. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Terror Birds

Phorusrhacids, commonly known as “terror birds” because of their role as apex predators, were large, carnivorous, flightless birds that roamed S America during the Cenozoic era, from about 62 million to 2 million years ago. They are believed to have migrated to N America when the Isthmus of Panama formed, bridging the formerly separated continents. The birds ranged in height from about 3 to 10 ft (1 to 3 m) and were likely fast runners. What are thought to be their closest modern-day relatives? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Kamakura Matsuri

Kamakura Matsuri is held in northern Japan in the Akita Prefecture, at the time of year when there is usually deep snow on the ground. In Yokote and other towns of the region, children build Kamakura, snow houses that resemble igloos. They furnish the huts with tatami mats and a wooden altar dedicated to Suijin-sama and have parties in them, while families gather to drink sweet sake and eat rice cakes and fruits. The rice cakes are made in the shape of cranes and turtles, traditional symbols of longevity, and of dogs called inukko, thought to guard against devils. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sigurd

Sigurd is a hero of German and Old Norse mythology noted for his strength and courage. He is one of the heroes of the Poetic Edda, the epic poem Nibelungenlied, where he is known as Siegfried, and Wagner’s operatic tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung. He figures in many different and sometimes inconsistent legends and is said to have slain a dragon, won an accursed hoard of gold, and married a princess. What parallels can be drawn between Sigurd and the Greek hero Achilles? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place every year over four days in mid-February throughout the United States and Canada. Volunteers of all ages and experience, known as “citizen scientists,” spend at least 15 minutes counting birds from any location. Then they report the number of birds and species they have seen via the Internet. This gives scientists a real-time portrait of which birds are where in North America. The event was launched in 1998 by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell University Ornithology Lab. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

It's Raining Cats and Dogs!

Although it is a rare phenomenon, the occurrence of animals “raining” from the sky has been reported many times throughout history. One hypothesis often proposed to explain this phenomenon is that strong winds traveling over bodies of water sometimes pick up aquatic animals, such as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to several miles, finally depositing them on land. However, this phenomenon has never been witnessed or scientifically tested. What are some other possible explanations? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary