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Latest Greg Spyreas Stories

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2011-03-15 07:41:05

Researchers have constructed a 226-year history of fire in southern Illinois by looking at fire scars in tree stumps. Their study, the most in-depth fire history reported for the upper Midwest, reveals that changes in the frequency of fires dating back to the time of early European settlement permanently altered the ecology of the region. The researchers took advantage of a 1996 timber harvest of old growth post oak trees in Hamilton County. "I was just amazed at the fire scars in these...

4b433fe85e01deebb5d800c921a31817
2009-09-01 12:15:00

Like most invasive plants introduced to the U.S. from Europe and other places, garlic mustard first found it easy to dominate the natives. A new study indicates that eventually, however, its primary weapon "“ a fungus-killing toxin injected into the soil "“ becomes less potent.The study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the first to show that evolutionary forces can alter the very attributes that give an invasive plant its advantage. In fact, the study...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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