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Tag Archives: heat

Hot Cars in the SummerTime

I get ‘The Daily Upworthiest‘ each day in my inbox. This typically brings inspiring videos or ‘good’ news items as a way of not being inundated with the (Bad) News of the day. Today’s is important enough that it bears repeating.

In the Summer, cars can get extraordinarily hot in just a short period of time. Data by McLaren, Null and Quinn, published in the journal Pediatrics in 2005 demonstrated the rapidity in which car interiors heated up even in when the ambient temperature was not excessive. Using a dark-blue 2000 Honda Accord with medium-gray interior and without tinted windows as a test vehicle, they measured temperature rise over time. Even with ambient temperatures as low as 73 degrees F, the vehicle heated up to above 110 degrees F by 60 minutes.

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Of course you would never leave your dog / child in the car for 60 minutes. Perhaps only 10 minutes tops, right? This still would result in temperatures above 90 degrees F, even on a cool day.

What about if I leave the window cracked? Admittedly, this helps, keeping the car up to 20 degrees cooler than if windows were up, but there was still an alarming spike in temperature.

Most importantly, these experiments were done under conditions without someone inside the car warming it up from the inside and filling it with carbon dioxide. That’s not an easy test to do seriously, however, here’s where The Upworthiest comes in… you can watch this video of adults being offered $100 for being willing to remain inside a car for just ten minutes.

A 107 degrees body temperature is lethal – something attained at a rate of about 37 cases a year since 1998. Most commonly, victims are less than 1 year old and were simply ‘forgotten’ in the car (slipped the caregiver’s mind while running an errand, or unintentionally left for hours.)

The message is clear, Never leave children (or animals) inside a closed vehicle, even when it is not particularly hot outside.

My favorite suggestion, comes from Morris Franco of Kars4Kids, who was quoted in the Upworthiest article saying,

Have a stuffed animal designated in the car seat always. When strapping in the child to the car seat, place the stuffed animal in the passenger seat. This will serve as a reminder to the driver upon reaching their destination that your child is in the backseat.

Have a good summer and stay out of the heat!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The ABCs of gas law

ImageI just flipped another lesson over at TedEd. This time it’s not one that I would likely use in my biology class, but it teaches the same principles found in my iBook, The Thirteenth Labor of Heracles, so I couldn’t resist. As always, I welcome your comments – especially with respect to the clarity of the questions bundled with this video.

Find the video at:

http://ed.ted.com/on/I1Ipr9n6

Find The thirteenth Labor of Heracles at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/thirteenth-labor-heracles/id567932090?mt=11

 

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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You will soon witness a miracle

On friday I had lunch at Panda – something -or-other at the mall. Along with my orange chicken and spring roll I got a fortune cookie with fortune the likes of which I have never before seen: “You will soon witness a miracle.” That’s a little off-putting. I mean, miracles only seem warranted when something really bad has happened. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Then, I totally forgot about it. However, last night, I was reminded of that amazingly powerful cookie when the weatherman showed the extended forecast. Rain, cool days with high temperatures that might allow some time outside. Amazing!

I’ve made so much noise here complaining about the heat and lack of rain leading to the end of the world as I saw it that I thought it was my duty to write now.

There is a change in the air. The weathervane has spun about and a cool breeze is settling across our little patch of the midwest. Mary Poppins has floated into town with her miracle-filled carpet bag stuffed chock with cool mornings, thunderstorms and the chance of a drenching rain later in the week.

With a spoon full of sugar she is attempting to nurse our lifeless grass and trees back to health. I only hope that she has magic enough to bring back the dead (I can’t recall any resurrections in the original) But I did have a dream last night that there was a hint of green grass poking through the ground in our yard, so I have my fingers crossed.

I still have a horribly dreary outlook for the region here and all the dead trees and miserably large landscaping I am imagining, but there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a dark stormcloud on the horizon.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hot weather and drought conditions continue

It’s still hot as the blazes here in Kansas. Spending July traveling to rainy, cooler places has really made me want to pick up and move away from here as soon as possible.

Our soil has long since cracked open and started to blow around as loose dust whenever the wind picks up. I hear the actual dustbowl was much worse and really did include giant dust storms like those I imagine on Mars. So we are by no means there yet. Although, is comparing today to the absolute worst conditions on record really much to feel grateful about?

A look into the crystal ball:

The weather say that we are in for a break in the heat sometime in the next few days. With some luck it’ll get down to the low to mid 90s (and even one day predicted to be 89 degrees!) Unfortunately, the cooler conditions don’t appear to be bringing rain with them.

So, if you are getting rain – go out and take some pleasure in it. Let it soak into your skin and drip down your face. Splash in the puddles and sing in the rain. It’s the stuff of life! 

 

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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Felling a tree at 100 degrees F is insane…

but relying on a homemade surveying device and distant memories of trigonometry might take this over the edge.

Last year something has come through Kansas killing a ton of pine trees. Our problem is that one of these is pretty close to the house and the dead branches have begun to droop so low that they scrape the car when we drive under it. That’s a problem by itself, but then there’s the fact that the branches have become so brittle that I really worry about it toppling over onto us, our cars or the house.

With that in mind I decided that it had to come down. The strategy was to tackle the problem head-on first thing in the morning. I started by removing all the lower branches (I would have kept going, but I could feel the sway of the tree and I kept thinking…’brittle.’ So, I didn’t finish off the top.

Oh, right – I forgot to mention that a couple weeks ago someone broke into our garage/shop and stole my chainsaw, so this whole process is being undertaken with just an axe and bow – saw.

Once the lower branches were off, it was decision time. The last tree I took down I took off the branches and then the top of the tree before chopping down the trunk. It was a pretty scary process, because high in the tree I cut the top and despite all my efforts, the top came down in a way that hit both me and the ladder I was on pretty hard. This time around, I was remembering that clearly while deciding on my next step.

My solution was that I needed to get a good measurement of how tall the tree was to know if it was even safe to bring it down all in one piece or if I just needed to face the prospect of knocking myself off the tree or otherwise hurting myself. But how to measure this?

That’s where high school trig came to mind.

The tangent of an angle equals the opposite over the adjacent sides. So, if I could measure the angle to the top of the tree from any point a known distance away, then I could compute the opposite side (the height of the tree).

How do you measure angles? With a protractor – damn, I don’t have one…. but I can make one!!

Then I need to be able to sight my angle…how about using a straw as a sight?!? And from where on the tree am I measuring the height? I wanted to use a laser pointer, but that didn’t work, so I just sighted that as well.

Here’s the device I used in the hands of my helper:

The reading:

The answer:

tan 25 = tree height / 726″

tree height = about 9.5 yards

I worked for about three hours with a lot of breaks in the shade, but I’m still not finished. I hope it’s safe until tomorrow morning when it’s cool again.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Personal Life

 

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Everything is dead

Coming back to Kansas was a shock.

I feel like I was back in time – or on another planet – when we were abroad. Not just because of the richness of the culture and change in geography (topology), but because it felt like I was in a place that was alive. The temperature fluctuated between 50s and 70s with rain off and on the entire time we were there. The trees were green and the grass was thick. The rivers were all cresting from the surfeit of rain that was falling. The land was ALIVE.

Here in Kansas, everything is brown or yellow and it’s all dead. The corn is dead or dying in the fields. The yard has almost no grass left. The trees are dead.

Everything is DEAD.

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Exiting the heat

Today we finally get to escape the heat!

But it’s not because the weather in Kansas has changed, but because we’re off for a week in Germany. We’re visiting the castle road that goes from Cologne to Munich. Our son, who is seven, is eager to see the castles and old cities – we’re eager to share that with him and give him a good association with the area. This last is important because there is a chance that we may relocate to Germany sometime in the next year or so and we want it to be as positive experience as possible for the little guy.

….

more later (now we’re off)

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A hot day for it

No surprise, the forecast for today is exactly the same as it’s been for the past several weeks: 103F and full sun. Great day for a ballgame. Today, my son and I are driving up to Topeka to meet my cousins (whom I guess we haven’t seen for several years not) at a baseball game. Our cousin Grant is playing ball with a great plains league this week and we’re looking forward to seeing him play. All the news is that he’s a great player with a bright future.

I admit that I’m not eager to sit out in the sun, but it’s worth it to see family. We would have liked to have them visit, but we’re off on a trip to Germany tomorrow, so it just couldn’t work out without fraying some nerves.

Hope you all had a good fourth of July holiday (if that’s your thing). I may not be posting that much over the next week – but it’s not because I’ve forgotten about it.  I’m still thinking hard about getting mastermind into XCode. And I’ve also thought about how I should be getting our ‘Pushing Twain’ App resubmitted to Apple as well.

I guess I’m still wallowing in some self-pity about how hard it has been to get the Push-Quote series completed properly. A lot of work went into that and we have only one App in the store, it’s a bit buggy and in need of an update. How do you guys handle professional rejection? Better than me, I hope.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Heat, Drought and Fireworks

Our little hometown newpaper had a note from the fire-chief that I thought was both amusing and a bit scary. It’s been 100+ degrees for about as long as I can remember here. And I’m not sure that it’s rained at all since March. So, the ground is dry, the ponds and creeks have turned to dirt (they were mud for a while, but that dried up) and just about every piece of vegetation dried up and turned to kindling.

Naturally, it makes sense to remind people that Colorado is on fire and things aren’t going well because the midwest (at least) has dried up and is on its way to becoming a desert, so perhaps now if not the best times to light any fires that aren’t very carefully controlled.

Oh, but wait – it’s July 1 tomorrow – and that means the fourth of July is only a couple days away. Let me check the forecast… huh, 100 degrees or hotter every day and 0% chance of precipitation. Have I mentioned that we’re in Kansas? So the worst thing in the world you can do is have the government make a suggestion to the people. That leaves our poor fire-chief in a tight spot for counseling caution when setting off fireworks.

He was very vague and didn’t say not to do anything. He just said, “Considering how hot and dry it’s been, it might be a good idea to aim your twirling firey whizz poppers over water. And keep a fire extinguisher on hand. And a bucket of water. And a hose. And… well, call me as soon as things get even slightly out of control. Please.”

 

I have my fingers crossed. Our house backs up to some woods that all look like they could spontaneously combust just from the heat – even without and added flame or spark.

 

Have a fun 4th of July to all my American friends. And please cross your fingers for us if you’re from elsewhere and just watching the show.Image

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Still hot

My son wanted to roast marshmallows this morning.

Outside.

On an open fire.

I’ve mentioned that it’s been 100+ degrees for as long as I can remember – and zero rain. We’re living in a state that might as well be a tinderbox. And he wants to have a fire.

Well, I’ve been reading ‘The Happiness Project’ – a book which I have to say is OK, but at least half of my interest in it comes from my amazement over the author’s life. It’s primarily a handbook on happiness punctuated with personal vignettes illustrating how the author puts the rules she proposes to work in her own life. 

My amusement comes from rules like ’embrace failure’ which she provides examples for that remind the reader of what a perfect life she has and how much yours sucks. Failure in her life is exemplified by not getting a regular column in The Washington Post or New Yorker or something and only being the #5 most awesome blog in the world.

Examples of failure in most people’s lives are more like,’fired from job and left by spouse / girlfriend / S.O. on same day that you were diagnosed with cancer. – Oh, and I don’t have a nationally syndicated column in the world’s best newspapers either.’

She’s also a bit sad because being beautiful, smart and rich sometimes leaves you with no need to have direction in her life. 

 

Hey – I didn’t mean to pan this book or anything. Actually, there’s a lot of pretty decent advice in there. And most of it is at least putatively grounded in solid research (I admit to being too lazy to look that up myself). In fact, I wouldn’t be making this blog at all if it wasn’t for her suggestion to do it.

But, why am I talking about this book at all? Because the author also references another work on parenting that I thought was interesting. The advice she passes along can be boiled down to – ‘Take it easy. Stop saying NO to everything and get behind your child’s ideas rather than obstructing them.’ That sounds obvious, but how many of us actually do that? It’s so much more likely that we say, ‘No, we’re not doing that’ than, ‘well, why not start a campfire and roast marshmallows in the scorching heat while risking starting a wildfire that could engulf the entire midwest?’

And you know what? It was fun. It wasn’t that hot early in the morning. And keeping a bucket of water next to the fire made me feel much more in control of the situation and at least somewhat ameliorated the risk of catastrophe. 

All in all, being amore agreeable person helped us both enjoy our day a little more.

 
 

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