Short stories

ShortStories

The crabapple treeThis happened here in our town. A friend of mine—we were on the cheerleading team together—married a local farmer, and right away they wanted to have a baby, though the doctor said she shouldn’t. She was a bleeder, he said, and if she started he might not be able to stop it. But she didn’t listen. She went ahead and got pregnant, then bled to death during childbirth and was buried out by the farmhouse, under a crabapple tree. It was very sad. I cried for a week. But the baby survived, a pretty little boy; his dad called him Dickie-boy, but I don’t know if that was his real name. Read  more of the story by Robert Coover at The New Yorker.

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Research News – 7

My research work focuses on first and second generation ethanol. The scientific community are large are bioprospecting for better cellulases and lignocellulose decontructors. Termites, although a nuisance when it shares its space with humans, could be a welcome guest for others.

Termite mounds can increase the robustness of dryland ecosystems to climatic change

Spotty vegetation patterns in tropical savannas and grasslands can be a warning sign of imminent desertification. However, Bonachela et al. find that termites can also produce spotty patterns. Their theoretical study, confirmed by field data from Kenya, shows that patterns produced by termite mounds are not harbingers of desertification. Indeed, the presence of termites buffers these ecosystems against climate change.

Editor’s summary, Science magazine.

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