CURRENT MOON

Millipede season

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It’s millipede season again here in Boca, although down in the Keys, it started back in August. Don’t worry, though; they’re no threat to your health or safety. From the UF/IFAS factsheet ENY-221/IG093 (available on their website): Centipedes and millipedes are commonly seen in yards and occasionally enter homes. Neither centipedes nor millipedes damage furnishings, homes, [...] [...]

Happy Leap Day 2012!

Today is the day that, according to our modern (Gregorian) calendar, we insert an extra day in every year evenly divisible by four, except for centennial years unless divisible by 400. We do this because the earth’s revolution around the sun and its rotation on its axis are independent (the solar system didn’t require that [...] [...]

More action on the passionvine: Zebra heliconian

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Florida’s state butterfly is supposed to be the Zebra Longwing: So designated by the 1996 Florida Legislature, it was written into the Florida statutes under the Executive Branch (Title IV), Secretary of State section (Section 15) as follows: 15.0382 Official state butterfly.—The Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius) is designated the official state butterfly. History.—s. 1, ch. 96-153. Section [...] [...]

You say you want a revolution?

If your New Year’s Resolution had anything to do with precision in language, and you have any interest in astronomy, please try to remember the difference between the terms revolution and rotation. The Earth revolves around the Sun: It takes a year to do this. In fact, the Copernican Revolution made famous by historian of [...] [...]

Another darner from a couple of years ago

Going through my old photo files has been fun for me; last night I found a slightly better photo of Coryphaeschna ingens, the Regal Darner [UPDATE:Gynacantha nervosa, Twilight Darner] who visited us during Tropical Storm Fay. I also ran across a couple of untagged photos of other species that I knew I’d seen, but couldn’t [...] [...]

Florida Word of the Day: Ligule

In writing the post on hastula, I found out that a hastula is like a ligule. Which I guess is fine, as far as that goes, but really, it doesn’t go very far with me. I, after all, am neither agrostologist nor graminologist, so I had no idea what a ligule might be. According to MW, [...] [...]

Florida word of the day: psammophyte

Psammophyte. This seems to be a fancy way of saying seaweed. Since this word is too hifalutin’ for the American Heritage or even Merriam-Webster teams to take on, here’s a definition of the term from Dawes and Mathieson (Seaweeds of Florida, U of Florida P 2008): A plant that grows in unconsolidated sediments or on [...] [...]

Word of the Day: Fomite

The word of the day is fo·mite \ˈfō-ˌmīt\ n, pl fo·mites \-ˌmīts; ˈfäm-ə-ˌtēz, ˈfōm-\, which, according to Merriam-Webster’s online medical dictionary, is an inanimate object (as a dish, toy, book, doorknob, or clothing) that may be contaminated with infectious organisms and serve in their transmission <the much maligned toilet seat is a remarkably ineffective fomite—M. F. Rein> <what [...] [...]

Day 20 moon

The last week of the lunation is turning into a test of endurance. Waking at 3 a.m. to get moon shots is not ideal for those of us who have day jobs. On the plus side, though, I have upgraded to CS4 and am able to annotate the photos; I’m working on the backlog and [...] [...]

Word of the day: irrupt

Today’s word is irrupt. It’s not just an alternative spelling of “erupt”; it has a specific meaning in ecology. Merriam-Webster’s 11 team defines it as follows: ir•rupt vi [L irruptus, pp. of irrumpere, fr. in- + rumpere to break — more at REAVE] of a natural population : to undergo a sudden upsurge in numbers esp. [...] [...]