Tag Archives: Science

A Brilliant Discovery by an Obscure Mexican Scientist

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 11.57.01 AMBy Brooke Gazer

At the tender age of 26, a young chemical engineering student from Nayarit made an astonishing discovery while working on his doctoral thesis. This discovery placed the name of Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cárdenas into the American Inventors Hall of Fame, alongside Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, and Alexander Graham Bell. A group of Nobel laureates named his breakthrough discovery as one of the most important inventions of the last 2,000 years. However, unlike other important inventors who have become household names, his has drifted into obscurity. Continue reading A Brilliant Discovery by an Obscure Mexican Scientist

The Monarch Butterfly

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-7-01-04-pmBy Kary Vannice

Chaos Theory states that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. Could that really be possible? Can something so seemingly insignificant, the flap of a butterfly’s wing, actually create devastation and destruction on a massive scale? Perhaps a better question would be what effect would the absence of butterfly wings have on our environment? Continue reading The Monarch Butterfly

Fishing Above the Volcano: The Seismic Coast of Oaxaca

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 10.05.16 AMBy Deborah Van Hoewyk

Word has it that the folks who fish the waters off Puerto Ángel really know how to find fish—tuna, red snapper, bonito, saltfish, and shark, along with lobsters, octopus, and conch. The fishermen go offshore, out to open ocean, over a shallow area with a well developed, multi-layered coral reef. Hmm. How did a reef get out there? Continue reading Fishing Above the Volcano: The Seismic Coast of Oaxaca

Canicula, Mar de Fondo, and other weather phenomena

By Julie Etra

Canicula, canicular period, canicular days or the season of canicula refers to the hottest part of the year. My neighbor Larry Woelfel and I were chatting about the lack of rain and heat this summer in Huatulco and he exclaimed, “Canicula! Look it up, Julie!” Easy assignment for this lover of language and etymology. The Latin root of the word is canis, or dog and is a 14th century Old English word pertaining to the dogstar Sirius. It also pertains to dog days, or the dog days of summer, common in English-lingo. The canicular period lasts four to six weeks, depending on precise location relative to the equator and declination of the sun. Technically it begins when at midday or noon the sun is at its maximum height over the horizon. Continue reading Canicula, Mar de Fondo, and other weather phenomena

Climate Change Affecting Oceans

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.46.58 PMBy Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

In May 2015, Huatulco experienced a mar de fondo, a regularly spaced sequence of extremely high waves. Although it may appear to witnesses to be similar to a tsunami, a mar de fondo is not caused by seismic activity but rather by a large storm at some distance from the beach where the waves are landing. A delight to surfers, the large waves can, however, destroy boats and piers in marinas and inundate the lower floor of buildings close to the coastline. Along the Oaxaca coast, the mar de fondo made some highways impassible, and some hotel lobbies and schools were flooded. Continue reading Climate Change Affecting Oceans

False Killer Whales

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.47.37 PMBy Julie Etra

This species, whose scientific name is Pseudorca crassidens (pseudo = false, orca = Latin for cetacean, e.g. marine mammals: whales and dolphins; crassidens = ‘thick-tooth’) is actually a member of the dolphin family, and is the only member of its genus. It was first described in 1846 and is the fourth largest dolphin in the world. The species is fairly widespread in its distribution; they have been observed in shallow water including the Mediterranean and Red Seas but are more common in the deeper tropical to temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They are considered uncommon but there are no global population estimates. The United State (U.S.) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concluded that false killer whales were the least common of the 18 species of toothed whales and dolphins found in Hawaiian waters. Although not hunted commercially, they can be caught as bycatch and through other fishery interactions, such as the Hawaii longline fishery and bottomfish fishery off the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. They are hunted in Indonesia, Japan, and the West Indies. In the US this species is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading False Killer Whales

Hurricanes—Not Just for Meteorologists

By Deborah Van Hoewyk

Silly me. I used to think that there were hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, cyclones in the Pacific, typhoons usually aimed themselves at Japan, and then there were the monsoons, which had a lot of rain and were hot and steamy, and they all stuck to their geography like glue.   Living in the northeastern U.S., kids found those Atlantic hurricanes exciting—when a hurricane actually made it all the way to Maine, my father would drive us around on my brother’s paper route in case there were any downed electric lines we wanted to play with. Continue reading Hurricanes—Not Just for Meteorologists

Pre-Hispanic Residents of Huatulco

By Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 3.50.24 PMOn October 5, 2010, Huatulco’s Eco-archeology park opened to the east of Tangolunda Bay near Copalita. It provides a unique experience of pre-Columbian life on the Oaxacan Coast as it existed well before the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The park, located just past the turnoff for Playa La Bocana, consists of over 81 hectares (200 acres), including a museum and trails leading to recently excavated archeological sites, primarily undisturbed conservation areas, and magnificent views of the coastline. Developed by FONATUR (the Mexican government foundation for promoting tourism) and INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History), the park offers residents and tourists alike an informative and visually inspiring experience. Continue reading Pre-Hispanic Residents of Huatulco