Last week the Bank of Israel published drafts of the set of new currency to be put into circulation soon. For this print cycle it was decided to showcase Israeli poets, instead of the usual political figures. What’s more, a stanza from each poet’s work will be printed on the new bills. The four writers that will appear on the 20, 50, 100, and 200 shekel bills include Rachel (Bluwstein) the poet, Shaul Tchernehovsky, Leah Goldberg, and Natan Alterman. Nice touch bringing a wiff of culture into the markets and fast food stands.
This week’s morning bike ride took me west of the Arava highway along the trail called the “springs route”. I came across a small flock of storks – maybe 50-75 – still resting on a knoll, getting organized for today’s leg of their migration to Africa. As I approached, they lifted off and resettled further from the trail. Later in the morning, as I came out of one of the canyons, I was surprised by one of those impressive sites we get only in the fall: those few storks were part of a huge flock circling overhead, looking for thermals to gain some free altitude before their day’s flight south. Hundreds, maybe more than a thousand of these majestic birds, moving around in chorus.
It’s early September, a bit soon for large migrations. The Bedouins say that when the storks fly across earlier than usual, then Europe will be experiencing a severe winter.
The Acacia is one of the few indigenous trees that survives in the harsh conditions of the Arava region of southern Israel. With global warming accelerating, some environmentalists have voiced concern that acacia stands are drying up. However almost no research is being done on natural regrowth. Continue reading →
Rishon L’Tzion, a modern satellite city of Tel Aviv, sprawls from Rehovot on the south east, almost to the Mediterranean coast. Most of the western side of the city is an expansive industrial and commercial area. It’s there, at the heart of this modern city’s commerce district, that shoppers find the Hazahav Mall. At the front entrance to the mall, a section of the parking area was set aside for an exhibit of life-sized models of dinosaurs, with bared teeth, and leathery looking skin. Among the fearsome creatures are also mock ups of some modern animals like lions and giraffes. A pterodactyl, strung up on wires, soars above. And the tyrannosaur’s head extends right over the fence.
We had a pretty extraordinary rain storm in our region some weeks ago. Accumulated rainfall over a 24 hr period was between 20-100 mm in a region where the total annual precipitation is about 50 mm.! I got rain gauge data for the event and made isohyetal lines using only tools available in Quantum GIS. Continue reading →