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Science News: June 2005

Author: Nicolas Delerue, Issues: Nicolas Delerue, Topic: Science

You can calculate the outdoor temperature by counting cricket chirps

It's true! Nature provides us with a lot of clues about the current or future weather. Pioneers, sailors and farmers depended on these clues to help them survive and created the weather folklore we know today - including calculating the current temperature by cricket chirps. So, the next time you are outdoors in an area where there are crickets, use the following "equation" to figure out what the temperature is: Count the number of cricket chirps in 15 seconds, then add 39 degrees.

Megan O'Leary (Cape Cod, MA)

It can rain frogs

Yes it has - and that's no April Fool's joke either! In fact, it has rained all sorts of weird things like sardines, fish, snakes, hermitcrabs, grasshoppers, corn...and yes, even frogs. In Minneapolis during the summer of 1901, torrents of frogs fell from the sky, accumulating up to three inches deep in places and bringing traffic to a standstill. It is thought that strong winds like those found in thunderstorms, hurricanes and whirlwinds, suck up the objects like a vacuum cleaner and deposit them elsewhere. Two animals it has never rained are cats or dogs. It is thought that the phrase "it's raining cats and dogs" came about because in Norse mythology cats were identified with heavy rains while dogs were identified with strong winds. Thus, "raining cats and dogs" became a phase symbolizing a strong rain storm with gusty winds.

Marilyn Fritzler (Denver, Colorado)

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