A National Park TV Sitcom Cameo

I do not have cable television but back when I did I used to only watch a couple of shows religiously; Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, and The Big Bang Theory.  Battlestar has since ended, I have fallen behind on Dexter, but each year for Christmas my sister gives me the latest The Big Bang Theory DVD.  She came through for me again this year and it has become a tradition in my household to waste away a couple of days on the couch watching the entire set of DVDs before I head back to Utah.  Today we watched 16 episodes (it rained all day in south-eastern PA) and I knitted myself almost an entire mitten.  Towards the end of our The Big Bang Theory marathon this evening a national park made a cameo!

One of the main characters,  Sheldon, is annoyed by his roommate, Leonard, while he is dressed as the DC Comic superhero The Flash.  Sheldon jokes about running to the Grand Canyon to scream out his frustrations. Later in the episode, Sheldon is again annoyed by Leonard and has a daydream sequence where he runs – very quickly –  as The Flash to the Grand Canyon.  Apparently, Grand Canyon National Park in a very appropriate and satisfying place to yell out your frustrations.

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The Sense in Suing the Forest Service?

The Forest Service is being sued.  The suit was filed on Tuesday December 20th by a family from Washington. The family’s 11 year old daughter was killed on July 31st, 2010 at Big Four Ice Caves in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The family was hiking to the ice caves, a very popular and easy hike, when  a large boulder of ice crushed the little girl. At the time of the accident, the little girl was sitting on the ice fields (off of the designated trail).  There is no cell phone signal at the caves and therefore the family waited more than an hour before help arrived.

Big Four Glacier

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A Precious Resource: The Night Sky

It’s that time of the year again; the time of the year when I spent over 4 hours sitting on a flight from Utah to Philadelphia as I travel home to see my family for the holiday season. I, like most people who travel often, have certain habits associated with flying. For one, I try not to start conversations with my fellow passengers as sleeping is my favorite way to pass the time when in the air.  Additionally, I always read the in-flight magazine during landing and while taxiing to the jet bridge.  During our descent into Philly this evening, I found a small blurb in the airline’s magazine about star-gazing and the best places around the world for this night-dependent activity.  On the list was a location close to home – Natural Bridges National Monument. Not only was Natural Bridges on the list, but it was recently named the world’s first International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (the IDA).

Owachomo Bridge (from National Geographic Photo of the Day)

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Ignored Invertebrates

ResearchBlogging.orgMost recreation ecology studies focus their efforts on how recreation may impact vertebrates or, most often, plants. Up until now, invertebrates were pretty much ignored in the field. However, the latest issue of Entomological Review contains an article by two Russian scientists examining how “recreation load” might impact the behavior of hortophilous animals (invertebrates that live in the grass layer).  Specifically, Khabibullin and Khabibullin wanted to know (1) what types of responses do insects show when faced with stressors caused my the mechanical act of recreation? (2) Do different species show different tactics to cope with these stressors? (3) How effective are these strategies?

Beetle on a trail in Joshua Tree National Park

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The Elevator Speech

It’s finals time at Utah State University! This time of the year parking on campus is scarce, students look like crazed zombies, and most peoples social lives have been sucked into a vortex of final papers and studying for final exams. Lucky for me, besides grading a bunch of undergraduate assignments, the weeks leading up to finals week has been pretty relaxing. The one final assignment that I did have to complete took me probably a total of 20 minutes including preparation, practice, and presentation. For my translational ecology class (basically a class where we examined a framework for including feedback with non-scientists in the research process) we were expected to end the semester by giving an “Elevator Speech”.

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