Archive for July, 2009

This July is rapidly shaping up to be one of the driest, hottest, and smokiest on record. Each day the temperatures rise into the 80 degree range which is appallingly hot for Arnor at this time of year. Most houses in Hobbiton don’t have air conditioning so that means that the interior temperature of our houses is the same as outside.
It goes without saying that hot and dry conditions inevitably produce forest fires and there is a doozy burning about twelve miles south of town. In the mornings, we can see the pyrocumulus clouds–huge clouds of smoke that look like thunderheads–building in the sky. In the afternoons, the wind shifts and a hot, oven-like breeze drives clouds of smoke that cover the town like a fog and ash rains down on our cars.
If you close the windows at night, you can’t cool off. If you open them, you can’t breathe because of the smoke.
Where’s our rainy season when we really need it?


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A summer of field work can turn grad students and student workers into zombies and here to prove this are the good folks at the Toolik Lake Research Station on the North Slope of Alaska doing their tribute to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Those are mosquito head nets that they are wearing, by the way. Note the size and ferocity of the bloodsuckers swarming the camera lens.

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