Natural World

09/10/2009 - 4:45pm

What do the Earth, electric motors, and your computer all have in common?
These things are all influenced by magnets.

The Earth has a liquid metal core that acts like a bar magnet. It gets its magnetism from being near electrical currents beneath the surface. Because the Earth is not perfectly shaped, every so often the direction of the field will change. Scientists have found evidence that this has occurred at least 171 times over the past 71 million years. How do they know that? Magnets!

05/04/2009 - 10:33am

Due to the stupidity revealed in this story, our names have been changed to protect our identities. My husband, Ed, will henceforth be referred to as "Herb," and I will be "Sally." Herb and I are experienced hikers. We've read A Walk in the Woods.

09/02/2009 - 4:32pm

The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is a project that will publish one podcast per day, for all 365 days of 2009. The podcast episodes are written, recorded and produced by people around the world.

09/11/2009 - 11:00am

Shells litter the beaches of every continent on our planet. They are durable enough to be used as building material, but they are so compelling that societies have featured their motifs in religion, art, and architecture. Many varieties of shellfish have the additional virtue of being delicious!

10/28/2009 - 2:21pm

In July, 1872 it was reported an enormous serpent, supposed to be a python, anaconda or boa constrictor, escaped from a traveling menagerie. Its body was said to be the thickness of a lamp post, and it had been seen in the meadow below the papermill (today's water treatment plant). It had also been seen in the trees overhanging the water at Beck's Island, and "we may soon expect to hear of the disappearance of the boys who go bathing" there.

09/16/2009 - 12:23pm

If you enjoy any outdoor activity—hiking, boating, or just strolling downtown—why not add bird watching to your itinerary? Our area has an abundance of birds. The Rappahannock draws migrating waterfowl, and our woods, tree-lined streets, and backyards provide more safe havens for these amazing creatures. Read on to get started.


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