Athletic Heat Stress & Next Steps for Returning to Activities after COVID Shutdowns

March 2020 marked a significant change in the United States, resulting in the closure of all types of businesses ranging from restaurants to schools. With social distancing and masks recommended in public and small gatherings, organized sports took a toll from the pandemic. Professional sports, including the NBA and MLB, postponed games. Even sports on a much smaller scale, such as little league sports, were canceled entirely. The shut-down of organized sports and activities due to Coronavirus closures eliminated the spring training season and, in many locations, has delayed the return to outdoor training this summer. Athletes of all ages...

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Rock Art Research & Conservation with Kestrel Weather Meters

Can caves tell stories? Yes! Especially when it comes to cave paintings, dating back to the earliest known depictions from 35,400 years ago. Some of the most well-known cave paintings throughout the world are in the Cave of Altamira (Spain), Lascaux (France), and Magura Cave (Bulgaria). While some cave paintings remain inside caves, others are on display at museums. Whether the painting in question is indoors or outdoors, the environment will significantly determine the conservation and longevity of the art. How Was Paint Made for Cave Art? Prehistoric paint isn't like the paint we use today. The pigments used in...

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Microplastic Research and Protecting Our Oceans with Kestrel Weather Meters

Plastic in the ocean is an overwhelming problem throughout the world with more than 8 million tons of plastic dumped into the sea each year. Animals such as sea turtles and seals get caught in plastic litter and even die from ingesting it. However, while items such as plastic bottles present plenty of problems, another significant issue is microplastics. Only 1% of microplastics are visible from the surface of the ocean, although some may wash up on beaches. What are Microplastics? Microplastics are small plastic particles that are about 5mm in length - approximately the size of a pencil eraser....

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Livestock Heat Stress During Transport & Lairage

When transporting livestock such as sheep and cattle, several considerations take place to ensure smooth transport and safe arrival. There are numerous exposures that can cause stress on livestock during transportation, such as: Loud sounds and vibrations Shortage of food or water Motion during transport Quickly changing weather conditions Change of temperature, such as cold to hot Heat stress How Does Heat Stress Affect Livestock? Heat stress has an adverse effect on livestock, whether the livestock is being used for milk, meat, or for work animals. For example, heat stress can cause cows to produce less milk. Not only is...

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The Case of Kestrel and the Dragonfly Detectives

Dragonflies are whimsical creatures with translucent wings and somewhat unknown behavioral patterns, especially related to weather. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is working alongside a team of unconventional detectives and scientists, comprised of students in grades 4-8. This is a citizen science project that examines the role that weather plays in dragonfly flight behaviors. Head of Citizen Science Christine L. Goforth leads the way on this expedition, carrying on the museum's mission to illuminate nature with research, conservation, and interactive exhibits. Using Kestrel weather meters, Goforth and her citizen science project team track weather patterns to gain insight...

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Heat Stress Safety: The Science Behind the WBGT Regional Guidelines

Heat stress is a very real and potentially deadly occurrence that can happen to athletes of any competition level. Since many athletes train and perform in a variety of environmental conditions, Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) Regional Guidelines were developed to help improve heat stress safety. What is WBGT? First, let's discuss the concept behind Wet Bulb Global Temperature. This is the measurement of heat stress in direct sunlight. This measurement takes the following into account for its calculation: Humidity Temperature Wind Speed Sun Angle Cloud cover It's no secret that different regions of the US experience varying types of...

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