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April 2018 Entry

LOBSTERS

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A lobster’s shell gives the animal all of its rigidity. Under the shell, the lobster is little more than jelly-soft flesh and floppy organs. The problem with this arrangement is that the lobster is constantly growing, while its shell is fixed in size. To get bigger a lobster must literally burst it’s seams, escape its old shell, and expose its vulnerable inner self to the hungry world while it constructs a new shell large enough to allow its body to expand.
— Trevor Corson "The Secret Life Of Lobsters"

March 2018 Entry

NOR'EASTERS ARE AN EAST-COAST THING

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It's March 2018, so what's up with all of these nor'easters? We've experienced four of them this month!

Did you know this? I didn't:

  • Louis Uccellini knows his stuff, and is director of the National Weather Service. For a The Atlantic (magazine) story, here's how he summed up the "whys" around the foursome we've just experienced:

"Big northeast snowstorms (nor'easters) simply don’t form very often, Uccellini said that when he and his coauthor (of  Northeast Snowstorms) studied the half-century of weather between 1949 and 2003, they only found 47 storms* that could be classified as nor’easters.

But it does make sense that the eastern U.S. has seen so many nor’easters in the last few weeks, he said. If the atmosphere is in the mood to produce a nor’easter, it doesn’t stop after making just one.

They come in batches. Nor'easter snowstorms can only emerge from a very specific set of circumstances. When those circumstances are achieved, storms can follow one after another, walloping the coast week after week".

* There have been 16 more nor'easters since 2003, according to Wikipedia.


February 2018 Entry

HONEY BEES

An average hive has a population of around 60,000 bees, most of which are female. There are worker bees (cleans the hive), forager bees (gathers nectar and pollen), and nurse bees (takes care of the queen and her brood). There is also a tiny population of male bees called drones. Drones don't have stingers, nor do they gather nectar or pollen. They're basically just plain lazy, whose sole purpose in life is to mate with a fertile queen. Just the opposite, the queen is a very busy lady laying over 1,000 eggs a day. 

The queen's life-span is about 4 years. She can survive even our coldest winters, with the help of all of the other bees - except for the drones who are thrown out of the hive by mid-fall.


January 2018 Entry

MOON SNAILS & SAND COLLARS

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If you've ever waded in Duxbury or Kingston bays during low-to-mid tide, you've probably come across moon snails and sand collars, but did you know this:

When a female moon snail is getting ready to lay her eggs, she prepares a collar made of sand and her spit, which she uses to cover her body to protect her eggs until they are ready to hatch. The image above is her "moon collar".