Why Don’t Birds Lay Square Eggs?

What is ”egg-shaped” even? I used to think it was the shape of a chicken egg. Then one day I saw a collection of eggs from lots of different bird species, and I realized just how many different kind of egg shapes there really are! I had to know why. And it turns out a couple teams of scientists had wondered the same thing. Here’s what science says about why eggs are egg-shaped, if that’s even a thing, which I’ve learned it might not be. Evolution of bird eggs, go!

Images from a Cell Phone Camera – submitted by Dave Gervais

This is an image of an insect taken from a Huawei p 30 pro cell phone camera. When I compare that to images that I took in 1978 using a really good dissecting microscope with an optical camera, this is incredible. I could easily take these images and identify this insect using a good dichotomous key.

The cost for this cell phone camera is comparable to that of a good dissecting microscope attached with an optical camera, around $ 1400 dollars. Either just with the cell phone, or equipped with the hand held circular motion free tripod, this device could greatly improve field trip images without the need to take specimens back to the lab. What a great purchase for a science department!

 

Question:   Can you identify this insect from the banks of the Ottawa River?  Send your answers to info@stao.org, attention safety committee. Answer will be posted next week.

Dave Gervais

Chair STAO Safety Committee

 

 

Thanks for the submission Dave !

 

A naturalized yard: making a difference – submitted by Dave Gervais

This is a picture of my front lawn. You might see a decided absence of grass. When I first moved here, it took me almost 2 hours to cut the grass in the front and back yard. At my wife’s urging she suggested that we plant trees to make the busy road in front of our house disappear, buffer the traffic noise, and put a stop to the endless cutting of grass.

In addition by selecting some plants natural to the landscape, we have made a difference to this small welcome insect. Win/win…considerably less grass cutting, and a more interesting yard.

Extend that same idea to a school yard, and an ecology field trip could be as convenient as a short walk outside.

Images taken with a Motorola Cell Phone with an Android System..

 

Dave Gervais

Chair STAO Safety Committee

 

Thanks for the submission Dave !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Leakproof Bag | Experiments | Steve Spangler Science

Who would have ever thought that a plastic bag, some water, and a few pencils would have adults screaming with fear? Learn how to poke holes in a plastic bag filled with water without spilling a drop. Well, that’s the theory you’re going to test… and it’s wise to practice your liquid trick over the sink. It’s a cool way to learn about the chemistry of polymers. Continue reading

Why white horses aren’t bothered by horse-flies – submitted by Joanne O’Meara

Susanne Åkesson, Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at Lund University in Sweden, has been awarded the prestigious Ig Nobel Prize. The prize, which she shares with six other researchers from Hungary and Spain, was presented to them for their discovery that white horses aren’t particularly bothered by blood-sucking horse-flies. Continue reading

Ice-Tray Battery | Experiments | Steve Spangler Science

You probably know that voltaic batteries come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from tiny button batteries to car batteries to huge industrial heavy-weights. They turn chemical energy into the electrical energy that people use to power clocks, toys, cell phones, medical devices, tablets, cars, satellites… and an LED! These batteries seem pretty complicated but you can make a real voltaic battery right in your kitchen. Grab the ice tray and start the electrons moving. Continue reading