Jellyfish are fascinating to look at and to read about which I've been doing. I've also seen their blobby bodies on the sand now and then, sometimes looking quite fresh. So here are some facts: they have been in the seas for 500 million years which is known because very complete fossils have been found in Utah's mountains which were once part of a shallow sea. Fish have only been around for 370 million years. We don't yet know how many kinds of jellyfish that exist but they are being studied. Overfished areas and polluted areas of the sea attract jellyfish which are sometimes found in vast numbers. The equivalent of 50 dump trucks full of jellyfish caused a rolling black out on the island of Luzon, Philippines in 1996 when they were sucked into a power generator. Others have forced a company to stop diamond mining in the seabed off Namibia because they slime the equipment. I read much more about how their stingers work -- you don't really want to know, but it's good to have a bottle of vinegar in your beach bag, that's about the only thing that relieves the pain of a sting.
We tend to think that every kind of flora and fauna on earth must have been discovered by now but, not true of kinds of jellyfish and not true of any other life form. Just since 2000 300 new kinds of mammals have been discovered, one of the most appealing being a very furry brown monkey found in the highlands of Kenya. The native knew about it but our academics did not. Most mammals and plants not yet "discovered" are being discovered because of deforestation and roads in areas that were not easily accessible previously. Very large numbers of insects and kinds of bacteria are being discovered all the time. There's a lot to learn out there.
I did read a few other things: on the education front, many college professors use "clickers", little handheld electronic devices, in the classroom which allow students to answer questions, take tests and even make their presence [or wakefulnes/ sleepiness] known to the professor. Another plus is that since the students never know when the professor is going to ask a question that requires a click, it's hard for them to text during class.
Only in 1994 did it become legal in the USA for Native Americans to practice their native religions. Whenever you get into a freedom of speech and religion conversation, bring up that fact.
ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5 - This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge an...
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