Originally published in American Forests Magazine Winter/Spring 2016 issue.
Botanical gardens are building the first online catalog of every known plant species in the world. It could be a game-changing tool for conservation.
For more than 400 years, humans have been collecting bits of leaf and twig, pressing them flat and dry for safe-keeping and writing about them in journals and books, all to better understand the world’s plants and, more recently, to protect them.
Our knowledge has become exponentially more sophisticated over those years, but the information we’ve accumulated remains scattered all over the world and is often difficult to access. As biologists race to protect biodiversity, there’s an effort underway to change that, a global partnership to build World Flora Online — the first online catalog of the estimated 400,000 vascular plant species of the world. Read More
Originally published at Mental Floss on Christmas morning 2015. Of the many curious holiday traditions (figgy pudding? wassailing?), one of the oddest has to be spraying down small trees with a mixture of adhesive and cellulose fibers to satisfy our longing for a white Christmas.
That’s what’s happening when you adorn a tree with artificial snow, otherwise known as flocking. And yet, when decorated and lit up, there’s something beautiful and warmly nostalgic about a well-flocked Christmas tree. Here’s how professionals manufacture this Christmas miracle. Read More
I love year end lists. Love reading them, love writing them. Something about listing music in particular captures the spirit of the year in a bottle. So here's mine. I don’t have many thematic insights this year, except the fact that in some years my favorite artists let me down and this was not one of those years. I think Calexico, Protomartyr, and Sleater-Kinney of all bands, put out records at the top of their body of work. And some surprises from bands like Jamie XX and Grimes, who I was only a little into before but blew me away this year. And of course, all of the runners up, mostly because I just haven't had a chance to listen enough—Titus Andronicus, Beach Slang, Eskimeaux, a Mount Eerie record I somehow completely missed. So without further ado. Read More