Category Archives: Winter

Conquer the cold! Preparing for the winter commute

Conquer the Cold is a program for submissions and suggestions on how to best make your winter commute a good one. It’s run by get!Downtown, the Ann Arbor downtown commuter program, and there are fabulous prizes. Send in a 150 word essay and you could win a $500 shopping spree or one of many $5 gift certificates. To be eligible to participate in the Conquer the Cold essay contest, you must have a current go!pass, and the deadline for the contest is Saturday, November 12th, 2011.


The tremors come, the tremors go, they love the wintry weather: frost quakes in Ohio

The Dayton Daily News notes an overnight frost quake centered around Darke County, Ohio on February 10, 2011.

The quake, or cryoseism as it’s known in scientific circles, occurs when moisture soaks into the soil and a quick freeze causes a sudden, even violent expansion and contraction. Darke County’s 911 director Brandon Redmond said the quakes erupted for eight hours Thursday, starting at 1 a.m. The heaviest reports were between 5:30-7:30 a.m.

No reports came through to the USGS Do you feel it service that I can locate (searches for Indiana and Ohio came up blank.)

A similar ice quake happened on Lake Mendota near the University of Wisconsin in 2008, close enough for a geology department seismograph to pick up a reading.

The Jan 31, 1986 This Week in NOAA describes the analysis of frost quake events in Maine.

The most thorough analysis I've found is Frost quakes as a particular class of seismic events: Observations within the East-European platform A. A. Nikonov , IZVESTIYA PHYSICS OF THE SOLID EARTH Volume 46, Number 3, 257-273, DOI: 10.1134/S1069351310030079 . Alas, subscription only; the abstract:

The group of quakes, which are caused by fast freezing of water-saturated soils or rocks at abrupt drop of winter temperatures often occurring in the middle and high latitudes of Eurasia, is considered. The review of little-known literature is given; the statistical data on the distribution of earthquakes in seasons and the time of day in various regions of Eurasia are presented. Special attention is paid to the East European Platform; using the data for this platform, with thorough consideration of reference quakes along with the weather conditions, the signs of a specific class of nontectonic seismic events are determined. The question concerning the necessity of the frost quakes’ discrimination in compilation of tectonic earthquake catalogues in certain regions is stated.

Translated from the original Russian, which is transliterated as Morozoboinye sotryaseniya kak osobyi klass seismicheskikh yavlenii (po materialam Vostochno-Evropeiskoi platformy). The dedication is

The tremors come, the tremors go, They love the wintry weather, With periods fast and periods slow – Perplexing altogether C.B. Hammond. The song of the seismologist. 1911.

The original Song of the Seismlologist is from the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Picture 4More frost quake accounts, from 1908 in Connecticut

Picture 47

cayenne in your socks

An old, old recipe to keep your feet warm: sprinkle cayenne in your socks.  

The powdered capsicum slightly dusted in the socks of persons subject to cold feet will generally prove a salutary means of overpowering that unpleasant sensation. (The American Dispensatory, 1823)

Not recommended to keep your fingers warm.

An illustrated example, from The Cooper Family: Warm feet in the snow.

art on a shovel: looking forward to February

February is thirteen months long in Michigan. – A Primer, Bob Hicok, The New Yorker

Looking forward to February, a civic project: a Marcel Duchamp readymade project, a retrospective civic installation of his work Prelude to a Broken Arm (1915). See Shearer, 1997 for more.

The installation would provide a convenient hook for each of these readymade pieces. Care must be taken to ensure that the works of art be completely decorative and not functional.

More: Tout-Fait, the first interactive, multi-media journal focusing on the French-American artist Marcel Duchamp.

More: Archaeology, Modernism, Modernity, an introduction by Jeffrey Schnapp, Michael Shanks, Matthew Tiews in Modernism/Modernity, v11n1, 2004.

More: in An apprehensive aesthetic: the legacy of modernist culture By Andrew McNamara, p. 118.