Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why do we care about the solar system and space explorations?

Understanding the Universe seems to be a fundamental question for ourspecies. Scientists-- physicists, planetary scientists, and cosmologists lead the quest for answers about the origin of the Universe and the space in general. Yet, the search for answers to big questions requires multidisciplinary approaches.

We are able to map the human genome and we are able to learn about small particles such as nanoparticles. Yet, the unifying equation or theory that explains the Universe and all there is--and thus our own existence is not in our hands.
Read the complete article about why we seek to learn about the universe in my hubpage blog MSantana

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gardening with Wildlife: Attracting Butterflies

Habitats such as prairies and wet prairies, wetlands and all sizes of native gardens are particularly welcoming to butterflies--and can help with their conservation.

You will notice that plants preferred by butterflies have a flower or influorescence (group of flowers) that resembles a landing structure.These plants flowers are many times as attractive as their butterfly pollinators. Imagine all sort of colors from humble daisies and margarites, to attractive gay feathers, purple cone flowers.

Read more
Gardening with Wildlife: Attracting Butterflies

Biofuel business a growing sector

The potential for the biofuel industry is enormous. Currently, biofuels provide less net energy in comparison to coal. Ethanol provides 60% of energy compared to coal while biodiesel provides 86% (Bourne, 41), yet the abundance of biomass in the planet suggests that biofuels could meet consumers’ needs if managed appropriately.
Innovations and decrease in cost competitiveness in comparison to current fossil fuels may allow the broad implementation of biofuels as alternative fuels in the transportation sector as well as in the power sector (electricity/gas).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Helping Those Amazing Hummingbirds: Hummingbird Feeders

The best long-term strategy to help hummingbirds in their migration routes is planting flowers, specially perennials. Flowers are however not always available for these tiny travelers, thus complementing their diets with sugar solutions help them to survive. Read more Helping Those Amazing Hummingbirds: Hummingbird Feeders

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Green economy, technology and the future

In 2009, a group of economists calculated that we need 22 billion to reduce climate change (Source: video by The Economist and X-Plane). What do you think other economists, business people, and politicians would say about such spending?The video shows how many new green business we have and the trends looking toward the future. Is it good? Is that the solution we need?

Read more

Para la version en espaƱol dirijase a mi blog Voces de la Tierra: Ciencia y Ambiente

Endangered Cats: Snow Leopards (Unca unca)

Snow leopards are endangered cats that live in the mountains of Central Asia. They weight 60-120 lbs and are relatively small in size. They are about 4-5 feet (1-2.5 m) in body length. The tail is about 36 inches (91 cm).  They are a little larger than an ocelot if you are familiar with ocelots, or about the size of a yellow Labrador retriever.
Snow leopards are not leopards, scientists from Texas A&M University, William Murphy and Brian Davis found that they are  more closely related to tigers. 
These cats like many other top predators are carnivorous. Most carnivorous species reproduce at slow rates compared to smaller vegetarian animals. Large animals like wild cats, require a lot of energy and large habitats or territories to find their prey and mate. 
Because of human induced habitat, climate change and other factors, the populations of most wild cats including snow leopards, are highly constrained concerning habitat and resources. Later however, as they encounter live stocks and pray on them, they are also threatened by hunters and ranchers.  These human-wildcat encounters have increased with time. In general the cats are the losers, though with some efforts that scenario can change.

Education, ecotourism, and the implementation of fences have been suggested as ways to help wild cats including snow leopards. You too could help wild cats. Below are some resources for free donations, monetary donations, and volunteering. 

The author Mirna Santana is an ecologist.

News on Snow leopard:
New York Times
National Geographic: Snow leopard and other cats
To learn more about wild cats:
To make a donation for wild cats:
The wild cat fund wild cats (donate by clicking, free)
Wildcat conservation legal aid society
Donate to small wild cats

Monday, July 18, 2011

Earthy Voices: Science, Environmental Issues, and Reflections on Nature: New hopes for the White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)

Earthy Voices: Science, Environmental Issues, and Reflections on Nature: New hopes for the White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)

New hopes for the White-cheeked Gibbon (Nomascus Leucogenys)

 Conservation International announced the existence of viable populations of critically endangered northern white-cheeked crested gibbons, Nomascus Leucogenys, in the highlands of Central Vietnam near Laos. The 455 individuals of this highly vocal species were found very high on the mountains, far from human settlements.
The most common threats for this species are: poaching, trafficking, habitat loss, climate change (e.g., driven changes of habitat/or changes in food resources; drought).

Picture source:
News Source: Conservation International