Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Feel like you are hiking around in circles? Maybe you are!

The New York times reports on a study concerning how people do (or don’t…) find their way in varying conditions. It turns out that in some situations, “wandering around in circles” more or less accurately describes what folks will do when they get lost, at least if there aren’t sufficient visual cues to help them keep a straight line.

Apparently we all have a tendency to veer. (I once tested this when I was out on the Racetrack at Death Valley. Since there is little in the way of obstacles – save an occasional toe-whacking rock! – I tried closing my eyes and walking a straight line on the playa at night. After 100 steps or so I invariably, well, varied and ended up heading slightly off to the side.)

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Feel like you are hiking around in circles? Maybe you are!

El Niño? Time for weather junkies to begin speculating!

Starting about this time of year, many of us outdoor types are susceptible to speculations about the upcoming winter weather. Most of us are looking for something “interesting” – as in record-breaking rain/snow, an unusually early start to the season, and so forth.

Those who enjoy the seasonal speculation will appreciate the reports that El Niño conditions are returning for the upcoming season. Adding some uncertainty – but making the speculation all the more fun – El Niño can bring anything from above normal to below normal precipitation to the central/northern California area where I live. Apparently a weak El Niño can bring reduced rainfall, while a strong event (like the one I recall from the mid-1990s) can produce record-breaking conditions.

The current prediction? Conditions are still evolvomg, but at this point it looks like a weak to moderate event.

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Commentary | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on El Niño? Time for weather junkies to begin speculating!

   

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