DNR weekend reading: Buggy Christmas trees, oldest timber construction, Russian earthquake dangers, and more!

Flodelle Campground
The Little Pend Oreille River near Flodelle Campground, a DNR-managed recreation site in northeastern Washington State. Photo: Kyle Pomrankey/DNR.

Here are links to reading selections about climate, wildlife, the environment and other science news published recently by science journals, universities, websites, and other sources.

Science Daily: Bugs in the Christmas Tree
Your Christmas tree may be adorned with lights and glitter. But some 25,000 insects, mites, and spiders (on average) are sound asleep inside the tree. Most don’t live off of the tree, only in it, and will quickly dry out and die when brought  indoors. They usually do not cause damage and are never seen by the homeowner…  but they are there.

University of Freiburg: The Age of the World’s Oldest Timber Constructions is determined
A research team has succeeded in precisely dating four water wells whose wooden liners are the oldest known timber constructions in the world. Built between 5206 and 5098 BC, the wooden structures were built by the first Central European agricultural civilization and feature sophisticated wood working techniques, including complex corner (mortise and tenon) joints — all done with stone tools.

Environment 360: How Data and Social Pressure Can Reduce Home Energy Use
The relationship between utilities and their customers are changing in unprecedented ways, including the rise of new companies deploying vast amounts of data and social psychology techniques to try to persuade people to use less electricity in their homes

University of Washington: Russian Far East holds seismic hazards that could threaten Pacific Basin
But research in the last 20 years has shown that the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands are a seismic and volcanic hotbed, with a potential to trigger tsunamis that pose a risk to the rest of the Pacific Basin, including the Washington state’s Pacific coast.

University of Washington: Plumes across the Pacific deliver thousands of microbial species to West Coast
Analyzing samples from two large dust plumes originating in Asia in the spring of 2011, UW scientists detected a surprising number of microorganisms – more than 2,100 unique species — the biggest gap on the planet. Hitching rides in the upper troposphere, they’re making their way from Asia across the Pacific Ocean and landing in North America.

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