An easy way to visualize the wind chill-frostbite relationship

Below is a table shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that visualizes how higher winds increase the danger of frostbite.

Frostbite table - CDC

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

Advertisements

Soil in the Headlines

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.

Figure from this PLOS ONE article (#2 on the headline list!). Researcher's caption: "Variation in B. mycoides colony morphology due to the presence of 5 mm glass beads during incubation on PCA: with bead still in place (top); with bead removed (below)." doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081549.g005

Figure from this PLOS ONE article (#2 on the headline list!). Researcher’s caption: “Variation in B. mycoides colony morphology due to the presence of 5 mm glass beads during incubation on PCA: with bead still in place (top); with bead removed (below).”
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081549.g005

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

#AAASmtg Day 3 & 4: it’s about the (night) sessions

Besides following the jam-packed conference itinerary, the evening activities were on my #AAAS13 radar from the beginning. That was where I got to connect with other journalists, take in the city a bit more, and just have fun.

On the evening of Day Three, science writers gathered at Fenway Park for the Kavli Science Journalism Awards.

A snow-covered Fenway

A snow-covered Fenway

Continue reading

#AAASmtg Day 2: My inner agronomist + writing tips

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:

photo

Advice from the winners: Continue reading

#AAASmtg Day 1: This thing is huge.

image

View from the 3rd floor of Hynes Convention Center in Boston

This is my first time going to THE science meeting. The American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, this year in Boston. I am blogging about each day of the conference from the first timer science journalist perspective.

photo

Ballroom A, place of action on the first afternoon

As soon as I got off the plane, I dropped my luggage and walk over to the Hynes Convention Center. I grabbed lunch on the way and only ate half so that I could hurry up and get to….what might be the most overwhelming gathering space ever built. The vaulted ceilings. The extra wide hallways. The huge, empty exhibition halls you pass to get to the very full ballrooms.

In the ongoing  session when I showed up, New York Times’ Erik Olsen (@olsentropy)  and others were speaking about how and why to make science more visual.

All I could think about, however, was how this was soooo not ScienceOnline Continue reading

Nine things to know about drinking nature’s water

While researching the safest methods forwaterfall 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.

1. “The list of potential waterborne pathogens is extensive and includes bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasitic helminths.” CDC, Water Disinfection for Travelers

2. “Except for boiling, few of the water treatment methods are 100% effective in removing all pathogens.” Continue reading

Wonders within wild watermelon

This post was first published as a special to Mongabay.com, see the original here

watermelon

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