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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Estivating

Estivation is the summer equivalent of hibernation, a period of torpor during hot weather practiced by animals that have any sense at all. When you wake on a summer morning and your eyes look like this,

                                                   it's time to estivate. Ok, my illustration is really a photo of the moon I took through a telescope and framed in a big knothole --but it's close. How close?

That question brings us to the next photo, the pumphouse thermometer out back. This is how it's looked for a week:
The moon keeps about 240,000 miles from our planet, and has done so for 4 billion years. The sun, however, is not satisfied with that and varies its distance. I'm too hot to pore through my astronomy book for exact data, but I guess I know a thing or two about thermometers. The good ones are graduated in both Fahrenheit and Celsius so we can calculate our solar remove.

Here's how: 1st, divide the Fahrenheit scale by the Celsius scale; 2nd, label the quotient in miles. That's it. Pumphouse thermometer reads about 112F and 45C. Therefore the sun is only about two and a half miles away right now.

You don't want the sun too close. Life there is hard. There's a kind of fish --made of titanium and asbestos-- that glows red and transparent in the sun's  heat and swims over oceans of fire, but less adaptable creatures must content themselves with family generations that only span 1 billionth of a second.

If there are any errors in my calculations, I shall correct them in autumn --hopefully before winter hibernation.
 

31 comments:

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    1. I'm hoping we can station people on mountaintops with long poles to push the sun farther up, Jono. Is anybody working on this?

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  2. Your wit and wisdom is very much appreciated, Geo. :) I think your calculations are right on. And now I feel like a big sissy for minding our 27C (33 C with humidity!) last week! Today it was 25C without humidity and it wasn't nearly as bad - amazing the difference it makes. Stay cool, won't you?

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    1. We use Fahrenheit here, Jenny, but I prefer the C-scale. Here I'm 67 but that's like 19 Celsius.

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    2. What a clever line ... I may have to borrow that to counter my husband's declaration that he's 29 *again* ...

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  3. No indeed we don't want the sun too close! I wonder how any angler could manage to snag that fish of titanium and asbestos. Apparently they can not as one has never shown up on the ice at Giovanni's in Morro Bay.
    That is a marvelous creation of moon and frame.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. The red-hot transparent fish are from a dream I had when I was young. They were like lenses with fins and magnified everything behind them.

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  4. Estivation is a much politer term for what I try to do each sweaty season. I say that I turn into a troll and only come out at night, but that is unfair to trolls. Thanks for the reminder, and a better word.

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    1. You're welcome, EC. Your description coincides with the one I apply to my summer self.

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  5. oh, God... sometimes I think I was born in the wrong country, but now I see I was wrong. It's hot in your country and also in Europe, very hot.

    Here I am enjoying a mild winter. I simply love winter! But I fear the day when summer will be back. I really hate it!

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    1. Ana, I suspect the Estivationists' philosophy is not limited to a single country.

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  6. And the furthest the Earth gets from the Sun occurs in July, the closest in January. Thank goodness it isn't the other way round!

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    1. Tom, if all Estivationists could get out and push, maybe we could get our planet even further from the sun.

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  7. I dunno about your basic premise....It's 6K feet here, and it was 37f last night, and will top out at around 70 today. However, Monday is supposed to be near 80 in the day and 39 at night.
    My oldest girl, raised in Alaska, complains when the temp gets over 65.

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    1. I can't explain your lower temperatures, Mike. Just lucky, I guess. But at your elevation the sun still wouldn't present a vehicle height-clearance hazard, so that's lucky too!

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  8. I think mayhap the heat has fried your brain....a delicacy for those who have been turned into zombies by the heat. I wish the sun would come just a tad closer to us....it feels more like fall than summer here.

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    1. You may easily be right, Delores. I have to go shopping shortly and will hide my brain under a hat. So far even the zombies have been polite, but you never know.

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  9. Well no wonder my air conditioning is having so much trouble keeping my house cool. With the sun that close nothing will be cool. I wonder if a loooooong fireproof stick would push it a bit further from us.

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    1. It's worth a try, Emma. Wear gloves in case the stick heats up. I tape a parasol to my head too.

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  10. Replies
    1. Hydration is the key, Squid. I remember Srar Trek NG (Season 1, Episode 17), in which humans were addressed as "ugly bags of mostly water". Even in this heat, I intend to remain one.

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    2. We've been watching TNG with our daughter recently. On Season 3 now.

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    3. Excellent family activity. It was a great series.

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  11. Our heatwave just broke - so I have crawled out to have a look at the world - by which I mean my garden. Vegetables seem to have survived, so we probably will too. Happy estivating, I will try to waft some rain your way xx

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    1. Thank you, dear Lisa. Oak Dragon leading a herd of clouds would be most welcome now. It's after 1 a.m. here and I'm about to crawl into bed --very tired of standing sideways all day (consult a globe)-- and will join your refreshing look at the world tomorrow. Good to hear from you!

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  12. Your moon photo framed in a knothole is the coolest thing ever! I've never seen anything quite like it before.

    Your temperatures? UGH! With the awful heat so many have been enduring so far this year, we'd better hope the climate change scientists are all mistaken. Ungodly heat would be much easier to endure if it were merely an aberration, rather than a foretaste of things to come.

    On the plus side, we've been getting a good bit of rain here. I haven't heard an official declaration yet, but with all we've had, surely the drought has come to an end. Better yet, the rain finally doused the 2+ month-long wildfires in south GA. Here's hoping some of that rain finds its way to you and cools the temperatures to a more bearable range.

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    1. Encouraging comment, Susan. Moonphoto in knothole is an effort to describe how the universe looks into me as I look into it. I too hope the weather extremes are temporary, as I hope ideological extremes will resolve into something more bearable and less destructive too. Feels like there's a connection there.

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  13. I will no longer complain about 90 degree weather. Above that, I do not enjoy breathing.

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    1. Dear dear Arleen. I agree and empathize --and have put in a work order with Maintenance and Operations to lower the temperature, but the paperwork consumes about 4 months. Wish I'd started earlier.

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  14. I think you've been spending too much time out in the hot sun mending fences because your math is fuzzy ~ LOL Not that I can talk ~ I'm reading through your blogs, and I'm thinking how did I get so far behind. I knew I was behind, but not this far. Then I realized I had a time glitch, and was working backwards through your 2013 posts. Duh! Time to go to bed, because my eyes look like your photos above. I was looking for that book "Gene Glitches" on the human genome that you didn't want to start reading. Now that we can sequence a human genome so much faster, I momentarily thought that I'd find that gene glitch that makes it hard for me to lose weight and then snip it out with CRISPR and be suddenly svelte. No such luck. Night, night!

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    1. Oh dear sleepy Louise! Gene Glitch is a name I used to log into Classmates.com 15 years ago. I made him a foreign exchange student. The book is likewise commentitious. Thank you for reading my essays, and pleasant dreams my friend.

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