Who’s Killing Australia’s Platypuses? #Australia #nature #poaching #poetry #poem

Three platypuses in Australia were ‘deliberately killed’ in the last few weeks, and two of the animals were found beheaded in what wildlife officials are calling a ‘horrific act of cruelty.’ time.com

Horrible! In honor of the platypus, I’m reposting an old favorite.

Victorians called her primitive,Platypus-sketch
A mammal under-done,
Chimera of cold austral streams,
Life’s ladder, on a lower rung.
With lizard bones and otter fur
That’s waterproof and soft as silk.
Laying eggs as lizards do,
Then nursing babes on milk.
She hunts her prey in bottom mud
With tactile snout exquisite;
More delicate than human touch,
She senses nerve cells with it.
Life branches out a thousand ways,
Ignores our human urge
For categories neat and trim.
Nature’s on a splurge:
Formed a creature that’s most elegant,
Beauty’s her attraction.
Admire now the platypus,
A honey of adaption.

by Kate Rauner

More science inspired poetry

Faith Meets Death From Forgotten Past to Today #poem #poetry #anthropology #death

Grave Goods

Museum replica of Viking burial inside a ship as coffin

Found in their graves
From ancient times old,
All they possessed
In silver and gold.

Their weapons and tools
And their finest clothes
Would somehow transcend
To follow their souls.

This marks us as human –
Where our bodies lie
The pollen of flowers
Bloomed over goodbyes.

What will you take
With you when you die?
To a hole in the earth
That leads to the sky?

By Kate Rauner

All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. The second edition of Rhyme and Reason is available now – newly expanded with more poems from physics, biology, learning, and more. Now on Amazon and all your favorite on-line stores.

 There are so many archeological studies of burials it’s hard to pick one, but a recent article inspired this poem. Read about a Neanderthal flower burial – maybe – at wikipedia.org

Focus on a Sign of Spring #Haiku #poem #poetry #insect #spring

First roly poly
Creeps from the thawing compost
A true sign of spring

by Kate Rauner

 

 

 

Pill bugs, roly polies or doodle bugs – much nicer names than woodlouse

Bug images licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Mystery of Dark Matter May Be Explained by Showing It’s Not There #poem #poetry #Physics #gravity

cosmos_3d_dark_matter_map

There is evidence for dark matter. Weak gravitational lensing data from the Hubble Space Telescope imply this distribution of dark matter.

You and I are special
Along with all we view,
Just one in five of all that is
From this stellar clue.

The galaxy of the Milky Way,
Rotating fast, should scatter.
Based on the mass of stars we see
There must be hidden matter.

For decades we’ve accepted
This mystery profound.
It’s central to the notions
That cosmologists expound.

But data’s always coming in
As telescopes get better,
Till movements of the stars
Are described by normal matter.

Perhaps it’s relativity
That we don’t comprehend.
The shape of space and gravity
Were never quantum’s friend.

So what’s the answer when
Disagreement is so keen?
Why, get more data till we know.
God’s subtle but not mean.

by Kate Rauner

Christian Moni-Bidin, an astronomer at the University of Concepción in Chile, and his coauthors have a forthcoming paper in the Astrophysical Journal. Based on the hundreds of stars, all within 13,000 light-years of Earth, visible material explains their motion. Unseen dark matter isn’t needed, at least not this close to Earth.

The next step is to replicate the calculations for millions of stars. If dark matter really doesn’t exists, then gravity is messier than either Newton or Einstein realized.

Thanks to Albert Einstein for the quote in that last line, and to livescience.com for their article.

Fascinating Clues to Concealed Life in the Asteroid Belt #poem #poetry #science #space

Ceres in natural color, as imaged by the spacecraft Dawn

Ceres in natural color, as imaged by the spacecraft Dawn

Between Mars and Jupiter,
Scattered asteroids
Orbit in a frozen belt
Of atmosphere devoid.

We found organic molecules,
The building blocks of life,
A tar-like concentration
Within a crater rife.

It’s Ceres, a dwarf planet,
With brightened crater bowls,
Where water ice is common
Beneath its axis poles.

This rock retains internal heat
From the dawn of time
To power unseen chemistry
Beneath its blackened grime.

Wherever’s liquid water
And heat for energy,
Where chemistry is active
To battle entropy,
There could be life abundant
In briny buried seas,
Beneath thick crusts of ice
On Callisto
or Ganymede.

Or Titan, or Europa.
Perhaps Enceladus.
High in Venusian air,
Or under Martian dust.

Ceres now has joined the list
Of where we must explore
To seek our solar system kin
Upon outlandish shores.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to space.com and NASA’s spacecraft Dawn.

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Fascinating Light Curves Conquer Mystery of Exoplanets #star #space #astronomy #poem #poetry

Bingo! A planet!

Bingo! A planet!

Search for exoplanets –
such a romantic story.
Find other globes round other stars
a feat that’s extrasensory.

For it’s beyond a human eye
to view transits ephemeris.
Telescopes and cameras
are what we need to see this.

A light curve like a trail of dust
blown through a window crack,
or scattered grains of sand
dribbled from a carried sack.

A blur of readings suddenly
drops down a tiny bit.
Almost imperceptibly
a planet is, in photons, writ.

You can see beyond your eyes
and hear beyond your ears,
and reach beyond your outstretched hands
to mysteries like these.

by Kate Rauner

Learn more at wikipedia and find one of the latest discoveries at phys.org/news

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Limusaurus Mud Lizard Needs Dentures #poem #poetry #dinosaur #nature #fossil

limusaurus_size

I’d peck your kneecaps off – if I wasn’t dead for 160 million years

As dinosaurs evolved to birds
Their teeth reduced and disappeared,
Though some kept jaw bones jagged sharp –
A modern goose is to be feared!

Teeth seem to be so useful
To hunting and to dine
That penguins have a toothed tongue,
Some modern chicks boast oral spines.

One hundred million years ago
Limusaurs did not concur.
They dropped their teeth in adult days,
A smooth beak they preferred.

Wholly unexpected
And never seen before,
Fossils show that babies grew
And lost their teeth that tore.

More strange discoveries await
As fossils come to hand
To show us that surprising beasts
Once stalked across the land.

by Kate Rauner

Thanks to sciencemag.org for this news.

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.