Snapshot Tuesday: hot spring in Yellowstone National Park

photo from Yellowstone National Park

Hot spring from Yellowstone National Park

National Park Service: Hot Springs and how they work

A few summers ago, we took a family vacation to Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, plus an afternoon and evening in Jackson Hole.  Lots of hot springs and geyser activity in Yellowstone, where we learned that we were touring above one of the world’s supervolcanoes, the Yellowstone caldera. What would happen if …..

There was a recent earthquake and some animal migrations that had the ‘Net buzzing with speculation that the supervolcano was going to blow … the USGS say that it’s business as usual at Yellowstone, that the accounts are exaggerated.

So I dug up a snapshot from that trip in honor of Snapshot Tuesday.  Enjoy!

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They might walk again !! Really cool research I heard about in a podcast.

Listening to a Science Friday podcast in the car this morning to pass the time and WOW … this segment played:  “Reawakening Limbs After Years of Paralysis”  xray from science friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what the Science Friday website says: Reporting in the journal Brain, researchers write of reawakening the legs of four men paralyzed from the waist down. They did so by implanting electronic devices in the men’s spines. The devices send out electrical stimulation that re-trains the nerves to listen more carefully for signals, allowing voluntary movements after years of paralysis. Study author Susan Harkema of the University of Louisville and Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering, discuss the device and the path towards commercially available treatments.

Nice to hear some positive news, something that brings people hope.  The researchers talked about how the spinal cord might be more “intelligent” than they’ve believed … how the body might be able to recover the ability for movement with a combination of stimulation and specialized physical therapy.  Okay, I didn’t follow everything they said, but I did think – this is wonderful.

Would there be people in wheelchairs who would choose NOT to walk again?  If someone’s been paralyzed for years, if that’s become part of one’s accepted identity – would the change be too frightening?

Most people would probably leap at the chance (pun intended), but even positive change can be scary – so I can imagine that it’d be a complicated path.  Of course, according to the researchers, it takes lots of focused work over months too, so it’s not like they implant a device and people get up and walk a few miles.  Way slower than that … which would also make it easier to accept and embrace.

Friday Zen

close-up of a dragonfly from May 2013
A dragonfly – taken at last year’s RFM spring retreat, Memorial Day weekend at the Clearing in Amelia County, Virginia .

We spend a portion of each summer near my parents’ home on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. We’re next to a swamp … a freshwater seep that drains into the creek … one that provides water for frogs and dragonflies and birds. At dusk, we can sit on the back deck and watch hundreds of dragonflies feeding, aerial acrobats feasting on mosquitoes and gnats. A bit later, the frogs start to sing.

It’s a sweet spot, a small farmhouse in a soybean field just a short walk from my childhood home. How much longer will the frogs sing?  My heart breaks when I  think about climate change, about what we’ve done with fossil fuels, about a world without frogs.

But for now – isn’t this creature exquisite?