Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cycling Europe

For three weeks in June, we cycled from Genoa, Italy to Gothenburg, Sweden. In total that amounts to nearly 2100 km. A long trip for sure, but one in which we were able to see a huge portion of Europe. Along the way, we made a few species profiles and updates. Here are the highlights.

Video Update #1 - Italy
Italy was extremely cool. We started the trip on the coast and immediately went over the Appenine mountains. From there we cycled the flat rice paddy fields near Milan. Soon though, we hit the Alps!  All of Italy, only took us 3 days to bike through.

Our first species profile: Brassica oleracea ...


Video Update #2 - Switzerland

Switzerland was one of the most beautiful that we've ever seen and definitely the highlight of our trip through  Europe. Of particular interest was the huge mountain passes, like Gothard Pass in southern Switzerland.

Video Update #3 - Germany

At some stage, the entire trip started to take a toll on everyone. I made this video update to help show what it was really like on the trip. We're not super-human, but we do like telling it the way it was. In this case, it was a difficult section of the trip, accompanied by a lot of rain and cold conditions.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wicked Plants - Weeds of Mass Destruction

My name is Rob Nelson, and I've been interested in marine science my whole life. Fish were my world. However, sometime in college I remember thinking that I know nothing about plants. They became one of my newfound passions, leading me to film and document them for over 10 years now. 

I can tell you that there are some amazing plants in this world. In the plant kingdom, most of us imagine passive green leafy-beings. I know I did. Not many of us think of them as invaders, murderers or traps. Yet, the plant kingdom contains just as many killers and oddities as one can find in the animal kingdom. In fact, I'd probably argue there are more. You see, plants can't move, so they only defense is in the toxins they produce. While I want to profile all different types of this world's wicked plants, I think we need to start simple. In this week's science podcast, we've started by profiling the invasive plants...

I made an entire webpage about this of course. Check out our page on the Top Ten Most Unusual and Wicked Plants. 

Caught in a Tornado

A couple years ago, when we were filming our middle grades science series for Pearson Publishing, Haley and I were tracking tornadoes with storm chasers in Oklahoma. After a month of driving countless miles through the plains, we still hadn't really seen a good twister. So, we took a week off. I wasn't checking the weather and decided to go for a nice little jog at my parents house in Dallas. Low and behold, the tornado sirens started going off. I looked up and there was rotation in the clouds! I ran into the house, grabbed the camera and took off with Haley to look for a tornado. Unfortunately, we didn't read it quite right and got stuck in the middle of the twister. Here is this week's podcast, that talks about what each level of tornado damage actually means.

And if you're still interested in this, you should check out the unedited Flower Mound tornado footage, describing exactly what happened.