Posts tagged heat
Frank the dung beetle: “Hey Chuck! Look at the view from up here! I’m on top of the world! I’m king of the mountain!”
Charlie the ant: “Yeah. You’re ballin’.”
Though the smell might dissuade you, balls of feces make superbly effective foot coolers.
Dung beetles eat feces. Everyone knows this. But here’s something you didn’t know: newly published research reveals that dung beetles can use spheres of rollable poop-meals as portable AC units — and they’re damn effective ones, at that.
The researchers founddung beetles use their poo-ball as “a mobile thermal refuge” — a portable evaporative unit that cools the beetle slightly as it rolls, and dramatically when it clambers on top of it.
So what’s the secret to ball-cooling? The big one is evaporation. Dung balls are moist. moist. moist. mooooiiiissst…
All told, that means a beetle’s ball of crap helps keep it cool in three ways. First: as a platform, elevated above the scorching desert sand. Second: as a heat sink, drawing heat from the beetle’s forelimbs whenever they start to overheat. And third: as a mobile sand-cooling unit, paving a cooler path for the beetle as it pushes its prize ball of poo from one place to the next.
Armed with NASA satellite data, a clever data visualization expert has produced a US hotspots map. And it’s ultra up-to-date: it includes all major fires in the contiguous US from 2001 through early July 2012. “Each dot represents a moment of pretty extreme heat.”
Stuff like this makes me want a snow cone.
Last month, more than 3,200 temperature records were broken or tied around the United States, with mercury readings including a scorching 114 degrees Fahrenheit in Yuma, Ariz., 94 in Lincoln Neb., and 98 in Queens, NY.
In the last two weeks, a third of Americans have endured a heat advisory or excessive heat warning. And temperatures from the Great Plains to the Atlantic coast are running a good 10 to 15 degrees above average.
The human body can actually tolerate high temperatures quite well. In experiments, people have withstood temperatures as high as 215 F for as long as 30 minutes. And with training, athletes often compete in long-distance running and biking races in desert conditions without dangerously overheating.
Behind the records is a set of weather and climate conditions that is keeping the heat locked in over the country, with little respite in sight.
(also, this seems like the best reason to move to Canada yet. Well, at least the blue parts in this NASA image above.)
Infrared sensors are able to peer into the night and see people in complete darkness because people give off body heat. But what if a person could wear clothing that makes their body heat silhouette invisible to infrared lenses?
Scientists in France are working on an invisibility cloak for heat and have reported their research in a recent issue of Optics Express.
The United States and parts of Canada have come out of winter to find a lingering ridge of high pressure inducing summer-like conditions. The map above shows surface temperature anomalies during March 13-19 compared to averages for those dates over the last 10 years. More than 1,054 locations set new daily high temperatures records and 627 saw new record lows.