Author Archives: Bix

US Drought Monitor

The map is interactive. I think you can get down to the state level by clicking it. This is just a recent screen shot:

Source: University of Nebraska

The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is each Tuesday at 8 a.m. EDT. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Thanks to Bill.

Cicada 17-Year Brood X, There Are So Many!

This is a tree next to our house, one of several, trees not houses, with cicada shells piled up. The tree barks are teeming with them, crawling up slowly and ditching their exoskeletons on the way up to perch on branches above and sing. How many are there, maybe millions? It is SO LOUD, from dawn to dusk. And they don’t cycle in and out like our typical fall cicadas. It’s a continuous chorus. It sounds almost exactly like the phasers on the old Star Trek series.

They’re Herrrrreeee… (Cicada Brood X)

Saw these on my walk this morning. Empty cicada shells. It’s just the beginning. Pretty soon there will be so many we’ll be sweeping them away.

A close-up. The people in the house where I saw them had their tree taken down. So, when the cicada nymphs emerge after 17 years and want to climb, they pick the nearest vertical object, in this case a blade of grass.

These next two photos show the holes that are appearing beneath trees, near the roots. They’re about 1/2 inch in diameter. Dug by the nymphs that were in the shells above.

I can’t believe I lucked out and saw some adults! They’re close to 2 inches long. They aren’t singing yet. I can’t wait.

Eye Yoga

4 Yoga Exercises for Eye Strain, Claudia Cummins, Yoga International

I added a brief description under each exercise. You can visit her article for more detail.

1. Palming
Rub your hands together for 10 to 15 seconds until they feel warm. Then gently place your hands over your eyes, with the fingertips resting on the forehead, the palms over the eyes, and the heels of the hands resting on the cheeks. Don’t touch the eyeballs directly.

An example of palming, not part of her article but helpful:

2. Eye Rolling
Without moving your head, direct your gaze up toward the ceiling. Then slowly circle your eyes in a clockwise direction, tracing as large a circle as possible. Repeat 3 times. Perform the same eye-rolling movement three times in a counterclockwise direction.

3. Focus Shifting
Hold one arm straight out in front of you in a loose fist, with the thumb pointing up. Focus on your thumb. While keeping your eyes trained on it, slowly move the thumb toward your nose until you can no longer focus clearly on it. Pause for a breath or two, and then lengthen the arm back to its original outstretched position, while maintaining focus on the thumb. Repeat up to 10 times.

4. Distance Gazing
Rest your gaze on a distant object (if you’re indoors, look out a window, if you can). Focus on the object as clearly as possible, while staying relaxed in the eyes and face. Slowly shift your gaze to another distant object around you.

I like this video. Nothing extraneous. He even includes one for eye bags at the end.

Cicada Shell

About 4 days ago I found this lying on the sidewalk next to a big tree. It’s the shell of a cicada. The adult crawled out of it and probably climbed up the tree. Oh. No.

I recall these from 17 years ago. The noise. It was louder than standing next to a lawnmower. And it was eerie! You couldn’t get away from it. Go inside, shut the windows. Nope.

For 17 years, cicadas do very little. They hang out in the ground, sucking sugar out of tree roots. Then, following this absurdly long hibernation, they emerge from the ground, sprout wings, make a ton of noise, have sex, and die within a few weeks. Their orphan progeny will then return to the ground and live the next 17 years in silence.

What they look like as adults (from Vox, as is the text above):

David Attenborough says the noise is earsplitting. Yep. Below he shows (audio too) what it’s like when billions emerge from the ground. It’s something else. No one knows exactly how they count the 17 years. “Astonishing” is the word Attenborough uses.

Study: Japanese Women Triple Their Risk Of Dying From Cancer If They Eat More Than 2 Eggs A Day

Eggs are layed by female hens. That makes females valuable; males not as valuable. For every egg-laying hen, approximately one male chick is killed as a newborn. Worldwide, around 7 billion male chicks are killed each year … because they don’t lay eggs.

Before I leave the topic of eggs:

Re-Evaluation Of The Associations Of Egg Intake With Serum Total Cholesterol And Cause-Specific And Total Mortality In Japanese Women, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2018

Japanese women consuming more than 2 eggs per day (compared to 1 egg/day) DOUBLED their risk of dying from any cause and TRIPLED their risk of dying from cancer.

Conclusions: Egg intake was associated with cancer and total mortality. Reducing egg intake may have some definitive health benefits in women in Japan, at least.

Japanese data set, Japanese researchers. We have to go to a country where research is not dominated by industry for more objectivity.

New Study: Eating Eggs Shorten Life

These authors took on this study because, they said:

“… the relation between egg intake and health outcomes is still controversial.”

The only reason it’s still controversial is because the egg industry has sponsored studies that purport the relation is still controversial. It isn’t.

Eating eggs kills us sooner, as the following new study, among many others shows:

Egg Consumption And Risk Of All-Cause And Cause-Specific Mortality In An Italian Adult Population, European Journal of Nutrition, March 2021

They found that eating just 2-4 eggs a week increased risk for an early death from all causes, including cancer and heart disease. And just ONE egg a week increased mortality if someone had high blood pressure or high cholesterol.