Entry Category: Science and Technology

Information Galore

aka: Infogo
Information Galore, Inc., (a.k.a. Infogo) of El Dorado (Union County) was the first commercial Internet service provider (ISP) in Arkansas. Although the company was short-lived, it had a notable impact upon economic and educational initiatives in southern Arkansas, as well as parts of Texas and Louisiana. Infogo was founded by six individuals. John Gray was a world-famous geologist who was appointed to serve on the Arkansas Geological Commission (now Arkansas Geological Survey) several times by Governor Bill Clinton and who did work for the United Nations. Gray, along with Watt McKinney, Leon Wood, William L. (Billy) Cook, and Robert McKinney each invested $5,000. Joe Brazeal was a board member of ARKnet, the state’s educational computer network, and provided technical expertise …

Insects

Insects account for over half of all species described thus far worldwide, and they are the dominant form of life in terrestrial environments. It is estimated that 35,000 to 40,000 species of insects live in Arkansas, including around 10,000 species of beetles, around 9,000 species of flies, nearly 8,000 species of bees and wasps, and around 5,000 species of moths and butterflies. The remainder make up small orders such as the bristletails, mayflies, dragonflies and damselflies, cockroaches, mantids, termites, stoneflies, grasshoppers and crickets, earwigs, stick insects, book and bark lice, chewing and sucking lice, and true bugs and lacewings and their relatives. It is still not uncommon to find species in Arkansas that are unnamed and new to the scientific …

Instructional Microcomputer Project for Arkansas Classrooms (IMPAC)

The Instructional Microcomputer Project for Arkansas Classrooms (IMPAC) was an innovative program that helped make emerging microcomputer technologies a key component of education in Arkansas. Influential across the nation, IMPAC was cited for excellence by Electronic Learning, Instructor Magazine, Pro Education, Information Week, the National Governors Association, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, Nelson B. Heller & Associates, and the Southwest Education Development Laboratory. A number of Arkansas educators made significant efforts in laying a foundation for the use of microcomputers in instruction, as well as providing for technical support and workshops for teachers and school administrators, K–12. New technologies of the 1980s included networking microcomputers, the progression toward online resources, computer-assisted instruction and multimedia, and instructional management software for …

Invasive Animals

aka: Alien Animals
An “invasive species” is defined as a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental problems or harm to human health. It typically matures and reproduces quickly and increases its geographic range rapidly, establishing populations and persisting over large areas. There are several reasons for this spread, including favorable environmental conditions and lack of natural predators, competitors, and diseases that normally regulate their populations, allowing invasive species to thrive. Invasive biota not only includes a variety of plants but also incorporates a wide variety of invertebrates and higher taxa from their native sites. As invasive species extend and dominate ecosystems, they invariably reduce native biodiversity …

Ivory-billed Woodpeckers

aka: Campephilus principalis
Long believed to be extinct, the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) was rediscovered in the Big Woods of east Arkansas in 2004. More than sixty years after the last confirmed sighting in the United States, a research team announced on April 28, 2005, that at least one male ivory-bill survived in the vast bottomland swamp forest. Published in the journal Science, the findings included multiple sightings of the elusive woodpecker and frame-by-frame analyses of brief video footage. The evidence was gathered during an intensive year-long search in the Cache River and White River National Wildlife Refuges in eastern Arkansas, involving more than fifty experts and field biologists working as part of the Big Woods Conservation Partnership, led by the Cornell Laboratory …

James, Douglas Arthur

Douglas Arthur James served as a professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1953 to 2016. He was considered the authority of the birds of Arkansas, co-authoring Arkansas Birds with Joseph C. Neal in 1986, and became one of the state’s leading conservationists in the second half of the last century, helping to start the Arkansas Audubon Society in 1955 and the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust in 1972. He arranged the first meeting of what would become the Ozark Society, which was responsible for saving the Buffalo River from damming. Starting with studies of scrubland birds in northwestern Arkansas, James expanded to studying scrubland birds in Africa, Nepal, and Belize. He was …

Jumping Bristletails

aka: Archeognatha
aka: Microcoryphia
The Archaeognatha (formerly Microcoryphia) are an order of apterygotes belonging to the Superclass Hexapoda, Class Insecta, Subphylum Labiata, and Phylum Arthropoda. They are known by various common names, such as jumping bristletails. The order is cosmopolitan and includes about 500 species (thirty-three species within twelve genera are Nearctic) in two families (Machilidae and Meinertellidae). None are currently evaluated as being a conservation risk. Little is known about the archaeognaths of Arkansas, as only Machiloides banksi and Pedetontus gershneri have been reported from the state, both from Mount Magazine (Logan County). Among extant arthropod taxa, they are some of the most evolutionarily primitive insects. The fossil record of Archaeognatha is sparse and often represented by fragmentary material. They first appeared in …

Junction Bridge

The Junction Bridge is a lift-span bridge crossing the Arkansas River between downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). One of six bridges linking the two downtowns, the Junction Bridge was originally constructed as a railroad bridge in 1884; it was rebuilt in 1970, then converted to serve as a pedestrian bridge in 2008. Its southern end rests upon the geological feature that gave the city of Little Rock its name. The Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad and the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad created a partnership in the early 1880s, envisioning a route that would stretch from the Gulf Coast to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). A new bridge across the Arkansas …

KATV Tower

The KATV tower was a 2,000-foot-tall (609.6 meters) television antenna that stood just north of Redfield (Jefferson County), about one-quarter mile east of Interstate 530. Before its collapse in 2008, the tower ranked among the tallest manmade structures in the world and stood as a prominent local landmark, marking the approximate halfway point for drivers traveling between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Upon its completion on May 1, 1967, the KATV tower was the third-tallest manmade structure in the world, surpassed only by the KVLY-TV and KXJB-TV television masts in North Dakota. By 2008, it shared the rank of fifth-tallest manmade structure in the world, as it was the first of many other 2,000-foot-tall masts that …

Kudzu

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is an invasive vine characterized by aggressive growth and clusters of grape-scented purple flowers. It was recognized as a weed in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A native plant of Asia, kudzu has been used for over two millennia in Asian cooking and medicine. Kudzu was introduced to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1876) and to southerners at the New Orleans Exposition (1884–1886). Kudzu’s foothold in the American South is largely the result of the efforts of Charles Pleas, Channing Cope, and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Pleas owned Glen Arden Nursery in Chipley, Florida, along with his wife, Lillie. After Pleas discovered kudzu’s usefulness for livestock forage and as a …

Kuroda, Paul Kazuo

Paul Kazuo Kuroda, professor of chemistry at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), brought international attention to scientific research in Arkansas by correctly predicting the presence of naturally occurring nuclear reactors nearly twenty years before the first discovery of a reactor of this kind in the Oklo Mines in the Republic of Gabon in west-central Africa. Paul Kuroda was born on April 1, 1917, in Kurogi, Fukoka Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan, the only child of Kanjiro Kuroda—a school teacher, official at the Ministry of Education, and noted calligrapher—and Shige Kuroda. Kuroda earned BS and doctoral degrees in pure chemistry from Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) in 1939 and 1944, respectively. Upon completion of his doctorate, …

Laconia Circle Levee

The Laconia Circle Levee is situated in the southeast corner of Mississippi Township in Desha County. The levee’s circular construction is so unique that Believe it or Not, a syndicated newspaper publication for the unusual, featured the levee in one of its 1970s publications. The levee encircled Laconia Circle, which consisted of 18,000 acres of Delta land located in Desha County, for protection against potential flooding from the Mississippi and White rivers. It was the first levee in the Arkansas Delta to be affected by the Flood of 1927. Before the Civil War, fourteen plantation homes were protected by the levee. The levee and the township were named after the Laconia Landing, one of the most active steamboat landings on …

Lampreys

aka: Jawless Fishes
Lampreys are primitive jawless fishes in the Family Petromyzontidae, Order Petromyzontiformes, Class Petromyzontida, and Superclass Cyclostomata. The common name “lamprey” is almost certainly derived from the Latin lampetra, which likely means “stone licker” (lambere “to lick” + petra “stone”). They are also sometimes called lamprey eels, although they are not eels. Instead, lampreys are the direct descendants of the first armored jawless fishes or ostracoderms, which first appeared over 400 million years ago during the Silurian and Devonian periods. Today, there are only two remaining groups of jawless fishes: the lampreys and the hagfishes (Order Myxiniformes, Class Myxini). Hagfishes, which resemble lampreys, are the sister taxon of lampreys based on DNA evidence. There are about forty-two living lamprey species in …

Lavacaberry

The Lavacaberry is a hybrid variety of berry that takes its name from the town of Lavaca (Sebastian County), where it was planted extensively in the 1940s. The introduction of the berry to the town helped reinvigorate the local economy at a time when the effects of the Depression were still being felt. In 1937, the Lavaca School District hired Idus H. Fielder as a vocational instructor. In his eagerness to help local growers, Fielder met Ed Girard, a local farmer, to discuss the plight of the farmers. After listening to Girard and others, Fielder remembered a berry from the farm of R. E. Hallett in McRae (White County). The berry was known as a “California Red Raspberry,” and Hallett …

Leeches

Leeches are segmented worms belonging to the Phylum Annelida, Class Clitellata, Subclass Hirudinida. Leech classification is primarily based on the presence or absence of setae (bristles) and the morphology of the mouth, proboscis (feeding organ), jaws, and suckers. Leeches are thought to have evolved from certain oligochaete worms; however, the systematics and taxonomy of leeches are in need of review. Twenty-two species within five families (Erpobdellidae, Glossiphoniidae, Haemopidae, Hirudinidae, Piscicolidae) have been reported from northern Arkansas, but, as of 2018, there are no summaries of leeches from the southern part of the state. Leeches are bilaterally symmetrical, with thick muscular bodies. Usually, they are dorsoventrally flattened and segmented. Some leeches are long and worm-like (ranging in size from about seven …

Lice

Lice belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, Order Phthiraptera, with four suborders: Anoplura (sucking lice), occurring on mammals exclusively; Rhynchophthirina, parasites of elephants and warthogs; Ischnocera, which are mostly avian lice, though one family parasitizes mammals; and Amblycera, a primitive suborder of chewing lice, widespread on birds but also infesting South American and Australasian mammals. The chewing lice (suborders Rhynchophthirina, Ischnocera, and Amblycera) were previously combined in the order Mallophaga, which did not reflect natural grouping. There are nearly 5,000 described species of lice, with about 4,000 being parasitic on birds and 800 on mammals, within about twenty-six families of described species of phthriapterans. Many mammal species can be infested by sucking lice, including seals and walruses. These “marine …

Lost 40

The Lost 40 is a forty-acre tract of mature forest along Wolf Branch (a tributary of Moro Creek) in southeastern Calhoun County. Owned by PotlatchDeltic Corporation, the tract is known for its large trees, some more than 200 years old, and has variously been described as “primary,” “virgin,” and “old-growth.” It has been the site of several scientific studies conducted by the faculty and students of the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and is protected by a forty-year cooperative management agreement between PotlatchDeltic and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) signed in 1996. Lost Forty Brewing, a brewery based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), takes its name from the tract. Several natural communities …