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Standin' in the sunlight laughin'
Hidin' behind a rainbow's wall
Slippin' and a-slidin'
All along the waterfall

With you, my blue billed duck
You my blue billed duck

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  What's in your backyard? Funny insects, unusual birds, pretty flowers, healthy vegetables, or shy snakes?

Any of these and much more are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment, and provide a picture if you can.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.

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Most of us know about President Reagan crushing the air traffic controllers’ (the PATCO union) strike in 1981, and how most labor unions failed to respond. Next we suffered through the accelerated destruction of unions, and reactionary Republicanism's ascent that plagues us to this day.

Yet history's tides didn't drove 1981's events; it could have gone the other way.

Here is my “What if” rewriting of history during the 1981 PATCO strike and a different possible aftermath.

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Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 06:34 AM PDT

The Daily Bucket--Voracious Invaders

by 6412093

What I wanted:

What I got:

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  What's in your backyard? Funny insects, unusual birds, pretty flowers, healthy vegetables, or shy snakes?

Any of these and much more are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment, and provide a picture if you can.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.

The Cascades and Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges kept the Pacific Northwest isolated for millennia from the rest of North America.  So our critters often evolved uniquely almost as if we were on an island. As the first picture shows, our frogs are often petite and prettily colored, with dainty faces. The rest of you all were stuck much of the time with olive drab, portly bullfrogs.

Continue reading below the sensuous orange worms to find out why that may be important.

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It explodes. Well, its seed pods explode. The truth is, I'm shocked but also a little ticked off.  The exploding seed pods scattered seeds everywhere sometime last year, and now I can hardly see my authorized flowers, like these beleaguered tulips blooming in the early spring, because this "shotweed" is sprouting everywhere, seen here in the left half of this photo!


The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  What's in your backyard? Funny insects, unusual birds, pretty flowers, healthy vegetables, or shy snakes?

Any of these and much more are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment, and a picture if you will.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.

Keep reading below the arborvitae root ball, and find out how a "garden brag" Bucket turned into a Public Service Announcement about Cardamine oligosperma.
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Tue Mar 10, 2015 at 07:45 AM PDT

RFK Jr. Attacks Science

by 6412093

Robert F. Kennedy Junior parachuted into Oregon the other day, to pontificate against proposed pro-vaccination legislation.  He showed legislators a video that propounded discredited anti-vaccination theories.  He plans to take his anti-vaccine road show to at least five other states.

I'm not a terribly scrupulous person when it comes to touting my own causes. I've asked people with a mere bachelor's degree to testify as "experts" on my side on environmental issues.

But RFK Jr. managed to limbo below even my not-lofty standards.  Look below the lurid orange knot for more details and a link.

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 I have proof now.  The weather nerds have confirmed that several Oregon sites are concluding the warmest winter in recorded history.  While recorded history only goes back to 1940 for Portland, it goes back 122 years, to 1893, for Salem.

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
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Sat Feb 28, 2015 at 06:22 AM PST

The Daily Bucket--Mark of the Beast

by 6412093

I work part time at a golf course, raking the sand bunkers.  These are shallow depressions partly filled with fine sand.  

We rake the bunkers almost every day to insure a consistent surface. But this routine also means that the bunkers momentarily preserve a record of the footprints, paw prints, claw prints, and slither markings of every creature, great and small, that passes through it. I often find sandy evidence that herons, eagles, killdeer, coyotes, ducks, coots, snakes, and critters unknown have trod through the bunkers in the preceding days and nights.

Here is a sand bunker. It is that brown oval, and is about 20 feet wide by 60 feet long. My golf course has 45 bunkers. These canvases of sand reveal their secrets below the orange nebula.  

 

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
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Sun Feb 22, 2015 at 06:42 AM PST

The Daily Bucket-Culverts to Hell

by 6412093

I live in the suburbs. In most areas mankind has modified this environment beyond recognition, despite the best efforts to preserve some natural features. I try to deal with these changes by limiting my queries to single features.  Today, culverts.

 Most of us have seen culverts, which are usually large pipes that channel streams under highways. Here's is a crappy culvert.  

   

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
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I know a guy who obsessively hunts for golf balls. Sometimes he forgets he is playing golf and wanders off into the blackberry patches,  hunting balls, far from the manicured fairways and greens where everyone else plays golf.

One thing I'll say for him, he knows where the critters are hiding on the golf course. The other day, during that rarest of opportunities, a 64 degree day in February, he took me to a secret place, where I found a Daily Bucket.

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
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Fifty-three weeks ago, I was slogging through a foot of snow to bust a hole in the 6-inch-thick ice capping my back yard pond.  I wanted to make sure the birdies could get a drink.

Things were a lot different this year in my NW Oregon backyard.  Way different. Funny different, or serious different? The Daily Bucket explores that question below the orange contrails.

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
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Mon Feb 16, 2015 at 06:30 AM PST

The Daily Bucket--Coyote?

by 6412093

I've worked part time for 15 years at a golf course west of Portland, Oregon.  I've often observed the comings and goings of the beasts, birds and critters eking out a life that includes the course's unkempt corners.

Opportunistic ducks and coots, more every year, have colonized the multi-acre pond in the picture. There are probably over 100 widgeons, mallards, buffleheads and coots there this winter.  In the picture's background, you can see smaller trees that grow within a lesser bog, about 50 yards from the large pond.

When some of the ducks and coots feel crowded in the large pond, a dozen or more will fly (or waddle) the few yards into the smaller bog.  And it's within the smaller bog that my story focuses, below the coiled orange viper.

The Backyard Science group regularly publishes The Daily Bucket, which features observations of the world around us.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, flowers and anything natural or unusual are worthy additions to the Bucket and its comments.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to as we try to understand the patterns that are unwinding around us.
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KATU, a major Portland Oregon TV station, is running a story on the internet that links  Intel's massive computer chip production facilities in Oregon to large increases in the horrific crippling ailment of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

http://www.katu.com/...

I live in Washington County, a suburban area just west of Portland Oregon.  Just 2.4 miles from my house, Intel operates a multi-square mile complex of a dozen facilities that utilizes millions of pounds of virulently toxic chemicals.

Intel, the worldwide computer manufacturer, dominates Washington County and has become the State's largest employer, with about 17,500 workers at wages averaging over $100,000/year. Intel also just finished building a $3 billion computer chip plant with an all union construction work force. Intel is here because of Oregon's cheap power, cheap water, and tax breaks worth billions.  

But are the jobs worth a doubling of the rate of ALS? And before we get to that quandry, We must decide:  Is KATU's story junk science, or the uncovering of the methodical poisoning of a community?

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