Two Notebook friends in the Netherlands sent along images of the unique and environmentally friendly bridge above, which allows visitors to cross a moat to reach Fort de Roovere, a 17th century Dutch defensive installation. Built of a sustainable wood product called Accoya (which is made of renewable soft wood but is said to be as durable as the sturdiest tropical hardwood), it's officially called the Trench Bridge but has been nicknamed the Moses Bridge because it parts the waters. It was designed by RO & AD Architects, a Dutch firm, which didn't want to spoil the historical look of the fortess with an above-water bridge. Indeed, if the moat is viewed from afar, according to our Dutch friends, the bridge vanishes from sight.
With the world's oceans rising, and half of the country's land less than a meter above sea level, the up-to-the-lip-in-water bridge also seems like a metaphor for the precarious coastal setting of the Netherlands in an age of climate change.
Meet Our Whales
I mentioned last month that whales make great holiday gifts. Hard to wrap, but they're beautiful, educational and inspiring. We just gave ourselves two of them.
Allied Whale and the Bar Harbor Whale Museum have an adopt-a-whale program that helps fund their research into these magnificent, at-risk mammals (whose distant ancestors walked on land, by the way). For the Notebook we decided to adopt two finback whales, a mother and a calf, who have been named Acadia and Schoodic. Finbacks can grow 60 feet long, which I think is longer than The Naturalist's Notebook building in Seal Harbor. Here is the description of our duo on the adopt-a-whale website:
"Acadia is recognizable to researchers by a nick in her dorsal fin in the shape of a half moon. She has been frequently photographed off the coast of Maine. Her calf, Schoodic, was born in 2003 and was named for Maine’s Schoodic Peninsula, part of Acadia National Park."
We'll keep you posted on our adoptees' latest whales' tales. If you'd like to look into adopting a whale of your own, go to http://www.barharborwhalemuseum.org/adopt2.php.
An Animated Collection A good book comes to life when you read it. But apparently books can be even livelier when left alone. After watching the video below, I might need to put a hidden camera on the more than 1,000 titles that are spending the winter at the Notebook. Perhaps they haven't been hibernating.
The Toronto Zoo has done a series of a funny animated ads. Whether you like or hate zoos, I think you'll enjoy the two clever clips below.
Answers to the Last Puzzlers
1) The inner core of the Earth is solid. The diagram below (courtesy of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) gives you a cross-section of our planetary home:
2) Loofah sponges are made from a fruit that grows on a subtropical vine.
Answers will appear in the next post.
1) Study the map below of South America. What happens in the 26,000-foot-deep Peru-Chile Trench?
a) Two of the Earth's geologic plates meet, and one slides under the other
b) A strong southward current pulls warm tropical water down to Antarctica
c) Nothing. It is the only section of ocean in which no form of life exists.
2) How fast does a typical raindrop fall?
a) 7 mph
b) 14 mph
c) 20 mph
3) We've all heard of Google. Have you heard of a googol? It's a large number whose name was invented in the 1930s by a mathematician's nine-year-old nephew. How big is a googol?
a) a 1 followed by 20 zeroes
b) a 1 followed by 100 zeroes
c) a 1 followed by 1,000 zeroes
Trivia note: Google's name is taken from the word googol and is meant to reflect the large quantity of information Google allows computer users to search.