Agriculture is widely considered the start of humanity living in large, closely inhabited settlements as opposed to small nomadic tribes. With any behavioral change, there is a cost-benefit. We are currently experiencing a real-time cost-benefit of living in an agricultural society with the development of the coronavirus pandemic. Social living has increased humanity’s ability to do just about everything including pathogen (bacterium, virus, disease causing microorganism) transmission.
However, humanity is not the only agricultural society successfully living on Earth today. If we look closely—very closely—there are tiny, yet massively populated societies facing the same pathogen transmission challenges.
Some of these societies have developed unique strategies to protect themselves—like a certain species of aphids whose soldiers explode their abdomens to seal and defend their colony from disease threats.
Others employ versions that we see in human communities, like developing a diverse gut microbiome for strong immune systems.
Taking a closer look at social insect models could be the key to unlocking more effective human strategies for pathogen management.
“Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe,” stated astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei.
And just like everything in nature and the cosmos, trees have a mathematical language too.
A scientist at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and his colleagues are tapping into the language of trees to produce more reliably classed wood products—from evaluating and grading structural timber to wood-based composite materials (veneer, laminated veneer lumber, and glued laminated timber).
The urban jungle could one day be a forest of invisible trees.
The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) is pushing the technological concepts of science fiction into reality. A scientist at FPL is helping progress the feasible development of an alternative transparent material to glass that is made from wood.
Imagine a trail dipping below a steep valley edge surrounded by lush, verdant greens. A brook chatters below and in its soft watery tones invites hikers to a moment of relaxation and communion. The breeze is soft and sweet as the leaf canopy dances in unison overhead. It is idyllic and accessible because of the wooden boardwalk solidly supporting each who visit this natural wonder.
This boardwalk and others like it can be found in many natural areas. But it is made possible by pressure-treated wood, a building material that when processed with the correct preservatives, often outlasts and outperforms durability estimates and usefulness before it can biologically deteriorate.
For a blog on wood research, Lab Notes features a surprising amount of posts about sports.
Our researchers’ work has touched the world of basketball because of the floors, baseball because of the bats, and bowling because of the pins (and maybe also because we’re located in Wisconsin, home to more bowling alleys than any other state in the nation).
It’s bowling that gets a mention again today, after librarian Julie Blankenburg found a few gems in the historic records of the FPL library, photos of a team from 1920 and a bowling banquet.