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Re-emerging Microbes

The reappearance of microbes that had been successfully conquered or controlled by medicines is distressing to the scientific and medical communities as well as to the public. A major cause of this re-emergence is that microbes, which cause these diseases, are becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat them. According to the World Health ...

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ReemergingMicrobes
Geology

Fossil Energy - The Basics

Contrary to what many people believe, fossil fuels are not the remains of dead dinosaurs. In fact, most of the fossil fuels we find today were formed millions of years before the first dinosaurs. ... Continue reading

FossilEnergyTheBasics
Medicine

Why Is Blood Pressure Two Numbers?

Blood pressure might better be called heart pressure, for the heart's pumping action creates it. To measure blood pressure, health workers determine how hard the blood is pushing at two different ... Continue reading

WhyIsBloodPressureTwoNumbers
Medicine

Legionnaires' Disease

Legionnaires' disease, which is also known as Legionellosis, is a form of pneumonia. It is often called Legionnaires' disease because the first known outbreak occurred in the Bellevue Stratford Hotel ... Continue reading

LegionnairesDisease
Chemistry

Was Popeye Wrong?

When you think of Popeye the Sailor what is the first thing that comes to your mind? It is probably spinach. Popeye used to get extraordinary strength as soon as he munched down a can of spinach. ... Continue reading

Spinach

1816 - The Year Without A Summer

1816YearSummerMost global temperature change occurs over a long period of time, centuries rather than years, and in small increments. But in 1816, the Northeastern part of the United State and Northern Europe were hit with successive cold fronts that brought snow and ice, and dropped temperatures almost to the freezing point. Spring started out cold, but by June of 1816, the weather warmed up, and farmers began planting their summer crops. On June 5th, a blast of dry arctic air brought summer temperatures back to winter levels in a matter of hours. That cold snap lasted about five days and was followed by several more during the summer, even bringing snow and ice in August. So what would explain a year without a summer?

Meteorologists point their fingers at a series of very active volcanoes that spewed an estimated million plus tons of volcanic dust and ash high into the atmosphere between 1812 and 1816. The worst eruption was at Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies in the spring of 1815. It was so violent that the explosion was heard almost a thousand miles away (about 1600 km).

Once airborne, volcanic dust particles in the atmosphere take years to fall back to the ground, and by their nature, are very good at reflecting sunlight while at the same time allowing heat to escape from the ground and lower atmosphere. It may only have an affect of a degree or two on average, but even small variations can wreak havoc with the weather worldwide. The summer of 1816 taught the cold, hard facts about the interaction of volcanoes and the global climate.