Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

CHÂTEAU-NEUF DU PAPE

Châteauneuf du Pape est le vin de Côtes du Rhône le plus célèbre. Le Coteaux de Châteauneuf du Pape est entre l'orange et Avignon, dans un des paysages les plus beaux de la Provence. Les papes utilisés pour avoir leur résidence d'été là en Châteauneuf du Pape. C'est la vue du plus grand château dans la région.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Saturday, 13 February 2010

SEA SCORPIONS: PREDATORS OF PERMIAN SEAS

About two dozen families of eurypterids “sea scorpions” are known from the fossil record.

Although these ancient predators have a superficial similarity, including a defensive needle-like spike or telson at their tail end, they are not true scorpions. They are an extinct group of arthropods related to spiders, ticks, mites and other extant creepy crawlies.

Eurypterids hunted fish in the muddy bottoms of warm shallow seas some 460 to 248 million years ago before moving on to hunting grounds in fresh and brackish water during the later part of their reign. Their numbers diminished greatly during the Permian-Triassic extinction, becoming extinct by 248 million years ago.


Euripterids are found in Canada, mostly notably at the Ridgemount Quarry near Niagara Falls. This near perfect specimen of Eurypterus remipes, held by my young cousin Sivert, was named the official state fossil of New York in 1984.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

BURNT LEAVES

SEX & INFIDELITY: CLUES AT FACE VALUE

If you have not already chosen your new love, researchers suggest you stay away from those with big chins as they have a tendency to cheat. Researchers from four universities across the US and Canada prodded into the sexual habits of chinny and relatively chin-less females to determine these results.

Kidding? No, they’ve published in the journal Personality And Individual Differences, so it must be true. Larger chins, especially on adult females, are associated with the male growth hormone testosterone and too much of that bad boy can lead to messing around. It seems on an subconscious level men sense this trend and are biased against a more masculine chin. Well, most men. Brad Pitt, quite famously, does prefer women with a strong jawline. Given that his preference might skew the results, I suspect he wasn't included in the study.

The findings are important in demonstrating that perceptions of women as desirable and trustworthy long-term mates can be reliably gleaned by men from viewing only the women's facial features. "Results suggest that information about women's sexual unrestrictedness, which is related to their risk of infidelity, can potentially be conveyed by the masculinity of women's faces."

Hogwash you say? Perhaps you are already hooked up with said chin-cheater? Well, they may cheat, but you may also have found a sexual goldmine. Women (and perhaps men) with larger chins are also more sexually assertive and perhaps better in bed.

Perhaps Brad is onto something. Bring on the chocolate and the chins I say. Everyday is Valentine's Day!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Friday, 5 February 2010

CROSSING THE BERING LAND BRIDGE

The Columbian Mammoth, the official state fossil of Washington, crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America some one million years ago and made a home roaming the vast grasslands that stretched from Alaska to Mexico, mirroring the great Rocky Mountains, and munching down about 300 pounds of vegetation each day.

During the Pleistocene this extinct elephant extended his habitat down into Central America to modern day Nicaragua and Honduras before dying out around 12,500 years ago. Photo courtesy of Filippo Bertozzi

SALMONID BONE BED: DRIFTWOOD CANYON

We are all familiar with the image of salmon returning to fresh water, to the rivers of their youth, to spawn and complete their lifecycle, in fact, it is one of the staple images of British Columbia.

As adults, we bring our children to witness this cycle, rushing to the banks of our local rivers to watch as the adults, keen in their fight for reproduction and survival, struggle to complete their epic journeys against currents and predators.

Arriving as they do, year upon year, season upon season, it seems to us that this is how it has been since time immemorial.

But we now have evidence that migration to the sea may be a relatively recent behaviour. Fossil beds at Driftwood Canyon, near Smithers, contain large numbers of fossil salmonid remains from the Eocene age, approximately 45 million years ago. What is interesting is that the fossil beds are filled equally with both juvenile and larger adults.

If these salmon were heading off to sea in their juvenile form and returning to spawn as adults we would expect to find an abundance of larger carcasses in the lake sediments and relatively few juveniles. Given the equal numbers, we can conclude that the salmonids of the Eocene, lived out their lifecycle as a landlocked species, the way Kokanee do today.

RAINFOREST FUNGI

TERRA FIRMA: UPTHRUSTING PLATES

Two hundred million years ago, Washington was two large islands, bits of continent on the move westward, eventually bumping up against the North American continent and calling it home. Even with their new fixed address, the shifting continues though subsiding laterally and continuing vertically. The force of these pressure strained plates continues to push seemingly immovable mountains skyward.

This dynamic shifting has created the landscape we see today and helped form the fossil record that tells much of Washington’s relatively recent history of the past 50 million years.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Monday, 1 February 2010

HOWE SOUND 2010: BRING THE ADVENTURE



















A short 90-minute drive north of the city of Vancouver, the nation's gateway to the Pacific, is a recreational Shangri-La that attracts four season adventurers from around the globe to ski, board, hike, mountain bike, kayak and climb the local peaks.

This treasure trove wilderness playground stretches along the breathtaking Sea-to-Sky Highway affording breathtaking views of the Pacific as it follows Highway 99 north out of the sparkling gem of Vancouver from Lions Bay, through Squamish and Garibaldi and into the picturesque Whistler Valley.

As you drive out of the city, look at the mountains to the north. Grouse, Cypress and Seymour mountains provide easy access skiing for the happy winter adventurer and a beautiful backdrop to the young city of Vancouver, Canada's third-largest metropolis, year-round.

While the city sits on relatively young sandstone and mudstone, the North Shore Mountains are made from granite that formed deep within the Earth more than 100 million years ago.

Following Highway 99, you’ll hug the coastline of Howe Sound, a glacially carved fiord which extends from Horseshoe Bay (20 km northwest of Vancouver) to the hamlet of Squamish. The road is perched high above the water, blasted into the rock of the steep glacial-valley slope and has been the chosen path for First Nation hunters, early explorers, the miners of the Gold Rush, the rush of tourism and soon the 2010 Olympics.

Carved from the granitic mountainside high above Howe Sound, this scenic pathway has been a rich recreation corridor and traditional First Nation hunting ground for many years.

Steeped in a First Nations history, bountiful wildlife and gorgeous vistas, the Whistler corridor is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful spots on the globe with something for everyone.

The world will be visiting in the next few weeks to see their competitors reach for gold. While many are loathe to pay for this particular budget challenged event, the hospitable hearts of British Columbians welcome you!