A message of Optimism on World Oceans Day

Es interesante conocer que hay personas que aún se preocupan por la bella naturaleza que tenemos.

Kristen Cheri Weiss

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Today is World Oceans Day—a day to recognize the life-giving resources the ocean provides, and a day for all ocean-related organizations to create a united front on social media to bring attention to ocean issues.

In my last post, I discussed my capricious relationship with social media and its ability to both connect us with pressing global issues and to distract us with fluff and humor. Nonetheless, a large portion of my job involves keeping track of and contributing to social media, and I recognize how useful these venues can be for sharing positive stories of change that may even ignite action, whether it be signing a petition or joining an awareness event.

This week, hundreds of organizations are contributing stories and posts to the web-o-sphere via the #OceanOptimism hashtag to spread messages of hope and solutions in the face of daunting environmental challenges. As I’ve written before…

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Oil on Paper: A Collaborative Conservation Challenge

Circulating Now from NLM

By Kristi Wright and Holly Herro

Sometimes conservators encounter problems resulting from well-intended but ultimately flawed repair techniques.  One example of this is the formerly widespread practice of applying oil to the covers of books.  Once considered best practice in libraries, the application of oil-based leather dressing to leather book bindings was a widely accepted treatment method.  The idea was to keep the leather supple and prevent deterioration.

As was the case with many well-intended treatment methods, these leather “dressings” did not pass the test of time. In NLM collections, the oil ultimately absorbed not only into the leather, but also sometimes migrated into the paper pages and other adjacent porous materials.  In some cases this may be a result of overzealous application, but in other cases the oil is simply seeping through the leather cover and moving deeper into the book.

A photograph of an open book showing darkened areas where oil has soaked into the endpaper. Oil saturated paper on Die Ordnung der Gesundheit

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Five cents adds up

The Ecotone Exchange

By Neva Knott

Just this last month, I returned home to Portland, Oregon. I went about my shopping and recycling, having forgotten about the Bottle Bill. Then a friend reminded–those bottles are worth a nickel each. Oops; I’d tossed some coin into the bin.

In 1971, Oregon passed the country’s first bottle refund bill, as a way to curb litter. For each bottled or canned beverage sold, the consumer pays a five cent surcharge. When the bottle is returned to the retailer the consumer gets back the nickel. Statistics from the Oregon.gov website state that road-side litter reduced from 40 percent to six percent when the bill went into effect. Currently, the return rate is 70 percent of all returnable bottles sold.

Oregonians know the drill–drink, put the bottles in a separate bin, take them to the store, get cash. Back in the day, returned bottles were counted by a…

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Tabasco, el edén deforestado

madre Gea

Tabasco es uno los casos más dramáticos de degradación ambiental en México, donde las políticas públicas alentaron el desmonte de bosques y selvas para transformarlos en zonas ganaderas y agrícolas; como consecuencia de esta agresiva transformación y en un contexto de incremento e intensidad de fenómenos climáticos, hoy la población tabasqueña está en un alto nivel de vulnerabilidad frente a la crisis del clima.

En 1940, la cobertura de selva tropical en Tabasco representaba 49 por ciento de la superficie del estado, para 1990 era de 8 por ciento, del cual únicamente la mitad correspondía a selvas primarias. Es decir que, en poco más de cuatro décadas se perdió alrededor de un millón de hectáreas de selva con la finalidad de convertir a este estado en un emporio agrícola que nunca llegó a ver la luz tal como se había planteado en un principio. Esta tendencia continúa hasta la actualidad…

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White Nose Syndrome: Formidable but Not Undefeatable

This information is too interesting. This is new to me.

The Ecotone Exchange

Some months ago I shared with readers information about the ecological and economical value bats provide in the widely various ecosystems in which they live. They are particularly valuable in protecting crops from destruction by insects, gobbling up so many bugs that bats are estimated to save farmers up to $53 billion in pest control each year. Bats are also very important for pollination and tropical reforestation. More than 1,331 species of bats have been discovered worldwide. But my favorite fact about bats is that they are the only mammal to evolve true flight. There are other animals that glide but bats are the only mammal that truly have wings and self-propelled flight capabilities. Such marvels!

Bats are now vulnerable to a large and rapidly increasing threat known as white-nose syndrome (WNS), named for the white fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans that appears on the muzzle and other body parts of hibernating…

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The Earliest Herbals

Es importante tener muy presente que a pesar de que la ciencia, con respecto a medicina avance. Las medicinas naturales siempre estarán presentes. Nuestros antepasados usaban las plantas medicinales para curar las enfermedades de aquellas épocas.

Circulating Now from NLM

By Michael North

This post is the first in a series exploring the National Library of Medicine’s rich and varied collection of “herbals,” which are books devoted to the description of medicinal plants (and sometimes other natural substances) with instructions on how to use them to treat illness. The Library’s herbals are some of the most beautifully illustrated books in the collection, and many contain information that has not yet been investigated using modern scientific methods.

A simple botanical illustration of gladiolus bulbs with leaves and flowers. “Gladiolus,” Theophrastus, De Historia Plantarum (Amsterdam: Hendrick Laurensz, 1644).

Many of the earliest medical writings were herbals, which described plants and how they could be used to heal illnesses. Most of these written treatises likely began as traditional oral information, passed down from generation to generation, sometimes as wider cultural information and sometimes as secrets kept within families or small social groups. Often these collections of knowledge included other natural materials in the environment…

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Faith at the Brickyard: Ritual, Fandom, and the Indianapolis 500

Archaeology and Material Culture

Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp after winning the first running of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911 Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp after winning the first running of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911 (image from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Collection)

Memorial Day weekend is among the most cherished holidays in racing fandom, with the Indianapolis 500 culminating a month of racing and community events.  For legions of followers the Indianapolis 500 is an annual rite, and for many fans the journey to the speedway is a pilgrimage to one of racing’s most hallowed spaces.  In 1973 the New York Times celebrated the event and place when it intoned that “the 500 is more than a race.  It is a folk festival, a happening.  Its pageantry, spectacle and corn make it Middle America’s counterpart to France’s pilgrimage to Le Mans.”

The speedway experience involves systematic ritual, intense desire, and visitation to an important place, all of which have some parallels to pilgrims’ religious travel in particular and broader…

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