Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When I tell people what the weather is like in Nebraska, I like to mention that tornadoes are common. Tornadoes are rare in most of Europe, so the idea of being confronted with severe weather year after year is a bit strange for people here. I assure them, though, that tornadoes affect very small areas and therefore rarely do any damage in highly populated areas. I might have to stop saying that for awhile, because on Sunday a tornado touched down in southwest Omaha. Here is the article from the local paper. In my 22 years of living in Nebraska, I cannot remember another tornado that came this close to my parent's house. A few miles further north, and the tornado would have touched down on top of my parent's house. Wild.

Friday, June 06, 2008

No risk, no fun...so they say. Several researchers here at the institute are doing experiments in which they erect fish enclosures in the Groesser Ploener See, the large lake in Ploen. Basically, they raise the fish in the lab, then stick them in these enclosures in the lake to see which parasites they get and how well the reproduce. While erecting the enclosures for this year's experiments, they came across a WWII-era bomb (see pic). Apparently, towards the end of the war, a whole heap of ammunition was dumped in the lake, and bombs and other explosive knick-knacks periodically wash into the shallows. The chances of this bomb exploding were very slim. It had been underwater for over 60 years. Nonetheless, bombs in the lake do add a tad bit more excitement to experiments in fish evolutionary biology.