Iris, an Austrailian Shepherd/Catahoula Cur mix, just turned into a one-year-old pupper on January 25th, 2017. I adopted her at four weeks old. Since then, she has grown into a stunning, albeit sometimes vexing, addition to my family. Alongside her three kitten siblings, Iris is ready for anything. This is the journey of a college dog, week by week.
Iris wakes me before the alarm, shoving her leash in my face, demanding to start the day. The screech of a whiny dog isn’t the most comforting thing to be woken up by, but it’s better than poop on the floor. Always stay positive!
Following her wait for mom, Iris goes for a walk around campus. The sun is shining, the breeze is careful, and Iris is feeling fresh. She runs around Moffett quad and then rests in front of Young Hall, which makes for a great candid shot.
If you don’t like barbecue, leave now. Iris doesn’t need that negativity in her life.
After begging for a taste of our food, Iris and her BFF pose for a photo with a giant pig BBQ pit.
Fast forward past the disaster of having to tear her away from the smell of cooking food. We find ourselves at Falls Ridge nature preserve. I cannot stress to you the difficulties I faced while taking this photo. Picture yourself splashed by mud, almost trampled, and herded into the water to play. After running around for 20 minutes (no joke), she finally sat for a beautiful nature shot.
Falls Ridge features an 80-foot waterfall, varieties of plant and marine life, and great hammocking spots. So, you should visit. But wait, there’s more!
For the small price of one more minute of your day, you can see more cute pictures of my pupper!
Iris’s parents, being dumb college kids, forgot water and had to go to the gas station. We noticed Ellett Valley Nature Trail, secluded and small. Why the hell not, eh? Iris seemed to love the smells and environment.
Perfect end to a perfect day. Let sleeping dogs lie!
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
In an age when society is trying to reduce energy consumption in everyday life, designers are increasing turning to nature for inspiration – called biomimicry – the method of imitation systems found in nature to solve design problems.
One Dutch designer, artist, and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is interested in lighting streets without using electricity. He is working with Alexander Krichevsky, a biotech researcher from State University of New York, and founder of BIOGLOW™, a St. Louis-based biotechnology firm that developed the first light-producing plant. Dr. Krichevsky makes the glowing plants by splicing DNA genes from luminous marine bacteria within the chloroplast genome from a common houseplant to create ‘Starlight Avatar’, which emits a light similar in type to that made by fireflies. They plan continuing their work in the United States, where it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agrictulture for genetic engineering research.
The glow-in-the-dark plant concept has been around for a while. A University of Cambridge team modified genetic material from fireflies and the luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischerito to boost the production of light-yielding enzymes that can ultimately be inserted into genomes — they called it BioBricks.
The phenomenon of living organisms producing light or “glowing” in nature is called bioluminescense. There are over twenty independently evolved bioluminescent mechanisms found in nature as seen in deep sea fish and fireflies.
Autoluminescent plants – shrubs that produce light – are created by introducing the light-emitting pathway from marine bacteria into a plant’s chloroplasts.
Another project called Glowing Nature is designed to make ‘normal’ trees glow without using genetic modification. Using non-invasive technique, they apply a fine coating of ‘biological paint’ onto mature to make the trees glow at night. A website called Glowing Plant was successfully funded on Kickstarter, where you can pre-order your own autoluminescent plant.
Spray-on light absorbing dust would give public buildings, roads and pathways a phosphorescent shine at night, helping to improve the safety of parks and alleyways.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent organization, lighting–including street lights across America’s millions of miles of urban routes–accounts for more than 1/5 of all commercial energy consumption.
The spray-on dust and glowing trees would make street lighting less necessary, thus reducing the carbon footprint of urban centers, making them more environmentally friendly.
In the not so distant future, glow-in-the-dark plants and trees could light up our cities, buildings and streets.
Many television shows and movies take place in great big cities with lots of people and towering buildings. The most common cities movies will take place in are Los Angeles and New York City, of course. These cities are beautiful in their own way, but California and New York are grossly overrated when you compare them to the state we live in.
Virginia has a wide range of diverse ecosystems. From the sandy beaches of Chincoteague to the rolling mountains of Southwest Virginia, there’s a lot to appreciate in this great state that we often take for granted. Growing up in an Air Force family, I got to move around and experience many wonderful places. As much as I hate to admit it, Virginia is probably the second most beautiful place I’ve lived in, if not the most beautiful.
I was born in Florida and spent a total of 7 years of my life there. Florida will always be my home, but when I compare Florida to Virginia, I can appreciate the fact that this state is so colorful in comparison to Florida. Here, there are beautiful beaches, seemingly endless marshes, thick forests and towering hills. In Florida, there are swamps, lots of beaches and more swamps. Some areas of Florida have thick, beautiful woods but there are limited species of trees. Also, the geography is quite plain with very few hills and no mountains at all.
Even though I live very close to West Virginia, which is a beautiful state, overall it’s not as exciting to me. The mountains of West Virginia are beautiful and go on for days. That’s just the problem, though. The mountains go on throughout the whole state with no breaks as you drive through it. Although the mountains are majestic and make you feel very small, they begin to feel quite claustrophobic. The beauty of Virginia is that as you drive through it, you see varying ecosystems.
In September, my boyfriend and I traveled from Radford to Chincoteague. I had wanted to visit Chincoteague since I moved to Virginia and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to finally visit this magical area. Driving through the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is a lot to see when compared to driving through West Virginia. Along with mountains, you can see vineyards taking over the sides of hills, hundreds of small creeks along with larger flowing watersheds. In Richmond, you see skyscrapers carefully placed overlooking the James River. In Virginia Beach, the eye can see the ocean seemingly going on forever. My favorite part, however, is Chincoteague itself. On one side, there is a calm, slow-moving bay edged with marshes, and on the other, the roaring ocean slams against the sand and the wind takes your breath away with its salty-sweetness.
Although I miss the white-as-snow beaches of Florida, and the emerald-colored bathwater Gulf of Mexico, it still doesn’t compare to the diverse beauty that can be found in our grossly underrated state. Even though we all will dream of the great cities of Los Angeles and New York City, and long to live that Hollywood fairy-tale lifestyle, we’re still lucky. We’re lucky to live in a state that, even though it was settled long ago, still remains naturally beautiful.
New research shows that Sylvester may have been much more of a threat to Tweety than Looney Tunes ever let on. Domestic cats are now believed to be one of the biggest imminent dangers to resident bird populations, and even possibly other nearby wildlife. Continue reading The Sylvester and Tweety myth→
A great way to get the most out of your free time when you’re strapped for cash is to go hiking.
Aside from the gas you have to spend to get to a trail, hiking is completely free! Virginia is well equipped with various trails you can enjoy independently or with friends. In fact, three quarters of the Appalachian Trail is located in Virginia. The following is a list of great nearby hikes you can enjoy. Continue reading Best places to hike→
When it comes to where people acquire their political beliefs, political scientists have analyzed many possibilities that might factor in, such as household income, gender and church attendance. It has long been thought that a person’s political ideals are something that comes mostly from their parents, friends or other environmental factors. However, there have emerged an increasing number of studies that suggest genetics may have an underlying role in both voter turnout and the way people vote. Continue reading Voting: Nature or nurture?→