Frigid

Frosty Frost Feathers

It has been cold here in Denver over the past week. Real cold. The photo above was taken last Monday. The temperature that morning was negative 19 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s real cold in my book. It is supposed to snow again today, which is too bad, because I really need to clean those windows.

How To Survive A Heatwave Comfortably

It was 103 degrees here on Sunday. Like the rest of the US, Denver is in the middle of a heat wave and it’s tough to stay comfortable. If you’re like me you don’t have AC so I decided to put together a little list of things you might be useful in keeping cool.

  • If you work in an airconditioned office stay at work late, sweltering days like this are perfect for getting a little extra work done.
  • Take a cold shower (with peppermint soap) before you go to bed.
  • If you are using a fan place a bowl of icecubes in front of it.
  • Also, draping a sheet soaked in cold water infront of a fan can help.
  • Cook what you can using the microwave versus the store or oven.
  • Even better, use a slow cooker or crockpot.
  • And even better than that, have a cold salad for dinner (iceberg lettuce, damn I’m funny).
  • Freeze grapes to eat.
  • Eat less. Smaller meals with less protein will reduce metabolic heat.
  • Suck on a salted ice cube.
  • Drink lots of ice water.
  • Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing.
  • Even better, wear nothing at all.
  • At least take off your shoes or hat while indoors.
  • Get a small towel, soak it in water (or even ice water), wring it out a little and put it around your neck.
  • Mist yourself with a spray bottle. Then lay in front of the fan.
  • Do laundry at night, and try to hang clothes out to dry in the sun instead of running the dryer.
  • Drink frozen margs and eat cerviche.(note: this is not really effective).
  • Keep the air flowing. Turn on the ceiling fan or box fan in the room.
    Don’t make yourself a fan out of paper and use it to wave air past
    your face and neck, the activity created by
    waving actually burns calories and raises your core temperature.
  • Sleep in a ‘spread eagle’ position.
  • Read Jack London’s “To Build A Fire“.
  • Make a homemade airconditioner (I’ve never actually tried this one but it looks cool [pun intended]).
  • Get a chillow (haven’t tried this one either but it seems like it’d work)
  • Go to a movie / library / bookstore / mountains.

What do you do to stay cool?

Lightning Safety Awareness Week

June 18th-24th is national lightning safety awareness week.

Each year lightning kills 50 to 100 people in the USA (500 injuries). During an average year in Colorado, lightning will kill 3 and injure 18 people. Men are struck by lightning four times more often than women. Colorado has the 3rd highest lightning casualty rate in the nation. A typical 100-million volt lightning flash can heat the air to more than 40,000°F. The contact voltage of a typical industrial electrical shock is 20 to 63 kilovolts, a lightning strike delivers about 300 kilovolts. The saying “lightning never strikes twice in the same place” is false. The Empire State Building is struck by lightning on average 100 times each year, and was once struck 15 times in 15 minutes.

People are struck by lightning all the time. In fact, here in Colorado, just last week a man was killed by lightning while walking to his parked car at the Mile-Hi Flea Market. Over the last few days, 69 people were killed by lightning in India.

Total Colorado Lightening Casualties.

Even airplanes get struck by lightning.
Airplane getting struck by lightning

Although most lightning mortality is through cardiac and neurologic events, other organ systems can be affected. Further complications may include respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary edema, renal failure, retinal lesions, and rhabdomyolysis. Most of the current from a lightning strike passes over the surface of the body in a process called “external flashover” and results in deep burns at the point of contact most commonly on the head, neck and shoulders. Sometimes the burns come in the form of Lichtenberg figures (graphic picture but SFW). Lightning can catch your hair on fire. All lightning strike burns are highly prone to infection. Other complications caused from lightning strike include: Contusion or internal hemorrhage of brain, lungs, liver, intestine or other organs, bone fractures and bruises, numbness/weakness in limbs, partial or complete (but temporary) paralysis, tympanic membrane ruptured (typical), transient blindness, photophobia , conjunctivitis, corneal damage, retinal abnormalities (macular hole), and cataracts.

If the physical effects weren’t enough, 70 percent of lightning survivors experience residual effects, most commonly affecting the brain (neuropsychiatric, vision and hearing). These effects can develop slowly, only becoming apparent much later. Survivors complain of intense headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and other post-concussion types of symptoms. Survivors also experience difficulty sleeping, often sleeping excessively at first and then only two or three hours at a time. some develop seizure-like activity several weeks to months after the injury. Many lightning victims may suffer personality changes because of frontal lobe damage and become quite irritable and easy to anger. As a result, many isolate themselves, withdrawing from church, friends, family and other activities. Other neurologic disorders include: loss of consciousness or coma, amnesia, anxiety, confusion, aphasia, seizures, electroencephalographic abnormalities, brain damage, neuropathy, memory disorders, concentration disturbances, irritability, lightning storm phobia, and post traumatic stress disorder. The experience can be so dramatic that there is a Lightning Strike Survivors Support Group. The pathology of lightning, or keraunopathy, is known only to a few specialists.

And if all that wasn’t enough lightning will often explode, tear, shred, or burn your clothes right off you – leaving you not only very disoriented, but at least partially naked.

On a happier note, only about 20 percent of lightning victims are immediately struck dead.

Other links of note:

Wearing a bra can get you struck by lightning.

A recent scientific study strengthens the belief that metallic supports in modern bras could attract lightning and strike their wearers dead. An unconfirmed instance of this occurred circa 2000 in Hyde Park, London, when two women hiding under a tree died after being struck by lightning. The forensic report said “lightning discharge was channeled into the metal brassieres, leaving burn marks on the women’s chests.”

Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times. His wife was struck once. He died by suicide.

US lightning strikes during the last two hours
Selected Incidents from the “It Can’t Happen to Me” Library
Over 200 cool lightning photos
Tips on taking photographs of lightning
Stories of lightning strike survivors
Your chance of being struck by lightning: 1 in 280,000
Lightning Kills! posters
Lightning Kills public service announcement

Will Probably Never Be Found Out

When I woke up this morning the air inside my bedroom, outside of the warm cocoon of my covers, was cold and brisk. It was snowing outside and I had left my window open a few inches throughout the night. Now it’s snowing like crazy so I have decided not to go into the mountains and to come in and work in the office for a while and spend the day reading books and watching movies.

I spent a couple of hours last night trying to implement some new ideas for my blog and ended up messing things up and practically having to rebuild the bitch. It sucked but I’m learning stuff all the time. What good learning any of this will do me, however, will probably never be found out.

My mind kept me up till 2:30 last night because it was unable to shut down. It was racing with ways to improve my life. Ways to get more satisfaction from the things I’m already doing. And new things that will help. Ideas. Developments. Systems and simplifications, and the complications caused by them. But in the end, really, I came up with noting too profound. Nothing I haven’t thought about a million times before. I’m generally very happy and high-spirited. It’s a matter of breaking habits and starting new ones.

So now I sit here in my office, trying to finish up a few things work and otherwise. A warm cup oatmeal, hot mug of coffee, and tall glass of ice water in front of me. And you.