Inner Nature: Sentience

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times Two books released over the last two years: Lars Chittka’s “Mind of a Bee” and Stephen Buchmann’s “What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories and Personalities of Bees” have thrown into turmoil the question of sentience – the capacity for feelings – of honeybees, and whether we humans truly understand the capabilities of minds that operate...

ReFirement at Any Age : Be the change you want to see

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times Living in this world can be challenging and hard to understand but it can also be inspiring. How is that possible, you may ask? Well, if we can’t change the way something looks, maybe we can change the way we see it. How we do that is by clearing our minds of judgment and just look at a person or situation and make the effort to fully understand what we’re...

Inner Nature: Rock honeybee encounter in Chennai, India

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times I am currently in India. My father lives in Chennai, a city on the southeast Bay of Bengal coast, in a flat (apartment) in a tower block. Recently a swarm of honeybees showed up and settled on a large waterpipe that ran above a public stairwell. Anxious that passersby would get stung, a decision was made by the maintenance crew to call in pest control. A previous...

Becoming the Best U: Your questions about Mothers’ Day

By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times Question: Mother’s Day is coming up and I need advice. My daughter, who lives nearby, just had her second child and I have no idea how to help her celebrate this wonderful holiday. My daughter isn’t one for chocolate or flowers. Any ideas? Sue – Philadelphia Answer: I agree with you, Sue, Mother’s Day is a wonderful holiday and its origin is based in Philadelphia!...

ReFirement at Any Age: The season of renewal

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times Did the warm winds ever leave? In our area, if felt like the season of winter never showed up, at least weather-wise. Regardless of the lack of snow and consecutive cold days, there were more hours of darkness to contend with, which affects our mood. Gloomy days lead to gloomy ways of thinking, so in spite of the mild weather, we had to work extra hard to...

Inner Nature: Shapes of animal bodies

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times The study of animal form and function is both illuminating and fascinating, panning from simple to complex forms. The morphing started 750-odd million years ago. At this time, the Earth was not young by any means! It was already about 3.5 billion years old (80% of its age today, which is about 4.3 billion years old) and populated by cyanobacterial mats, and single-celled...

Inner Nature: Inosculation

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times I was taking a walk the other day (in a tropical country) and came across limbs from two trees that had twisted around each other and had actually grown into each other, presumably sharing their vasculature at the point of contact. These kisses are termed inosculation. It happens when the bark between the abutted limbs wears away due to friction and the vascular...

Becoming the Best U: Advice on spring cleaning, letting go of guilt

By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times Question:  I decided to try writing a few New Year’s goals after my sister’s suggestion. Last November I broke up with my boyfriend of four years and every room in the house is a horrible reminder of him.  I also want to clean out the clutter in my house. I don’t know how to begin. My sister read your column and told me to write you for some advice.  Jocelyn,...

Inner Nature: A chat with ChatGPT about bioelectricity

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times The power of a good story is that has sound grounding in fact, but also pushes the boundary of belief. Is it too much to imagine that our world will be un-livable soon due to the effects of climate change? Will watching the movie The Day After Tomorrow change your mind? Will watching GAATACA sensitize you to the possible outcomes of human genetic engineering? Will...

ReFirement at Any Age: Love, a big little word

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times No matter what your age or situation is in life, I think we can all agree that love is, indeed, an undeniably big little word. The fourteenth of February has been designated as the day we set aside specifically to celebrate love. We acknowledge love in many traditional ways. We send cards, give candy and go out to dinner, just to name a few. All of those...