Stories tagged thanksgiving

Lighting the Paths Across the U.S.: The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite acquired two nighttime images early on Oct. 1, 2013, for this natural-light, mosaic view of the continental United States.
Lighting the Paths Across the U.S.: The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite acquired two nighttime images early on Oct. 1, 2013, for this natural-light, mosaic view of the continental United States.Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS and DMSP OLS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center)
From NASA's Image of the Day:

Thanksgiving is a time for family, for feasting, and for gratitude in the United States. It is also a time when the nation’s transportation network is clogged with travelers. According to the American Automobile Association, an estimated 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more during Thanksgiving week, with the average round trip being 600 miles (1,000 kilometers). More than 90 percent of them will use cars or trucks, while the rest will ride planes or trains.

The United States has more roads—4.1 million miles (6.6 million kilometers)—than any other nation in the world, and roughly 40 percent more than second-ranked India. About 47,000 of those U.S. miles are part of the Interstate Highway System, established by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. The country also has 127,000 miles (204,000 kilometers) of railroad tracks and about 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of navigable rivers and canals (not including the Great Lakes).

The imprint of that transportation web becomes easier to see at night. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite acquired two nighttime images early on Oct. 1, 2013, for this natural-light, mosaic view of the continental United States. The VIIRS instrument uses a “day-night band” of wavelengths that is sensitive to low light levels and man made light sources. The images were collected just three days before the new moon, so reflected light from space and the atmosphere was relatively low. It was also a rare night when most of the nation was cloud-free.

OK, it's not Friday. But pretend it is, and I'll post a Science Friday video anyway, k? Science Friday
Science FridayCourtesy Science Friday
In honor of Thanksgiving (kinda)....
"Visit Robert Sabin's pumpkin patch: he has been growing giant pumpkins for over ten years. But these pumpkins just aren't meant for the pie pan: Sabin says they're more like children than fruit to him. He raises his pumpkins for competition--the heavier, the better. Does his top pumpkin have the heft to win the Long Island Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Hicks Nurseries? We'll find out."

Gobble-gobble!

The University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences published a summary of turkey-related research just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Yum!: Destined for a Thanksgiving plate near you
Yum!: Destined for a Thanksgiving plate near youCourtesy nick macneill

For those of you who have better things to do today (because the work's still gotta get done despite the short week) or short attention spans (because the No Homework Zone of Thanksgiving vacation is almost here), I've included some of my own highlights from the article below. You're welcome.

  • At around 49 million turkeys, Minnesota leads the nation in turkey production.
  • Modern commercially grown turkeys have to be artificially inseminated (human-assisted reproduction) due to breeding for other traits like big, meaty breasts.
  • Turkey reproductive cycles are affected by light. For maximum egg production, hens need 14 hours of daylight.
  • "Broodiness" is a legit condition that occurs among hens that signals the end of egg production for a season.
  • U of M researcher, El Halawani and his colleagues discovered that broodiness is caused by a specific brain chemical and is preventable through vaccination. The vaccine is patented, but not yet commercially adopted.
  • About 70% of the cost of raising a turkey goes to feed.
  • U of M researcher, Sally Noll researches the ability of ethanol byproduct DDGS to economically supplement a turkey's diet.
  • Despite high industry demand, poultry science students are in low supply.
  • Oh, and one more (for your Thanksgiving day Trivial Pursuit game):

    "The costume that 'Big Bird' wears on Sesame Street is rumored to be made of turkey feathers."

Whoo-hoo! It's Friday, and I'm posting today's Science Friday video. Science Friday
Science FridayCourtesy Science Friday
Here's the deal:
"With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade less than a week away, it's crunch time for the 'balloonatics' at Macy's Parade Studio. The balloons themselves, which are designed and fabricated in a warehouse in New Jersey, are getting their final checkup before the show. John Piper and Jim Artle take us around the studio and spill the secrets of inflation, explain how to calculate whether your balloon will float, and explain why the balloons look better after a little time in the sun."

In honor of tomorrow's holiday, I'm resurrecting (no pun intended) our homage to the traditional main course.

wild turkey
wild turkeyCourtesy SMM

November 2006 Object of the Month

Of course, the turkey you enjoy will likely be domestic, not wild. And there's a pretty good chance that, no matter where you live in the US, your turkey came from Minnesota. (Minnesota is the #1 producer of US turkeys, raising some 45 million birds each year.) So enjoy a little hometown pride with your dinner.

Here's a whale tale of a super-sized Thanksgiving feast cooked up in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving. So how long does it take to roast a 72-pound turkey? Click here to read more. This story comes on the heels of last week's Science Buzz post about the myths of tryptophan.

Nov
22
2005

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with it comes the opportunity to eat a lot of turkey. I've heard for years that the tryptophan in turkey meat makes you tired after a meal, and I've hauled out that knowledge in a Cliff Claven like fashion year after year.


Turkey.: A turkey.

Now I come to find out that it's not tryptophan that makes you sleepy, its serotonin. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the body produce niacin, a B-Vitamin, which helps produce serotonin, which makes you sleepy. However, according to nutritionists the tryptophan in turkey works best in an empty stomach — something most of us don't have on Thanksgiving, I certainly don't. After a large meal there are so many amino acids that the body is trying to use that the amount of tryptophan could even go down. Further, turkey does not have as much tryptophan as other foods such as beef or soy beans. Tryptophan is also found in chocolate, bananas, milk, peanuts and fish.

So why do I feel tired after a huge Thanksgiving meal? Probably because the meal is full of carbohydrates — potates, stuffing, breads, pies... The body has to work hard to digest all that food!

Neat. Now I have a great new Cliff Claven-ism to stun and amaze my family.