Do You Know that America Exports Date Fruits?

Thursday, May 16, 2019
A date fruit tree sold by Etsy, US$ 2.31 per small tree

I thought that date fruits come from certain countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa only. The fact that the following top 10 countries produce dates are from these regions. They are:

01) Egypt, yearly production 1.1 million tons
02) Iran, yearly production 0.95 million tons
03) Saudi Arabia, yearly production 0.84 million tons
04) Iraq, yearly production 0.68 million tons
05) Pakistan, yearly production 0.56 million tons
06) United Arab Emirat, yearly production 0.53 million tons
07) Algeria, yearly production 0.49 million tons
08) Sudan, yearly production 0.44 million tons
09) South Sudan, yearly production 0.43 million tons
10) Oman, yearly production 0.24 million tons

Dates sold in Walmart

Quite lately, I knew that America produces date fruits too. Date trees are growing well in some hot places such as Southern Florida, Southern California and Arizona.

California produced 35 thousand tons (70 million pounds) of dates, around 90% of dates in America.

Production quite small compared to top 10 countries date production. However, it is surprising that America export date fruit to several countries.

Where? What countries are importing date fruits from USA? America exports date fruits to the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Total export in 2017 to 2018 was 21.8 million pounds with value US$ 67.1 million (Euro 60 million or Pound Sterling 52 million).

We are shopping date fruits from California recently. They are sold in groceries such as Walmart. Price quite reasonable, US$ 4 per-pound (almost half kg).

Have you tasted date fruits?

What Cities Infested by Mosquitoes in the USA?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Anopheles, Aedes and Culex are common mosquitoes in the USA 
(credit to Google)

I thought tropical countries have mosquitoes only, and have many diseases relate to mosquitoes. I was surprising to watch mosquitoes flew around when I moved in to my current house about six years ago.

I then understand that mosquitoes be found in the American southern states such as Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Lately, I read from several resources that Mosquitoes infested almost all states of America.

Top 10 cities infested by mosquitoes are following (Bolluyt, 2018):
01) St. Louis, Missouri
02) Houston, Texas
03) Miami – Fort Lauderdal
04) Kansas City, Missouri
05) Charlotte, North Carolina
06) Detroit, Michigan
07) Memphis, Tennessee
08) Nashville, Tennessee
09) Tampa, Florida
10) Raleigh – Durham, North Carolina

Mosquito hunters (credit to Google)

There are three most common genera of mosquitoes in the USA are:
- Aedes.
Known for spreading the dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika.

- Anopheles.
Spreading the diseases called malaria.

- Culex.
This mosquito transmits disease called Japanese encephalitis virus and West Nile virus.

There were 2100 cases of “West Nile virus” in the USA in 2016. The highest cases compared to other mosquitoes borne diseases.

Since 1999 until recently, more than 3 million people affected by West Nile virus. Two thousand people have died in the USA.

The number is quite frightening for me, especially it is happening in the advance country like America.

Are there mosquitoes borne diseases in your countries? If so, what kinds of species?

Bolluyt, J. 2018. New List Reveals the US Cities Most Plagued by Mosquitoes. Retrieved from

What Vegetables Can be Grown Hydroponically?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Simple design of hydroponic system

Hydroponic is a technique to grow plants without soil. In many cases, people use water or highly nutrient solution. Some people use sand as a hydroponic system too.

Growing plants hydroponically have several advantages than grow them in soil. One of advantages is that hydroponi plants are growing faster, it is because plants don’t loss energy to search nutrients in soil, all nutrients are concentrate in solution.

Other advantages include diseases of bacteria, fungi and bug insect infestations are controllable, thus our plants are healthier and environmentally friendly.

Pellets to grow seeds before transferred into a hydroponic system

If you have limited spaces or no backyards at all, and you are interesting in farming at least for leisure time, then, hydroponic is a good choice.

There are many stores sell hydroponic kits, or you could buy hydroponic growing kits through online stores (Etsy, eBay, amazon).

The system (kits) are from simple to complicated ones. Price is range from US$ 15 to more than US$ 350.

Some vegetables

We may grow vegetables and berries by hydroponic system. They are include lettuce, spinach, green bean, tomatoes, cucumber, strawberries and blueberries.

In case of fruit, we tried to grow strawberry. We buy several “root stock” strawberries from nearby nursery.
The strawberries need potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium as their main source of nutrients.

We could pollinate strawberry by our hand in away that we brush the small flowers immediately after they are opening.

The results are quite surprising us, we harvested the berries after one month of planting “root stocks.”

Have you tried hydroponic?

Have You Seen a Half-Male Half-Female Bird?

Monday, May 13, 2019
From left to right: female, a Half-Male Half-Female and male birds,
credit to Daily Mail

Hermaphrodite is a term refers to organisms which have both sexes, male and female. Well known example is worms (earth worms).

How about if an organism has a “Half-Male Half-Female” sex organ? It is called as a “bilateral gynandromorph.”

This kind of anomaly cause a half body as a male and another part is female.

In case of bird, a cardinal bird, for simplify that a male is identified by his red color, while female is shown by her pale brown or gray brown or brownish yellow.

We are easy to distinguish male and female by color of cardinal birds.

Recently, a bird watcher in Pennsylvania, USA, Shirley Caldwell observed a cardinal with “split coat” in her backyard.

Experts believed the bird is a Half-Male Half-Female organism. 

As reported by Gray (2014) that this kind of “bilateral gynandromorph” bird was first time spotted in 2008. It regularly visited Rock Island, Illinois. 

Female cardinal in nature

Uniquely, a cardinal with rare sex appearance had never sing, no mate, lonely, not “bullied” and ignored by other cardinals.

Even thought a rare case, scientists believed that bilateral gynandromorph could be found in all bird species, especially to species with distinctly different between male and female.

Male cardinal in nature

Have you ever seen bilateral gynandromorph or Half-Male Half-Female birds?

Gray, R. 2014. The lonely life of the half-male half-female bird: Northern cardinal with bizarre split plumage is ignored by its peers in Illinois. Retrieved from Daily Mail, 31 December 2014. 

Impressions of Ancient Greece and Roman

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Illustration for different between Roman and Greece (credit to Google)

I knew several mythological gods; statues and architectural building, but that confused me whether belongs to ancient Greece or Roman. 
As always, many times I mixed up the different between Zeus and Jupiter; Poseidon and Neptune; Hades and Pluto; and Hermes and Mercury. 
Then, in term of statues; the beauty, medium and heroic quality of Greece and Rome sculptures looks the same for me. 
In respect to architectural buildings, since they were characterized by pillars to support in front roof, I thought they are exactly similar in size and style.
However, recently, my impression is quite little bit changes in ancient culture. I understand now that Romans assimilated Greece in many ways (aspects) due to their long time to occupy the Greece. 
Even though, as conquerors, Roman structures and paintings have strong human values. In addition to totally copy of Greece, then Romans has their own conception too. They also combine the Greek and their own arts. 
As an early stage of understanding art history, I myself feel that Parthenon and Pantheon have helped my changed of thought to ancient Greece and Roman cultures.
Both architectural buildings have similarities in term of initial function and number of columns in front of the entrance. 
Some of different that the building is the Pantheon for serving many gods, while Parthenon for one god only, Athena; and the Parthenon is a rectangular form, while Pantheon is built in a spherical structure.
What do you know about different between Roman and Greece?

Can We Have Feeling of No Pain and No Fear?

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Illustration, credit to Ayelet Keshet/Fotolia

Scientists surprised that a woman, Jo Cameron, lives without pain, anxiety or fear for 71 years.

In medical term, it is called as “congenital insensitivity to pain” where people have not able to feel pain in any part of their body.

The question is why? It is because “a gen” that responsible to pains and senses had mutated genetically.

This is “a rare genetic mutation” caused people did not feel pain due to such as broken bone and wounded, and loss senses of fear, anxiety and smell or anosmia.

Mutation affects on “the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and spinal cord to muscles and to cells that detect sensations such as touch, smell, and pain” (National Institute of Health, NIH, 2019)

Diamond (2019) reported that only two people found have this kind of genetic mutation.

Moreover, NIH (2019) mentioned of 20 reports of rare mutations in the medical publications. Not that many compared to billions of human being ever live on earth.

Two effects of “congenital insensitivity to pain,” positive and negative.

Negative effects lead to undetected health conditions such as wounds that could be accumulated. Thus, might caused to decrease life expectancy.

More than 300 million people who faced surgery worldwide every year, unluckily half of them got extreme pain problems.

The positive ones that this finding could stimulate further researches to help people who have “severe pain” due to surgery.

Have you know any one who that has no pain, no fear and no anxiety in her or his life?

Diamond, C. 2019. The woman who doesn't feel pain. Retrieved from uk-scotland-highlands-islands-47719718

NIH. 2019. Congenital insensitivity to pain. Retrieved from condition/congenital-insensitivity-to-pain#statistics

Are Dwarf Burford Holly Fruits Poisonous?

Friday, May 10, 2019
Pink or red fruit

Actually, I don’t know the name of these fruits exactly. The fruits dangles from trees which function as fences close to my work place.

From reading and searching through Google, I guess this shrub is a “Dwarf burford holly.” Their fruits look so beautiful and attractive due to its color and shape.

Since it considered as a shrub, we could categorize Dwarf burford holly fruits, Ilex cornuta as berries. Unfortunately, based on information gathering, this berry can’t be consumed by human and animals.

Fruits are smaller than grapes

These berries contain poison that could cause drowsiness, gastrointestinal problems and vomiting, but not kill human and pets. The toxic compound includes toxic glycosides, theophylline and other relate toxic compounds.

I check the price of a small Dwarf burford holly trees, they are quite expensive at a nursery in my city. The lower price is US$ 49.50, the cost higher compared to many fruit trees as we know such as a fig tree, tangerines and avocado trees.

Dangling pink or red fruit

The Walmart price is quite reasonable, US$ 15.45 for tiny Dwarf Burford holly. The evergreen shrubs have green glossy leaves. Together with their pink or red berries, they look beautiful during spring and summer seasons.

The trees reach 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall naturally, but could be maintained at 3 to 6 feet tall (1 to 2 meter) as fences or hedges around our homes.

The plants grow easily because they grow any kind of soils, tolerate to wet environment and drought resistant.

Do you know about Dwarf Burford Holly shrubs and their fruits?