Stories tagged amazing

I've read about this connected to other earthquakes–that animals sense something's gonna happen before it does–and that was observed again at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., just instants before the Great Summer Earthquake of 2011. Read all about it here.

If the University of Minnesota had parents, they'd hang this on the fridge with pride:

The U of MN is one of only three schools (out of 322 nationwide) to score straight As in all nine categories on their College Sustainability Report Card!

You can read the U's press release here, or check out the report card itself here.

Way to go Gophers!!

Sep
04
2007

Web work: Two men look over a portion of the huge web a group of spiders have spun in a Texas state park east of Dallas. The white web is turning brown from all the mosquitoes the web has caught.
Web work: Two men look over a portion of the huge web a group of spiders have spun in a Texas state park east of Dallas. The white web is turning brown from all the mosquitoes the web has caught.
I’m a bit late on getting this on the web (pardon the pun), but have you seen what a posse of Texas spiders created last week?

There were numerous reports on this huge web that they spun along about 200 yards of trail in a state park located about 45 miles east of Dallas. Everyone thinks it’s pretty cool except mosquitoes, which get caught up in this tangled web.

"At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland," said Donna Garde, superintendent of the park to the Associated Press. "Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs."

Experts say that it’s a classic example of spiders working together as a team to accomplish a huge task. We tend to think of spiders as solitary creatures, but they can work together, as this huge web shows. Exactly how they communicate and organize their activities is still to be determined.

Entomologists from around the country were anxious to get samples of the web to determine what types of spiders created this huge network. Unfortunately, winds and rain are taking a toll on the web and it’s already starting to deteriorate.

So whenever Spider-Man starts getting too high on himself, just tell him to checkout the work of these Texas spiders to bring him back down to Earth.

Jan
12
2007

Racing off: The subjects of race and sports are often discussed together. Should they? Do people of different ethnicities excell at different sports? Does it matter? What do you think?
Racing off: The subjects of race and sports are often discussed together. Should they? Do people of different ethnicities excell at different sports? Does it matter? What do you think?

What do sports and race have to with each other?

That can be a pretty explosive question to dig into, but with the opening of the Race exhibit here at the Science Museum, along with some situations I’ve seen or heard arise in the past couple months, it’s had me mulling the question more than usual.

Just last Saturday I was listening to Sports Talk, a weekly call-in radio show on 1500 KSTP-AM. One of the main topics of conversation was why there aren’t more minority kids, particularly African-Americans, playing high school boys hockey at Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. The hockey numbers are so low, in fact, in Minneapolis that the district now only has two boys’ hockey teams, combining players from many different city schools.

There was no general consensus as to why more African-American boys don't play hockey. For a long time, it was thought that hockey was too expensive for minority families to afford to help fund their children to play. But several callers pointed out that now there are many programs that help provide hockey equipment to needy players.

Another caller pointed out that hockey is gaining interest among African-American youth through their play of video games. Hockey is now considered a “hip-hop” sport because it has a lot of action, like basketball. The caller also pointed out that African-American participation in baseball is declining a lot because it is the anti hip-hop sport with so much standing around time.

A third caller pointed out that there is a history of some very strong black hockey leagues in Ottawa, Canada. A few of those players have even gone on to play in the NHL. His contention was that young African-Americans there were exposed to the sport from an early age and grew up loving the game.

One last point on hockey and race: the cover story on today’s Star-Tribune sports section was about Kyle Okposo, the leading scorer on the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team this season. Judging from his name and the photo accompanying the story, I’m figuring he’s African-American. But no where in the story does it make mention of his ethnicity. Does it even matter?

Have you heard the story about the Willmar High School boys’ cross country team? A few years ago, their all-white line-up was an also-ran at most meets. Then two years ago, a native Somali student joined the team and did well individually. This past year, the varsity line-up was made up entirely of Somali students. Willmar won all its regular season meets, went on to win the state championship and placed high in the national meet. What’s going on there?

Clearly, sports and race have had their dark moments. Former Dodger General Manager Al Campanais, on a national TV program commemorating an anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in baseball, got in huge trouble for saying that black athletes don’t make good swimmers because they lack buoyancy. Howard Cosell was fired from Monday Night Football for calling an African-American receiver “a little monkey.”

But can there be legitimate differences between people of different races in the arena of athletics? I’m not sure what the answers are. I don’t know if I even like asking the question. But it seems to be a recurring theme in the world of sports.

What do you think?