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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 9, 2019 10:01 am 
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It wasn't long ago, they were referred to as "arctic cold fronts"


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 9, 2019 10:09 am 
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Vortex just sounds so much more high-tech than cold front!

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 9, 2019 10:24 am 
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Scalawagy wrote:
It wasn't long ago, they were referred to as "arctic cold fronts"

They still do. :)

"The terms polar and arctic are often used interchangeable to mean cold air originating from high latitudes. For example, terms like polar express, polar vortex and arctic surge are basically using the term polar or arctic to mean cold air in the higher latitudes."

Link

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 10, 2019 9:31 am 
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Why Is The Top Of The Washington Monument Made Of Metal?

When constructed in the 1800s, aluminum was a semiprecious metal - similar to silver in cost - both hard to find and difficult to extract from bauxite, also known as aluminum ore.

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So at the time, it was considered a fine luxury to have an aluminum cap crowning the top of the monument. Still, there were practical reasons as well.

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For starters, aluminum was safer than using stone because it was of lighter weight, adding less pressure to the entire structure. For another, the aluminum acts as a lightning rod. The cap was modified in the late 1800s and again in 1934 after lightning strikes damaged the aluminum cap. The modification consisted of gold-plated lightning rods. These were replaced in 1934 after workers noted wear and tear on the rod tips.

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Top modified to accept additional lightning rods

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Considering the number of thunderstorms that rumble through the area, giving the structure a metal tip and additional lightning rods seemed like a mighty good choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 10, 2019 12:53 pm 
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When I lived back in Maryland, I wanted to go to the top of monument but never got there. And I guess I won't this year either if I go back east.

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The monument continues to be plagued by problems since the earthquake, including in January 2017 when the lights illuminating it went out.[85] The monument was closed again in September 2016 due to reliability issues with the elevator system.[86] On December 2, 2016, the National Park Service announced that the monument would be closed until 2019 in order to modernize the elevator. The $2 to 3 million project will correct the elevator's ongoing mechanical, electrical and computer issues, which have shuttered the monument since August 17.


Earthquakes in DC? I didn't know that either.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 11, 2019 9:26 am 
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Why Does The Hamamatsu Festival In Japan Have Kite Fights?

One hundred thirty miles southwest of Tokyo, Japan, in the city of Hamamatsu, men fight with kites every year during three days in early May.

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The combat began many centuries ago, when the ruler of the region celebrated the birth of his first son by flying kites. Two million people a year come to see the Battle of the Kites, as team fights team, each determined to knock the other’s kite out of the sky.

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The kites are big and colorful, ten feet square and painted with the colors of a neighborhood, some with the names of newborn sons added to the decorations.

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Attached to each kite is a web of ropes that hold it aloft and that are used to try to fray, tear, and weaken the ropes that hold an opponent’s kite.

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Victory or defeat brings so much excitement that special guards are on duty to prevent fistfights and to keep people from being trampled.

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The kite fight festival in Hamamatsu is also known as Takoage Gassen (Battle of the Kites).

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 12, 2019 9:33 am 
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Ball’s Pyramid

Roughly 350 miles off the coast of Australia, there sits a massive natural pyramid, one of the last dry remnants of a sunken content. Ball's Pyramid is the world's tallest sea stack, rising to a staggering height of 1,844 feet above the Pacific. The monolithic natural structure formed after years of erosion from an ancient shield volcano about 7 million years ago, and it's home to what is arguably the rarest insect in the world.

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While the island itself sits a long way from Australia, it's only 12 miles off the coast of Lord Howe Island, an old whaling island discovered in 1788 by a lieutenant in the Royal Navy named Henry Lidgbird Ball. He found both the landmass and the towering stone structure when he was on his way from Sydney Cove to the penal colony of Norfolk Island. He eventually named the island after a British admiral and Ball's Pyramid after himself.

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Henry Lidgbird Ball

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This strange pyramid structure that seems to exist alone in the ocean actually sits atop what researchers are calling the "lost continent." Geologists discovered this mostly-sunken land mass, called Zealandia, in 2017 after decades of rock sampling and geologic research. While we usually don't consider sunken land masses continents, some say Zealandia meets all of the necessary requirements and its sunken condition doesn't negate its continental status. Ball's Pyramid is one of several above-ground land masses on this continent, the most notable being the country of New Zealand.

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Zealandia (outlined) and New Zealand

What makes Ball's Pyramid even more interesting is its unique history and wildlife. After it was discovered, Lieutenant Ball was unable to go ashore due to its jagged shoreline and steep elevation. In fact, no one was able to go ashore on the island until nearly a century later. In 1882, it's believed that Henry Wilkinson, a geologist at the New South Wales Department of Mines, took a team ashore. However, little is known about this first journey today. Since then, the world assumed the island to be a barren wasteland, devoid of life. It wasn't until 1964 that a climbing team from Sydney, Australia tried to summit the pyramid. They failed, but the team discovered something scientists thought had been long lost.

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Nick Carlile holding a Howe Island Stick Insect thought
to be extinct but found alive on Ball’s Pyramid


The massive Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, nicknamed the "tree lobster," was abundant on neighboring Lord Howe Island for most of its history. An infestation of rats from a 1918 shipwreck decimated their population, however, and after 1920, no more specimens were found, and experts believed them to be extinct. Visitors in 1964 and 1965 did discover dead specimens, however, and that gave researchers hope that these insects could be found again.

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Finally, in 2001, a group of entomologists discovered a group of 24 living insects living around a single Melaleuca shrub. This population was thought to comprise nearly all of the remaining Lord Howe Island Stick Insects on Earth. In 2003, a team returned and collected two breeding pairs, which were eventually able to produce offspring at the Melbourne Zoo. By 2012, scientists were able to breed more than 12,000 individual insects in captivity, bringing the species further away from extinction. Plans are being made to reintroduce these insects to the wild.

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The survival of this rare insect is thanks to the fact that Ball's Pyramid existed relatively untouched for most of the modern era. In order to summit the island today, you have to get permission from the New South Wales government. Ironically, a local tour company gives weekly boat trips to the island for anyone interested.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 12, 2019 10:51 am 
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Oh no, first AspenLeaf's attic noises, now that unbelievably large insect. All the old horror movie tropes are coming back to life!

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 13, 2019 9:28 am 
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The Olympic Peninsula And Its Diverse Ecosystems

Three completely different ecosystems can be found in the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state.

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Dozens of glacier capped mountains, 60 miles (97 km) of undeveloped Pacific coastline, and old growth and temperate rain forests.

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Most of this region lies with the boundaries of Olympic National Park, 95 percent of which is designated as wilderness area. The northern coastal refuge is the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

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In addition, the region contains eight types of plants and five kinds of animals not found anywhere else in the world.

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Puget Sound is a large inlet of the Pacific Ocean that extends far into Washington State. Ecologically rich, the sound also provides shipping access to a number of western Washington cities.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 13, 2019 5:26 pm 
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I lived in the area back in the 60s. This is fascinating. Now I'm going to have to research to see which animals are unique to this peninsula.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 13, 2019 5:38 pm 
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Well, this is quite the list. Of course there are two species of slugs on here! I think the slug in general is endemic to northwest Washington.
:lol:

Mammals
Olympic marmot - Marmota olympus
Olympic yellow-pine chipmunk - Tamias amoenus caurinus
Olympic snow mole - Scapanus townsedii olympicus
Olympic Masama pocket gopher - Thomomys mazama melanops
Olympic ermine - Mustela erminea olympica

Amphibians
Olympic torrent salamander - Rhyacotriton olympicus

Fish
Olympic mudminnow - Novumbra hubbsi

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)
Hulbirt's skipper - Hesperia comma olympica

Orthoptera (grasshoppers)
Olympic grasshopper - Nisquallia olympica

Coleoptera (beetles)
Mann's gazzelle beetle - Nebria danmanni
Quileute gazelle beetle - Nebri acuta quileute
Tiger beetle - Cicindela bellissima frechini

Mollusks
Arionid slug - Hemphllia dromedarius
Arionid jumping slug - Hemphillia burringtoni

Do you suppose there is an undiscovered Olympic snow vole?

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 14, 2019 9:08 am 
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Who knows ... voles being what they are. :rof laughing:

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