Writing thoughts

Last year in November I tried the experiment of doing Nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write 1700 words every day during November. The Nanowrimo website is set up to let you track your words and sends encouraging messages along with an internet sticker that says you are a winner if you actually get to 50,000.  I was stuck writing Jessamyn so I thought I’d try something else for a time. I actually wrote 30,000 words for a work that might be entitled The Science Fair Murder if I finished it. Life intervened after that.

I had been teaching Middle School Science for ten years and last spring I decided that I was done. I wasn’t writing. I set up this blog and left it totally alone. I didn’t spend enough time with my family. I love thinking about various topics in Science. I like researching and learning and sharing what I have learned. I just wasn’t up to the daily struggle at school.  So now I’m teaching Middle School Religion along with Geometry and still thinking about Science.  I’ve been trying to understand new ideas in oceanic circulation and how that affects the atmosphere.

For example, this fall the Santa Anna winds have been blowing in California as they usually do. They are always described as warm and dry but I have been teaching a unit on Atmosphere in which I explain that warm air rises and wind is caused by air moving in to fill the low pressure areas that this rise creates. So why were these “warm” winds moving so swiftly horizontally, and causing so much trouble? As it turns out, the Pacific Ocean is warmest in the fall not the summer and thus is creating upward drafts that draw air from the Great Basin over the mountains into both northern and southern California, moving towards the ocean.  The normal land-sea breezes that switch in the morning and evening are suppressed, so moisture laden air does not blow in from the ocean every afternoon.  Further, as the air is drawn west over the Sierras it is funneled into passes where the speed increases (I think Galileo wrote about fluids moving faster in a smaller channel? So you can get the same amount of substance through a given forward distance?).  So hot, very dry air moving very quickly out to the Pacific which is hotter. The land it crosses dries out. One possible result is wildfires. Interesting.

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