Category Archives: Environment

What do we know about the impact of humans on the planet? Come here and find out.

The Texas Stream Team

My participation on the Irving Green Advisory Board has made me aware of how little I know about the environmental aspects and activities of Irving, Texas. To remedy this, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to get involved in local activities. Continue reading…

Posted in Community, Environment, General Interest, Measurement, Nature Study, Observation, Projects, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This Week at Hilton Pond (22-31 December 2013)—#587—“2013 Bird Banding Results: Better Than Last Year, But Still Below Average”

Figure 1. A male Prothonotary Warbler—only our 17th banded at Hilton Pond since 1982—was the most uncommon species banded locally in 2013. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

I was away from Hilton Pond Center on many occasions during 2013 and that—coupled with bander illness and a general dearth of birds—led to a year of below average banding success. Continue reading…

Posted in Biology, Environment, Nature Study, Ornithology, Photography, Science Education, This Week at Hilton Pond, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Getting Information on Chemicals

Suppose you needed to know something about a chemical. What is it’s boiling point? Melting point? Flash point? How toxic is it? What is the best way to store it? What do you do if it is toxic and someone is accidentally exposed to it? Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Best Practices, Chemistry, Environment, Research Tools, Safety | 1 Comment

This Week at Hilton Pond (1-30 November 2013)—#584—“Ujarráscals In Costa Rica: Hummingbirds Among The Chayote”

The first half of November I was in Costa Rica’s Orosi Valley for our 22nd Operation RubyThroat citizen science expedition to the Neotropics. Mist netting and live-trapping operations were centered at Ujarrás, a riverside agricultural community whose cash crop is Chayote–a squash that flowers prolifically and whose nectar is sought by hummers and other avifauna. Continue reading…

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Citizen Science Musings: Christmas Citizen Science


One of my earliest experiences in what we would today call “citizen science” was participating in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, Citizen Science Musings, Environment, Events, History of Science, Nature Study, Ornithology, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fission and Radioactive Fallout: Fukushima samples retested 2 years later

Gamma spectrum analysis with simple equipment can differentiate fallout from weapons vs. reactors; it can tell if the fission was via uranium or by plutonium, tell the relative age of the sample or determine certain environmental conditions at the time of release. Continue reading…

Posted in Breaking News, Environment, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Nuclear, Observation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Smithsonian Science, a Thought Experiment, and a Citizen Science Challenge

When you consider the field of citizen science you probably think of it as something you do by collecting data, taking pictures, finding plants or animals, or uploading sightings. There’s a new form of citizen science emerging called a “thought experiment.” Continue reading…

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An Interview with Buckminster Fuller

This interview in 1974 is considered by many to be his best. We offer it as a little something to ponder on the past and future of science and our society. Continue reading…

Posted in Community, Engineering, Environment, Evolution, General Interest, History of Science, Invention, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scuba Divers Build Species Data Network

This is an image of a Lionfish shared on Diveboard by diver Jamie-Lee Thorpe. Credit: Jamie-Lee Thorpe

Species observations from thousands of scuba divers all over the world are now freely accessible via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, Community, Environment, General Interest, Marine Biology, Nature Study, Oceanography, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Reviving Science of the Victorians


In the 19th century, periodical science journals were filled with laypeople’s submissions – and their observations of plants and animals were immensely useful to Charles Darwin. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, Botany, Climate, Entomology, Environment, History of Science, Nature Study, Projects, Publishing | 1 Comment