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The Iceman Cometh

...is the name of a celebrated play by Eugene O'Neill. The iceman also cometh to Holland and would turn everybody's lips this color if they stayed out in it for long.

This morning, here comes this dude who was raving about -15 degrees and he is a big burly dude, too, wearing a big burly coat, and with big frosty eyes. [Much better insulated than me.] That's inland, where there's been a lot of SNEEUW pronounced S + NOW in English, as in 'right now': here it's more like -10 this morning and no sneeuw yet... In Arizona / Colorado terms that's plus five degrees and plus fourteen degrees Fahrenheit. Certainly enough to freeze water and your tender parts. No wind though.

So the canals are delightful this morning, this is looking inland and there are good reflections of the apartment towers:




This is looking the other way, these canals lead to the North Sea. Seagulls showing you how to walk on water:




This one is landing near the narrrow channel of clear water. Looks like everybody is trying to get a fish / breadcrust breakfast:









And when I got closer, I think all except two took off to find the UNOX soup trucks, leaving the tree to glow in the sunrise:




All of them look much more fat and feathery than I do, so they have found out some secrets that still wait for me. Nothing on their feet, either, they must be carrying their own electrically-heated insulation. When I learn how to speak Seagull I'll ask one, and write about what she says.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
kala_ayule
Jan. 6th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, you just had to write that last paragraph, didn't you? Now I get to give you a lesson in seagull legs. Here's their trick: counter-current circulation. You've got the hot, arterial blood leaving the heart and traveling down to their feet, and then you've got the cool, veinous blood coming back up. The feet are big and flat, so you would think this would cause the gulls to lose a lot of heat, right? It actually doesn't. You see, as the cool veinous blood is coming back up, it runs against the hot arterial blood, and the aterial blood transfers its heat to the veinous blood. So the veinous blood is nice and warm as it returns to the body. The arterial blood, on the other hand, is cooled down before it reaches the feet, so there is minimal heat loss. Neat, huh?
silverplate88
Jan. 6th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
O Kala I should have thought to ask you. You are easier to ask than a seagull.

If that sounds like a unique compliment you've never had before, it is :P

I love all your lessons.

Big flat feet? Yes, that's exactly what I thought. When one flew right by me [guess I was in her landing pattern.]

Counter-current circulation? YAY! Now I know more about this than anyone in Holland {except the Dutch counterparts of *you* [are there any, or are they still hiding out in Germany? ;)]}

I also noticed that none of them seemed to stay very long on the ice surface, so that might play a part too?

But I like the circulation pathways better.

We should have that.

Since you and I are into all these four-footed-furry-pawed cute creatures, do they have something like this too, to help in the snow [or ice, in the case of polar bears?]
kala_ayule
Jan. 7th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
Hehe, I actually thought about posting about that too, but stopped myself. But since you asked...

Large ungulates have a similar method. Take, for example, moose. They've got really long legs. According to Allen's Rule, mammals' leg length should actually decrease the further north in latitude you go, because long legs=lots of surface area from which to lose heat. But moose also use counter-current circulation in their limbs. Except ungulates have two sets of veins: one set close to the skin and one set close to the artery which runs through the center of their legs. When it's cold outside, the moose use the central veins so that counter-current circulation occurs and they don't lose heat. When it's warm outside, they switch to the outer veins to cool the blood off.

I'm not entirely sure if other mammals use counter-current circulation to the same extent. But there are plenty of other ways for them to keep warm (both physiological and behavioral). Of course the polar bear has a lot of fat and that thick/dense, hollow fur.
silverplate88
Jan. 7th, 2009 09:44 am (UTC)
WHAT? Polar bears have -hollow- fur?? ?? The image I get is of a drinking straw... ? ?

I don't doubt you for a second... besides, I assume this -Allen- made up his Rule after whole big bunches of field work.

Moose I can relate to. They amble all across the Interstates in Vermont, sometimes at exactly the wrong time.

Happiness is a warm psychological / behavioral tiger. Erm, tigress.

I hope I remember all of this for your exam :) -Ungulates- , aha.
kala_ayule
Jan. 7th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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silverplate88
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