Sunsets can be spectacular in Tucson, Arizona. Bright colors predominate, such as the red one above. Sometimes, they’re dark red, sometimes orangish-red like on this night.
Why are these sunsets red? Because of particulates in the air. The colors of a sunset are caused by the scattering of light’s wavelengths. Stuff in the air like dust, smoke, pollution, and water change the intensity of the light, i.e. scatter the light. However, the wavelengths don’t scatter equally. The short wavelengths, blue and violet, scatter away easily, so we can’t see them. The other colors of red, orange and yellow are able to make it through.
The dust from the Sonoran desert monsoons can enhance the red color. It’s good to know that the dust has a positive purpose.
Even though our sunsets result merely from light scattering, their brilliance can be quite enjoyable.
The same scattering effect happens at sunrise. The light at sunrise has even farther to travel through the air because the sun is low on the horizon.
It’s nice to know why the sky can be so colorful. Understanding the science doesn’t diminish our enjoyment of the bright colors at all, does it?
On November 20th, absurdity is celebrated by being whacky, for example. It strikes me as absurd that on November 19th, we celebrate carbonated beverages with caffeine day. One day later we can expand and include other absurdities.
Some might think it is absurd to write a book. Some days, writers think so, too! Or go to Caribbean islands and spend all your time chasing large lizards that are not happy to be part of a scientific study. I often visit islands with gorgeous beaches and never actually get in the ocean – now that is absurd!
Absurdity and ridiculousness keep life interesting. What is absurd? The illogical, unreasonable, the crazy, zany and the nonsensical. November 20th is the day to accept life’s absurdities and perhaps create some of your own. Have some fun with it. Let your absurd side run free . . . if only for a day!
Book Note: An absurd moment did hit one day when I was thinking about a recent visitor to Arizona and a story began to unfold in my mind. The scientist in me included Sonoran Desert flora and fauna in the story (with a glossary, no less!), but the comedian in me caused the story’s impolite visitor to stumble from one desert danger to the next, while trying to photograph a hummingbird. Even though I write mystery novels in addition to my FUN children’s science books, I did not kill off the visitor. But the number of his injuries might give him pause when thinking about returning, right?
For a good (and educational) laugh, check out How NOT to Photograph a Hummingbird. Your kids will enjoy the absurdities; you could even read it to your little ones–it is illustrated.
November 6 is National Nachos Day, a day set aside to celebrate a delicious culinary delight. Nachos are crunchy with melted cheese, a perfect combination of taste and texture. Nachos were created by “Nacho” Anaya from Piedras Negras, Mexico in 1943.
Over the years, other ingredients have been added to the tortilla chips and cheese. Even though I regularly enjoy beef on my mine, my favorite is seafood nachos topped with shrimp and crab meat. I’ve found just about anything goes well with the basic chips and cheese.
Try being creative with your nachos. Today, go ahead and nosh on some nachos!
(Above image courtesy of José Vanegas López from Pixabay.)
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