Here are a couple pictures of the launch from Walt’s Point on the eastern scarp of California’s Sierra Nevada, overlooking the Owens Dry Lake and the White Mountains beyond. This is the spot from which Kari Castle set her first distance record. In the second picture, you can just see the top of the spine of the rock towards which you must launch. In the picture in AIR, Kastle is flying abreast of this point.
Dr. Linda Styer of the New York State Health Department came to the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, NY, as part of the Thursday Night Lecture Series. She spoke about mosquitos, for whom she obviously has great affection. She suggested that, after her talk, we might hesitate to squash the next mosquito that bit us until we had seen and admired the insect as she fed upon us.
Styer gave a brief précis of mosquito ecology, including a startling fact. The buzzing of mosquitoes is owed to the rapid vibration of their wings in flight: From 600 to 1200 herz. Two mating mosquitos experience harmonic conversion as they prepare to mate, that is, they synchronize the frequency of their wing beats, so they sound in unison. Two males or two females will never do this. In fact, if their frequencies are too nearly alike, they will change them, so that the sounds remain separate.
Play it again, Sam. “And when two lovers woo, they still experience harmonic convergence.” We are not so different from the brute creation as we may think.
It is a marvelous living map of the winds as they are occurring right now across the entire continental United States. Thanks to David Sassoon, who runs the fine climate blog, Inside Climate News (www.insideclimatenews.org) for putting me onto this map.
A couple things about the map:
Notice that although the general motion is from West to East, there is a large component from south to north, flowing up from the warm Gulf of Mexico into the middle of the country. That in a nutshell is why we alone – with the possible companionship of Bangla Desh – have so many tornados. The air drawn up from the gulf packs immense quatities of wet energy, to make clouds, rain and wind.
An interesting thing to do with the map is to try to grasp from it the relief map of the country. You will see how mountains direct the flows of the air, and how the flow changes as it crosses over them.
Also, here you can see at a glance both the anticyclones – the high pressure systems of sinking, clockwise-circling air that bring clear weather – and the cyclones—the low pressure systems of rising, counterclockwise-spinning air that bring the great continental storms.
I was part of a show called ‘Roundtable’ on WAMC Radio, July 26.
Credit: Sam Logan
William Bryant Logan is a certified arborist and president of Urban Arborists, Inc., a Brooklyn-based tree company. Logan has won numerous Quill and Trowel Awards from the Garden Writers of America and won a 2012 Senior Scholar Award from the New York State chapter of the International Society of Arborists. He also won an NEH grant to translate Calderon de la Barca. He is on faculty at NYBG and is the author of Oak and Dirt, the latter of which was made into an award-winning documentary. The same filmmakers are currently planning a documentary made from Air. He lives in New York City.