Today was another example of adiabatic heating here on the plains. It was close to 50 degrees this afternoon as the cold front pressed in. About three the winds picked up and the temperature dropped as the front arrived. So tomorrow is supposed to be seasonably cool, but by Monday the winds will have reversed and combined to yield temperatures close to 60. At least if I believe the weather forecast. Nothing like living where the temperature can vary by 60-75 degrees in a few days.
It made it a nice day for L and I to take a walk in the park with Molly the wonder dog. The squirrels were out in force, driving Molly to distraction with their disappearing act in the trees every time she got close. One thing that has both L and I scratching our heads is the large numbers of robins still around. Normally by this time of year we are down to crows, sparrows, doves, and a few stragglers. This year there are still literally hundreds of robins in the trees and around the area. The question this brings up can be phrased as an or: Are we insane and this is normal and we just haven't noticed before, or is this something different that might have an interesting explanation?
Finally, it is time to consider the seasonal wonder of the research reported in a University of California San Diego press release. The title is evocative, but doesn't really convey the true oddity. In Eyes on the prize Brain-imaging research finds visual areas respond more to valuable objects , researchers from the Perception and Cognition Lab at UCSD reported on a study published in the Dec. 26 issue of Neuron. The main gist of the study is that if something has been associated with monetary value in the past, the visual system emphasized the object in the present. I.e. valuable things arouse more interest in the visual cortex and other areas of the brain. I think this explains a lot. Some of the speculation is that this brain processing oddity my be able to explain certain aspects of addiction. For example, the sight of drugs of food might be triggers to increased emphasis to the brain based on past rewards.
With that odd bit of research duly reported, I can now head off to the bed.
... and to all a Good Night!