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Winter Musings

February 7, 2014

This has been a great winter for winter-lovers. I love a real winter, complete with cold (i.e., in the 30’s or lower as high temperatures — and lower is fine) and snow (as much of it as possible). I know many of you out there are probably sick of it, and it’s true that here in DC we’ve skirted most of the really big storms (much to my chagrin), but it’s still been quite enjoyable (some travel to winter wonderlands such as Chicago, Michigan, and Utah didn’t hurt!). Earlier this week I got excited because there was the prospect of a good old nor’easter that would have dumped a ton of snow on us here in DC, but it sounds like that’s going to be a bust. But hope springs eternal — there’s the potential for another storm mid-week, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I thought I’d compile a rather random collection of winter-related thoughts I’ve been having. File this under “Miscellaneous,” for sure.

Right after New Years I was walking across the Duke Ellington Bridge here in DC, and came across this display. I have no idea what it is, but I loved it — so many paper mache animals, and a lovely view over Rock Creek Park (thoughts of biophilic cities ran through my head).

(c) MMD, 2014

(c) MMD, 2014

Animals

(c) MMD 2014

(c) MMD 2014More Animals

The Washington Post had a couple of interesting tidbits about winter weather this past week. First, an interesting story about icicles, and more specifically the ripples you find on the sides of them. Turns out that there’s always the same distance between peaks of the ripples, no matter the size of the icicle. Stephen Morris at University of Toronto has been studying the physics of icicles and, along with his graduate students, has discovered that the ripples have to do with salt and impurities in the water. There’s more, so take a look at the article.

The Post’s Ashley Halsey III and Dana Hedgpeth take on the question of why I-95 seems to be a sort of demarcation line between snow and ice and no (or at least a lot less) snow and ice in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia, for those of you outside of the area). The interstate actually more or less follows the geological boundary between the Piedmont and hills part of the region and the coastal plain. So, elevation plays a role, and it’s likely that proximity to the Bay and the urban heat island effect  are also behind this.

Also,  an update on our snowy owl, who seems to be doing better. She’s (it was confirmed via a blood test that she is indeed a she) seems to be over her head injury, and although she has a broken toe and is anemic (perhaps because the rats she was eating her poisoned), she seems to have recovered her spirits, turning from being easily handled (not normal for an owl!) to demonstrating that she’s not happy to be in close proximity to humans. The Post article then goes on to describe the good work City Wildlife does and the needs they’re going to have this spring, once the onslaught of animals needing care goes into full swing. For example, an x-ray machine would have made examining the snowy owl much easier (she had to be sent out instead). She’s a long way from being released, but so far so good.

And have I mentioned how much I love a good snow storm? My dogs do, too — here’s a shot of one of them with a crazy snow face while playing fetch 🙂

(c) MMD

(c) MMD 2014

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