Each year, tens of thousands of people from around the country make their way to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for a week-long festival known as Burning Man. It’s a celebration of art and self-expression, but it’s also permeated with science and technology. WCAI on-air host and Living Lab production assistant Alecia Orsini went to Burning Man this year with a mission – to find all the science she could.
Burning Man is a week long festival in August that takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. It's a harsh environment to live and camp for a week, but Burners (what you call someone who goes to Burning Man) live for the challenge. One of the defining elements of the experience is the Black Rock Playa, the desert itself. Unlike most deserts, it is a dusty alkali flat from an ancient ocean or lake bed.
Two Burners from Medford Massachusetts, upon studying the chemicals that make up the dusty playa, concluded that they should be able to make glass from the dust.
This time of year is so good for birding that it is hard not to get “spoiled.” There are mornings when the sky is roiling with migrant birds and it creates a sort of birding frenzy, with the observer just wanting to see more and more. This past week, with the weather being just OK, most days with more easterly wind direction than one hopes for, was really good for birding. Several mornings, seemingly inexplicably to the human observer and weather watcher, there were large numbers of migrant landbirds on the Cape and Islands.
It is hard not to notice the change going on in the natural world as we enter the month of October. The first of October heralds a major shift in bird migration and bird populations. As hours of light rapidly decreases, ambient temperatures begin to plummet and signs of the upcoming winter obvious and everywhere-birds are either on the move or preparing to stick out the rather brutal northeast winter. Either way for the birds-there is lots to do and lots going on.
Next week the Autumnal Solstice will occur and with it the change from more hours of darkness than light. All wildlife but especially birds are tuned into this, and with the passage of the solstice the fall migration quickens, as colder temperatures and shorter days foretell the coming winter.