Water cycle drawing, WikiCommons

Science in the Bible: The Water Cycle

First Published June, 2012; things haven’t changed any since then!

Water cycle drawing, WikiCommons

Today I want to mention how knowledgeable the ancient writers of the Bible were about the water cycle. I found a long webpage from UNESCO that talks about what most people long ago thought of the Water Cycle:

“The Greeks therefore described the water cycle backwards, arguing that since the level of the seas remained constant despite all the rivers flowing into it, the water must penetrate the earth’s depths and feed the underground springs. Evaporation and Precipitation were ignored.”

Ancient Egyptians couldn’t figure out how the Nile flooded annually even though it never rained during that time of year. The average Egyptian thought that the river was just a sort of back flow from the Mediterranean Sea. You’d think they would have wondered why the river water wasn’t salty!

The Chinese knew that rain was the source of the water in their rivers and even had a flood warning system using horseback messengers that could travel faster than the rising waters! But there is no evidence that they understood where the rain came from in the first place. They even invented a Rain Dragon myth to explain what caused it.

But is this the kind of confused tale that the Bible presents for us about the water cycle?  Have a look at these verses:

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Ecclesiastes 1:7

If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: Ecclesiastes 11:3a

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings for the rain; he brings the wind out of his treasuries. English: LightningPsalm 135:7

The Psalms verse is especially interesting because it shows the connection between lightning and rainfall. Even what is known as Dry Lightning has rain, it just never reaches the ground! I found out that there is something called a Rain Gush whenever lightning occurs. If there is even lightning very close to you, you might notice it starts to rain extra hard a few seconds later. This all has to do with the electricity in water and is something we still don’t completely understand, but the Creator does!

Mist on Lake Ontario

He that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. Amos 9:6b

When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasures. Jeremiah 10:13

These last three verses show a clear understanding of evaporation, unlike what these other cultures were thinking!

Beginning with Leonardo Da Vinci in the late 1400s, and Bernard Palissy 100 years later, modern scientists pieced together how the water cycle works. Finally in the 1600s, two Frenchmen, Pierre Perrault and Edmé Mariotte, showed that there was enough water from evaporation and rain to explain how water reached the land and then flowed back to the sea.

Nowadays, knowledge of the water cycle is so common that we all learn about it in our first school years.

Praise be to our great God who formed the earth so carefully and thoughtfully!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: Isaiah 55:8-11

Continued: God’s Miracle: the Clouds

Bagheera Kiplingi, Wiki Commons

Bagheera the (mostly) Vegetarian Spider

Bagheera Kiplingi, Wiki Commons
Low-resolution scanned image of the cover of t...

First edition of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Remember the panther in the Jungle Book who was always worrying about Mowgli? Turns out, he has a spider named after him. This jumping spider lives in Central America and Mexico. It was given the full name of Bagheera Kiplingi after the author of the book as well.

The Bagheera was first classified in 1896 just two years after the Jungle Book came out, so I think the scientists had a case of fiction fever. Sure seems that way since they named 3 other jumping spiders after characters in the book, too! The funny thing is, unlike many other jumping spiders, the Bagheera isn’t black, it’s brown/green/red depending on if its a mom or dad.

Now, I’m going to tell you something about jumping spiders in general before I get to the Bagheera. Several years ago, our family moved into a home smack in the middle of a pasture. My husband had the delightful job of dealing with the mouse trap every morning in the Fall, and I got to take care of the Summer flies.

It didn’t take long for me to notice my little, beady-eyed helpers. The first Summer, before I knew much about jumping spiders, it was startling to get down a toy for the little ones and find a fuzzy white patch on the bottom. Once, there was even something dark inside that I figured was an egg sack (from reading Charlotte’s Web). It was as surprising for me as it was for the poor spider when I tried to wipe off it’s nest with a paper towel!

The thing I soon realized was that these spiders are very smart, alert, and harmless to people. We never got bit, even when one had moved into a seldom used coat or bed corner. By the last year we lived there, I didn’t kill my fly-eating house guests unless they started dropping down on us from the ceiling. That was just too much when I had babies! Besides, they were so smart, you had to be quick and sly to catch them before they found a hiding place.

I respected them and they respected me.

Now, the Bagheera Spider is smart and quick, too, but wouldn’t have been any help to me in my quest for a flyless house. Why? Because the Bagheera is the first spider we’ve studied that eats mostly plants!

acacia, swollen stipules are home to acacia ants

acacia, swollen stipules are home to acacia ants (Photo credit: Vilseskogen)

The swollen-thorn acacia tree of Central America has long been known as an ant feeding specialist. We’ve known about the symbiotic relationship [where both organisms help the other survive], between those two for over 50 years.

The acacia has been designed with two special things to attract ants: fat thorns that the ants hollow out to live in, and special leaflet tips, called Beltian Bodies, that are an excellent food for the ants. In return, the ants protect the tree from other plant eaters by stinging and fighting all comers.

The Beltian Bodies are really amazing. They are full of proteins and fats which provide most of the nutrients the ants need to grow and live their busy lives.

Well, we now know the ants aren’t the only ones to enjoy the benefits of these leaf tip bundles. It was just back in 2001 that modern scientists noticed there was something else taking advantage of this food source that can’t run away.

Beltian Bodies on young leaf tips

Because the Bagheeras are so smart, have good eyesight, and are quick, they manage to avoid the stinging guardians of the acacia trees. Half-a-centimeter long Bagheera spiders make their nests in older, unguarded leaves. When they get hungry, they search out the clearest path to the leaf tips, jumping over the guarding ants to grab a bite and race back to the branches the ants don’t defend.

Bagheeras are never completely vegetarian. Some populations are just like other spiders: full carnivores. Costa Rican Bagheeras eat about equal amount bugs and plants, while their Mexican cousins get about 10% of their diet from bugs. They will help themselves to things like ant larvae if they get a chance (and even turn cannibal if they’re starving), but studies of their body makeup show that almost all of it is made from the acacia’s ingredients.

Another interesting thing that I found out is that Daddy Bagheeras are the only known spiders to help care for the eggs and babies. My thought is that they don’t usually have to worry about Mom eating them for lunch, so it’s safe to hang around!

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.  Genesis 1:30,31

See more on today’s Quotes Post

I got the idea for this from Creation.com: The Vegetarian Spider

Genius of Ancient Man Book & Blog

Links: The Genius of Ancient Man Blog

Genius of Ancient Man book cover

Click to purchase with my Affiliate Link

 

Originally published October, 2013, still relevant, their blog has just gotten way bigger!

One of the most exciting things to learn about is just how smart and talented our earliest forefathers actually were.

I just started a book with my six year old on people around the world and right at the beginning they had the usual “people slowly developed from ape-like animals” story. They tell kids with all the confidence in the world how fire was accidentally discovered and then another accident inspired them to continue dropping their meat into the warming blaze.

It would be really interesting to see their sources for such statements

With my older kids I’ve been reading about inventions that changed the world. They start out with the same kinds of stories. “Accidentally”, “perhaps” a million, or “approximately” 50,000 years ago, things like the wheel and cooking were discovered, revolutionizing the poor things’ lives.

Now, the dates they give starting at about 50,000 years ago are based on actual discoveries. To find out what’s going on and how trustworthy such statements are, check out my article on Carbon Dating. But these story lines also have to ignore a huge amount of discoveries we have made about our ancestors.

Farming terraces on the eastern side of the vi...

Chinese Farming Terraces

On this blog I collected some of the cool findings I ran into over the past few years. You can check them out under the categories Ancient Technology and Ancient Civilizations. My favorite posts are the ones on Farming Terraces and the Sewers from ancient times. Not only are they really cool, they also have nothing to do with idolatry!

Recently, I haven’t been adding any more articles to these categories. Not because I lost interest, but because I haven’t been running into any more discoveries, plus….

Another Creationist group is specializing in presenting these findings in a Christ-honoring light!

Last Autumn I was thrilled to buy a copy of the new book The Genius of Ancient Man published by Master Books, but I never bothered to tell you all about it because there was very little new info (for a student of the ancients) in it. It is, however, worth having in your family library for the worldview training alone and the pictures are cool.

So, when I found Jackson Hole Bible College was continuing their research and sharing with a blog I was ecstatic! This time my excitement has been justified. Every week or so the Alumni of the school post an article about some new place, artifact, or finding illustrating our forefather’s brain power.

Even better is the manner of presentation. They are careful to use credible sources, always have a couple good pictures, and best of all, they point people to Jesus. Some of the cultures and practices of the ancients were completely sold out to sin. That didn’t mean they lost their brain power right away, it meant everything they did was corrupted.

The Genius of Ancient Man blog provides us a safe environment to learn the truth about our past

They also continue to expand their worldview training. For example, they’ve recently posted about brain power not having to be connected to technology. This will be a relief to all of us who struggle to learn computer skills others already designed let alone create new things!

Squeeze Toy Alien guarding chemicals

(Photo credit: jepoirrier)

They’ve also just taken on the popular fascination with aliens. If you (or your kids) know someone interested in the new TV series, or who just feels drawn by this subject, these articles are for you. Ancient Aliens: Part One and Part Two.

You can easily sign up to receive updates about new posts on their blog and, if you’re on facebook, follow their page. It takes a while for the new articles to show up there, but it makes it super easy to share with your friends.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9

Carbon12 Atom

Carbon Based Life Forms

Carbon12 Atom

Carbon, the 6th element in the periodic table of elements

Growing up, I would hear science fiction people talking about creatures with bodies as “carbon based life forms.” Not being good at chemistry (it’s too much like math for my taste), I didn’t understand what “carbon” had to do with anything.

Why didn’t the people who had no trouble inventing aliens with all kinds of crazy features just have them based on some other element?

What’s so special about carbon they presumed life had to use it?

It turns out carbon, the same stuff we use in our pencils, is one of the two building blocks for all life on earth. It is one of the basic elements that can’t be broken into anything smaller except protons and such. (For you Bible scholars, I found it interesting that carbon has 6 protons, electrons and neutrons. Interesting set of numbers, isn’t it?)

English: Chemical structure of methane. França...

Chemical structure of methane

There is something amazing about carbon’s ability to connect with other elements to form complicated compounds. When you compare every other element, mixing and matching liquids to help out (God uses water to do this on earth), you can’t come up with anything close to carbon.

Not only can you make a lot of different compounds out of carbon, they can be very stable. Which means they don’t just fall apart as soon as they form, so life forms can depend on their sturdy support.

Of course, there are people who so badly want there to be space aliens they insist things like ammonia and sulfur would work just fine, but see what you think. I found a perfect discussion of this at NASA where a 10th grader wrote in and asked this question. I’ll let the astrophysicist explain it to you HERE.

There are a couple of amazing pages about carbon to find out more:

Dendritics.com Properties of Carbon

Jefferson Lab: The Element Carbon

Chemicool.com: Carbon

Here are some of the coolest bits:

  • There are nearly ten million known carbon compounds and an entire branch of chemistry, known as organic chemistry, is devoted to their study.
  • More compounds are known made with carbon than without. [This means that carbon forms more compounds than the other 117 known elements put together!]
  • Pure carbon is found in nature in three forms: Lamp black [that stuff on your candle jar edges], Graphite [for pencil leads and such] and Diamond
  • in 1955 American scientist Francis Bundy and coworkers at General Electric finally demonstrated that graphite could be transformed into diamond at high temperature and high pressure.
  • Graphite, one of the softest materials known, is a form of carbon that is primarily used as a lubricant. [They have to add clay to make it hard enough for pencils]
  • Diamond, on the other hand is one of the hardest substances known to exist!

2010_11_16_Oball

Scientists have come up with a cool form of pure carbon that works a lot like one of these little kids balls. Nicknamed “buckyballs”, they have all kinds of plans for stuffing it with other molecules, and trying electric and magnetic stunts with it.

For more about this compound, aka Fullerene, see THIS PAGE from the U. of Wisc.

“No element is more essential to life than carbon, because only carbon forms strong single bonds to itself that are stable enough to resist chemical attack under ambient conditions. This give carbon the ability to form long chains and rings of atoms, which are the structural basis for many compounds that comprise the living cell, of which the most important is DNA.”

But when you send out your life-giving breath,
    things come alive, and the world is like new again!
May the LORD’s glory continue forever!

    May the LORD enjoy what he made. Psalm 104:30,31 Easy-to-read Version

 

Pronghorn WikiCommons

Pronghorns, some of God’s fastest Creatures

 

Pronghorn Male WikiCommons

A few years ago, my family was driving through Utah on our way to Seattle, and I got to watch herds of these amazing animals. We were driving I-70 trhough eastern Utah and the Pronghorns were visible in the stretch between us and the Book Cliffs. They were grazing on the few bushes and grasses left on the high plain in February.

I remember being amazed at how they could survive when the land for hundreds of miles seems to be half-frozen mud with only the occasional sage bush to break up the flatness of the valleys.

CS4K-Antilocapra_americana_range_map

Pronghorns live where the map shows green

Utah is right in the middle of Pronghorn country.  Their range runs from the central plains of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta (where Winter temps often reach -50) down through the Great Plains of the American West through Texas and over to California and on down into northern Mexico.  Like the American Bison, the Pronghorn went from abundant populations to near extinction in the early 1900s.  There are some groups that are still in trouble, but we are working to increase local populations as much as possible.  Numbers are back up near a million total, which is less than 1/30th of what they were in the 1800s.

Unlike the antelope (which they are occasionally compared to), Pronghorns really don’t like to jump, in fact, they would rather crawl under a fence than jump over even a low one.  There have been times where they almost starved because they got caught in an inclosed area and they wouldn’t jump out to the plentiful grazing beyond.  Because of this, Pronghorns have a much harder time than deer and such with all the fencing in the North American West.  This is the main reason their numbers are so low.

The other problem Pronghorns face is that they like to eat a lot of the same plants as cows and sheep.  Especially where sheep are feeding, it is difficult for Pronghorns to find enough food to stay healthy.  However, Pronghorns can eat a much greater variety of plants then these domestic animals.  They are especially fond of flowers and fruit in the Summer months and don’t have problems digesting a lot of plants that sheep and cows have to avoid.  They also don’t have to stay near water sources as God designed their systems to be very careful with water.

Pronghorn up closeTurns out these are another one of the Evolutionary-tree stumpers. This time it’s the Pronghorn’s horn/antlers that won’t fit neatly into a group of animals. The horns are made of keratin (the stuff your fingernails are made of) like a sheep’s or cow’s, rather than bone like a deer’s antlers. But late in the Fall of each year, they fall off leaving only a bony center like what you would find under a cow’s for a couple of months.

The other specialty is that the Pronghorn is the only animal with a keratin horn that is branched. That’s how they got the name “prong” horn! I even found a website discussing whether you are allowed to use a Pronghorn’s horn as a Jewish trumpet (Shofar). That would be awesome to hear (although it probably wouldn’t sound too impressive since they’re so small).

Pronghorn’s are mid-sized grazing animals.  They grow to a little over 3ft (1m) high and weigh between 75-125lb (34-57kg), with the largest being the dads.  They have really good vision with eyes nearly the size of an elephant’s and they always stay in open areas where any predator will be quickly seen and an escape path won’t be slowed down by trees.

Pronghorn runningThis brings us to their coolest feature, their speed. We all know that the Cheetah is the fastest animal still alive today, but they’d be no match for a Pronghorn. A Cheetah can only keep up their speed of 62mph (100 kph) for a couple hundred yards (meters) or they would die of overheating, but not a Pronghorn. They can run up to 55mph (88kph) and can maintain speeds of 30mph (48kph) for at least 20 miles! Only the ostrich can keep up with that kind of speed.

A mother Pronghorn takes as long to grow her babies as a human (250 days).   She usually bears twins, but although the little ones can soon run, they are vulnerable to predators and only about 2 out of 5 babies make it to grow up.  Pronghorns take just over a year to be adults and can live for up to 12 years, although that isn’t likely in the wild.

In the Summer and Fall, Pronghorns live in small groups with one dad and several moms, but the Winter is different.  Turns out my February trip was the best time of year to see the large groups that form then.  Hormone levels have dropped then, so the guys aren’t all fighting each other for the ladies!

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.  And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:24,25

Other Sites I got my info from:

US Fish and Wildlife Service: Pronghorns

National Wildlife Federation: Pronghorn

Desert USA: The Pronghorn “Entirely unique on this planet, the Pronghorn’s scientific name, Antilocapra americana, means “American antelope goat.” But the deer-like Pronghorn is neither antelope nor goat — it is the sole surviving member of an ancient family dating back 20 million years.”  Just switch that out for 6,000 years!

Great Plains Nature Center: Pronghorns “The eyes of a Pronghorn are nothing short of exceptional. They can pick up movement as far as three miles away. The eyes are located far back on the head so they can keep watch even while the head is down during feeding. Human eyes need a pair of binoculars to see as well as a Pronghorn.”

And a few details from Wikipedia: Pronghorn 

Mary Cassatt Woman reading to small child

Indoctrination and Child Abuse

STOP childhood INDOCTRINATION!
It’s CHILD ABUSE!
~Ned in an email to my website

Indoctrinate: : to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs

Child Abuse has been defined as an act, or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, S*xual Abuse, or exploitation of a child, or which places the child in an imminent risk of serious harm.

CS4K-Cassatt

Every parent teaches their children by example, word, and default environment the ideas, opinions, and beliefs. This is universal, even those who try to let their children choose freely can’t avoid exposing their children to their beliefs. It only becomes indoctrination when the second half of the equation is added. Refusal to expose them to differing opinions and beliefs is what takes the ordinary education of the next generation into the realm of indoctrination.

The facts would contest this is far more true of atheistic humanists and their constant fight to prevent children from hearing any other viewpoint than their own. How many humanists take their children to the Creation Museum or even borrow an intelligent design book from the library?

Sure, in years past there was a school of thought recommending Christian parents to only expose their kids to the Bible and believers’ materials. But this no longer the case. Very few parents I’ve interacted with hold this position. Certainly not me!

As a conscientious parent I educate my children in the area of religion fully. They know the basic tenets of Animism, Buddhism, Islam, Atheism, and Hinduism as well as Christianity. It is important for Jesus’ little ones to know the ideas held by others so they can be wise and harmless.

We read, watch, and visit many examples of alternate view points. By the time my kids are grown, they will understand the foundational principles of evolutionary thought better than the vast majority of evolutionists.

The truth has nothing to fear from the lie. The lie has much to fear from exposure to truth.

Tihamér Margitay: Boys reading an exciting story

As for the charge of abuse (which I receive regularly), I find this particular accusation so out of proportion to reality as to revolting. Some of my family members have endured many forms of child abuse from which they suffer to this day. I’ve worked with many more childhood abuse survivors as they seek to establish a healthy life for themselves decades later.

To put this in the same class as what I teach my children is irresponsibly demeaning to true victims of abuse.

————————-

Parents, this kind of accusation is becoming more common. At this point the accusers have no power to do more than insult us, but that doesn’t mean it will remain that way.

You can also expect your children to hear they were abused by you as they enter the secular world. It will be wise to give them answers.

 
Tweet: You can also expect your children to hear they were abused by you as they enter the secular world. It will be wise to give them answers.

Much prayer is needed

For more information you can check these articles:

Answers in Genesis: Is It Child Abuse to Teach Christianity to Your Children? Dawkins Thinks So

Christianity: Child Abuse? A Virus? Ken Ham

Creation Today: Is Teaching Children Creation “Child Abuse”? Eric Hovind

A whole series of videos from Creation Ministries International

I found these by using Search Creation. Answers in Genesis has been particularly vocal on this issue. Kudos!

Earth’s Atmosphere, A Superhero Walk in the Woods

Clear Evening SkyEpisode 2: What was the Holy Spirit doing while “hovering over the waters”? Why is the sky blue? These are the questions we look at today. Plus, we get to meet a superhero who likes to explore the natural world on his day off. Or, is it? Listen to find out what he does when he runs into a rattlesnake!

Genesis 1:2 has been one of my favorite verses since I was a girl. It was fun to imagine what it would have looked like to watch the Holy Spirit moving on the face of the water. Learning more about outer space has given me some good ideas of what he was up to no matter what form he took.

Episode 2 Direct Link

Find out how to listen any time anywhere HERE

I had an interesting time doing research for this show. At first it was hard to find anyone talking about how importance the atmosphere is to allowing earth to have liquid water. I found an article on Mars and how we know it can’t have liquid water on the surface because of the low atmospheric pressure and temperature.

Then I ran into a great article by Ethan Seigel talking about what happens to Water in Space. His blog has ads (it used cookies to show products I’ve searched for recently), but the pictures he has and way he covers things are great. He really helped me get my ideas together.

You can see photos people have taken of the Space Shuttle dumping water on the Satellite Observers’ community page, plus a link to NASA talking about what’s going on.

If you just want to find out more things about how good God is to us by giving us an atmosphere, check out this page:

Science Terrific: What does the Atmosphere do?

For more on what makes the sky blue:

and the milk experiments:

A glob of clear bluish glass lets orange light shine through

A glob of clear bluish glass lets orange light shine through

Causes of Color, best example pictures: Sunset in a Glass

Exploritorium has the best directions and good diagrams

Science Fun University of Wisconsin has the best large scale experiment (got an empty aquarium?) and diagram of earth’s light.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

Oh, yes, want to see our superhero, Pandaman? Here’s his portrait:

Pencil drawing of a caped and costumed smiling panda

 

 

Mossy Rock

The Wonders of Wood

English: Cabin on the RMS Queen Mary.

Cabin on the RMS Queen Mary.


My family and I have been taking daily walks through the woods this Summer. We’ve seen downed branches and trees, but many more that weathered the storms. It takes a lot to fell a healthy tree in good soil!
Which is better for building a strong home, wood or steel? Should I build my boat from wood, or some fancy, modern material? Even today these are questions builders ask because wood is something that just keeps on giving.

The question of what kind of floor to put in if you can afford whatever you want almost always leads to- wood.

What’s so special about wood that engineers still look to it as a main resource and something to copy if possible?

Wood is lightweight compared to metal and nearly as strong as steel. It has natural chemicals in it to stop microbes from growing. Wood is beautiful to look at and helps a home feel and look warm.

English: Garlaff Farm near Skares This beautif...

hedge row

It is way cheaper to produce than metal and instead of messing up the environment, preparing wood by growing trees is really good for it! Because wood can be grown on the same land over and over, it is one of the best renewable resources we have. Trees help air condition the air, encourage rain fall, stop erosion, clear pollution, and give us lots of oxygen to breath.

As long as we carefully choose the wood we buy, the farmers growing trees for us are actually improving their land and other crops at the same time. In fact, there’s a whole branch of farming studies called Agroforestry working to find the best ways to include trees into farms because they help so much.

How can a plant be so strong it is a close match to steel? To find out, you have to get down to the microscopic level (BTW, this is one of the things I love about God: the closer you look, the more amazing it gets).

A tree’s woody cells are 100 times longer than they are wide. That’s pretty skinny! You can see them in an amazing picture of wood fibers by clicking on that biomimicry link from the beginning.

If you know anything about cloth, you know the longer the fibers, the stronger the cloth. This is true for trees, too, although they aren’t being pulled apart. Although, come to think of it, we DO use wood to make cloth, it’s called Lyocell rayon (brand name: Tencel).

Sequoia sempervirens in Redwood National Park

Sequoia sempervirens in Redwood National Park

Wood cells also have really thick outer walls to hold everything in place. Long before we chop it down to make a table, that tree was holding itself up a lot higher than we ever grow. Think of a redwood reaching hundreds of feet [60+ m] into the air. Even ordinary trees reach close to 100 ft [30+ m] tall when full grown. Their woody cells make this height possible.

These cells are designed to carry huge amounts of weight without getting squashed or bending over. Engineers call this “tensile strength”. Have you heard of PSI, or “pounds per square inch” [sorry, I didn’t search for a metric site, just think “x453 grams per square 2.54 cm”]? Check out this list of wood’s psi strength:

Willow, Black 4,100 psi

Pine, Lodgepole 5,370 psi

Maple, Bigleaf 5,950 psi

Beech, American 7,300 psi

How much do you think you could pile on your head before collapsing?

God was very good to us and everything living on our planet by giving us trees. Every time you see a tree, sit on a wooden chair, or write in your school books, you know just whom to thank for His amazing gift.

And the earth brought forth… the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. Genesis 1:12-13

More links to check out:

Plane and simple

Plane and simple (Photo credit: rich13)

Woodworking page with great microscopic photos of wood showing grain and resin pores.

How much weight can a 1/4 inch [.63 cm] thick piece of wood hold up? Find out HERE

Easy and barely messy experiment to see how strong wood is: Paper Rope

For more on why wood is so great to work with you can read this page on the Properties of Wood and Timber

Click HERE to read a long list of why using wood is so wonderful. They say the same thing several times and are evolutionists, but what they say about today is pretty good

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PlatanistaHardwicke.jpg

River (Fresh Water) Dolphins: Part 2

Apure (* ca. 1957; † 9. Oktober 2006 in Duisbu...

Continued from Part 1:

Let’s start with the Amazon/Pink River Dolphin’s first cousins, the Bolivian River Dolphin.  They live in the same river system (in the Madeira, a tributary of the Amazon), but up a  225 mile (360km) stretch of 18 rapids. I couldn’t find the height of the falls/rapids they are talking about, but this blog post will give you an idea of how much of a drop there is in places.

How did they get there?  National Geographic says that there was a drought about 100,000 years ago that stopped the Bolivian sub-group from mingling with the rest of the Amazon Dolphins.  That would have been some “drought”!

We don’t have to make such speculations since we know these dolphins settled into their current location between the Flood’s peak and the end of the Ice Age.  Having been separated all this time (around 4,000+ years), they are different enough from their downriver cousins to be classified as a separate “sub-species” now.

There are several other River/Brackish Water Dolphins along the South American coast.  The La Plata or Franciscana Dolphin has members in the ocean, in the mouths of rivers around the Southeastern coast and up river far enough to be considered River Dolphins.  They have dorsal fins like ocean dolphins, but long snouts and flexible necks like River Dolphins.

All River Dolphins are at risk of going extinct because their homes are limited to one area, so if something happens to their particular river, they’re stuck!

The Dolphins of South America are not being treated meanly on purpose (except for some stories of fishermen using their meat as bait), but accidents happen when people are around, and you saw in Part 1 how long it takes for a new generation of young dolphins to replace killed ones.

In South America there is bootleg gold mining going on which leaches mercury into the water to the fish. When the Dolphins eat these fish, they get high doses of mercury and can die out in that area.  Of course, mercury in the water isn’t good for people either, so the governments of these places are working to stop this from happening.

The River Dolphins of South Asia aren’t doing so well, though.  The Baiji (Buy-G) or Yangtze Dolphin hasn’t been seen for sure since before 2007.  It looked a lot like the South American River Dolphins but was bluish-gray in color.  Adults could be so pale that they were called the White Dolphin.  Scientists figure that even if a few of these shy animals are still living, there aren’t enough to rebuild a healthy population again. Because of the thoughtlessness and poverty of people along the Yangtze river, we’ve lost another animal to the fossil record.

In Southwest Asia live the Indus River and Ganges River Dolphins. I don’t have room to write more about them, so be sure to follow the links to see where they live. They are also endangered with numbers of only a little over a thousand of each group.

These River Dolphins are known for being very slow swimmers with eyes that have no lenses so they’re almost blind.  So, what they do is swim on their sides at the bottom of the river and open their mouthes when they feel and hear something to eat ahead.  Like other River Dolphins they like fish, shrimp and other crunchy things that live along the river bottoms.

Kratié in Cambodia Irrawaddy Dolphin

Kratié in Cambodia Irrawaddy Dolphin

Besides these groups of properly titled River Dolphins, the Solari (aka Tucuxi, see Part 1) of the Amazon and the Irrawaddy dolphin of South Asia also live in rivers and their deltas.  But these are both classified as part of the group of ocean living dolphins.  In fact, both of these varieties have saltwater cousins.  They have dorsal fins and don’t have extra long snouts like most River Dolphins.

Here are today’s Evolutionist quotes (I promise I’m not hunting for these, they just keep coming up!):  “They [River Dolphins] are perplexing creatures, having both some of the most advanced characteristics of all living cetaceans and some evolutionary holdovers from many eons past.”  From Think Quest

“The ancestor of the Yangtze river dolphin resided in the shallow sea that inundated the Yangtze River Basin during the globally high sea levels of the Middle Miocene period (approximately 20 million years ago).”  From NOAA Fisheries.

They’re quite right, all you have to do is take out about 19.9957 million years!

Check out great pictures in National Geographic’s Photo Article about River Dolphins (and Porpoises)

Plus, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts….  These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.  That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. Psalm 104:25-30

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. Ezekiel 47:8,9

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amazonas_Flussdelfin_Apure_Orinoco_Duisburg_07.jpg

River (Fresh Water) Dolphins: Part 1

English: Pink dolphin en Singapure

Pink river dolphin

Several years ago, I learned about the Amazon River dolphins (and sharks) while watching a nature program.  It is always fascinating to learn about creatures who live in unexpected places.  What I didn’t learn until much later was that there are more fresh water dolphins around the world (but that will have to wait until next time)!

We’ll start with the Boto, or Pink River Dolphin of the Amazon, since they are the largest group.  As you can see in the picture, some of these dolphins are kind of pink, but they come in a lot of other colors, too.  Young Amazon dolphins are dark gray on top and lighter gray underneath.  Most adult female are a shade of light gray.  Turns out the pink color is from scarring that the males get by fighting each other.  Tell that to your mom and she won’t be surprised.  Tell your dad what color they turn when they scar and he might not be too happy! 😀

channel-billed toucan watches amazon river dolphin

channel-billed toucan watches amazon river dolphin (Photo credit: Joachim S. Müller)

One of the things you’ll notice about most river dolphins is that they don’t have high dorsal (backbone) fins.  I’m sure God made them that way because they would tend to get caught on tree roots and things in their crowded environments. The one river dolphin that does have a dorsal fin is the Tucuxis, Sotalia (aka Gray River Dolphin) which lives near the end of the Amazon and is almost the same as its ocean neighbors.

Another feature He gave the Amazon River Dolphin is that they keep their chin hairs, which all dolphins are born with to help them locate food.  River Dolphins also have longer snouts than their ocean cousins and have larger forehead “melons” which help them to use echolocation to find fish in muddy water.

The Creator also provided River Dolphins with both cone and flat molar teeth (ocean dolphins only have cone-shaped teeth).  This helps them eat a large variety of food mostly over 50 types of fish including piranhas, plus the occasional crustacean or even turtle.

The Amazon River Dolphin is the largest of the freshwater dolphins with the biggest adult measured today 249 cm (8’2″) long and weighing185 kg (407lb)!  Most are quite a bit smaller with the biggest female measuring 216 cm (7’1″) and 142 kg (312lb).  An average female is  only about 1.8m (5′ 10″).  The Gray River Dolphin is even smaller, averaging 1.5 m (4’11”).

A mother River Dolphin only has a baby every 4-5 years.  They carry their babies for about 10 to 11 months before giving birth.  God timed the baby’s coming for May/June so Mom has the most plentiful food when Baby needs her the most. They have single babies that are about 80cm (31in) long and weigh around 6.8kg (15lb) at birth.  Like other water mammals, the mother helps her baby get to the surface to breath and feeds her baby milk for a few months.  The little one doesn’t leave its mother, though, sometimes staying with her for several years.

Males are often solitary, enjoying the bigger prey in the deeper parts of the river. Females tend to prefer the safer back waters where it is shallower until these dry up and force them back into the rivers and lakes until next flood season.  But, a bit like the large groups that ocean dolphins form, River Dolphins sometimes live as a family unit with Dad, Mom and Baby. There have also been sightings of small family groups of dad, mom, baby and older sister living together.

More about other River Dolphins in Part Two!

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:21 

Other sites I used to research this post:

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society: River Dolphins

Marine Biology: Amazon River Dolphin