One of my favorite ways to deepen the experience of a new destination is to immerse myself in a book set in that place while I visit. I first experienced the magic of layering fiction and real-life exploration with the book/destination duo of The Glass Room by Simon Mawer/Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic in 2013. Like a properly paired wine and cheese, a book and a trip can enhance one another into an experience that neither could be alone. This post is about one such blended experience, when I explored the southwestern tip of Florida while reading Swamplandia!.
Below is a table shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that visualizes how higher winds increase the danger of frostbite.
For me, the table reinforces the importance of monitoring wind just as much as temperature during cold months. Add a little wind to 0ºF and your risk of frostbite goes from low to happening within 30 minutes. Add a little wind to -10ºF, and you’re in the 10-minutes-til-frostbite range.
Even after this polar vortex passes, be careful out there and stay warm.
Find more information from the CDC here: Outdoor Winter Safety
Read a little more about cold weather safety in this article I wrote for Travelers Today: How to Weather the Polar Vortex Without Losing a Body Part
A recurring post on this blog, Soil in the Headlines, collects a few of the ways soil is featuring in our lives and in our news.
Japan tries to contain 133,000 tons of Fukushima’s radioactive soil
According to Japanese Daily Press, the Japanese government earmarked $970 million to store soil contaminated by Fukushima’s nuclear energy plant disaster. With the soil collected and money set aside to store it, the next question is, who wants to have a radioactive soil containment facility in their backyard? So far, no one is volunteering.
Soil microbe displays intriguing and potentially useful growth patterns
A recently published article in PLOS ONE describes a soil bacteria’s response to physical change in its surroundings. The bactieria, Bacillus mycoides, reorganized themselves into growth patterned around physical obstructions in their environment. Beyond the, “ooo, neat!” factor, this new knowledge of the bacteria may be useful for Continue reading
Walking back into the Hynes Convention Center this morning, I felt prepared. I used the conference app to arrange my schedule for the day, I knew where to get free coffee, and I was wearing my most comfortable slacks. What I didn’t know was that career aspirations I had cultivated while studying agronomy at Iowa State University would come rushing back as Paul Ehrlich laid out his thoughts about the collapse our civilization. Yes, that is exactly what he did.
Thus, I spent my second day at AAAS swirling between science writers’ events and the global food security conversation at the meeting. I’ll spare you from the so-far-solutionless demise of the human race as articulated by Ehrlich and instead post a digest of advice from some of the best science journalists in the country. Below are highlights of luncheon panel discussion, including contributions by the likes of Carl Zimmer and Mariette DiChristina.
SCIENCE WRITING LUNCHEON:
Advice from the winners: Continue reading
The London Zoo hired French pianist Richard Clayderman to set the mood for a few endangered hard-shells. While the tortoises weren’t soothed into mating, the footage of a Jurassic-looking giant walking to Chariots of Fire may have been worth the zoo’s efforts. From ITN News:
While researching the safest methods for harvesting water, I found these tips. If making a purchasing for your next trip, be sure to see #9, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) table comparing the effectiveness of water disinfection methods.
2. “Except for boiling, few of the water treatment methods are 100% effective in removing all pathogens.” Continue reading
This post was first published as a special to Mongabay.com, see the original here.
A hard, white, and bitter watermelon has plant geneticists licking their lips with anticipation.
The size of tennis balls, wild watermelons grow natively in southern and western Africa. Geneticists cracked open this small relative to the juicy, summertime treat to extract ancient genetic material. They are mining the fruit’s DNA for useful traits such as disease resistance that cultivated, or domesticated, watermelons have lost. Continue reading