Get out there, if you can, and watch skaters take on the insane Red Bull Crashed Ice course here in downtown St. Paul. It's a great place to watch all sorts of physics in action. And bundle up. Winter's back, suddenly, and the laws of thermodynamics apply to you, too.
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Commence crying ... now!
Why is another brutal winter likely? Well, for a couple of reasons:
Primarily, the punishing weather is coming because of your bad behavior. I'm referring specifically to your naughty language, and the way you've been taking fivers out of your mom's purse. Did you think there would be no repercussions? Unbelievable. Obviously you've offended Thor, or something. (Not Science Buzz's own Thor, Thor the weather god. Well ... maybe also Science Buzz's Thor.)
Another big reason for the prediction is the angry girl-child herself: La Niña. As you probably know, La Niña is a cyclical weather pattern, originating in the Pacific Ocean off of South America. La Niña also treats the jetstream like a plaything, generally screwing things up for people.
So, you know, enjoy.
With breaking weather news like "Hey! It's the coldest week of this winter," and "We're only 30 inches from breaking the record for annual snow fall," I'm beginning to wonder why we Minnesotans live here. And it's only January 20th. We have another two months of winter to go. At least. Sheesh!
Coupled with the winter weather and winter wind chill advisories -- not to mention the copious snow emergencies! -- of this winter is the fact that I've been waking up in the dark for far too long and leaving work after dark as well. I don't think I quite have seasonal affective disorder yet, but I could sure use some good news on the Spring front, couldn't you??
Well, here I am to brighten your day:
The sun is already setting after 5pm! It has been since this past Monday (the 17th). Your commute and evening will be noticeably brighter over the next few weeks. By February 24th, the sun will rise by 7am in Minneapolis. That's just over a month away! There will be at least two more minutes of sunlight EACH DAY for the rest of January and most of February. By February 21st, there will be over THREE additional minutes of sunlight each day. Finally, there are only 5 months until the Summer solstice, or the longest day of the year.
Hang in there Minnesota... we've got this!
(Not from Minnesota? I'm sorry; that's too bad. But, you can find your own sunrise and sunset information using this sun calculator.)
Courtesy Mullenedheim I am frugal and am careful when spending money. I remember a businessman telling me there was lots of money to be made in soap and food supplements. They both end up "going down the drain".
Billions of dollars are spent every year on vitamins, medicines and doctor visits. Are there scientific studies that verify how effective various remedies are in our battle against the common cold or flu?
I think most people accept that adequate rest, water, exercise, hand washing are fully supported by science. What does the scientific literature say about doctor's visits, antibiotics, vitamin C, echinacea and zinc, cough medicine, "Airborne", or chicken soup. I recommend you read the Patient Money column in the Jan 1, 2010 New York Times. Here are just a few tidbits from the article.
I made this video of soap bubbles freezing and shattering in Saint Paul, MN. The temperature was 15 below this morning, Jan 3, 2010 .
Courtesy National Climatic Data Center
Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania set all time records for cold in July while Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kentucky had their 2nd-coldest July ever recorded.
What is really weird is that in spite of this record cold
The global average went from normal in June to the second-hottest July on record. USA Today
For the global average temperatures to reach near record highs in spite of the central USA's record cold, it must have been really hot somewhere. If you look at this map you will see that the hotter than normal areas are near the South Pole.
USA Today (Check out the 678 comments)
Courtesy DimmerswitchCheck it out: The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that people avoid Zicam. Why? Because it may cause you to lose your precious sense of smell.
Zicam (Zicam nasal gel in particular) is a popular homeopathic cold remedy. (I say it's popular because the NY Times says so, and because I vaguely remember seeing a bottle of it lying around my living room this winter.) You stick it up your nose, and blast away. It's got zinc, galphimia glauca, histamine dihydrochloride, luffa opercolata, and sulfur in it. These ingredients are reported by some people to reduce the length or severity of the common cold (although the virus remains incurable).
Over the last several years, hundreds of people have reported that use of Zicam has destroyed their sense of smell. The manufacturers of Zicam paid out $12 million to some of these people in 2006, although their attitude in general has been, "Well, y'all have the cold. What did you expect to smell?"
The FDA, on the other hand, has pointed to the connection between zinc in other nasally administered drugs, and the loss of the sense of smell, or "anosmia." They're all, "Hey, everybody, stop using Zicam if you want to continue smelling things forever. And, Zicam people, cut it out. We need our smells."
And the Zicam people are all, "Whatever. If anybody wants their money back, just ask. Otherwise, enjoy some more Zicam!"
What does everybody think? Fans of Zicam out there? Is the possible risk associated with this homeopathic remedy insignificant compared to any problems associated with conventional cold symptom medications? Anybody lose their sense of smell from Zicam? Anybody lose their sense of smell from, like, anything?
Let's have it.
On January 17, 2007, I wrote this post. The weather outside must have been pretty darn similar to today's, and the information seems as relevant today as it did then.
Courtesy Liza Pryor
Check those out, and pay attention to severe weather alerts. Here's last night's:
"A WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT
TONIGHT TO 12 PM CST TUESDAY. WIND CHILL READINGS OF 25 BELOW TO
35 BELOW ZERO WILL OCCUR OVERNIGHT AND TUESDAY MORNING.
A WIND CHILL ADVISORY MEANS THAT VERY COLD AIR AND STRONG WINDS
WILL COMBINE TO GENERATE LOW WIND CHILLS. THIS WILL RESULT IN
FROST BITE AND LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.
Researchers at Penn State have found a new species of bacteria in Greenland. Big whip – as long as it stays away from me, who cares? Well, this organism is ultra-small (I know what you’re thinking – aren’t bacteria pretty, um, small to begin with? Yeah, but these are super-duper small). It has also survived for 120 thousand years trapped without oxygen under two miles of ice. It may help scientists look for life on cold planets and moons elsewhere in our Solar System. (Which I think is a proper noun and therefore should be capitalized, though I may be mistaken.)