(Thanks, Tanya Schevitz!)
Like any concerned father with ready access to rugged, waterproof synthetic fabrics at work, Robert Carrier took home a 50-foot roll of beige Naugahyde in hopes of persuading his son to splash down on something safer. He unfurled it in the yard, hosed it down and watched as every kid in the neighborhood showed up and stayed to slide for hours.
Realizing he had a hit on his hands, Carrier used his sewing skills to refine his product. “He stitched a long tube along one side, sewn shut at one end, with spaces between the stitching so that when you attached the hose, the water pressure would build up and water would squirt out those openings and lubricate the surface of the material,” (explains Tim Walsh, author of "Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them.")
The sun's finally out in London, so it's time to repost last summer's cheap, easy, no-mess cold-brew coffee technique. This is the best cup of coffee you're likely to drink this summer.
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Last week, Dean told you about the lake at the North Pole, a pool of melted ice captured on camera by the North Pole Environmental Observatory webcams.
At Climate Central, Andrew Freedman provides some really fascinating context that illustrates the changing nature of, well, nature ... and draws a big, heavy underline on how difficult it can be to make assumptions about what is and what isn't an effect of climate change. Arctic sea ice is melting in concert with rising global average temperatures, but (contrary to the knee-jerk assumption I made about this story) the lake at the North Pole may or may not have anything to do with that. In fact, little pools have been forming at the North Pole in summer for as long as we've been paying attention. They don't actually represent the total melting of ice, but rather a layer of slushy water that forms on top of solidly frozen ice — usually, you could wade out through them and never get more than waist-deep.
What's more, the picture above wasn't taken at the North Pole. That's because the North Pole Elemental Observatory — which sits on mobile ice — has moved far from the actual North Pole since its launch. So, there probably is a lake (more of a pond, really) at the North Pole, but it might not be caused by climate change. While this lake, which isn't at the North Pole, could well be part of the melting sea ice that climate change does cause. But it also might not, because what happens as a result of climate change is always layered on top of stuff that just happens. In order to be able to tell the difference, you have to do a lot of scientific analysis — much more than you can get from one picture.
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Geoscientist Matt Kuchta explains why wet sand makes a better castle than dry sand — and what you can do to make your sand fortress even more impenetrable. Hint: The secret ingredient is window screens.
Mark Memmott at NPR's "The Two Way" blog digs in to statistics and maps from the National Climatic Data Center to illustrate exactly how fucking hot it is in hundreds of cities around the US, as a record-setting heatwave continues. I found the data a little confusing, so I 'shooped up a "For Dummies" version for you all, above. But do read the whole post from Mark here. (via Dave Pell's NextDraft)
Storm damage and high temperatures have left 1.3 million homes and businesses in the eastern United States without power since Friday. At least 23 people have been killed, some crushed by falling trees, others from heatstroke. From Illinois to Virginia, "Many Fourth of July celebrations were canceled as local governments confronted damage from the hurricane-force winds and high heat and drought conditions that made firework shows risky." There's an intense image comparison here at the NASA website, showing before/after satellite images that reveal massive blackouts in DC, Richmond, and other cities affected by the "derecho" storms.
It is 83 degrees in Aspen, Colorado—just hot enough that I started dreaming of ice cream as soon as I stepped off the plane.
Now, if I do find some ice cream and give myself a brain freeze while woolfing it down, I will have a better understanding of what that nasty cold-food headache is and how to combat it, thanks to this Scientific American video.
One of the things I like best about the video: Learning that, despite the ubiquity of the brain freeze, it's still not 100% clear what causes it. In particular, there are several competing theories to explain why putting cold things in your mouth would make your forehead hurt. Nifty!
Fishbowl bras offer alternative cooling in Japan's summer heat, now that all nuclear power plants are shut down
Models present lingerie maker Triumph's new concept bra, the "Super Cool Bra", during its unveiling in Tokyo on May 9, 2012. The bra, modeled after a miniature fishbowl, contains a gel material designed to draw excess heat out of the body in its cups. It was created to help women "feel refreshed" during summer by wearing it, the lingerie maker said. Japan is headed for a power shortage this summer following the shutdown of all nuclear power reactors. I don't really get what's up with the pipe.