Medusa

Who doesn’t love puppets on strings? My kids, that’s who. Despite bribes, neither one would join me at a community theater marionette production of Perseus and Medusa. So, there I was, the only solo adult in the theater – don’t judge. If they had joined me, my kids would have been captivated as …

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Jet-Set Jelly Blooms

Summer is a time when jellyfish party, and this year is no exception. For the last few months, all around the northern hemisphere, it’s been a jelly bash. Starting in the Pacific, here’s a globe-trotting tour of what’s been happening beneath the waves. In early summer, I wrote about the vast regattas …

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Horsemint by Any Other Name

Near my house is a piece of land that has been long forgotten by most of Austin. It’s an oasis hidden behind a row of ugly rectangular government buildings that intimidate trespassers. People with dogs that like to run off leash whisper its location to one another. That’s how I found out …

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By-the-wind Sailor

Since April, hordes of bright blue jellies have been stranding themselves on the Pacific coast. Reports from Oregon and Washington started washing in mid-April with numbers of jellies in the thousands. They swept down the coast to northern California where reported abundances reached millions. When the jellies surfed into southern California in …

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Carbon Correction

“Make sure you dig twice as wide as the pot.” The words of John, the garden store guy, who had given me a fast-paced education on planting fruit trees an hour earlier, echoed in my head. I dug my shovel into the rocky dirt in the back corner of my yard. I’d been scoping …

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Jellies in the Jungle

I often try to imagine the open ocean world of the jellies, a place where the physical barriers are completely different than on land. Like floating in space, life in the ocean is a three-dimensional and any direction can be navigated with ease. Being free from the constraints of a surface means you aren’t required …

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And the Award Goes To…

No jellyfish took home any accolades from the Academy of Motion Pictures last week (though a movie feature of Spineless would no doubt rock the box offices.) Nonetheless, recently a couple species of jellies have been officially bestowed some sweet superlatives. Last month, Craig McLean, a scientist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina ended …

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Philosophy and Jellyfish

Jellyfish have a subtle way of pushing your mind to the philosophical. Maybe it’s because they are hard to understand and lack of understanding easily morphs into abstraction. One night this month, Keith was out at an evening meeting, so I threw food on the dinner table, mac and cheese, olives (my kids love olives), grapes–stuff …

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Who’s Been Naughty?

Last week, the mauve stinger, Pelagia noctiluca, which has terrorized beaches in the Mediterranean for years, swarmed into a salmon farm, Loch Duart, off the Scottish coast. The berry-sized jellies slipped through the nets that hold the salmon and lodged themselves in the gills of the fish. Loch Duart is located on one of the oldest aquaculture …

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Suez Backstory

A story that forewarns of ecosystem demise begins, for me, with two deaths. On October 17, the effervescent Heather Kahout lost her three-year battle with cancer. Heather and her husband Martin took a chance on me when I was really just a textbook writer and offered me a writing residency at Madroño …

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