Selasa, 03 Agustus 2010

Don't Touch! That's Hot!

Several years in a row we were pleased not to turn on the A/C. This is not one of those years. It's been on most days in July and now we enter August with it running.

Sometimes we're not sure it actually is working though. We don't keep it cranked up. It runs on an auto-thermometer unless we fiddle with it. I try, truly I do, not to fiddle with it because, well, I skipped class the day "adjusting a programmable thermometer" was taught. The point is, if ever there is one, it's intensely hot this summer and it's hot in the house.

We do keep at a higher temperature than most people would appreciate. But there is still work going on in the kitchen "makeover" so why waste the energy by lowering the temperature and having it woosh out the door as the fellas go in and out or leave it propped open. Flies buzz in but by evening the air does cool and they become lethargic enough they are easy targets. I'm easily entertained and darned good at hitting them flat on the first time.

The dogs are sprawled wherever there's a cool spot on the floor in whichever room they occupy. They've little reason to spend much time outside. Even the dry grass is so brittle they high-step to get to a destination. It's as if the blades of grass, along with the rocked in area, are warning them "Don't Touch". It's too darned hot.

Seeing them stretched out, siesta style, - well, search for nothing more than acceptance that global warming right now is no more than the Dog Days of Summer.

And here's some history about it (courtesy of an online search):

But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?”
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.
They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).
The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.
In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.
The conjunction of Sirius with the sun varies somewhat with latitude. And the “precession of the equinoxes” (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time) means that the constellations today are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome. Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness. No, the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

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