Tag: climate

The Biggest Cicadas May be Showing Up Four Years Early in Summer 2017


With the right timing and proximity to some nearby woods, you may have already heard the harbinger-like chatter in the treetops around the Baltimore area. While we expect to hear cicadas every summer, one local bug expert says these ones may have crawled out of the ground early this year.

Mid-Atlantic Winter Weather Predictions: the Woolly Bears Weigh In




The Old Farmer’s Almanac lesser-known, slightly younger cousin, the Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack, rounded up 274 woolly bear caterpillars to try to divine the severity of the region’s coming winter. It was a rather scientific process for something so superstitious.

Anyway, here’s what they determined. On average, their front black stripes were larger than their back black stripes (though I was taught that you compare the ratio of black to brown), which they say foretells a mild winter for the Mid-Atlantic.

O woolly bears, if only I could believe in you! About.com says that the caterpillar’s markings mostly have to do with things like larval stage, and I read somewhere — though I can’t find it now — that the most they could possibly tell us weather-wise was about the previous winter. 

This Week in Research: Huntington’s Disease in a Dish; El Nino!


Huntington’s is one of those diseases that keeps medical students up at night:  the fatal inherited disorder sets in during middle age, and affects patients with muscle twitches and general anger/anxiety progressing to loss of muscle control, dementia, and death. There’s no cure, and not even any treatments to slow its progression — which is why the news that Johns Hopkins researchers have managed to use stem cells to generate “Huntington’s disease in a dish” is all the more important.