Monthly Archives: October 2013

How is a delphinium like a dolphin?

Sometimes it seems like everything is named for a resemblance to something else. This is a story of the similarity-based links among two flowers, three birds, and a cetacean. Oh, yes: and an amphibian. I recently read a short story in which a New England matron establishes a garden club in her town because she’s the local expert… Read More »

Midnight moths, pollen, and scientists

It’s easy to talk about science or its history in the abstract, especially when you’re thinking about long stretches of time, and to lose sight of what it means to actually do science. So I thought I’d share a video that shows scientists out doing field work. In “Sundrops and Hawk Moths,” episode 4 of the series Plants… Read More »

The noble genus Vitis

The wine harvest is nearing its end, so this seems like a good time to look at the different species of grapes that are used for wine. When I first began to take a serious interest in wine, the differences between varieties and species were very fuzzy to me. I’m still sorting out the varieties, most of which… Read More »

Geological epochs and regrettable barbarisms

The other day I was poking around online reading about rocks and dinosaurs when I should have been working, and I discovered that what I knew as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (KT) boundary is also called the Cretaceous–Paleogene (KP) boundary. (K is used instead of C to make it easier to pronounce.) You may be familiar with this boundary as… Read More »