Samhain was the Celtic precursor of Halloween and is popular today. The old festival celebrated the last harvest of the year and the nearness of the Otherworld. Samhain songs can be an enjoyable part of modern celebrations.
Western red cedar (or western redcedar) is a common and important tree in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The tree was once very significant in First Nations culture and has some interesting features.
Hercules beetles are named after the hero of ancient myths. The male has horns that may be very long. The insects can change colour and are found in both the old and the new world.
Acanthamoeba is a microscopic, single-celled organism that can infect the cornea of the eye. It causes a disorder called Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is most common in contact lens users.
Antibiotics interfere with vital activities in bacteria by various methods. Unfortunately, microbes are becoming resistant to the drugs. Arylomycins may be helpful.
The mbira is a traditional African instrument that is played in North America. An instrument based on the mbira can be used to detect the presence of counterfeit medicines.
The Spix's macaw is endemic to Brazil but has been declared extinct in the wild. It still exists in captivity. Captive birds may be released into the wild, but it's unknown whether this will restore the population.
Staphylococcus epidermidis is a bacterium found on skin and mucous membranes. It's often harmless, but some strains have become resistant to antibiotics and are potentially dangerous.
Camu camu fruits contain a very high level of vitamin C and a large quantity of polyphenols. In mice, the fruits have been shown to have an anti-obesity effect. Scientists plan to investigate whether this discovery applies to us as well.
Shoebill storks, or shoebills, have a huge and impressive bill. The animal's unusual features make it a unique bird. Its population has been classified in the "Vulnerable" category of the IUCN's Red List.
Blood type is an important factor to consider in transfusions in order to avoid harmful incompatibility reactions. Scientists have created potentially safe type O red blood cells from other kinds. This may help many people.
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which produce indole-3-carbinol in our digestive tract. The latter chemical is thought to decrease the risk of colon cancer. New research may explain how this process works.
The gharial is a critically-endangered relative of the crocodile. It lives in and next to rivers in India and Nepal. The animal has some unusual and interesting features.
Glaucoma causes gradual vision loss and even blindness if it's not treated effectively. Specially-formulated curcumin might be helpful. In at least some cases, the disorder may be an autoimmune disease.
Alastair Sim was a popular actor who made some memorable and very enjoyable films. His version of A Christmas Carol (or Scrooge) is often seen during the Christmas season. He gave many other interesting performances on stage and on the screen.
A hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin has recently been discovered in the wild. The two parent species and the hybrid are intriguing animals to observe and study.
Social amoebas are also known as cellular slime molds and dictyostelids. They start life as separate ameboid cells but join to form a multicellular slug when food is scarce. The slug has some very interesting abilities.
Hoatzins are South American birds with some strange features. They digest their food in an unusual way and have an unpleasant smell. Their chicks have claws on their wings.
Treponema pallidum pertenue is a spirochete bacterium that causes yaws. The disease has made a comback after being almost eradicated. In its most serious form it can cause deformities and disabilities.
African civets are interesting animals with some unusual characteristics. They are kept in captivity on civet farms so that their musk can be collected.
The axolotl is a fascinating and critically endangered amphibian. It stays in its larval form throughout its life and has very impressive powers of regeneration.
The longhorned tick is native to East Asia and has been introduced to the United States. In some parts of the world, it transmits microbes that cause disease in humans. Its population is increasing in the U.S. It hasn't caused health problems in the country yet but is being monitored carefully.
Horsehair worms are long and slender animals that writhe and form shapes resembling knots with their body. They are parasites during part of their life cycle and at one point control the behaviour of their host.
The ochre sea star is a colourful invertebrate. Unfortunately, its population has been seriously affected by a wasting disease. The condition causes the body to disintegrate into a goo as though it's melting.
The kakapo is a flightless parrot that's endemic to New Zealand and is critically endangered. It's the heaviest parrot in the world. Sirocco is a famous member of the species.
Planarians are interesting flatworms with an amazing ability to regenerate. Scientists are investigating the capabilities of the animals in the hope of applying their discoveries to human biology.
Ferns are attractive plants with interesting features. They exist in both wild and cultivated forms. The western sword fern is a common and often impressive plant in coastal British Columbia.
Hammerhead flatworms are a type of land planarian. They have a strange appearance and are sometimes very long. The animals hunt for earthworms and other invertebrates and are invasive in some areas.
Tangles of alpha-synuclein fibrils in the brain are a feature of Parkinson's disease. Under some circumstances, the substance also appears in nerves surrounding the gut. Evidence suggests that it can travel from the gut to the brain, where it may cause or contribute to Parkinson's disease.
Plasmodium vivax is sometimes considered to be a less serious cause of malaria than Plasmodium falciparum. P. vivax can be deadly, however. It becomes dormant in the liver and later becomes active again. The reactivation may cause a relapse, or the return of symptoms.
The classical music genre includes some lovely music about mothers. Sharing a playlist of these pieces and listening to them is a great way to honor and celebrate motherhood.
English and Spanish bluebells and hybrids between the two species live in British Columbia and in Britain. In each location, the flowers are admired for their beauty but are also a concern. The concerns are a little different in each location but are important.
Saprolegnia and Phytophthora are important examples of oomycetes or water molds. Some species of Saprolegnia can infect and kill fish. One species of Phytophthora causes late blight in potatoes. This disease was responsible for the devastating nineteenth-century potato famine in Ireland.
Puss and saddleback caterpillars are attractive insects. Unfortunately, they can hurt us because they are stinging caterpillars. A sting may create relatively minor problems, but in some people the sting can cause serious and potentially dangerous symptoms.
The Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year. The sightseeing and recreational activities that are available at the resort and in Whistler Village are very enjoyable. A highlight of a visit is the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing impairment. It can cause problems in life, but it's possible to deal with at least some of these problems. Experimental evidence suggests that one type of brain-training game may be helpful for improving certain cases of hearing loss.
Interstitial fluid bathes cells, giving them nutrients and removing wastes. The interstitium is the space containing the fluid. Some scientists believe that fluid-filled spaces in the body are connected, forming an organ. The spaces may play a role in transporting cancer cells.
Hellebores bloom mainly in late winter and spring. Their flowers are an attractive and welcome sight in nature, gardens, and landscaped areas. Lenten and Christmas roses are both types of hellebores. Many other species and cultivars of hellebores exist, offering gardeners some interesting choices.
Paneth cells are found in the glands of the small intestine. They play an important role in keeping the intestinal lining in good condition. A problem with autophagy or unfolded proteins in the cells has been repeatedly linked to Crohn's disease.
Giant viruses are huge entities compared to other viruses and are bigger than some bacteria. They are often large enough to be seen under a light microscope and contain very large genomes.
The carnauba palm and the candelilla shrub are interesting plants that produce a useful wax. Many people are exposed to carnauba or candelilla wax on a frequent basis via the products that they buy.
Researchers have found that people with osteoarthritis seem to have a lower than normal level of FOXO proteins in their damaged joints. Increasing the protein level might help to treat the disease.
The Tasmanian devil is an endangered animal whose population is decreasing. The main reason for the decrease is devil facial tumor disease. Immunotherapy may one day be used to treat the condition.
Giardia is an interesting parasite that causes an unpleasant intestinal disorder called giardiasis. Understanding the parasite's features and behaviour may lead to better treatments for the disorder.
The cornett, cornetto, or zink produces a lovely sound that often resembles the human voice. It has finger holes like a recorder and a mouthpiece like a trumpet. It's popular with early music fans.
Men are far less likely to get multiple sclerosis than women. This may be because testosterone provides protection. Studying how the protection works may help both men and women with the disease.
The pre-decimal penny existed for hundreds of years before the decimal penny of 1971. It's associated with some interesting sayings and traditions. Studying the coin is a great way to study history.
The sixpence and the shilling are pre-decimal coins from the United Kingdom. They have a long history and are associated with some interesting traditions.
Wild relatives of some major agricultural crops are in trouble. We need the genetic diversity in wild crops and the lower diversity present in cultivated ones to provide food security for the future.
Glaucoma is a vision problem caused by damage to the optic nerve. The pressure in the eyeball is often increased, but the disease is not fully understood. Recent research may change this situation.
A ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrate. The diet can be very helpful for some people with epilepsy, though it may not be a cure.
When someone experiences a heart attack, cells in their heart die. Scientists have found two ways to replace the lost cells in rodents. The techniques may one day work in us.
Dogs with a hacking cough may have a very infectious disease called kennel cough. A vet's diagnosis is essential, however. My dog recently had the disease.
Rigoletto is a popular opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi. In this article I discuss the opera's history, plot, and leading characters. I also include some of its lovely music.
Researchers have found evidence linking the insulin resistance that develops in type 2 diabetes with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. The details need to be clarified, however.
Mud is a versatile and interesting material. It's useful for both humans and animals. It can also be dangerous, especially in the form of mud volcanoes and mudflows.
The Barber of Seville, Pagliacci, Falstaff, and A Masked Ball are popular Italian operas. In this article I include a synopsis of each opera and some of its music.
Tiny microplastic particles are produced from plastic waste. The particles enter the human body in a variety of ways. Their effects on the body are unknown.
Salbutamol (also known as albuterol and Ventolin) is used in rescue inhalers for asthma. Research suggests that it may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease.
Mycobacterium leprae is the bacterium that causes leprosy. It damages nerves, perhaps by reprogramming Schwann cells or by hijacking macrophages in the immune system.
Goldfish are interesting fish that have some surprising features. The animals are popular pets. They are found in the wild, where they may become very large.
A new treatment may stop beta cell destruction in the early stage of type 1 diabetes. The beta cells produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Some sharks produce beautiful patterns of light in a process called biofluorescence. The light emission may have important functions.
Pyrosomes are strange creatures that swim in the ocean and are bioluminescent. They are undergoing a puzzling population increase off the west coast of North America.
A common cause of hearing loss is damage to the hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. Researchers hope to use stem cell therapy to produce new hair cells.
Bumble bees have surprisingly capable brains. They can play a simple version of soccer and pull a string to get a reward. They may even experience optimism.
The trail beside the waterfront in downtown Vancouver is an attractive place to explore. Some interesting examples of public art can be seen near the trail.
Naked mole-rats have a strange appearance and some very unusual features. Studying the rodents might help researchers to understand and treat human health problems.
Julie Fowlis is a popular Scottish folk singer and musician. She generally sings in Gaelic and is involved in collecting the traditional songs of the Hebrides.
Jimmy MacCarthy is a leading Irish songwriter. He creates contemporary folk songs that often contain interesting imagery that can be interpreted in several ways.
The wood frog survives freezing. A study of its adaptations for survival may be helpful in understanding human health problems and in the use of organs for transplants.
Chemicals in urine react with pool disinfectants. The resulting products can be irritating to the eyes, skin, and airways and might cause more serious effects.
McVitie's is a well known biscuit maker in Britain. The company has had a long history. Two of its most popular products are digestive biscuits and Jaffa cakes.
Unripe lychees and ackee fruits contain toxins. Both fruits should be eaten only when ripe. In addition, it's very important that ripe ackee is prepared properly.
Tomatoes are nutritious fruits (or vegetables) with an interesting history, but they often lack flavor compared to tomatoes of the past. A discovery by scientists should be helpful in creating tastier fruits. Some strategies for obtaining tomatoes with a better taste already exist.
Wales is a country with a wonderful musical heritage. Folk and traditional songs are an important and enjoyable part of this heritage and of Welsh culture. The country is known internationally for its vocal music, singers, and choirs.
England has a rich collection of traditional folk songs. This article includes performances of four songs and describes the interesting background of the music.
Svalbard reindeer live on an archipelago near mainland Norway. They are the smallest subspecies of reindeer. Research indicates that their bodies are shrinking in size.
Acorn worms have an amazing ability to regenerate body parts. We have most of the worm's genes used in regeneration. Scientists hope to enable us to make new body parts.
TRIUMF is a facility for research in particle physics and accelerator-based science. It contains the largest cyclotron in the world and produces medical isotopes. It's located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In the 1960s there was a folk music revival in the form of folk rock. The enjoyable songs that were created still have value today.
Pitcher plants produce cups that trap and digest prey. The digestive enzymes of one species can break down gluten and may help people with celiac disease.
The Venus flytrap is a fascinating plant that is very popular. The wild population grows in a limited area in the United States and is in trouble.
Sickle cell disease is painful for sufferers and can sometimes be dangerous. Genome editing may one day correct the mutation that causes the disorder.
The Nitobe Memorial Garden is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. It's a beautiful and often peaceful Japanese garden that is filled with symbolism.
The UBC Botanical Garden is a lovely place for plant lovers. It's both enjoyable and educational to explore. The garden contains a mix of nature and cultivation.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterium that lives in the nose of many people. It's often harmless but can cause a variety of diseases. Some of these are serious.
Dinosaurs Alive is an exhibit consisting of large, animatronic animals. This article contains photos of some of the models and facts about the real animals.
Eco-sculptures of animals are a traditional summer attraction in Burnaby, British Columbia. The interesting sculptures are intended for entertainment and education.
Wolbachia is a bacterium that infects mosquitoes. It prevents viral replication in its host and may protect us from dengue, Zika virus disease, and other illnesses.
Broca's area, Wernicke's area, and the circle of Willis are important parts of the brain. They are named after the famous scientists who discovered them.
The Mariana Trench is the deepest place in the ocean and contains some fascinating animals. NOAA has made some exciting discoveries about life in the trench.
The giant hogweed causes burns and blisters. Grapefruit juice interferes with many medicines. The chemicals that cause these effects are called furanocoumarins.
Purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and Michaelmas daisies are colourful members of the Aster family. Each flower is associated with some interesting facts.
Labrador Retrievers are lovely dogs but have a tendency to become obese. A gene mutation in some Labs may maintain their hunger and make weight control harder.
An oral storytelling performance can be both entertaining and educational. Prose, poems, and songs can all tell a story. Myths and traditional tales are often shared orally.
The Selkirk Rex has a curly coat and an unusual appearance. The cat makes a friendly and often sweet pet that likes to play but has a calm personality.
In winter, the Narcisse Snake Dens contain the world's largest concentration of red-sided garter snakes. The snakes are non-venomous and are sometimes kept as pets.
In some cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a protein called SOD1 is misfolded due to a gene mutation. In mice, a copper compound can prevent the misfolding.
Mosquito bites can transmit the Zika virus to humans. The virus spread rapidly in 2015-2017 and is still a threat today. It causes microcephaly in babies and may also cause Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The sweet wormwood is a plant that produces a chemical called artemisinin. This is a great treatment for malaria, although there are signs of resistance to the drug.
Rapamycin increases lifespan in mice, apparently by inhibiting a protein called mTOR. It may do the same in dogs and possibly in humans. It's currently being tested in pet dogs.
The mucus that covers fish has several functions, including protection from multiple dangers and serving as food for young fish. The substance may also be useful for us.
Coral bleaching is an event in which corals lose their pigment and main source of food. It often causes corals to die. Oxybenzone in sunscreens may contribute to coral bleaching.
Flour beetles are common pests. They are often called flour weevils, although biologically they aren't weevils. An infestation can be both eliminated and prevented. Though flour beetles aren't my favourite kind of insect, they do inspire my creative writing, including my flash fiction.
Octopuses have fascinating abilities. Some have fins that help them move. Others demonstrate intelligence. The genome of one species is very unusual.
Still Creek in Burnaby Lake Regional Park is a beautiful place to visit. Himalayan balsam grows on the land beside the creek. This flowering plant can be invasive.
Bacteria in the genus Yersinia have major effects on our lives. One species causes bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic plague. Others cause foodborne illness. One may eventually help to treat cancer.
Pacific white-sided dolphins are intelligent and very social animals. This article describes the lives of the wild dolphins and of some rescued animals in captivity.
Irises are beautiful flowers that have a wide variety of colours. Some are used to make orris root, which has a lovely scent but can cause an allergic response.
The Secret Garden is a story about a seemingly magical garden that has healing powers. The garden has been hidden for ten years when a young girl discovers it.
Bowhead whales live in the Arctic, break through ice to breathe, and sing intriguing and beautiful songs. They have a large head with a huge, bow-shaped mouth.
The pancreas makes a digestive enzyme called trypsin, which digests protein in the small intestine. Trypsin is normally released in an inactive form but sometimes becomes active within the pancreas. This activation may cause pancreatitis.
A red herring and a fine or pretty kettle of fish are idioms with an interesting history. Both the literal meanings of the terms and the unexpected ones are fun to explore.
Flash fiction or microfiction is a genre involving very short stories. Despite their brevity, the stories can convey a lot of information and be very effective.
Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia is a beautiful place to see magnolia flowers in spring and glaucous-winged gulls at any time of year.
A 3D printing technology known as CLIP was announced at a TED conference in Vancouver and is now available in the United States. The printed object is created in a pool of liquid resin.
Forsythia is an ornamental shrub that produces beautiful and abundant yellow flowers in late winter and early spring. The plant is named after William Forsyth, an eighteenth-century horticulturist.
Polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier that is added to many foods. Evidence suggests that it may affect bacteria in the intestine and cause gut inflammation.
Many crocuses bloom in the early spring and are a lovely sight. One type makes saffron. The toxic autumn crocus makes colchicine, which can act as a medicine.
The Malayan tapir is an unusual animal with an extensible and mobile proboscis, or mini-trunk. Despite its size and bulk, this endangered animal can move fast.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks joints. In chikungunya, a virus infects the body. Both diseases produce joint pain and may sometimes be confused.
Lysozyme is an antibacterial enzyme in body secretions that helps to protect us from infections. It's also present in eggs, where it may cause allergies.
The rainbow eucalyptus is an unusual tree with a beautiful, multicoloured trunk. The trunk's colours change as the tree sheds strips of bark, creating living art.
Antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause disease is a serious problem. Soil contains many bacteria, some of which may help us by making new antibiotics.
The dragon blood tree of Socotra Island has an unusual appearance. It secretes a red resin known as dragon's blood when its bark is injured. The resin is used in many ways. The island is home to other fascinating and often unique organisms besides the tree.
Two amazing phenomena in nature are the annual migration of millions of red crabs on Christmas Island and the "everlasting" Catatumbo lightning in Venezuela.
Mole and worm lizards are very unusual reptiles. They have elongated bodies that resemble those of earthworms and have one pair of legs or none at all.
Loneliness is a growing problem in some places. My discussion and poem about the topic were triggered by a Brenda Chamberlain story called "The Return". Both the author and her protagonist experienced loneliness.
The Borrowers is a children's book about tiny people living in secret in a house. They survive by collecting items owned by the big people in the house. Eventually their hiding place is discovered.
Some of my favourite childhood memories are of my visits to relatives in Easton, a lively multicultural area in Bristol, England. Banksy's graffiti career began there. Easton was a working class area in my childhood and has some problems today, but it also had and has some very worthy qualities.
Kenneth McKellar was a popular tenor known for his beautiful interpretation of Scottish vocal music. He died in 2010, but his music lives on in many recordings.
Some organizations share advertising revenue with charities when people view their videos. This could be a great way for Internet users to support worthy causes.
A two-faced animal is one individual. The condition is known as disprosopus or craniofacial duplication. Cats with two faces are called Janus cats. Frank and Louie was a famous example of a Janus cat.
The Columbian ground squirrel is an interesting animal that is very entertaining to watch. A large population can be found in Manning Park, British Columbia.
Shortbread is a buttery and delicious biscuit or cookie that is a traditional Christmas treat. It's a very enjoyable snack at any time of year and is associated with some interesting traditions. Plain biscuits and ones with added fruit, spices, or chocolate can be bought or made at home.
Sergei Prokofiev was a major twentieth-century composer who has left us some beautiful music as a legacy. His compositions were often unusual for his time.
Parkinson's disease is caused by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine. Stem cell technology may provide a more effective treatment than current methods.
The common raven is an intelligent and interesting bird that plays an important role in folklore. The bird is found in many countries and habitats.
The human skeleton has vital functions. It provides support and protection, allows us to move, makes blood cells, and stores fatty acids and minerals.
Some species of chrysanthemums produce a chemical called pyrethrin. The substance is reasonably safe for humans and is used to kill head lice. The lice are becoming resistant to the chemical, however.
A jack o'lantern is a carved and lighted Halloween pumpkin. It's also a name for the mysterious light that appears near the surface of a wetland.
Traditional poutine consists of French fries, cheese curds, and a brown, flavourful gravy. It's a delicious meal that originated in the province of Quebec.
Artificial sweeteners may change our gut bacteria population, cause glucose intolerance, and increase blood sugar. Excess sugar intake also causes health problems.
The bunya pine produces huge and often very heavy cones. Its large seeds are both edible and tasty. The tree has a strange appearance and some unusual features.
The monkey puzzle tree is a very strange and interesting plant. It's native to South America but grows in parks and gardens in other areas as an introduced plant.
Humans use cow dung as a fertilizer, a fuel, a building material, and an insect repellent. It's also used to produce a biogas and paper and to play games. Other organisms use the dung as well.
False killer whales are slender black or grey dolphin relatives. They are social and acrobatic animals. A stranded calf was rescued by the Vancouver Aquarium in 2014 and was named Chester.
Edible insects are a nutritious food. Farming insects has environmental benefits and will likely become increasingly important as the Earth's population increases.
The Roman Baths complex in the city of Bath, England, is a major tourist attraction. It offers a fascinating look at the lives of Ancient Romans in Britain.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. It contains beautiful plants and lovely scenery that is very enjoyable to explore.
A bite by a lone star tick can cause a red meat allergy in some people. The allergen in meat is alpha-gal. Tick saliva can sensitize a person to this chemical.
Inky cap mushrooms become a black, inky liquid in order to disperse their spores. Some contain coprine, which increases the unpleasant effects of alcohol intake.
A hematoma is a swelling filled with blood. If a hematoma develops in a dog's spleen, removal of the organ may be necessary to prevent it from rupturing. One of my family's dogs underwent a splenectomy, or spleen removal.
Brain freezes or ice cream headaches, cracking the knuckles, and wiggling the ears are strange occurrences with interesting biological explanations.
The Bloedel Conservatory is a beautiful domed garden that contains exotic plants and birds. It's located in Queen Elizabeth Park, another very attractive site. The park is located in Vancouver BC.
English ivy is an attractive vine that has interesting symbolic meanings. It's part of a rich mythology and has been used in many traditions over the years.
3D food printers use liquid or powdered food material as a printing medium. They produce 3D objects with many different shapes. They may have other benefits, such as making meals during space travel.
Augmented reality in newspapers is the apparent appearance of a video or other digital content on a newspaper page. AR could add very useful features to printed media.
English ivy is an attractive plant that may be invasive in North America. It's both helpful and harmful for humans, other living things, and the environment.
"Lucifer" is an interesting word that is used to represent both good and evil. In this article I explore the meaning of the word by using prose and a poem that I wrote. The creation of the article was triggered by a writing challenge established in April, which is National Poetry Month.
The Burnaby Village Museum depicts life in British Columbia in the 1920s. It's an entertaining and educational place that is located in the lovely Deer Lake Park.
Downtown Vancouver in British Columbia is a wonderful place to explore with a camera. Spring is especially attractive as cherry blossoms and other flowers bloom. The flowers, the architecture, and the special events traditionally held in spring are very enjoyable to photograph.
Oral allergy syndrome, or OAS, is an allergic reaction to food proteins that resemble proteins in pollen grains. People with OAS often have hay fever.
Playing games about the periodic table of elements can be not only educational but also great fun. Games can help students learn both in school and at home.
Fishing cats are wild animals that feed primarily on fish and are at ease in water. Unfortunately, their population is in trouble due to habitat destruction.
Solving jigsaw puzzles is an entertaining and absorbing activity. It's fun for both children and adults. It may have other benefits in addition to being enjoyable.
A microscope is a gateway to a fascinating and normally invisible world. A home microscope is entertaining and educational for children and for adults, too.
Marmots are large ground squirrels that live in mountainous areas of British Columbia. They are social and very vocal animals that often form colonies. Three species of animals are commonly known as marmots in BC. One of them—the Vancouver Island Marmot—is critically endangered.
Green peas are loaded with nutrients and are a very healthy food. There are many ways to prepare peas and many foods that are improved by their addition.
Clostridium perfringens is a bacterium that can have big effects on humans. It's a common cause of foodborne illness and may cause multiple sclerosis.
Crackers with toppings can make great snacks for the everyday diet and for special events. Here are twenty ideas for delicious toppings that are easy to make.
Horn and angel sharks live on the seabed instead of swimming through open water. They are predators like most other sharks, but they have some unusual features.
A diet that is rich in nutrients and omits harmful foods may help to control asthma. Asthmatics must take prescribed medications even if they have a good diet, however.
Cone snails use their venom to paralyze their prey. Although the venom is often dangerous for humans, it contains chemicals that have important medical uses.
Lichens are interesting organisms that are important in their environment and useful for humans. Some produce chemicals that are potentially dangerous for us, however.
The SMART system aims to help people achieve their goals, including their New Year's resolutions. Good goals are challenging but realistic and are measurable.
Misfolded proteins are believed to be the cause of many serious human diseases. Pharmacoperones are chemicals that may be able to correct misfolding.
Plastic waste is a serious environmental problem and poverty is a serious social one. The Plastic Bank aims to help both these situations.
A Yule log cake, mincemeat, and mince pies are delicious Christmas treats with an interesting history. A Yule log was once a real log and mince pies used to contain meat.
Snakehead fish are invasive species in North America. They are fierce predators and can breathe in air. They may be a serious threat to native wildlife.
This article describes techniques for building confidence in writing that I've found useful and that should be helpful for other writers. Improved confidence can help a writer to attain their goals.
Some chemicals in fungi can act as medicines for humans. Three of these chemicals are penicillin, lovastatin, and cyclosporine. Lentinan and eritadenine may also be medicinal.
A mycorrhiza is a beneficial association between a fungus and plant roots. Mycorrhizal fungi often form a communication network between trees. Some produce truffles.
Earwax is made by the lining of the ear canal and has important functions. An adequate amount of wax is necessary, but too much can lead to impaction and pain.
Humpback dolphins are unusual and interesting animals. Many have a hump on their back and some are white or pink in color. Their populations are vulnerable or endangered. The Atlantic and Taiwanese humpback dolphins are critically endangered.
Christmas or holiday plants are a wonderful addition to a home during the Christmas season. While some are harmless or have low toxicity, others are poisonous.
It's enjoyable to have plants in a home, but some house plants are poisonous. These need to be treated carefully and kept away from children and pets.
Pygmy seahorses are tiny animals that are often less than an inch in length. Some have amazing features that disguise them and protect them from discovery.
Prions are misfolded proteins that form inside the body or enter the body from the outside. They alter other proteins and cause serious diseases, including CJD.
Horse chestnut trees are beautiful ornamental plants. They produce a nut-like seed called a conker that is used to play a traditional game known as conkers.
Scabies mites burrow under the surface of the skin, causing a very itchy disease. Demodex skin mites are often harmless but may cause rosacea or blepharitis.
Agoutis and pacas are rabbit-sized rodents of Central and South America. Agoutis are kept as exotic pets. Both animals are sometimes used as a source of meat.
The resins that some trees secrete when they're wounded can be useful for humans. Some are used as perfumes or medicines. Others have preserved ancient life forms.
Spiders are fascinating animals that help us by removing harmful insects from the environment. Spider silk is very strong and is potentially useful for humans.
Some scientists are trying to bring extinct animals back to life through a process called cloning. The idea is exciting but also controversial.
The fair at the PNE is a popular summer event in Vancouver, British Columbia. It includes shows, exhibits, tasty food, and fun activities for all ages.
Bleach has potent antimicrobial properties and is also able to remove stains from fabrics. It has many uses, but it's potentially dangerous.
Komodo, bearded, and frilled dragons are lizards. They are impressive animals which have features that remind people of the dragons of myth and literature.
The Stanley Park Seawall has an 8.8 km path on top. The wall travels around the perimeter of the park beside the ocean. It offers great views and interesting sights.