Flying Dogs and Amorous Anteaters

Publication: MSN/SwitchYard Media   Date: May 11, 2010   View Article

It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.” — Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Is a speedy caterpillar that can accurately forecast the winter weather lacking in smarts? Is a dog that surfs stupid?< ?p>

The protagonist in Mark Twain’s 1906 essay “What is Man” might be pleased to know that thousands of Americans routinely sharpen their perceptions at shows and festivals around the country that showcase the beauty, intellect, and physical prowess that abounds in nature.

Earth Day Pictures: Quirky Ways to Mark the Day

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 20, 2009   View Article

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide each year on April 22, prompting environmental groups and businesses to pull off a host of sometimes unusual stunts to draw attention to their causes and green initiatives. Check out eight of them.

10 spring flings with science

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: March 19, 2009   View Article

Spring, the season of fertility and frivolous flings, is a bounty for science as well. Learn about the science of spring from festivals to floods.

Hawaiian New Year a Melting Pot of Traditions

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 28, 2006   View Article

The New Year will arrive on the Hawaiian Islands with loads of bang, food, and good luck, according to local experts.

The Pacific Ocean islands are home to a culturally and ethnically diverse group of people that have created a unique set of New Year’s traditions, explained DeSoto Brown, the collection manager of the Bishop Museum archives in Honolulu.

Christmas Eve Bonfires Light Up Louisiana Levees

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 21, 2006   View Article

Santa Claus and churchgoers traveling to midnight mass should have no trouble finding their way along Louisiana’s levees this Christmas Eve.

More than a hundred towering bonfires will light the way, as they have every year for at least a century.

Revelers Revive African-American Holiday of Jonkonnu

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 16, 2005   View Article

For a few nights each December, revelers dressed in furs and rags lend a festive air to New Bern, North Carolina, as they celebrate the African- American holiday of Jonkonnu.

Jonkonnu is a festival with roots in Caribbean, West African, and English traditions, originally celebrated in the U.S. by African Americans in the 19th century.

Fireworks, Lights, Brighten Diwali Hindu Festival

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 28, 2005   View Article

On Tuesday, fireworks and festive lights will brighten the moonless night as an estimated billion followers of the Hindu religion around the world celebrate Diwali, the festival of light.

Diwali may be news to many U.S. residents, but “it is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world, being a national holiday in India, Fiji, [Nepal], and Trinidad,” G. Padmanabhan of the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing, New York, said in an e-mail interview.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach