My readers might appreciate having my first set of articles for the now-defunct online science magazine, (EG), in one post. This will list all the articles which I published there throughout 2010.
My most popular article there is”Firestick Cactus: The Plant With Acid Sap!” On Sept. 24, 2010 at 5pm, this was Google’s 2nd search result for “firestick cactus”. This plant was in the news for harming an author – in his own garden!
The runner-up and previous leader is “Great White Sharks Menace Cape Cod Seals“. Every few months, somewhere in the world, tourists or locals report sharks feeding on seals in a harbour or beach.
Other popular articles which happened to deal with wasps included “How a Wasp Queen Fights to Become Leader” and “Ordinary Figs Are Nursery and Coffin for the Fig Wasp“. Insects and “bugs” never fail to surprise, both in appearance and behaviour.
- Mosquitos transmit West Nile Virus disease: “Californian Mosquitos Killing Off Crows With West Nile Virus“. Living in Ontario where we get annual warnings about this situation, I was surprised that California was also affected.
- Bedbugs, carpenter ants, head lice, termites and wasps are “5 Disgusting Bugs That Could Invade Your Home“. This article is a good introduction to these pests.
- The earwig is a common garden pest: “The Secret Life of the Earwig“. And it looks strange, too.
- Deer ticks are terrorists of the American woodlands: “How Deer Ticks Spread Lyme Disease“. Again, we Ontarians are warned about these insects; but the problem is more widespread than just my province. Lyme Disease is a nasty disease which is often hard to diagnose and slow in treatment. It is much better to avoid it than to treat it.
- How a dead jellyfish harmed people on a beach in “Lion’s Mane: The Largest Jellyfish on Earth“. This was a big surprise…the jellyfish had passed away but it still caused injuries.
- The ‘Savannah Cat’ is a new breed: “Domesticating the Wild Cats of the Savannah“. It truly is still in the first few generations of being a recognized breed.
- Caffeine and sugar team up in “The Hidden Health Risks of Caffeine Energy Drinks“. Amazing how much sugar is in these drinks.
- An octopus can have a nasty bite: “How Deadly Are Venomous Octopuses?“.
- If the tour operator chums the water, does that lead to “Shark Attacks: The Cost of Cage Diving?“. South Africa has regulations for the tour operators, and with good reason.
- More accurately, how to avoid the attack: “How To Fend Off A Bear Attack on Your Car or Home“. Based on advice from various regions of North America, the article is important for residents and tourists in bear country.
- A strange fungus can attack hibernating bats in “Little Brown Bats Versus White-Nose Syndrome: Is Extinction In The Balance?“. The bats may be dying from having their sleep interrupted by the infection!
- The lionfish is an invader in Florida and the Caribbean: “The Lionfish: Florida’s Newest and Fiercest Predator“. Florida has held fishing derbies aimed at fighting back. Will other states follow suit?
- This is a really cute primate: “The Horton Plains Slender Loris Battles Extinction“. In India, the Horton Plains is home to this extremely rare primate.
- Prairie dogs can be stricken by plague. “Sylvatic Plague: The Black Death of Prairie Dogs“. A real puzzle was how the plague survives after a colony was stricken.
- Bedbugs gained notoriety in 2010. “Fighting an Infestation of Bed Bugs“. American cities competed to be known as the worst! In New York, the emphasis seemed to be on the impact on retail sales, as stores were closed for treatment.
- In India, the elephant is endangered despite being a useful beast. “The Indian Elephant: Gainfully Employed But Still Endangered“. Amazing that a working animal can also be an endangered species.
- Yet another fish (besides the seahorse) where the male broods the eggs: “Strange Story of the Seadragon’s Male Pregnancy“. Someday I may write about a third fish with this behaviour.
- Pilgrims were not the first to celebrate Thanksgiving. Read about it in “The Origins of the Thanksgiving Festival“.
- More annoying than bedbugs to some people in the autumn of 2010: “The Stink Bug Inside and Out“. Possibly because people could see and smell the “shield bugs”, many had a stronger emotional reaction.
- There is a strange ‘poison’ in “Hogweed, The Flower that Could Leave You with Sunburn for Years“. This plant grows in Toronto’s Don Valley, and has been an ornamental garden plant too.
- It has international fame: “Aloe Vera: The Plant with Miraculous Healing Powers“. This article is a good first introduction; the Internet is flooded with sites selling aloe vera products.
- They invaded England from Eastern Europe. “Could Killer Shrimp Be Heading for America Next?“. The surprise is that this species could move from inland and brackish water, across the English Channel, and make a home in England. They are incredibly brutal fighters.
- New chemistry for “Rechargeable Batteries: Lithium Iron Phosphate Vs. Lithium Ion“. Again a good introduction to the technology, which may soon become a standard for portable power.
- Only in western USA for Christmas 2010: “Red Celery: Healthy Eating’s New Power Vegetable“. This is not a “frankenfood”, but simply was cross-bred from several types of celery.
- Sifting through searchs: “How To Find The Best Banana Bread Recipes Online, Even For Diabetics“. It is tricky to evaluate what you find online; here are some guidelines.
- Most assassin bugs prey on harmful insects, but a few drink blood and spread diseases: “The Helpful Assassin Bug Can Also Spread Harmful Disease“. It all depends on exactly which species: most kill insects that would eat your vegetables, but the “kissing” bug prefers the blood of mammals.
- In the “Spirituality” section, I raise some environmental issues about different funeral practices in “A Green Death – Funeral Options for the Environmentally Conscious“. This compares the Western Christian practices of burial or cremation with the surprisingly similar choices for Hindus in India; and makes a contrast with the Parsi, or Zoroastrian, practices found in south Asia.
- The “Nature – Animals” section hosts “The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Paradox: Numerous But Endangered”. These turtles swarm ashore en masse to lay their eggs, making them very vulnerable to predation and other hazards.
- “The Kwanzaa Holiday, a Controversial yet Unifying New Celebration” introduces Kwanzaa: the new “tradition” which promotes unity but whose detractors say is controversial and divisive.
- My “Pennycress Had Pizzazz Before Biodiesel Came Along” was re-named “The Green Side of Stinkweed“, but retains the name in the URL. It had quite the reputation and still has several uses.
- “The Amazing Oriental Hornet is a Living Solar Cell” was written because of a very recent BBC report that says it can photosynthesize for energy.
I published an article on reindeer, and another on manatees, early in January 2011.