The world is ending! … Again?

By John Silveira Issue #85 • January/February, 2004 People love to talk about scary stuff. Especially when it's end-of-the-world scary, such as the big asteroid recently in the news that was supposed to hit Earth and...

Gee-Whiz: Ice Ages, Past and Future

By O. E. MacDougal January/February 2016, Backwoods Home Most people don’t know that we’re currently in an ice age and have been for the last 2.58 million years. It’s called the Quaternary Ice Age. Again and...

Can we make a Tyrannosaurus rex from a chicken?

By John Silveira Issue #169 • January/February, 2018   Do you have chickens, ducks, turkeys, or geese in your yard? They’re not “just birds” because scientists now realize birds are dinosaurs. Real dinosaurs! For 150 million years,...

Gee-Whiz: Sleep

By O.E. MacDougal November/December 2017, Backwoods Home For thousands of years, sleep has been one of life’s great mysteries. As humans, we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, though as babies we spent about 16...

Gee-Whiz: Time

By O.E. MacDougal July/August 2016, Backwoods Home Time. We can’t see, feel, hear, smell, or taste it, but we can measure it and we break it up into smaller and smaller increments. We’ll probably never know...

Gee-Whiz: Trees

By O. E. Macdougal September/October 2015, Backwoods Home We’re told they include some of the oldest and largest living organisms on the planet. But do they? The fact is, only about one percent of a...

Gee-Whiz: Bad Fish, Big Fish

By O.E. MacDougal January/February 2015, Backwoods Home Fish were the very first vertebrates. That is, they were the first animals with backbones, the purpose of which is to sheathe and protect the nerves in the spinal...

Avian Flu — How afraid of this

<!-- Avian Flu How afraid of this chicken should you be? By John Silveira --> Issue #97 • January/February, 2006 There's been a lot of talk in the mass media recently about Avian flu, also known as Bird flu and...

Gee-Whiz: Dinosaurs

By O.E. MacDougal July/August 2014 Backwoods Home Biologists and paleontologists are now pretty certain that birds are part of the dinosaur lineage. Their extinct relatives include the T-Rex and velociraptors. So, dinosaurs are not really extinct,...

Gee-Whiz: Insects

By O. E. MacDougal November/December 2015, Backwoods Home Some 400 million years ago, in the Devonian Period, insects evolved from crustaceans. Since that time, they have been one of the most successful life forms on the...

The ‘risks’ with Swine Flu

By John Silveira Issue #118 • July/August, 2009 Do we have anything to worry about the reemergence of Swine Flu — Novel Influenza A (H1N1) — this fall? The short answer is: Probably not. There are...