creatuREport: Widow Spiders

Widow spiders are notorious around the world and there are 31 related species which all belong to the genus Latrodectus. They go by other names as well including button spiders in Africa and the redback spider in Australia. Identification This group of spiders has a few notable physical and behavioral characteristics that make them fairly…

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Microbeads in Cosmetics

There are many things to consider when choosing hygiene and cosmetic products, one of which is the presence of microbeads. These tiny bits of spherical plastic are often included for exfoliation or grittiness and can be found in quite a variety of items including haircare products, lotions, toothpaste, makeup, nail polish, chapstick, deodorant, and sunscreen.…

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creatuREport: Yarrow

In planning out my landscaping and gardening projects for next spring (I’m a bit early, I know) I rediscovered the yarrow plant. What an interesting slice of biology it is. Let’s take a look… Overview Yarrow, or Achillea millefolium, is a widespread, weedy herb related to chamomile, daisies and sunflowers. The little flowers grow in…

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creatuREport: Seaweed

What is Seaweed? Seaweed is a generic term for multicellular algae that typically live in saltwater or brackish (mildly salty) environments. These can be classified into three main types: green (Chlorophyta), red (Rhodophyta), and brown (Phaeophyta) algae. Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) may also be called seaweed, but I will not discuss it here as it is…

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creatuREport: Camels

Camels are fascinating creatures. History Originating in North America, camels crossed over the land bridge to Asia and onward, but were eventually wiped out in their native land by the migration of other species (including humans) in the opposite direction – entering North America. Camels may have been domesticated between 3,500-5,000 years ago and were…

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Sukkot: Should We Really Be Rejoicing?

Tonight begins the week-long harvest festival of Sukkot. We also have come to call this the “time of our rejoicing,” z’man simchateinu. But with all that is going on in the world right now, is it really appropriate to be rejoicing? Should we celebrate the several devastating hurricanes that have ravaged the Caribbean islands and…

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What to Do with Old Shoes

I looked at my sneakers today while sitting on the bus and realized that it might be time – time to invest in another pair, and even worse, to figure out what to do with these ones. My poor shoes have been through every type of weather, many varieties of sport, and household repairs including…

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