hot links: earliest look at snowflakes; try oregano, not antibiotics; fresh as a frog's skin
IT WAS A 20-YEAR-OLD, IN 1885, who first photographed a snowflake. In “aha’s” of a more-recent nature, a chicken farmer, in 2012, is finally incorporating herbal medicine into the health of a large-scale commercial flock. These and other oddball links from my online reading the last week:
the snowflake man
THE FIRST PERSON to photograph snowflakes did so in 1885, harnessing the combined power of a camera and also a microscope given to him as gifts by his parents. Then 20-year-old Alwyn Bentley of Jericho, Vermont, came to be known as the Snowflake Man for his lifetime of work, which also included years of close examination of raindrops. A fascinating tale of Bentley’s life, and more photos, via DomainReview [dot] org. Image above from the Smithsonian Institution collection. And yes: Bentley is responsible for the “no two are alike” lowdown on snowflakes.
fresh as a frog’s skin
A BIT OF RUSSIAN folk-wisdom that calls for keeping milk fresh by putting a live frog in the milk bucket has led to the examination of chemicals secreted from the frog’s skin. Apparently they are powerfully antifungal and antibacterial…but will they have implications for new drugs for us? Details via NPR Science.
herbal medicine in the henhouse
SPEAKING OF NATURAL SUBSTANCES, today’s “New York Times” includes news that some poultry farmers are experimenting with oregano and oregano oil to fight bacterial diseases–hoping to avoid the widespread use of antibiotics. Herbal medicine meets the modern farmer! The story.
hawaii says a ‘no’ to monsanto
I DON’T GRASP the entire impact of this decision, admittedly, but I was interested to note last week that the Monsanto corporation was denied a request for an additional 2.636 million gallons a day of potable water to irrigate fields of seed corn and other crops in Hawaii—fields that are used to grow transgenic hybrids, or GMOs. In a time when there seem to be so few “no” answers given to the biotech giant in the U.S., it is at least worth noting this pushback by the state water commission.