September 21, 2003 |
In the heart of a paved-over South Jersey lies a pristine wilderness, a place of contradictions where delicate white flowers attack and smother unsuspecting gnats with gooey globs. It is the home of fat, red-bellied turtles, whose sudden splashes in the narrow cedar rivers are what break long silences when weekenders do not venture into the hideaway. It is the Pinelands, a place where sedge-choked marshes meet rivers and pygmy pine forests greet much taller neighbors, the cedars and red maples, on opposite river banks in the hybrid ecosystem.
September 20, 2003 |
The Pine Street spider is gone. Hurricane Isabel didn't get her, but it appears that a thief may have. "It was gone way before the hurricane hit. It looks like it was stolen. It's really pathetic," said Adam Solow, whose rowhouse on the 2400 block of Pine Street had been home to the large yellow-and-black spider since August. The spider, an Argiope aurantia, had captured the interest of many of its human neighbors and became a bit of a community bridge. Sometimes spiders decide to move on, but this specimen's human hosts don't think that's what happened.
August 7, 2003 |
Alfalfa hay has become yet another victim of the chilly, rainy spring on the region's farms. "Had a lot of leaf hoppers coming in this year because of thunderstorms," said Steve Dietrich, an agriculture agent in Chester County for the Penn State Cooperative Extension. The alfalfa-eating insects "ride the storms up" from the South, he said, "and are extremely bad this year. " Especially for folks paying horse fees for their children. The steady May rains delayed alfalfa harvesting, and the June dampness hurt the nutritional value of what was harvested, farmers have said.
April 20, 2003 |
In warm, humid climates, mosquitoes and the diseases they carry are a menace year-round. But what has puzzled scientists is whether the West Nile virus can survive in the insects through the Northeast's beastly winters. A pair of discoveries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey earlier this year have provided the critical clue. Although April is the official start of the West Nile season, signaled by the hatching of the first eggs, researchers found two adult mosquito groups hibernating in Lehigh and Monmouth Counties.
March 16, 2003 |
It is safe to say that I am never going to turn up as a rules official at the U.S. Open. But, hey, after 40 years of swatting golf balls, it's not as if I don't know the difference between an OB stake and O.B. Keeler. Or so I thought. Fact is, sometimes you just don't know what you don't know until somebody rubs your nose in it. Such was the case on Tuesday when I, along with about 80 local amateurs, club pros, and officials from the Golf Association of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Section of the PGA, attended a daylong seminar on the rules at Philadelphia Country Club.
March 14, 2003 |
David Cronenberg is a Virgil among filmmakers, our personal guide to hell. His movies (Scanners, Crash, The Fly) burrow deep into the bowels of human psychology and insect politics, places so creepy that nobody comes back unaltered. Now the Canadian director, master of the intellectual horror film, has gone from The Fly to Spider. Typically Cronenberg generates his own material - even M. Butterfly and Naked Lunch were his personal riffs on the works by David Henry Hwang and William S. Burroughs.
October 12, 2002 |
The Asian longhorned beetle, a tree-eating pest with the potential to wreak more havoc than gypsy moths, chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease combined, has been discovered in northern New Jersey. Federal and state insect experts yesterday were crawling over a nine-acre site next to an apartment building in Jersey City where the shiny black-and-white creature was found. About 100 trees show evidence of infestation and will be chipped and burned according to federal regulations, said officials at the state Department of Agriculture.
July 23, 2002 |
They say you need to know your enemy. Wayne Wurtz knows them from head to toe. Or from proboscis to wing tip. There's Aedes albopictus, the "Asian Tiger," the most doggedly persistent of the crew. And Psorophora ferox, distinguished by the delicate white "snow boots" on its six legs. Most ruthless is the larvae-eating Toxorhynchites rutilus, "a beautiful mosquito," gushed Wurtz, a gritty, tall and beefy mosquito-control inspector in Gloucester County, who seems not at all dismayed by the quasi-cannibalistic tendencies of the especially large bloodsucker, which preys on the young of other varieties.
July 18, 2002 |
A Bucks County student took home a first-place award and a Montgomery County student placed seventh at the Future Business Leaders of America national conference this month in Nashville. Cecilia Olmo, who will be a senior at Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, was the national winner for computer applications. She earned a $300 cash prize. Aksha Vora, who recently graduated from North Penn High School in Lansdale, placed seventh in accounting. Each student competed against more than 100 other contestants.
November 21, 2001 |
Once upon a time, toys came to life only in stories like The Nutcracker or Toy Story. Now, reality is quickly catching up to fiction. Last year a pack of robotic dogs pounced onto store shelves, along with a couple of cats and other creatures. This fall, as the holiday shopping season dawns, the number of cyber species has exploded. Tiger Electronic's Poo-chi and Manley Toy Quest's Tekno puppy became best-sellers last year, following in the paw tracks of Sony's Aibo, which debuted in 1999.