While cassowaries have been known to eat fungi, flowers, snails, insects, frogs, birds, rats, mice, and even carrion, their diet consists primarily of fruit. They will eat the fruit of several hundred species of tree and bush, and one tree, the cassowary plum (which is toxic to other species but eaten readily by the cassowary), has even been named for the birds. Cassowaries can become extremely aggressive about their food; when they find a tree that is dropping fruit, they will stay there and eat, chasing away any other cassowaries who try to approach and feed, until the fruit is gone.
Cassowaries will swallow fruits whole, even large ones like apples and plums. Because of this, seeds and pits will go through the cassowary’s digestive system and be passed in their droppings. These birds have been known to distribute seeds over distances of over a kilometre, making them hugely important in the dispersal and germination of fruit trees through the rainforests. Some seeds, such as those of the Ryparosa trees, are shown to have much greater germination rates when they have been through the gut of a cassowary. These makes these birds a keystone species for the rainforests they inhabit.
On May 4, 2017, after three months of precisely coordinated maneuvers, MMS reached its new orbit to begin studying the magnetic environment on the ever-rotating nighttime side of Earth.
The space around Earth is not as empty as it looks. It’s packed with high energy electrons and ions that zoom along magnetic field lines and surf along waves created by electric and magnetic fields.
MMS studies how these particles move in order to understand a process known as magnetic reconnection, which occurs when magnetic fields explosively collide and re-align.
After launch, MMS started exploring the magnetic environment on the side of Earth closest to the sun. Now, MMS has been boosted into a new orbit that tops out twice as high as before, at over 98,000 miles above Earth’s surface.
The new orbit will allow the spacecraft to study magnetic reconnection on the night side of Earth, where the process is thought to cause the northern and southern lights and energize particles that fill the radiation belts, a doughnut-shaped region of trapped particles surrounding Earth.
MMS uses four separate but identical spacecraft, which fly in a tight pyramid formation known as a tetrahedron. This allows MMS to map the magnetic environment in three dimensions.
MMS made many discoveries during its first two years in space, and its new orbit will open the door to even more. The information scientists get from MMS will help us better understand our space environment, which helps in planning future missions to explore even further beyond our planet. Learn more about MMS at nasa.gov/mms.
lesson provides a basic overview of the knowledge a beginner will need to
successfully grow plants. It is not intended to be a class on green witchcraft
specifically, though there may be elements of witchcraft incorporated.
system: portion of plant above ground
system: portion of plant below ground
reproductive organs of a plant, consists of modified leaves
Bud: site of
where leaf diverges from stem
photosynthetic organ, consists of blade and petiole
plant and provides water and nutrients from soil
Plants require sunlight for
photosynthesis. The amount required per plant is variable, but most prefer
medium or indirect light. In the Northern Hemisphere, a southern or southwest
window provides the most light, followed by east windows or bright spots in
sunny rooms, followed by a north window (not preferred).
Plants also require water. Again,
this varies widely, but the most common watering frequency is 1-2 times per
week. I personally prefer the finger test, which is simply sticking your finger
about 1” into the soil and checking for dryness. If the soil is totally dry,
water the plant thoroughly. Thorough watering should allow water to drip from
the bottom of the plant, in order to ensure sufficient saturation. In addition,
many plants will benefit from a humid environment.
There are many different types of
soil, but a few are more common than others. Potting soil, topsoil, garden
soil, succulent/cactus soil, seed starter mix, compost, and orchid soil are the
most common. Potting soil is soil that has been mixed to provide the best
environment for potted plants. Garden soil is usually topsoil with compost or
manure added, and should NOT be used in pots, as it is very dense. Topsoil is
simply the first layer of soil. Succulent/cactus soil has sand added, seed
starter mix is used to grow seedlings, compost is almost entirely decaying
organic matter, and orchid soil is formulated with bark and moss to ensure
healthy orchid growth.
Proper spacing of plants is most
important in outdoor gardens, to ensure room to grow and proper air
circulation. With potted plants, the container itself is most important. A
container should be large enough for the plant, with room to grow, and have at
least one drainage hole in the bottom. Clay readily absorbs water, and is
preferred for many plants to prevent them from sitting in water. Plastic and
metal are also very common, as is glass jars and bottles. I frequently
re-purpose containers as plant pots (and it gives me an excuse to have ice
In order to prevent mold and other fungi, proper air
circulation is necessary. It will also help strengthen a young plant. Keep in
mind, strong winds can harm plants.
Plants enjoy warmth. Many will be fine at room temperature,
but some prefer more or less – research accordingly. Warmth is most important
for seeds and seedlings, because they use the heat to tell when it’s time to
germinate. I typically wrap my seedling in a heating pad to encourage
When planting seeds, not only should you read the seed packet
for information, but do your own research! Google is your new best friend, if
it wasn’t already. Seeds vary in preferred depth, soil type, soil density,
spacing, warmth, and water, so keep this in mind. Knowing where the plant is
from and the general climate there can be very helpful! For example, rosemary
is Mediterranean, so it likes lots of sun, somewhat sandy soils, warm
temperature, and little water. You don’t have to go memorize average daily
rainfall in that region, but it helps to have a general idea.
Maintenance is fairly simple. Outside of the basic needs of a
plant, there are a few more to look for. As a plant grows, the root system will
grow too. A plant can become “root bound” if it outgrows a pot, which can be
very unhealthy, though some plants are more tolerant than others.
To repot, gently lift the plant up by pinching the base and
wiggling the plant carefully to help the roots loosen from the soil. You can
use your fingers to work the dirt clumps out of the roots, if necessary. If the
plant is really stuck, press your
hand flat against the soil, with the stem of the plant between your thumb and
first finger. Flip the pot upside down (expect a small rain of loose earth) and
give the bottom of the pot a sharp smack. Be ready for the weight of the plant
to suddenly shift when it comes out! Then you can proceed to loosen the roots
and repot. After you’ve gotten the plant itself out, replant it in a larger pot
and bury to cover the roots. Most plants won’t mind having part of their stem
buried as well, but some get fussy, so keep that in mind.
The other main maintenance that should be done is pruning.
Pruning encourages the axillary buds to grow, creating a new branch where the
leaf was cut. Many plants require pruning to be fully healthy. For non-woody
plants, simply use a sharp knife, scissors, or your nails (wash your hands!) to
cut the leaf away as close to the stem as possible. Wait a bit, and you will
likely see a new branch! You can also cut the stem above a node to encourage
growth. Depending on the growth pattern, you may get one, two, or even more new
branches. In addition, some plants benefit from flower pruning (to encourage
growth rather than fruiting) or deadheading (removing dead flower heads to
encourage new ones). For example, it is recommended that the flowers
immediately be plucked from strawberries in their first year, to encourage them
to grow “daughter” plants and result in a larger crop next year.
Propagating is the means of producing new plants. There are
various methods, but seeds, cuttings, and offshoots are the most common.
Seeds are easy, but require time or money. It takes time for
a mature plant to produce seed, plus they need to be pollinated either by hand
or by bees or other pollinators, so this may not be ideal.
Cuttings are popular as an “instant gratification” method (my
favorite!). Simply take a cutting of a plant by slicing above the node of the
stem. The chosen cutting should have several sets of leaves for best results,
and it should be a segment of new growth (especially important in woody plants)
with no flowers. Pinch or cut off all but a few pairs of leaves near the top,
leaving 2-3 bare nodes. Place in water or soil. For water, replace every few
days to replenish dissolved oxygen. For soil, keep moist, but not wet. I
personally prefer water because I can easily track development, but some claim
better success with soil. If using soil, sometimes a rooting hormone may be
applied to encourage root growth.
Offshoots are new baby plants that have grown from the root
system, stem, or rhizome of an adult plant. To propagate using them, wait until
they have several sets of leaves, then use the methods described in the segment
about repotting (Maintenance) to expose the roots. With a clean knife,
carefully cut the baby plant away from the parent, making sure that it receives
a portion of the roots. If the plant has a rhizome, cut so that the baby plant
gets a small portion of the rhizome. Repot using previously discussed methods.
If the rhizome is large, you can allow it to heal for a few days by setting it
in a cool, dry place. This can help prevent infection or rot, but is not a
Propagating succulents is quite similar to propagating
cuttings, though some, like aloe, produce offshoots called pups. In the case of
propagating succulents from leaves, only some are fit for this. Use succulents
whose leaves pop off easily. Select a healthy, whole leaf and pop it off, then
let it sit on soil (not in!). Ignore it for a while and eventually it will
produce new roots! For pups, treat them like offshoots (they are a type of
offshoot), but do not water for at least a week after repotting. This
encourages healthy root development.
Diagnosing plants can be tricky. Below are some common
symptoms and potential causes. Be sure to research the plant in question, as
some plants are more susceptible to certain illnesses, pests, or conditions.
YELLOWING LEAVES – too much/not enough light, high
temperature, root bound
YOUNG LEAVES – not enough
light, overfertilization, mineral deficiency
OLD LEAVES – overwatering,
natural aging, root bound, root rot, major element deficiency
DEAD OR YELLOW SPOTS ON LEAVES – fungal, bacterial, or viral
infection, fluoride toxicity, pesticide damage
IRREGULAR – pesticide damage,
cold water damage, thrips, air pollution
MOSAIC PATTERN ON LEAVES – viral infection, high temperature,
pesticide damage, major element deficiency
VERY DARK, LIMP LEAVES – cold/frostbite injuries, crushing,
SMALL LEAVES – low light (in conjunction with spindly stem),
too much/not enough fertilizer, low humidity, root rot
WILTED/DROOPING LEAVES – overwatering,
underwatering (soil pulling away from side of pot), overfertilization, root
rot, stem rot, root bound
ABNORMAL SUBSTANCE ON LEAF
WHITE, POWDERY – powdery
BLACK, PATCHY – sooty mold
STICKY – insect activity,
natural secretion by plant
STEM ROTTED – fungal or bacterial disease
AT SOIL LINE – overwatering
ABOVE SOIL LINE – sunburn
TALL, THIN STEM – not enough light
SLOW GROWTH – not enough light, compacted soil, too much/not
enough fertilization, too much/not enough water, root rot
NO ROOTS – unsuccessful cutting
ROOTS CLOSE TO SURFACE – hot surface, overwatering, compacted
DARK, LIMP ROOTS – overwatering, overfertilization, root rot
basilicum, 6-8 hours full sun, frost sensitive, likes warm conditions, easy
to grow from seed or cuttings, likes moist (not wet!) soil
trifasciata, indestructible, rhizomatous, drought tolerant, neglect
tolerant, medium indirect light (perfect indoor/bathroom plant!), propagate
through offshoots or leaf cuttings
6-8 hours indirect sunlight, sunburn sensitive, frost sensitive, prone to root
rot, needs cactus/succulent soil, picky about water (water when dry to
1.5”-2”/3.5-5 cm), propagate through pups
zebrina, I DIDN’T NAME THIS, 4-6 hours full/indirect sun, likes warm
conditions, overwatering tolerant (avoid watering directly on leaves),
propagates easily through cuttings
officinalis, 6-8 hours full sun, likes warm conditions, frost sensitive, somewhat
drought tolerant, prone to root rot, prone to powdery mildew, difficult to grow
from seed, grows somewhat readily from cuttings
angustifolia, 6-8 hours full/indirect sunlight, prefer warm conditions,
frost sensitive, overwatering sensitive, prefer drier conditions, somewhat
difficult to grow from seed, grows somewhat readily from cuttings
MINTS–Mentha spp.(piperita –peppermint,spicata– spearmint),MUST BE POTTED, WILL TAKE OVER GARDEN, prune regularly, full
sun/partial shade, likes somewhat moist soil, grows extremely rapidly, somewhat
difficult to propagate from seed, propagates easily through cuttings
SAGE–Salvia officinalis, prefers warm conditions, 6-8 hours
full/indirect sun, likes pruning, somewhat drought tolerant, somewhat difficult
to grow from seed, propagates readily from cuttings
Anybody who has studied Japanese and Linguistics will know that Japanese is a part of the Japonic language family. For many years it was thought that Japanese was a language isolate, unrelated to any other language (Although there is some debate as to whether or not Japanese and Korean are related).
Today, most linguists are in agreement that Japanese is not an isolate. The Japonic languages are split into two groups:
Japanese (日本語) and its dialects, which range from standard Eastern Japanese (東日本方言) to the various dialects found on Kyūshū (九州日本方言), which are, different, to say the least.
The Ryukyuan Languages (琉球語派). Which are further subdivided into Northern and Southern Ryukyuan languages. Okinawan is classified as a Northern Ryukyuan Languages. There are a total of 6 Ryukyuan languages, each with its own dialects. The Ryukyuan languages exist on a continuum, somebody who speaks Okinawan will have a more difficult time understanding the Yonaguni Language, which is spoken on Japan’s southernmost populated island.
Japanese and Okinawan (I am using the Naha dialect of Okinawan because it was the standard language of the Ryukyu Kingdom), are not intelligible. Calling Okinawan a dialect of Japanese is akin to calling Dutch a dialect of English. It is demonstrably false. Furthermore, there is an actual Okinawan dialect of Japanese, which borrows elements from the Okinawan language and infuses it with Japanese.
So, where did the Ryukyuan languages come from? This is a question that goes hand in hand with theories about where Ryukyuan people come from. George Kerr, author of Okinawan: The History of an Island People (An old book, but necessary read if you’re interested in Okinawa), theorised that Ryukyuans and Japanese split from the same population, with one group going east to Japan from Korea, whilst the other traveled south to the Ryukyu Islands.
“In the language of the Okinawan country people today the north is referred to as nishi, which Iha Fuyu (An Okinawn scholar) derives from inishi (’the past’ or ‘behind’), whereas the Japanese speak of the west as nishi. Iha suggests that in both instances there is preserved an immemorial sense of the direction from which migration took place into the sea islands.” (For those curious, the Okinawan word for ‘west’ is いり [iri]). But, it must be stated that there are multiple theories as to where Ryukyuan and Japanese people came from, some say South-East Asia, some say North Asia, via Korea, some say that it is a mixture of the two. However, this post is solely about language, and whilst the relation between nishi in both languages is intriguing, it is hardly conclusive.
With that said, the notion that Proto-Japonic was spoken by migrants from southern Korea is somewhat supported by a number of toponyms that may be of Gaya origin (Or of earlier, unattested origins). However, it also must be said, that such links were used to justify Japanese imperialism in Korea.
Yeah, when it comes to Japan and Korea, and their origins, it’s a minefield.
What we do know is that a Proto-Japonic language was spoken around
Kyūshū, and that it gradually spread throughout Japan and the Ryukyu Islands. The question of when this happened is debatable. Some scholars say between the 2nd and 6th century, others say between the 8th and 9th centuries. The crucial issue here, is the period in which proto-Ryukyuan separated from mainland Japanese.
“The crucial issue here is that the period during which the proto-Ryukyuan separated(in terms of historical linguistics) from other Japonic languages do not necessarily coincide with the period during which the proto-Ryukyuan speakers actually settled on the Ryūkyū Islands.That is, it is possible that the proto-Ryukyuan was spoken on south Kyūshū for some time and the proto-Ryukyuan speakers then moved southward to arrive eventually in the Ryūkyū Islands.”
This is a theory supported by Iha Fuyu who claimed that the first settlers on Amami were fishermen from
This opens up two possibilities, the first is that ‘Proto-Ryukyuan’ split from ‘Proto-Japonic’, the other is that it split from ‘Old-Japanese’. As we’ll see further, Okinawan actually shares many features with Old Japanese, although these features may have existed before Old-Japanese was spoken.
So, what does Okinawan look like?
Well, to speakers of Japanese it is recognisable in a few ways. The sentence structure is essentially the same, with a focus on particles, pitch accent, and a subject-object-verb word order. Like Old Japanese, there is a distinction between the terminal form (
) and the attributive form (
). Okinawan also maintains the nominative function of nu ぬ (Japanese: no の). It also retains the sounds ‘wi’ ‘we’ and ‘wo’, which don’t exist in Japanese anymore. Other sounds that don’t exist in Japanese include ‘fa’ ‘fe’ ‘fi’ ‘tu’ and ‘ti’.
Some very basic words include:
はいさい (Hello, still used in Okinawan Japanese) にふぇーでーびる (Thank you) うちなー (Okinawa) 沖縄口 (Uchinaa-guchi is the word for Okinawan) めんそーれー (Welcome) やまとぅ (Japan, a cognate of やまと, the poetic name for ‘Japan’)
Lots of Okinawan can be translated into Japanese word for word. For example, a simple sentence, “Let’s go by bus” バスで行こう (I know, I’m being a little informal haha!) バスっし行ちゃびら (Basu sshi ichabira). As you can see, both sentences are structured the same way. Both have the same loanword for ‘bus’, and both have a particle used to indicate the means by which something is achieved, ‘で’ in Japanese, is ‘っし’ in Okinawan.
Another example sentence, “My Japanese isn’t as good as his” 彼より日本語が上手ではない (Kare yori nihon-go ga jouzu dewanai). 彼やか大和口ぬ上手やあらん (Ari yaka yamatu-guchi nu jooji yaaran). Again, they are structured the same way (One important thing to remember about Okinawan romanisation is that long vowels are represented with ‘oo’ ‘aa’ etc. ‘oo’ is pronounced the same as ‘ou’).
Of course, this doesn’t work all of the time, if you want to say, “I wrote the letter in Okinawan” 沖縄語で手紙を書いた (Okinawa-go de tegami wo kaita). 沖縄口さーに手紙書ちゃん (Uchinaa-guchi saani tigami kachan). For one,
is an alternate version of っし, but, that isn’t the only thing. Okinawan doesn’t have a direct object particle (を in Japanese). In older literary works it was ゆ, but it no longer used in casual speech.
Introducing yourself in Okinawan is interesting for a few reasons as well. Let’s say you were introducing yourself to a group. In Japanese you’d say みんなさこんにちは私はフィリクスです (Minna-san konnichiwa watashi ha Felixdesu) ぐすよー我んねーフィリクスでぃいちょいびーん (Gusuyoo wan’nee Felix di ichoibiin). Okinawan has a single word for saying ‘hello’ to a group. It also showcases the topic marker for names and other proper nouns. In Japanese there is only 1, は but Okinawan has 5! や, あー, えー, おー, のー! So, how do you know which to use? Well, there is a rule, typically the particle fuses with short vowels,
a → aa, i → ee, u → oo, e → ee, o → oo, n → noo.
Of course, the Okinawan pronoun
我ん, is a terrible example, because it is irregular, becoming 我んねー instead of
我んのー or 我んや. Yes. Like Japanese, there are numerous irregularities to pull your hair out over!
I hope that this has been interesting for those who have bothered to go through the entire thing. It is important to discuss these languages because most Ryukyuan languages are either ‘definitely’ or ‘critically’ endangered. Mostly due to Japanese assimilation policies from the Meiji period onward, and World War 2. The people of Okinawa are a separate ethnic group, with their own culture, history, poems, songs, dances and languages. It would be a shame to lose something that helps to define a group of people like language does.
I may or may not look in the
Kyūshū dialects of Japanese next time. I’unno, I just find them interesting.
After mating, the female cassowary will lay three to six large, green eggs. Once these eggs are laid, the female’s job is done, and she will wander off to find another male to mate with. It is the father who constructs a nest of waterproof vegetation and incubates the eggs for the next fifty days. A devoted parent, the male will not leave his eggs until they have hatched. A broody male cassowary does not need to eat, drink, or even defecate for the entire period of incubation.
Cassowary chicks are small, beige in colour, with dark brown stripes. The father will protect his new family with devotion, showing them what foods to eat and ferociously protecting them from predators. The chicks will stay with their father for the next nine months.
It has also been noted in zoos that cassowary chicks will imprint readily on anyone who is present when they hatch, including humans. These chicks are then extremely tame and will follow their adopted parent anywhere. In some native villages in New Guinea, cassowary chicks are even kept as pets and left to wander loose through the village, like chickens. However, even the tamest chick will turn savage and dangerous upon reaching adulthood.
Flying to New Heights With the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission
A mission studying Earth’s magnetic field by
flying four identical spacecraft is headed into new territory.
The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS, has been studying the magnetic field on the
side of Earth facing the sun, the day side – but now we’re focusing on
something else. On February 9, MMS started the three-month-long process of shifting to a new orbit.
One key thing MMS studies is magnetic reconnection – a
process that occurs
when magnetic fields
collide and re-align explosively into
new positions. The
new orbit will
allow MMS to study reconnection on
side of the
Earth, farther from
on the night side of Earth
is thought to
be responsible for
causing the northern
and southern lights.
To study the interesting regions of Earth’s magnetic field on the
night side, the four MMS spacecraft are being boosted into an orbit that takes
them farther from Earth than ever before. Once it
reaches its final
orbit, MMS will
shatter its previous Guinness
World Record for
highest altitude fix
of a GPS.
To save on fuel, the orbit is slowly adjusted over many weeks. The boost to take each spacecraft to its final orbit will happen during the first week of April.
On April 19, each spacecraft will be boosted again
to raise its closest approach to Earth, called perigee. Without
this step, the spacecraft would
be way too close for
comfort – and
would actually reenter Earth’s
The four MMS spacecraft usually fly really close
together – only four miles between them – in a special pyramid formation called a tetrahedral, which allows us to examine the magnetic environment in three dimensions.
orbit adjustments, the pyramid shape is broken up to make sure the spacecraft
have plenty of room to maneuver. Once
MMS reaches its
new orbit in
May, the spacecraft will
be realigned into
their tetrahedral formation
and ready to
do more 3D magnetic science.
Sabbats mark the passage of the sun, representing the cycles of life and death through The Wheel of the Year and the Triple Moon Goddess. There are eight of ‘em in total and to be perfectly honest, they can be a little tricky to grasp at first because their names and dates vary depending on your path and your location in the world. This is because of the difference between the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres. See, The Wheel of the Year originated in the North so, in the Southern Hemisphere, most people advance Sabbat dates so that they match up with the natural seasons and their meanings. For example, while a Canadian Pagan like myself would be celebrating Samhain in chilly autumn, an Australian Pagan would be enjoying a nice late spring day celebrating Beltane. However, there are some in the South who still celebrate with the original Northern dates.
The Sabbats are split up into two different groups called the Greater Sabbats and the Lesser Sabbats. The Greater includes Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas because they fall on dates that represent high energy in its season. The Lesser Sabbats are Yule, Ostara, Litha and Mabon because they fall on the equinoxes and solstices marking the changes of the four seasons on Earth. Below is a simplified list for now and over the next couple of posts I’ll be covering each in greater detail, STARTING with Imbolc just because it’s right around the corner for me! (•̀ᴗ•́)و
being the Avatar basically gives you All-Speak, so Aang would sound a little antiquated but still perfectly understandable
as the chief’s kids, Katara and Sokka would have learned a few basic trade dialects/the one universal one, which pretty much everyone would be able to understand
Toph grew up in a high-profile family so she probably had formal language tutoring/lessons, likely in formal Earth Kingdom, common trade languages, and maybe even some Fire Nation for practicality
fighting in the Earth Rumbles would have taught her Earth Kingdom swears
Zuko would have learned High Court Fire Nation as a prince as well as formal Earth Kingdom, probably
post-exile, he would have learned the trade language as well as several regional dialects, but could get by with speaking low Fire Nation when traveling through Fire Nation-occupied parts of the Earth Kingdom
most of the Fire Nation soldiers are passably bilingual at this point, and between them and the townspeople they’ve probably evolved a whole new kind of language (in the same way that Yiddish evolved from German and Slavic influences along with Hebrew).
Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors would speak a really, really mutated form of archaic Earth Kingdom, since they sort of noped off of the mainland several hundred years back and have been doing the whole isolationism thing for an indeterminate period of time
the Northern and Southern Water Tribe probably shares some vague basal similarities, but differ as wildly as European French and Louisiana Creole
The southern tribe at this point probably has more similarity to the Earth Kingdom trade dialect in which they most frequently communicate than it does with the Northern tribe’s language. They’re still close enough to be mutually understandable, but different enough to essentially be two different languages.