Saturday, November 20, 2010

Learning, An Ongoing Process

Wild Plants And Wooly Bears

For me the days of formal education are long past. But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. In my case, learning happens by watching, listening, observing and reading. Just this past week, I picked up a slue of interesting facts, a few of which I’ll share here.

First, I discovered something that shocked me. I read that red squirrels eat mushrooms that are toxic to people. It always seemed to me that animals shared the same fate as people when exposed to toxins found in certain mushrooms. Normally, I would have a difficult time believing this, but the source seems quite impeccable.

Next, I read that while a single, dead leaf weighs only a couple hundredths of an ounce, the total autumn leaf fall for one acre of hardwood forest weighs upward of one-and-one-half tons. Who would have thought?

And finally, I found that it is possible to “hear” a meteor shower. While the near-full moon made it difficult to observe the recent Perseid meteor shower, anyone with an old-fashioned radio could tune in, so to speak.

The trick to this is to find an open FM frequency somewhere around 91 on the radio dial and leave it on. When an unseen meteor darts across the sky way past the horizon, its path serves to bounce radio signals down on a wide angle. These are called “blips.” In other words, someone in Waldo, Maine, could hear bits and pieces of radio shows from, say, Oklahoma, Colorado or in fact, just about anywhere.

During an intense meteor shower, the blips can be near-continuous.

Such stuff as this fascinates me. I think that as long as I continue watching, listening and reading, the learning process will help to keep me young.

1 comment:

  1. You have no idea of the world you have exposed me to with your two books, foraging new england and wild plants of maine. I have learned so much from you....continue to write so we may learn...and if you do an outside walk I would be honored to hear you speak of our world. Thank you.
    Your biggest fan from East Winslow.
    Sincerely, Marie