May 9, 2012

Eco-Friendly Pesticides... From the Kitchen

Several botanical pesticide companies have been funding studies that investigate natural, safe alternatives to chemical pesticides for use in organic gardening and farming.

"We are exploring the potential use of natural pesticides based on plant essential oils — commonly used in foods and beverages as flavorings," says study presenter Murray Isman, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia. These new pesticides are generally a mixture of tiny amounts of two to four different spices diluted in water. Some kill insects outright, while others repel them.

Lavender, basil, bergamot, patchouli oil, and at least a dozen other oils from exotic plant sources in China have been checked out for their natural pesticide possibilities." These products expand the limited arsenal of organic growers to combat pests," Isman explained to e! Science News. "They're still only a small piece of the insecticide market, but they're growing and gaining momentum."

May 1, 2012

The Super Moon of May 2012

By NASA ScienceCasts

Another "Super Moon" is about to appear. The Perigee full Moon, visible on May 5th, 2012, will be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of 2012. Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the moon's orbit around the earth. The Perigee moon is about 50,000 kilometers closer to earth than the other end of the elipse, or Apogee. Full moons that appear on the Perigee side of the moon's orbit appear extra big and bright. The biggest and brightest Perigee full moon will be visible from North America on May 5th, at 11:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time. The spectacle of the Perigee full moon is best seen when the moon is near the horizon because low-hanging full moons give the impression of being especially large when viewed through trees, buildings, and other foreground objects. For more information and some spectacular photography, enjoy the video below, brought to you by the folks at NASA Science. Then, check out the Super Moon on May 5th, 2012.