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Science & Nature

  • Temple Grandin is an autism activist, scientist and New York Times bestselling author. She visits with Main Street's Ashley Thornberg to discuss her new book, “Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions.”
  • From life-saving fecal transplants to renewable energy, the new book Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure explores why we might want to make our number two, a number one priority. Main Street's Ashley Thornberg visits with science writer Dr. Bryn Nelson who’ll be speaking at Ferguson Books in West Fargo on October 6.
  • A five-year, $14M grant from the NSF will establish a Hub of seven partner institutions.
  • It is time to look skyward at night again. Some of you may have been noticing some meteors recently. The Leonids Meteor Shower began on November 6th and will run through the 30th. The shower will peak on the night of November 17th and early morning hours of the 18th with perhaps 15 meteors or so per hour. A nearly full moon, however, will make only the brightest of meteors clearly visible.
  • You may want to check for clear skies the evenings of October 6-10. That is because the Draconids Meteor Shower will be putting on its annual show. It is not one of the better meteor showers, but if we have comfortable temperatures and the skies are clear, it is worth checking out.
  • Fall is officially here. Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, school has started, and of course the equinox occurred on the 22nd. With the coming of fall, many among us wait in eager anticipation for the leaves to turn color. Every year about this time we get anxious to see the trees put on their annual color display. The fall colors are delightful, and they seem to garner much of our attention and media coverage. But do not lose sight (pun intended) of the sounds of fall!
  • I recently read a study about the Dakota skipper. The Dakota skipper is a small butterfly, with a wingspan of around one inch. Coloration is variable between the sexes with the upper wing surface of males a towny-orange to brown while females are a darker brown and spotted. The underside of males is dusty yellow-orange and females gray-brown with spots.
  • Have you ever heard of milk sickness? It is caused by consuming contaminated milk containing a toxin from the white snakeroot plant (Ageratina altissima). I had not heard of the sickness or the plant until recently, assumedly because the sickness is rare to nonexistent, and the plant uncommon or rare and not widely distributed in North Dakota.
  • I have heard a few complaints on all the tree sap that has dripped on cars this summer. My car is usually parked under the canopy of some ash, aspen, and oak. Little drops of that stuff are all over the car, and it has not been easy to clean it off the windshield! But it is probably not sap!
  • I recently noticed some Impatiens growing amongst some cattails in Turtle Mountain. It is always a treat to see this interesting plant, also known as jewelweed, or touch-me-not.Two species of touch-me-nots are native to North Dakota. The more common and widely distributed species is the spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis). It can be found roughly east of a line from Bottineau County to Sargent County along stream banks, springs, and other wet habitats, particularly in wooded areas.