Monday, July 8, 2024

Blog News - Ed will be out for a bit

News for our Blog community

CGEE admin

Our esteemed blog author Ed Hessler will be out for a short respite.  We don't have a date he will return yet but will keep you posted here. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Bear Cam, Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park

Monday, July 1, 2024

Topeka Shiner Restoration

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Wildlife, Earth & Space Science, Earth Systems, Biological Diversity, Biological Evolution, Sustainability, Climate Change

Ed Hessler

It was terrific to see an article on one of the smaller fishes of Minnesota, the endangered Topeka Shiner, on the front page of the news, poking above the fold in the June 17, 2024 StarTribune. For more about the fish see the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Rare Species Guide. I draw attention to it at the top because the photograph shows just what a lovely fish it is. 

StarTribune environmental reporter Greg Stanley takes us on a field trip with biologists.
The essay is behind a subscription paywall. However, it may be read here. It includes one photograph. Here is a story from the Wildlife Management Institute on a similar project in Iowa.

I was struck by the immediacy of this effort. 

Thanks to Greg Stanley for his reporting of a story important to Minnesota citizens, to the Nature Conservancy for their part in the project, to the citizens of Minnesota for providing legislative support for the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund and to the Star Tribune for publishing it and placing it on page one!

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Albireo AB

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth & Space Sciences, Cosmology, Astrophysics, History of Science, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler 

Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) has an image of a star which turns out to be a double star, seen only with telescopic aid.  It includes the visible spectrum of both stars which shows how different the two stars are.

The image is lovely and the explanation adds to the pleasure of seeing it as well as in not misunderstanding what you are seeing.

For stargazers, planet watchers, the constellation savvy, the scientific term "asterism" is well known. I'd never heard of it --not included in the explanation which gave me an idea of what a common term it is --  and Wiki explains the term.  The explanation also includes a comment on how astronomers/astrophysicists reason.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Lava Study: Lab and Field

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth & Space Science, Earth Systems, Geology, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

This video (11m 45s) from #ScienceInsider is about how scientists study lava. Of course they collect samples but how and where? There is more to the study of volcanology than doing field work. There is the laboratory, too and I very much like how the video bring field and lab work together.

The Syracuse University Lava Project is included and represents the laboratory side of the study-of-lava equation, science practices in action. An interesting aspect of the Lava Project is that it is a result of a collaboration between sculptor Bob Wysocki (SU Department of Art) and geologist Jeff Karson (SU Department of Earth Sciences). The page is well worth taking a look at.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Friday Poem

Environmental & Science Education, Poetry, Art & Environment

Ed Hessler

The Little Tavern is by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

In addition to the biographical material included with the poem, here is a link to the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society with many links.

It was published in Poetry, August, 1917.


Thursday, June 27, 2024


Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Wildlife, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

This is a follow-up on the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve fishers (Pekania pennati) from the College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota.

The researcher is Michael Joyce, wildlife ecologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI). The video included is 3m 02s long.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Animals and Earth Quake Predictions

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth & Space Science, Earth Systems, Behavior, Biodiversity, Geology

Ed Hessler

The second of two presentations by Sabine Hossenfelder on earthquake prediction, she discusses short-term forecasts, "from months to seconds. In this one she again calls attention to their human toll. "[E]arthquakes are the most fatal natural disasters. In the two decades from 1998 to 2017, they killed more than 700 thousand people." Then she asks,

"So what are seismologists doing to warn people of earthquakes? Can animals sense if an earthquake is coming? And what are earthquake lights? That’s what we will talk about today. ... 
Short-term predictions don’t help with infrastructure investments, but they give people time to evacuate."

The non-seismic precursors may attract your attention because those involving animals are commonly reported. First, Hossenfelder includes a discussion of several short-term physical precursors "that are fairly well established though not all are well understood before she turns her attention to animals. 

She ends by talking about the "heavy burden" that comes with predictions, i.e., when they are wrong. She makes a suggestion that seem a worthy and important component of any prediction.

The video can be watched on YouTube but I like being able to read the text along with listening.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Brain

Ed Hessler

In this video (13m 16s) Harvard Cognitive Psychologist Steven Pinker provides some evolutionary insights into a question: Why Do We Feel Fear?