Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lightning Strikes Close to Home

Yesterday, I was talking with someone and I mentioned that lightning can strike miles from the apparent center of a storm. Little did I know that this would be the prelude to a "coincidence."

At about 4:30 AM I was half awake when I saw a flicker of light through my closed eye lids and hear a dull explosion at the same time. Immediately after that, the computer UPS went crazy.

I realized that the power was out. Because of the boom, I assumed that the problem was very close by, so we called the Electric Company (Excel) to report it.

I went back to sleep after turning of all computers and UPSs except the one running the co-op wifi. Then I went back to sleep.

This morning I woke up as I heard the sounds of the electricity coming back on. I quickly jumped into my cloths and drove around until I found the Excel repair man.

He told me that a lightning arrestor had blown (actually shorted) and this had taken the local grid with it. So he had to climb up and over Winiger Ridge to get to the fuse in the valley by Forsythe Creek.

When I met him I told him right away that that fixed it.

It's been too long for me to remember since the last direct strike in the neighborhood, but we got one within hours of me mentioning it, and it was also not part of a major storm that consisted of lots of thunder and lightning.

Science Finally Proves 'Nature' is Good For You

Living Near Trees Improves Physical, Mental and Social Health
by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) People living in areas with more parks, trees and grass live longer and happier lives, with less violence and improved mental and physical health, according to research presented at the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

"Humans are evolved organisms and the environment is our habitat," lead researcher Frances Kuo said. "Now, as human societies become more urban, we as scientists are in a position to look at humans in much the same way that those who study animal behavior have looked at animals in the wild to see the effect of a changing habitat on this species."

A growing number of studies are showing that humans living in settings lacking living plants show physical, psychological and social disorders similar to those developed by other animals that have been removed from their natural habitats.

"In animals what you see is increases in aggression, you see disrupted parenting patterns," Kuo said.

On the physical level, a large-scale Dutch study found that the amount of green space within a one- to three-mile radius of a person's home is a significant predictor of their overall health. A Japanese study found that elderly people who lived within walking distance of a park or other green space had significantly longer life expectancies than those who lived farther away.

College students have been found to perform higher on tests of cognitive function if they live in rooms overlooking living plants, while people living far from natural settings demonstrate not only worsened cognitive function, but also impulse control and management of life conflicts. A walk in a park has been proven to reduce hyperactivity in children as much as standard drug treatments.

Finally, communities with more green space have lower levels of crime and violence than communities with more green space. Communities without green space, on the other hand, have higher levels of property, crime, graffiti and litter.

"We might call some of that 'soiling the nest,' which is not healthy," Kuo said. "No organisms do that when they're in good shape."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tick, Tick, Tick - Signs of Spring

7 signs of spring up here to the Rocky Mountains.

1) I find a tick crawling around in the kitchen. No idea how it got there.

2) The frogs in the old beaver pond are signing love songs to each other.

3) The far off neighbor is redecorating the attic room. I can hear him hammering and sawing away through his open window.

4) The cliff swallow have been swooping and diving in search of flying spring insects for a week now.

5) The cats have suddenly noticed that there's an out there out there.

6) I can't find a patch of snow anywhere

7) The grass is growing, the flowers are budding, and the Aspens are greening.

Bonuses - I've put the house plants outside - making more room inside and the local estrogen dominant homo sapien's oxytocin levels have shot through the roof, causing an instinctive cleaning and organizing frenzy - i.e. it's spring cleaning time around here.