Tag Archives: Science

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

Extraordinary Innovation from Mexico

By Brooke Gazer

When we were planning our move to Mexico many of our friends and family thought we had lost our minds. We had visions of warm sandy beaches with palm trees swaying gently in the breeze; they had visions of Clint Eastwood in “A Fist Full of Dollars”. (Never mind those “spaghetti westerns” were shot in Italy!) The truth is that Mexico is a multi-faceted nation that cannot be summed up with one stereotype. One aspect that might surprise you is the sophisticated level of scientific research that has come from this country. Mexico has been involved in some the most advanced discoveries of the 20th century. Here are five examples. Continue reading Extraordinary Innovation from Mexico

Tarantulas: Nothing to Fear

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 4.49.29 PMBy Neal Erickson

Mexico has more species of tarantula than any other country in the world except Brazil. The tarantula is, however, often maligned and misunderstood. Their bite is not fatal, and barely toxic to humans if at all, and most of the species in Mexico would rather flick hairs at you than bite you if they are threatened. That’s right. Flick hairs. Continue reading Tarantulas: Nothing to Fear

The Unnatural History of the Tejón

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By Deborah Van Hoewyk

It’s very early in the Huatulco morning, still dark, the dawn just beginning to silhouette the umbels of the guarumbo tree in back of the newly renovated Hotel Binniguenda. From my next-door balcony, I savor the serenity . . . Oops! The leaves flutter, the branches droop, and an unexpected guest rustles up early to start his daily foraging. Continue reading The Unnatural History of the Tejón

The West Mexican Chachalaca—Best Known for Its “Song”

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By Deborah Van Hoewyk

Remember those tin noisemakers you used to twirl at New Years? Bright colors, horrible noise? When you wake up in Huatulco, don’t you just hear them all over again? That would be the call of Ortalis poliocephala, the West Mexican chachalaca—which is supposed to sound as if it’s saying its name, “cha-cha-la-ca.” You’ll have to decide on the noisemaker vs. the name. Not only is their call unmistakable, they’re very talkative. Mornings are especially good for call-and-response discussions of plans for the day. In case you missed the plans, activities are discussed at the end of the day. Continue reading The West Mexican Chachalaca—Best Known for Its “Song”

The End of the World

By Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

December 2012 has arrived, and some say if you don’t read this article before the 21st, you will have missed your chance. According to those people, December 21st is the last day ever on the Mayan calendar– the day the world will end.

From the earliest times to the present, predictions of the end of the world have always captured enough attention to sell books, gain followers for a leader, inspire works of art, literature, or music, and boost tourism to the place where the end is coming. But if you are more interested in being correct than in momentary fame or wealth, you know it is not prudent to predict the end of the world on a certain day – if you are right, no one will be around to recognize your accomplishment, and if you are wrong, everyone will know. Continue reading The End of the World


Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 5.50.58 PMBy Vivien and Joel Hoyt

As the end of 2012 approaches, people are questioning the significance of the Mayan calendar.   Historians tell us the calendar ends on December 21, 2012 and this has sparked many predictions. Sensationalist media is running rampant and the same naysayers who scared us about Y2K are busy again. I’m embarrassed to admit that in December, 1999 I stashed water, food, propane, batteries, etc. awaiting the big crash. Twelve years later I’m still here and choose to see things differently. Continue reading MAYAN CALENDAR

Blowin’ in the Wind

By Neal Erickson

The need for renewable energy sources has been high in the collective world consciousness for quite some time. According to some, as Bob Dylan wrote: “The answer is blowin’ in the Wind.”

As you drive toward Chiapas from Oaxaca on highway 190, you enter the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and will pass through some of the biggest wind farms in Latin America. On both sides of the road, at times seeming to stretch out as far as the eye can see, are acres and acres of futuristic-looking electricity-generating windmills. The Isthmus is only approximately 200km wide at it’s narrowest, and separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Also at this point, the Sierra Madre Mountain range flattens out to a plateau before rising to the Sierras of Chiapas, creating a natural funnel for winds from the Gulf to pass through to the Pacific, and vice versa. Continue reading Blowin’ in the Wind