It’s All About That Base

No, not the bass that Meghan Trainor’s been singing about so infectiously all summer. It’s all about the base of the animal tree of life. This month’s science news is full of stories from the deep past, which means we know a bit more about the murky ancient world of jellies. A group of researchers from …

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Jellyfish Spawn

Years ago I visited the Aeolian Islands, the tiny chain that looks like dirt flinging off the the Italian boot after it’s just kicked Sicily.  I remember blue seas, incredible calimari, stony beaches, and being simultaneously terrified and thrilled to see ash tossed from an active volcano on the island of Stromboli. This week footage from the seas …

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Mysterious Technicolor Jellies

It’s been a colorful week in new jelly species. News media in Australia has been abuzz with stories of a crayon-purple jellyfish that’s been washing up on beaches from the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane to Port Macquarie, half way to Sydney. The peculiar jelly has a bell about the size of a dinner plate and …

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Man o’ War

Like me, Iraqi-British artist Athelier Mousawi has found a muse in jellyfish. He paints huge canvases bursting with bright colors and boundaries that scream around curves and screech to a halt at corners. This tension between intertwined organic forms meticulously restrained by clean edges creates a harmonious chaos of color and contour …

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In My Grandma’s Footprint

My grandma ended her 102 years peacefully on April 15, 2014. Ever since then, reels of her life have been playing haphazardly though my mind. I see Grandma plucking small, sour cherries from the tree in the corner of her backyard. She looks up and strikes a bargain with the birds, “Ok, …

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Peanutbutter Jellyfish

When you think jelly, don’t you naturally think peanut butter? So it’s conceivable that if you are someone who spends your days working with jellyfish, the wild idea to try to grow your brood on peanut butter might flit through your mind. But the fact that aquarist Zelda Montoya tried it, and …

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A Winning Lottery Ticket

“More Canadian-produced Crown Royal is shipped to Texas than anywhere else,” explained Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer speaking to the Jackson School of Geosciences at UT just before spring break. Tall, distinguished, with a shock of gray-hair, Doer added, “I think it would be easier to get whiskey in a pipeline to Texas than …

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Jellyfish in Japan


I walked through the grocery store with a secret. I put the individual cups of mac-and-cheese that I found so repulsive, but that my kids clamored for, in my cart. Still, inside I was smiling. I swung my cart past the boxes and boxes of Technicolor cereal, pulled a cartoon-emblazoned brand off the shelf, and nonetheless gloated. I loaded snack-sized metalized polypropelyne bags of air-riddled, cheese-flavored corn puffs on my pile–and my heart soared anyway. Because I knew something no one else around me knew.