Category Archives: Froggy Foibles

Froggy Foibles

Minister Alghabra clears Santa for take-off in Canadian airspace

By Transport Canada
You Tube
December 23, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada

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This roller coaster at a BC resort winds you through the forest surrounded by mountains

By Asymina Kantorowicz
Narcity Vancouver
May 1, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

A roller coaster in B.C. that gives you the most stunning views of the mountains is opening this month. The 1.4-kilometre-long mountain coaster takes you on a wild ride through a beautiful forest at Revelstoke Mountain and it’s a fun activity to add to your things-to-do list this spring and summer. The Pipe Mountain Coaster is set to reopen at Revelstoke Mountain Resort on May 31 and run until September 30. “This exhilarating ride is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, with hairpin turns, steep drops, and heart-pumping speeds.,” the resort website said. There are two tracks to choose from that allow you to travel up to 42 kilometres per hour. So if you’re looking for a fun road trip to take from Vancouver this spring or summer, Revelstoke Mountain is worth travelling to!

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Photos: Have you ever seen a ‘B.C. Toothpick’?

By Brendan Kergin
Vancouver is Awesome
August 21, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver’s massive growth came thanks, in a big part, to the lumber that could be produced by harvesting the trees that grew in the area. Trees from the area were huge compared to what grew pretty much anywhere in the world; California has the biggest trees in the world now, but Metro Vancouver had taller ones at one point. And the quality of the wood was well-known; for example, during WWI lumber from the area was an important part of the war effort to build planes. In the early days of the city some of the biggest exports, literally, were B.C. Toothpicks. This was the ironic nickname given to massive pillars of wood. At 3 feet by 3 feet by 60 feet they were about the height of a five- or six-story building. A postcard was even printed of the massive timbers on a train.

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The future of the world’s largest hockey stick questioned

By Kendall Hanson
Chek TV News
May 30, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

The future of the world’s largest hockey stick (66 meters) is questioned. …Last year, the Duncan-based stick made headlines after a woodpecker decided to make the Douglas fir home. The little bird unveiled a big problem. Consultants determined the stick was in a state of decay and recommended that the Cowichan Valley Regional District prepare for significant renovations or replacement by 2025. The estimated cost to build a new stick is between $1.5 to $2 million, and the stories didn’t stop there. Lockport, Illinois, announced plans to build an even larger hockey stick a few months back. A 10-question survey, outlined by the Cowichan Community Centre, asks about replacing the stick, how it should be funded and whether it should be extended.

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The Right Chemistry: The many uses of charcoal

By Joe Schwarcz
Montreal Gazette
February 10, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada East

It’s a killer. It’s a saviour. It’s also a trickster. It’s one of the most important substances ever discovered. It’s charcoal! …around 4000 BC man discovered that when naturally occurring ores of copper, zinc and tin oxides are heated with charcoal, the carbon strips away the oxygen leaving the pure metal behind. …In the ninth century, a Chinese alchemist discovered that blending charcoal with saltpeter (potassium nitrate) and sulphur resulted in a mixture that would combust readily — “Gunpowder”. …Around 1500 BC, Egyptians used charcoal to eliminate bad smells from wounds. By 400 BC, Phoenicians were storing water in charred barrels on trading ships to improve its taste. …Later, it was determined that impregnation with chemicals such as zinc chloride or phosphoric acid prior to heating improved the adsorption properties. Today a variety of activated carbon products are available for use in various applications. …Inventive marketers have absorbed this information and have started to roll out various foods and beverages containing activated carbon with promises of “detoxing.”

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New Brunswick’s Crazy Canucks bring home best sled award from U.S. tobogganing meet

By Shane Fowler
CBC News
February 6, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada East

Four members of the Fredericton Toboggan Club returned home as winners after competing in the U.S. National Toboggan Championship in Camden, Maine. The Crazy Canucks team brought home the bronze in the four-person category at an international competition with more than 1,000 participants from as far away as Ireland.  “It blows my mind,” said Derick Weeks. “I think everybody on the team feels the same way.” Weeks, along with teammates Justin Agnew, Mat Fitzgerald, and Adam Valentate came in at 10.55 seconds in the 32nd annual competition on Sunday. Valentate also took home the award for Best Crafted Toboggan at the competition for the sled he crafted from walnut, using maple for its runner. … This year’s Oldest Team award winner was the Frogs on a Log team with an average age of 83. [Thank you to Alice who submitted this great story for the Foible!]

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Frozen frogs, a butt-breather and a seasonal genius: How Ontario wildlife survive the winter

By Darius Mahdavi
CBC News
February 6, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada East

Surviving a Canadian winter can be a struggle — even with modern heating. But Ontario wildlife have been enduring the cold for thousands of years. If you’re fond of winter walks through forests in Ontario — and indeed most of Canada — odds are you’ve tread on a frozen frog. They hide under leaf litter or just a few centimetres underground, where the temperature hovers a few degrees below zero. And then they freeze. But then comes spring, and they start to thaw — from the inside out. …Ontario’s turtles spend the winter in frozen-over ponds, unable to surface for air… Instead, they absorb oxygen from the water through several surfaces, including the cloaca — a specialized tissue located under their tails. This process is known as cloacal respiration. So if we’re flexible with terminology, we can indeed say that when turtles take up oxygen through their cloaca, they are breathing through their butts. 

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Scientists create new idea on how to hack a warming planet: drying the upper atmosphere

By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press
February 28, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

Government scientists have cooked up a new concept for how to potentially cool an overheating Earth: Fiddle with the upper atmosphere to make it a bit drier. …That could counteract a small amount of the human-caused warmth. It’s just the spark of an initial idea, said the lead author of a new study. …Known as geoengineering, it’s often rejected because of potential side effects, and is usually mentioned not as an alternative to reducing carbon pollution, but in addition to emission cuts. …Purposely tinkering with Earth’s atmosphere to fix climate change is likely to create cascading new problems, said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver. He compared the concept to a children’s story where a king who loves cheese is overrun with mice, gets cats to deal with the mice, then dogs to chase away the cats, lions to get rid of the dogs and elephants to eliminate the lions and then goes back to mice to scare off the elephants.

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ALL THE SPARKLE: Reef-friendly sunscreen with biodegradable glitter

By Sunshine & Glitter
Yahoo Finance
February 5, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Sunshine & Glitter announces its latest addition to keep sun lovers protected from the sun with the debut of ALL THE SPARKLE, a 100% mineral SPF30 sunscreen featuring non-nano zinc oxide, mineral shimmer and biodegradable gold glitter combined to make the most gorgeous SPF on the market yet. Arriving in time for all the spring break activities, ALL THE SPARKLE is this fun-loving brand’s new adult-targeted sunscreen. …Sunshine & Glitter has replaced the use of plastics with new Biodegradable glitter — a plant based product made from wood cellulose. Wood cellulose is stable and does not degrade on the shelf, however once it enters soil, compost or waste water environments, where microorganisms are present, the glitter naturally decomposes. Extensive testing has been done on all our glitters, and our sunscreens. 

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Care to test yourself? The 1908 Forest Service Ranger exam

By Sara Evans Kirol
The Sheridan Press
October 21, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

In the early days of the Forest Service prospective recruits were required to provide the best answers to a written exam and perform well in a field test to be selected for the job.  The written portion of the exam consisted of only ten questions but many of them were complex and included a set of intricate and sometimes complicated sub-questions. From the exam:

  • Question 2. Describe in detail logging in a locality with which you are familiar, covering all operation, from felling the tree to delivery of logs at the sawmill, using all ordinary names applied to the men, operations, and implements.
  • Question 4. What are the dimensions of a township? Section? Quarter section? A forty? A square acre? How many links in a surveyor’s chain? How many feet? How many chains in a mile? How many acres in a tract of land 600 feet wide by 3960 feet long? 

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Deniers Desperately Claim Wildfire Smoke Is Just As Safe As Cigarettes Or Fossil Fuels

Daily KOS
June 13, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

Steve Milloy

Last week, a thick blanket of wildfire smoke covered the northeast US, plunging NYC into an apocalyptic-looking orange and red haze and covering DC with a slightly less dystopian filter of dismal gray. Mainstream media did a pretty good job of covering the many dangerous health effects of breathing in smoke and smog. In response, deniers worked double time to distract and deny with disinformation. Predictably, Fox News led the charge and platformed air-pollution-denier Steve Milloy, who was once fired from Fox for failing to disclose his tobacco industry work. Amusingly, many pointed out that the man who professionally lied about the health impacts of secondhand smoke before a career change to professionally lying about the health impacts of fossil fuel smoke was probably not the best choice to provide unbiased or accurate commentary on the health impacts of wildfire smoke. As it turns out, all three sources of smoke are bad!

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Five things about toads, our frogs’ lesser-known cousins

The Forest Preserve District of Will County
April 20, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

What looks a lot like a frog but doesn’t jump like a frog or eat like a frog? A toad. Frogs and toads are both amphibians, and they are closely related. So closely related that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Toads belong to the family Bufonidae, which in taxonomy falls under the order of Anura, or frogs, in the amphibian class. Compared to frogs, which mostly live in and near water, adult toads are most often found on land. In addition, toads are noted for their bumpy, warty skin, while most frogs have smooth skin. Frogs are known for their jumping ability and toads are not, their legs are shorter than frogs, which limits their leaping ability. All toads have parotoid glands that secrete a toxin that makes toads poisonous. Frogs ribbit and toads sing, and each species has its own distinct calling sound. [One of the Tree Frog editors just can’t resist a story about frogs!]

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A brief history of the Christmas Tree

Morning Ag Clips
December 8, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

GREENWICH, New York — It is Christmas time and many people have been busy decorating their Christmas Tree. But how did this somewhat strange practice come to be? To start, several ancient cultures practiced religious festivals around the time of the winter solstice that involved the use of evergreen boughs. … The first written record of a “Christmas tree” was in 1510 in Riga, Latvia. …The Christmas tree eventually made its way to the United States, mainly by way of German immigrants. However, the tradition did not catch on for a while. The Christmas tree was viewed as a pagan symbol, particularly in Puritan New England where laws forbade the practice for a long time. Eventually the greater prevalence of German and Irish immigrants in the first half of the 19th century made the practice more accepted.

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Bringin’ Back Christmas

By Apple TV
You Tube
November 25, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

Today’s Froggy Foible was submitted by Kyle! “Bringin’ Back Christmas” performed by Ryan Reynolds and the cast of Spirited. In this scene Reynolds, who plays corporate executive Clint Briggs, presents at the National Association of Christmas Tree Growers convention in Vancouver – encouraging the association to compete with fake trees! 

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University of Montana students keep traditions alive ahead of Foresters’ Ball

By Kyle Spurr
KPAX
January 25, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

MISSOULA — Kidnapping a mounted moose head comes with challenges. Just ask the students in the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law. A group of law students snuck into the forestry building last week to steal Bertha, the mounted moose head hanging from the banister. The heist is a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and fuels a rivalry between UM’s law and forestry students.  “How many law students does it take to steal a moose,” joked Brandy Keesee. …The moose theft was not as rowdy as years ago, but as part of the tradition, the forestry students wait a few days and then retaliated by decorating the law school’s atrium with freshly cut fir trees. …The Bertha heist and retaliation are meant to kick off the Foresters’ Ball. This year’s 105th Foresters’ Ball will be held Feb. 2-3.

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Bear spotted in Southern California backyard Jacuzzi

Associated Press
July 29, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

BURBANK, Calif. — With the summer heat wave in full swing in Southern California, a backyard pool is a tempting place to take a dip. Even for a bear. Police in the city of Burbank responded to a report of a bear sighting in a residential neighborhood and found the animal sitting in a Jacuzzi behind one of the homes. After a short dip, the bear climbed over a wall and headed to a tree behind the home.

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32nd annual Timber Truckers Light Parade brightens John Day streets

By Bennett Hall
The East Oregonian
December 14, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

JOHN DAY, OREGON — Dozens of people lined up Saturday, Dec. 10, along Main Street in John Day to watch the 32nd annual Timber Truckers Light Parade. Air horns blaring, engines throbbing and colored lights twinkling, 28 rigs of all shapes and sizes did a slow roll through downtown to shouts and waves from the onlookers. All of the vehicles were covered in festive holiday lights and many bore fanciful decorations as they competed for prizes in four categories: timber, commercial, farm and ranch, and community. The timber industry was still going strong when the first parade was held back in 1991 with financial support from the D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. While it is much diminished today, the industry still accounts for one out of every five jobs in Grant County, according to the Oregon Employment Department, and the Timber Truckers Light Parade remains a cherished local tradition. 

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William Shatner Celebrates 93rd Birthday with a new song, “I Want to Be A Tree”

IMDB
March 22, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US East

On his 93rd birthday, William Shatner has shared his humble dream for life after death on his new single, “I Want to Be a Tree.” Like much of Shatner’s music, “I Want to Be a Tree,” finds him not so much singing, but waxing poetically, this time backed by instrumentation from Ben Folds and the National Symphony Orchestra, led by Principal Pops conductor Steven Reineke. “When my time has come, don’t put me in a box,” Shatner quips charmingly at the start of the song. The full story is subscription only in the Rolling Stone.

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This wild Maine lumberjack inspired the name of a local gin

By Emily Burnham
The Bangor Daily News
July 30, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US East

Jigger Johnson

MAINE — They say that he could catch a bobcat with his bare hands. His name was Albert “Jigger” Johnson, and though the stories told about him are larger than life, he was a real person who worked the woods of Maine and New Hampshire in the late 1800s — an authentic New England lumberjack. Those tall tales about Johnson inspired Hermon-based Devil’s Half Acre Distillery to name its flagship gin after the man, as well as after Fan Jones, the legendary Bangor brothel keeper. …He was the archetypal lumberjack character, when that was what Maine was all about,” said Larry Murphy, one of the co-founders of the distillery. “We figured Paul Bunyan would have been way too hokey. Jigger Johnson was the real deal.”

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Seeing trees foaming at the trunk? Blame it on the rain.

By Julia Bayley
The Bangor Daily News
June 17, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US East

Have you seen a foaming tree? Stemflow is the term used to describe the basic act of water flowing down the exterior of a tree or plant. “Plants and trees produce all kinds of different chemicals they use in the biological process of being alive,” said Jay Wasanat the University of Maine. “Certain ones have waste products that are distributed to the [outer] bark of the tree.” In dry conditions, those chemical deposits build up in the nooks and crannies of the tree trunk’s bark. The chemicals include acids, salts and other organic compounds — ingredients used in soap making. If the dry conditions last long enough, a good rain will mix those chemicals together and create a sort of natural tree soap.

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Two shipwrecks found in Lake Superior help finish the 109-year-old story of the ‘darkest day in lumber history’

The Associated Press in Business Insider
April 12, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US East

Michigan researchers have found the wreckage of two ships that disappeared into Lake Superior in 1914 and hope the discovery will lead them to a third that sank at the same time, killing nearly 30 people aboard the trio of lumber-shipping vessels. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced the discoveries this month. Ric Mixter said, “It solved a chapter in the nation’s darkest day in lumber history”. …The vessels owned by the Edward Hines Lumber Company sank into the ice-cold lake on Nov. 18, 1914, when a storm swept through as they moved lumber from Baraga, Michigan, to Tonawanda, New York. …Video footage from the Curtis wreckage showed the maintained hull of the steamship and still shining gauges — all preserved by Lake Superior’s cold waters. “We’re the first human eyes to see it since 1914, since World War I,” one team member said.

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CBS ’48 Hours’ reveals ‘The Tree That Helped Solve a Murder’

By Valerie Schremp Hahn
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 9, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US East

Scientists from the Missouri Botanical Garden helped convict a Missouri killer. The scientists compared juniper needles near the victim’s remains and on the suspect’s muddy hiking boots, matched them, and tied the suspect to the crime. Their role in the murder trial of Joseph Elledge, convicted in November 2021 of killing his wife in 2019 in Columbia, Missouri, will be outlined in an episode of “48 Hours,” to run 9 p.m. Saturday on CBS. The episode is called “The Tree That Helped Solve a Murder.” …The shallow grave where Ji’s bones were scattered was in an area that included a canopy of juniper trees. …Of the 20 or so needle samples found in the boots, they had five matches to three trees in the area. Three of those samples came from a tree right over the gravesite. Junipers happen to have a lot of genetic diversity, Edwards said. “And we matched their genotypes exactly,” 

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This unexpected ingredient helps keep grated cheese fresh and clump-free

The Indian Express
April 25, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Have you ever wondered why pre-grated cheese doesn’t stick together in the bag? It turns out that the secret ingredient behind this is an added substance called cellulose. …A natural substance found in plants and trees, cellulose is commonly used in the food industry as a food additive. Even though it is considered safe for consumption, many have still questioned its health implications and the safe amounts that should be consumed. …“Cellulose is generally recognised as safe by the FDA when used in food,” Ipsita Chakraborty, senior nutritionist at Hungry Koala remarks. It is a non-digestible plant fibre – which means it passes through the human digestive system without being broken down. It can aid in digestion by contributing to bulk in the diet.

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Valentine’s Day 2024: Scientists use wood nanocrystals to mend broken hearts

University of Waterloo
February 14, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

You can mend a broken heart this Valentine’s Day now that researchers invented a new hydrogel that can be used to heal damaged heart tissue and improve cancer treatments. University of Waterloo chemical engineering researcher Dr. Elisabeth Prince teamed up with researchers from the University of Toronto and Duke University to design the synthetic material made using cellulose nanocrystals, which are derived from wood pulp. The material is engineered to replicate the fibrous nanostructures and properties of human tissues, thereby recreating its unique biomechanical properties. …Prince’s research is unique as most gels currently used in tissue engineering or 3D cell culture don’t possess this nanofibrous architecture. Prince’s group uses nanoparticles and polymers as building blocks for materials and develops chemistry for nanostructures that accurately mimic human tissues.

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The Year of the (Wood) Dragon

By Jennifer Bushland
Numismatic News
February 6, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Feb. 10, 2024, or year 4722 in the Chinese Lunar year, starts the Year of the Dragon, otherwise referred to as the Wood Dragon. They only come around once every 60 years. …It is believed that the dragon is a symbol of strength and great power, which is why Chinese emperors were thought to be descendants of dragons. In Chinese culture, dragons are said to have control over great phenomena of water, such as rainfalls, floods, and typhoons. …The 2024 Wood Dragon, nourished with the wood element, will bring abundance, evolution, and improvements. People born under the dragon are thought to be confident, charismatic, intelligent, and just gifted and lucky by nature. If you were born under the Dragon zodiac, you share this sign with Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar, Bruce Lee, Ringo Starr, and Abraham Lincoln.

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What have you found in your Christmas tree?

The Tree Frog News
December 18, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

What have you found in your tree? We want to know!

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Why do these mosquitoes keep perching on the nostrils of frogs who want to eat them?

By Sheena Goodyear
CBC News
December 13, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

John Gould had been snapping pictures of mosquitoes on frogs for years before he noticed a trend — the bloodsuckers always seem to land right on the amphibians’ noses. “You would think that a frog would be the worst place to land, because frogs love to eat mosquitoes,” said Gould, a behavioural biologist at Australia’s University of Newcastle. Gould has concluded it’s a “highly specialized feeding strategy” by the mosquitoes. The observations could help scientists better understand how a deadly disease spread among frogs, which is key for their conservation. Although the frogs are different, the mosquitoes are all from the same species, Mimomyia elegans. Native to Australia, they feed off many different kinds of animals, including mammals and birds. “Which makes the observation a bit more interesting,” Gould said, “because, for such a generalist feeder, it seems to have such a specialized behaviour when choosing amphibians as a blood host.”

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A Blacksmith, the Devil and the jack-o’-lantern

Irish Genealogy
October 31, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

The origin of the pumpkin jack-o’-lantern is found in Celtic Ireland and has always been wrapped up in Halloween, a festival known in the Irish language as Samhain. …In order to prevent unwelcome guests entering their homes at Samhain, the Celts created menacing faces out of turnips and left them on their doorsteps. …In modern times, pumpkins, rather than turnips, perform the same duties. …According to legend, the origin of the Halloween lantern can be found in the tale of a young blacksmith called Jack O’Lantern who made a pact with the Devil during a gambling session. He managed to thwart the Devil and extracted a promise from him that he would never take his soul. When he eventually died, Jack was refused entry to heaven on account of his drunken, lewd and miserly ways. The Devil, remembering his earlier promise, also refused to allow him into hell. So Jack was condemned to roam the dark hills and lanes of Ireland for eternity. His only possessions were a turnip with a gouged out centre and a burning coal, thrown to him by the Devil.

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The start-up solving food scarcity by turning sawdust into meals

By Evelyn Blackwell
World
September 17, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Would you eat industrial byproducts? One food tech company from Estonia certainly hopes so. Think about sawdust. Eating it is probably the last thing that comes into your mind, but that may be about to change. ÄIO, set up in 2022, has created a way of producing fats and oils from industrial waste “What we have developed is very similar to brewing beer, where yeast is used to convert sugars from barley into alcohol, and hops are added for taste,” Petri-Jaan Lahtvee said. “We are using a different type of yeast that coverts sugars from industrial sidestreams, but not into ethanol – into fats and oils instead,” he added. …Timber, agricultural byproducts like straw, and even food waste, can be turned into ingredients for the food or cosmetic industries.

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‘Creepy’ tree covered in giant web spotted behind homes

By Lauren Brownlie
Glasgow Times
June 12, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

A “CREEPY” tree covered in a giant web has been spotted in Renfrewshire. Photos and videos of the tree, which is situated behind a residential street in Linwood, have been shared with the Glasgow Times. It has been confirmed by the Butterfly Conservation charity that ermine moth caterpillars have created the webbing. A spokesperson said: “The webs provide protection from predators and the webs and the caterpillars are harmless. “The webs slowly disappear over the summer and the adult moths fly later in the summer. There won’t be any lasting damage to the tree.” …According to the Butterfly Conservation charity’s website, the webs can hide hundreds and sometimes tens of thousands of caterpillars. The webs have previously been known to take over nearby objects, including benches, bicycles and even cars.

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People are boiling their wooden spoons on TikTok. I won’t be joining them

By Rachel Cooke
The Guardian
March 18, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

I’m the daughter of a microbiologist – which is why this crusade against unseen germs doesn’t impress me. …I hold to the notion that, broadly speaking, wood is naturally antibacterial. I’ve had the same chopping board for more than 15 years, and I’ve only ever wiped it with a damp, soapy cloth; no one has died so far. The creepy trend for boiling spoons – it is said to result in gruesome excretions – began on TikTok. …I read about this, and even as I rolled my eyes – how utterly deranged, I thought. …Our attitude to hygiene, and by extension to dirt in all its multifarious forms, is increasingly strange and stupid. I’ve never known our city streets to look more filthy. But while this seems to induce no disgust whatsoever in most people… much of the rest of life induces rank nausea. 

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Hey Frog! – Why are ecologists yelling at frogs out in the forest?

By Forestry Corporation of New South Wales, Australia
Australian Rural & Regional News
March 6, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Forestry Corporation ecologists have spent the week walking through Bondo State Forest near Tumut calling ‘hey frog’ – The most effective survey technique for detecting the critically endangered Northern Corroboree Frog. Amazingly, yelling ‘Hey Frog’ elicits a response from the frogs, which call out in response. Without this technique, the frogs would otherwise remain hidden in the wetlands, said Rohan Bilney, Senior Field Ecologist with Forestry Corporation. …“In late summer, the male corroboree frogs will call out in response to us bellowing “Hey frog” in a deep voice — they are usually sitting in their nest defending their territory,” Dr Bilney said. “So the survey method involves our ecology team essentially wandering through the swamps and bogs in the forest calling ‘hey frog’ to see how many we get calling back.”

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Wakefield restoration work exposes ancient timber frame

BBC News
January 17, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Restoration work has uncovered the frame of what could be Wakefield’s oldest surviving timber building. The discovery was made during work being carried out in Silver Street as part of a £3.8m conservation scheme. Timber from the frame, which includes carved posts usually associated with a high-status house, is being analysed, but it is thought it could date back to the 1500s. Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery called it an “exciting discovery”. …”Scientific investigations are underway to date the timbers, and we await the experts’ verdict, but it is possible this fantastic project has revealed the oldest surviving timber building in our city,” said Jeffery. The building has been covered up to preserve the timbers but the council has released an image of what the frame looks like.

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90-Year-old Woodcutter Built his Own Hobbit House Where He Lives Off-Grid in Charming Comfort

Good News Network
January 17, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

A woodcutter who built his own Hobbit house revealed he has never watched Lord of the Rings, but nevertheless lives in it almost off-grid despite being nearly 90. Great-grandad Stuart Grant moved into the cottage he bought as a wreck with no roof and no doors in 1984 while he was renovating a house, but found it was so satisfying doing DIY on the quirky building which dated back 200 years, that he decided to make it his home. He doesn’t have a mobile phone or use the internet and no longer drives due to his age, but he loves getting out and meeting people, which is good considering he has been inundated with visitors to his home in Tomich, near Inverness, after his house was posted on a French tourist board’s recommendations for north Scotland.

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An audacious plan to build forests on Mars

By Kiona Smith
Inverse.com
December 7, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

A century from now, people on Mars might stroll through forests filled with juniper trees, kudzu vines, and heath shrubs. Maybe. Ecologist Paul Smith of the University of Bristol suggests that long-term residents of Mars could build small nature preserves, shielded from the harsh Martian environment by clear domes or layers of Martian crust. …He published his proposal in the Journal of Astrobiology. …He suggests about 20 hectares of forest park, carefully contained under protective pressurized domes or sheltered in lava tubes lit by mirrors and fiber optics. …They’ll need shielding against ultraviolet light and cosmic rays, pressurized air, artificial heating, a lot of added water, and some way to get toxic chemicals like perchlorates out of the regolith. …The idea of contained nature preserves on Mars could be viable in roughly a century.

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Wood spirits: How Japan made the world’s first liquor from trees

By Alex Martin
The Japan Times
November 28, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

What if safe, palatable alcohol can be produced from wood? Humanity’s history of boozing traces back millennia… but our planet’s largest plants have never been offered as a source for libation. That idea is no longer a fairy tale, thanks to a group of Japanese researchers, an award-winning mixologist and a sustainability-focused startup. In fact, bottles of “wood spirits” are expected to hit the shelves soon. …Yuichiro Otsuka took the lead in developing the technology behind the creation of the world’s first potable alcoholic drink made by directly fermenting, and then distilling, wood. …The alcohol made from cedar lets off that familiar, refreshing woody aroma, while the mizunara oak is mellower, reminiscent of whisky. From the birch spirit wafts a fruity smell, akin to brandy, while the cherry trees have a softer but bright, sweet presence, similar to white wine.

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Drug gang members arrested in Spain for trade in cocaine soaked wood pellets

Dutch News
April 9, 2024
Category: Froggy Foibles

Spanish police have arrested five members of a drugs gang… whose members had hit upon a “very sophisticated method” to hide the drugs by impregnating 16 tonnes of wood pellets used as fuel for wood burning stoves with liquid cocaine, local paper Diari de Tarragona said. Police discovered that the pellets, which had entered the country legally from South America to Spain in sea containers, were stored for three months to “cool off” before being taken to a place where the drugs were extracted. The premises had been watched for months when a lorry with a foreign number plate arrived to pick up a load of pellets and police sprung into action. In all, 920 bags of pellets, each weighing 18 kilos, were found. 

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NAV CANADA signs a historic agreement with Santa Claus​

NAV Canada
December 22, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles

NAV CANADA has become the first Air Navigation Service Provider worldwide to sign an agreement with Santa Claus to provide priority status on the night of December 24th to 25th for safe, orderly and expeditious gift delivery. NAV CANADA commits to provide top-notch, up-to-date technologies, advanced communication systems and modern carrot-efficient approaches to facilitate this high-speed flight serving millions of destinations. Based on this agreement, Santa Claus has implemented an ADS-B antenna to his sleigh and now complies with the Canadian ADS-B mandate which will ensure safe deliveries, especially from the North Pole. Rudolph, when reached for comment, said, “We’re all aware that my nose guides the sleigh, but it’s nice to know the folks at NAV CANADA support our operation with this great technology. I oversaw installation of the two-way antenna myself – and if anyone’s an expert on navigation, it’s me.” This is the first time in history that NAV CANADA and Santa Claus have reached a formal agreement.

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Coffee Grounds Can Be Upcycled to Make Wood Pellets For Pellet Stoves

By Lizzy Rosenberg
GreenMatters
March 9, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles

In the world of sustainable living, coffee grounds are basically low-waste gold. After they’ve been used to brew the perfect cup of java, they can be given a second life in your compost, as part of various recipes, and even as a bug repellent. But beyond that, they can be used to heat your home. …There are a number of reasons why you might want to opt for wood pellets that contain coffee grounds — far beyond the fact that the smell of the pellets themselves is reminiscent of your morning cuppa. …The real reason is because the coffee makes your pellets burn more efficiently. According to Material District, coffee grounds add more caloric value to your regular sawdust-based wood pellet, which means they are more dense… and contain about 25 percent more energy than other types of pellets.

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A squirrel hides 558 walnuts in a Subaru Forester

By Brad Anderson
Carscoops
March 1, 2023
Category: Froggy Foibles

One particularly busy squirrel in the United States has managed to hide 558 black walnuts under the hood of a Subaru Forester while preparing for winter. …In this case, Kathleen LaForce, a member of the Wild Green Memes for Ecological Fiends, returned from a one week vacation to discover that the engine bay of her Forester had been stuffed with no less than 558 walnuts. …“The squirrel was gently shooed out of the car and got to keep most of their walnuts,” LaForce wrote. “I still feel terrible for undoing all their hard work.”

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