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Healthy Minds Healthy College

Monday Mash – Wellness Links – August 26

August 26, 2013

barn spider

The World Without Us

Lately, I’ve been very interested in learning more about the history of the planet, having most recently picked up the book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman from the library.  That book begins with the premise – What would the world be like if all humans disappeared? Although I’m only part way through, it is a very interesting perspective that combines science and sustainability to imagine how nature and animals might return, while cities decay.  There’s a particularly good chapter early on that references the Mannahatta project, which is a revisualization of Manhattan Island starting 400+ years ago.

Walking with Monsters and Dinosaurs

Walking with Monsters is a three-part British documentary film series about life in the Paleozoic (540 to 250 million years ago), when life on earth was in the earliest stages.  The show is a fascinating recreation of life as it was “slowly” emerging, featuring giant water scorpions, monstrous fish, and giant damsel flies! You can get it on Netflix if you’re into that. The Walking with Dinosaurs series is a six-part series that traces a mere 190 million years afterward, with the emergence of dinosaurs on the planet.

The Barn Spider

The other night we discovered a relatively large spider, sitting in a big web in front of a window in the garage/barn.  It had a really large rear end that almost looked like a huge egg sack, but in this case it was a permanent posterior.  We watched it for a while, checking out what it caught, and where the webs attached to form the net.

I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, but I found this great Wiki on how to identify a spider.  I’m not a big fan of all the ads on the site, but the graphics and the simple step-by-step outline of what to look for was really useful.