Badger Rock Free Press

The Science Behind the Destructive Power of Avalanches

Do you know how avalanches are created? Avalanches usually develop after prolonged snowfalls, and they can occur frequently in mountainous areas.

An avalanche, in simple terms, is a mass of loosened snow and earth that travels downhill. They can begin as a small ball of snow and as they travel down a mountain it grows bigger and bigger each second.

Due to their unexpectedness, an avalanche can be very dangerous since it can lead to death if caught in one. For instance, in January of 1718, a village in Switzerland, Leukerbad, was buried by a giant avalanche. Over 50 houses disappeared in the snow in an instant and around 52 villagers were buried in snow. [Read More]

Eugene Bullard Was the First Black Fighter Pilot

Do you know who the first Black pilot was? Well if you don’t, it was Eugene J. Bullard.

Bullard’s life was filled with many unexpected events such as from running away at 11, stowing away on a boat at 16, and even enlisting in a French army at 19, not even knowing French. This is his story. [Read More]

How Wildlife Survives in Cold Winters of Madison

What do animals do during the chilling months of winter in Madison to keep themselves warm?

Some animals survive these cold winters thanks to their coats. According to Professor David Drake, an Extension Wildlife Specialist, coyotes and foxes use their thick coats to regulate their body temperature.

A deer’s coat is different from a fox’s because its outer hairs are hollow. This allows them to absorb and transfer heat from solar radiation, heat from the sun, into their body.

Places such as evergreen forests or grasslands are commonly sought out by animals during the winter because they have pockets of warm air to block the wind. Another method of survival for animals is eating. Smaller animals like mice and meadow voles eat about double their weight every day. [Read More]

How Stars Are Born

If you ever want to see the birth of a star, you are not in luck because it takes “just” millions of years for them to form.

A star is born when a big expansion of gas and dust, known as a “dark cloud,” starts to compress and heat up. The compression causes the middle to become so thick and hot that it concentrates making the layers around it disappear.

The rest of the cloud contracts even more, triggering the nuclear fusion reactions that cause a new star to form in the night. [Read More]

Oceanographers Continue to Sound the Global Warming Alarm

Since the 1800’s, temperatures have increased in abnormal ways, thus spurring global warming.

“Global warming” refers to the heating up of the Earth’s surface that most scientists concur is taking place. Researchers first began to study global warming in the late 1800’s, and recent studies suggest that in the last century, average temperatures have increased by 0.8 degrees Celsius. The same studies indicate that temperatures are estimated to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius in the next century. [Read More]

Oh, I'm Sorry; I Didn't Realize Ice Melting Was a Problem

Studies from the United Nations showed that 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded. The report came after a super El Niño elevated temperatures all around the world. However, this doesn’t solely apply to warmer weather. Recently, the winter of 2018-2019 had temperatures in the Midwest dropping as low as -55° Fahrenheit. These extreme weather conditions are effects of global warming and if not addressed, will have irreversible changes on the planet.

In the Canadian Arctic, the Barnes Ice Cap glacier is all that is left of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the gigantic ice sheet that once covered most of North America during the Ice Age. [Read More]

The Science Behind Cooking At Different Altitudes

Food takes longer to cook at altitudes higher than 3,000 feet above sea level. The key factor is the decrease in air pressure. Lower air pressure drops the boiling point of water by approximately 1-degree Fahrenheit for every 500 feet in increased elevation.

Water at a lower altitude and temperature will boil more quickly. Then, at a higher altitude, food will take longer to become fully cooked and will not be as hot as it would be at sea level; it will cool off more quickly as well. With other cooking methods such as roasting food in an uncovered pan in the oven, normal sea level cooking times still apply, because the oven heat is not affected by lower air pressure.

[Read More]