Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MIdweek thoughts....

Man, it's that time of the year. I swear the last two days were spent going here and there, chat with this person and that person. But it was all in an attempt to get things done so that I could spend the rest of the week working on the painting and sewing projects I have strewn all over the house. Though this morning, it's more fun to sit curled up in a blanket, rocking chair by the window and a cup of hot tea, watching the snow fall. Which leads me to our midweek thoughts---snow.

~~Everyone knows that line about "Eskimos" and having a hundred words for snow. Did you know it's a hoax???

~~In the early 1900s, skiers created their own terminology to describe types of snow, including the terms "fluffy snow," "powder snow," and "sticky snow." Later, the terminology expanded to include descriptive terms such as "champagne powder," "corduroy," and "mashed potatoes."

~~The greatest snowfall officially reported at the Phoenix, Arizona National Weather Service Office was one inch. That occurred twice. The first time was January 20, 1933. It happened again four years later on the same date.

~~Based on National Weather Service records for 1961 through 1990, Rochester, New York averages 94 inches of snow annually and is the snowiest large city in the United States. Rochester has a population more than 200,000 and annual municipal snow-removal budget of $3.7 million (1995 figures).

~~Clean snow is certainly edible. Snow in urban areas may contain pollutants that one should not eat but they would probably be in such low concentrations that it might not matter. Still, eating snow should be restricted to "wilderness" areas. Sometimes snow contains algae which gives it a red color. This snow can be eaten and some say it actually tastes "good" but we have never tried it.

~~A layer of snow is simply composed of ice grains with air in between the ice grains. Because the snow layer is mostly empty air space, when you step on a layer of snow you compress that layer—a little or a lot, depending on how old the snow is. As the snow compresses, the ice grains rub against each other. This creates friction or resistance; the colder the temperature, the greater the friction between the grains of ice. The sudden squashing of the snow at lower temperatures produces the familiar creaking or crunching sound. At warmer temperatures, closer to melting, this friction is reduced to the point where the sliding of the grains against each other produces little or no noise. It's difficult to say at what temperature the snow starts to crunch, but the colder the snow, the louder the crunch.
Source: NSIDC researcher, Richard Armstrong, November 2005

~~Yes it is true, no snowflake is ever the same, or at least in theory. Larger, complex snowflakes are all different. The number of possible ways of making a complex snowflake is staggeringly large. To see just how much so, consider a simpler question -- how many ways can you arrange 15 books on your bookshelf? Well, there's 15 choices for the first book, 14 for the second, 13 for the third, etc. Multiply it out and there are over a trillion ways to arrange just 15 books. With a hundred books, the number of possible arrangements goes up to just under 10158 (that's a 1 followed by 158 zeros). That number is about 1070 times larger than the total number of atoms in the entire universe! Now when you look at a complex snow crystal, you can often pick out a hundred separate features if you look closely. Since all those features could have grown differently, or ended up in slightly different places, the math is similar to that with the books. Thus the number of ways to make a complex snow crystal is absolutely huge. And thus it's unlikely that any two complex snow crystals, out of all those made over the entire history of the planet, have ever looked completely alike.

~~ Last but not least-the benefit of living in the middle of nowhere-I don't have to shovel if I don't want too!! Most of the time it's just get the drift cut so that I can drive in and out of the drive but leave the rest to the happy hounds who make fox-n-goose paths all around, especially on the usual walking path.

Happy shoveling to all my urban friends!!!

Later gators....



Ebonwald Cardigans said...

oh dear God is that from THIS year?!! Maybe I'm not ready for the snow!! YUCK!

Cindy said...

Nope, just a gentle reminder of what last year was like-gotcha!!!