This Week In Science

(reprinted from the Metro Spirit 01-25-16)

It’s snow more

This morning on the way to school, my daughter asked a very interesting and insightful question.

“Daddy, why is the snowman still there when the snow is all gone?”

Significant snowfalls only occur in Augusta every once in a while, and the snow usually doesn’t last long.  The warm ground coupled with a bright sun quickly restores our green winters.  Under certain conditions, however, traces of the snowfall will linger.  Those conditions are worth a discussion, especially if we get into the science of snow melt.

“Well, when you pack the snow all together, it sort of concentrates the cold and makes it harder to melt.” 

OK, so that’s not the most scientific explanation.  However, going straight from zero knowledge into Newton’s Law of Cooling would be counter productive.  The typical 6th grader just doesn’t understand the concept of heat transfer coefficients.  I let the explanation sink in for a moment.

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I Can’t Sleep

(reprinted from the Metro Spirit 01-12-16)

This week’s column actually begins many, many years ago – back in the era before technology, back even before civilization.  During this time, humans lived off the land, eating what they could hunt or gather.  They lived in makeshift shelters, and much of their lives revolved around simply staying alive.  Survival breeds some interesting features within humans.  Humans accumulate fat to nourish to body when food isn’t available.  A fight-or-flight instinct kicks in when a stressful situation is encountered.  And interestingly, when the sun goes down, humans go to sleep.

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Keeping Up

(reprinted form the Metro Spirit 01-05-16)

For some reason, I was happy for the holidays to finally be over.  I’m not sure why.  It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of holiday spirit.  This Christmas was one of the best ever!  We completed our shopping early, and all the pre-Christmas holiday festivities occurred with minimal drama.  Our family spent many hours enjoying each other’s company – in a completely relaxed and calm manner, I might add.  No one could ask for a better couple of weeks.

Yet, I was exceedingly happy that it was over.

Mostly, I think I was ready to get back to work.  A new year always inspires thoughts of a new beginning.  It’s a chance to reconnect with a life vision and to update a personal mission statement.  What lessons were learned from the failures, and what preparations are needed to promote future success?  The beginning of the year is the time to set down with a pen and a notebook (old school) and plan the triumphs for the year!

Most people don’t realize that technology-oriented individuals face an extra “What If” when planning for the future.  Continue reading