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March 22, 2020

Cloning Ancient Redwoods From Their Massive Stumps


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Above, the Fieldbrook Stump in California not long after it was felled in 1890.

Cuttings from it have been used to create the new cloned saplings planted recently in San Francisco.

From YaleEnvironment360:

A team of arborists has successfully cloned and grown saplings from the stumps of some of the world's oldest and largest coast redwoods, some of which were 3,000 years old and measured 35 feet in diameter when they were cut down in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Seventy-five of the cloned saplings were planted at the Presidio national park in San Francisco.

The initiative is run by the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a nonprofit working to reestablish ancient redwood forests to help combat climate change.

Coastal redwoods, which can grow an average 10 feet per year, sequester 250 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over their lives, compared to 1 ton for an average tree.

"We’re excited to set the standard for environmental recovery," David Milarch, a fourth-generation arborist and co-founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, said in a statement. "These trees have the capacity to fight climate change and revitalize forests and our ecology in a way we haven’t seen before."

Today, giant stumps of ancient redwoods dot the landscape from Oregon to northern California, reminders of the old-growth forest that used to stretch across the Pacific Northwest.

Many arborists assumed these stumps were dead, but Milarch and his son, Jake, discovered living tissue growing from the trees' roots, material known as baseless or stump sprouts.

The Milarchs collected DNA from stumps of five giant coast redwoods, all larger than the largest tree living today.

These included a giant sequoia known as General Sherman with a 25-foot diameter.

They then used this genetic material to grow dozens of saplings, clones of the ancient trees, a process that takes approximately two-and-a-half-years.

The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has already planted nearly 100 of these saplings in the Eden Project garden in Cornwall, England, a couple hundred in Oregon, and is organizing further groves of saplings in nine other countries.

"These saplings have extraordinary potential to purify our air, water, and soil for generations to come," Milarch said. "We hope [the San Francisco] 'super grove,' which has the capability to become an eternal forest, is allowed to grow unmolested by manmade or natural disasters and thus propagate forever."

March 22, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Bee Hummingbird: World's smallest bird

Only found in Cuba, these birds lay their eggs in nests the size of a quarter.

From Audubon:

It measures a mere two and a quarter inches long.

Bee Hummingbirds are often mistaken for bees.

They weigh under two grams — less than a dime.

Their wings beat 80 times per second [my italics].

That's half the weight of our backyard hummers, like the Ruby-throated or Rufous.

The female builds a nest barely an inch across.

Her eggs are about the size of a coffee bean.

March 22, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Online tours of 2,500 museums around the world

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Free, the way we like it.

Something to do while you shelter in place.

From the GoodNewsNetwork:

If you have suddenly found yourself confined to your home during the COVID-19 shutdowns, Google has launched an ingenious new service that allows art lovers to get their culture fix from the comfort of their own home.

Google Arts and Culture has partnered with more than 2,500 museums and galleries around the world in order to offer virtual tours and online displays of their collections to internet surfers.

The tours allow users to wander through the interiors of the world's most famous museums, similar to the Google Street View feature.

Users can also download Google's free Arts and Culture iOS or Android app for a much more immersive museum experience.

In addition to offering the tours, many of the museums are also offering up detailed online collections of their masterpieces just in case you want to get up close and personal with one of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings.

The tech company has partnered with such prestigious institutions as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Uffizi Gallery of Florence, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York — just to name a few from Google's top ten shortlist.

March 22, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shelter in place

March 22, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trick out your shower curtain

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From the website:

These useful little vacuum clips

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will keep your shower curtain closed and prevent the curtain from clinging to your body while taking a shower.

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Package includes four plastic pieces, each 2.5"L x 1.3"Ø.

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March 22, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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