Category: History

Researchers study historic Mississippi flow and impacts of river regulation

Read the full story from the University of Arkansas.

In “Atchafalaya,” John McPhee’s essay in the 1989 book “The Control of Nature,” the author chronicles efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the Atchafalaya River from changing the course of the Mississippi River where they diverge, due to the Atchafalaya’s steeper gradient and more direct route to the gulf. McPhee’s classic essay proved inspirational to John Shaw, an assistant professor of geosciences who called it “a foundational text.”

Indeed, his latest work adds to the story.

In a recent paper published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal, Water Resources Research, Shaw and his fellow researchers, Kashauna G. Mason, Hongbo Ma and Gordon W. McClain III, examine the critical period before the decision was made in 1950 to create a river control system at the junction of the two rivers to get a clearer understanding of the rivers’ natural state—and how regulation might be fine-tuned moving forward to preserve Louisiana coastlands.

Darwin’s handwritten pages from On the Origin of Species go online

Read the full story from the National University of Singapore.

Two original pages from the handwritten draft of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, along with rare letters, and never-before-seen reading notes are to be added to Darwin Online

An extraordinary collection of priceless manuscripts of naturalist Charles Darwin goes online today, including two rare pages from the original draft of On the Origin of Species.

These documents will be added to Darwin Online, a website which contains not only the complete works of Darwin, but is possibly the most comprehensive scholarly portal on any historical individual in the world. The website is helmed by Dr John van Wyhe, an eminent historian of science. He is a Senior Lecturer at NUS Biological Sciences and Tembusu College.

Harriet Tubman, an Unsung Naturalist, Used Owl Calls as a Signal on the Underground Railroad

Read the full story in Audubon.

The famed conductor traveled at night, employing deep knowledge of the region’s environment and wildlife to communicate, navigate, and survive.

Distilled #13: An Environmental Cowboy from the 1970s

Read the full story and watch the video from the Science History Institute.

Remember the fire-fighting mascot Smokey Bear? Meet Johnny Horizon, his little-remembered, pollution-fighting counterpart.

When Michigan Students Put the Car on Trial

Read the full story in Smithsonian Magazine.

In a famous 1970 teach-in demonstration, prosecutors hammered away at the nation’s most powerful defendant

Climate change is rotting away Greenland’s cultural heritage

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Archaeologists are moving as fast as they can, but the past is slipping away.

Margaret S. Collins, Pioneering Black Entomologist

Read the full story from JSTOR Daily.

She was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in entomology as well as an activist for freedom in the Civil Rights Movement.

35 vintage photos reveal what Los Angeles looked like before the US regulated pollution

Read the full story and view the photos at Insider.

Los Angeles has had air pollution problems since before smog was a term. In 1943, people began to notice the smog when it covered Los Angeles so thickly that residents thought Japan had launched a chemical attack. The city continued to have smog problems for decades. President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, which introduced air pollution regulations, and it was a major factor in combating the city’s smog problem.

The President Who Wanted Us to Stop Climate Change

Read the full story in Slate.

If only we’d listened to Jimmy Carter on renewables, consumption, and transportation.

Old journals shed light on climate change

Read the full story at SFGate.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the hunting guide L.S. Quackenbush lived in a cabin in remote Oxbow, Maine. He rented cabins to hunters, cut, stacked and split wood and used his daily walks to keep detailed notes on the spring arrivals of songbirds and the first appearances of flowers and tree leaves.

His journals meticulously documenting the changing seasons grew and grew, eventually totaling more than 5,000 pages. Now they are filling gaps on how trees and migratory birds are responding to a changing climate in northern Maine, where historical data is sparse.

A new paper by the University of Maine’s Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie compares Quackenbush’s journals to recent observations, and suggests bird arrivals may be lagging behind the earlier leaf-out and flowering induced by a warming climate. Flora appears to be more directly responsive to local warming, while migratory bird schedules are more complex.

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