Lighthouses Attract Birds!

lighthouse-web

Bardsey Island lighthouse, UK

It sounds impossible, but the very bright light emanating from a lighthouse at night attracts  birds. This happens on the most remote of lighthouses, some far out at sea.

What interest would birds have in a lighthouse?

Well sometimes it is because the light beacon attracts numerous insects which the birds feed upon. In other cases birds fly to the lighthouse lamp because it is the only attraction in their universe, just like a boat will navigate towards the safety of a lighthouse. Continue reading

Reprint – Electric Lights Alter Daily Rhythms

Circadian_Cycle

Photo credit: Dana Le via Flickr http://bit.ly/14zepJ9

I wrote an article entitled I Love Nightshift awhile ago. It is true, and now I know why I felt so healthy working on the lighthouse – lack of electric lights! It may not be for all people, but it did work for me. Working the night shift was done mostly in the dark as we had to watch for fog, visibility markers, lights from ships, flares, sea conditions, clouds – all only visible in the dark without electric lights.

The title and text for this article are from the.scientist.com website.

Electric Lights Alter Daily Rhythms

Humans’ circadian clocks become skewed when they are exposed to electric lights but revert to a schedule more in tune with the sun when they go camping.

By Kate Yandell | August 6, 2013

Long-term exposure to electric lighting has fundamentally altered humans’ circadian rhythms, according to a study published in Current Biology last week (August 1). But a week camping away from electric lights swiftly reset eight study participants’ circadian clocks.

“What’s remarkable is how, when we’re exposed to natural sunlight, our clocks perfectly become in sync in less than a week to the solar day,” coauthor Kenneth Wright, a University of Colorado Boulder integrative physiologist, said in a press release. Read more . . .

First seen in a Facebook article, and later in LiveScience.

 [private] For the first week of the study, participants went about their ordinary routines at home. Next, they all went camping in the Rocky Mountains for a week without flashlights or electronics.

Throughout the study, the participants wore wrist monitors that logged light intensity, time of day, and activity. At the end of each week, the researchers measured the participants’ melatonin levels, which indicate circadian cycle status.

While going about their ordinary routine, the participants went to sleep at 12:30 a.m. on average, experiencing on onset of melatonin about 2 hours prior. In the wilderness, the participants’ circadian clocks were advanced by 2 hours; they experienced an earlier onset of melatonin, coinciding with sunset, and went to sleep sooner.

The experiment also showed that a week in the wilderness reduced the differences among the participants’ daily rhythms, with the schedules of early birds and night owls converging.[/private]

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By Cari Nierenberg, Contributing writer   |   August 01, 2013 12:00pm ET
 
 
A tent is staked at the edge of a mountain lake.
Going camping for a week can reset your internal daily rhythms, a new study shows.
Credit: Camping photo via Shutterstock

A weeklong camping trip can help reset a person’s internal biological clock, so that it will be easier to wake up in the morning and feel more alert, a new study suggests.

After study participants spent more time exposed to natural light and less time in artificial lighting, researchers found their bedtimes and wake-up times shifted, both moving up to two hours earlier. 

“After camping, the night owls in the group showed the greatest shifts in the timing of their internal clocks,” said study researcher Kenneth P. Wright, Jr., an associate professor of physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Night owls looked more similar to earlier morning types,” Wright said. In other words, night owls started keeping an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule, and they said they felt more alert in the morning.

This study was the first to quantify the impact of our modern lifestyle — of spending more time indoors in artificial light and less time outdoors in natural light — on human’s internal biological clocks, or circadian rhythms, the researchers said.

The findings are published online today (Aug. 1) in the journal Current Biology.

Increasing natural light

In the study, researchers looked at eight adults with an average age of 30 who did not have any sleep problems. Participants spent one week living their usual schedules of working, attending school, socializing, exercising, sleeping and waking, and they wore a wristwatchlike device that measured their light exposure. [Best Camping Spots in America’s Backyard]

Then they spent a week camping in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains in July. In the great outdoors, participants were exposed to sunlight and a campfire’s glow, but were not allowed to use any artificial light — meaning no computers, flashlights or cellphones.

Before the camping trip and after it ended, researchers measured levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness, as a marker for each participant’s individual biological clock. 

During the week of camping, the participants were exposed to four times more natural light, on average, compared with when they lived their normal lives, Wright said.

More natural light caused the participants’ internal clocks to become perfectly in sync with nature’s light and dark cycle, or the timing of sunrise and sunset, he pointed out.

“If people want to be more alert in the morning, they need to increase their exposure to natural lighting during the day, and decrease their exposure to electrical lighting in the evening,” Wright said.

But you don’t have to pitch a tent, unroll a sleeping bag and go camping to reap these benefits.

Wright suggested making an effort to get more natural light in the morning or at lunch by taking a walk and raising shades or blinds at home and at work. He also recommended dimming lights and reducing the intensity of artificial lights on computers, TVs, and other electronic devices an hour before bedtime.

“A flip of a light switch can be pretty powerful,” Wright said, adding that “light can be very arousing and alerting to the brain.”

Resetting internal clocks

“This study goes a considerable way toward showing the practical impact of light exposure on human biological clocks in the real world,” said Dr. Andrew Lim, a sleep neurologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, who was not involved in the research.

Lim said the findings reveal how an artificial lighting environment — with insufficient light during the day and excessive light after sunset — can play an important role in causing people to fall asleep later and wake-up later. It leads to a misalignment between sleep-wake cycles and an individual’s internal biological clock.

Lim said that it’s difficult to attribute all of the observed effects in the study to differences in light exposure alone, because campers also had different activity levels and social schedules than they would at home.

He also mentioned that it’s unclear whether these results would hold true in other latitudes, during other seasons besides summer, and in different age groups. 

Editor’s Recommendations

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Joel N. Shurkin, ISNS Contributor   |   August 01, 2013 03:15pm ET
 
 
camping resets internal clock
Credit: FLorian via flickr | http://bit.ly/1bOnDE0

(ISNS) — Throughout most of human history, humans went to bed shortly after the sun went down and woke up in the morning as it rose. There were candles and later oil lamps, but the light was not very bright so people still went to bed early.

Then came Thomas Edison and the incandescent light bulb and everything changed, including our sleeping habits. So, if you have problems getting to sleep at night or are a miserable person to be around in the morning, blame him.

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder found that if you live by the sun’s schedule, you are more likely to go to bed at least an hour earlier, wake up an hour earlier, and be less groggy, because your internal clock and external reality are more in sync. The sun adjusts your clock to what may be its natural state, undoing the influence of light bulbs. 

The work is published in the current issue of the journal Current Biology.

The disconnect between the outside environment and sleep is one reason why even native Alaskans have problems sleeping in the almost endless days of the Arctic summers, and get depressed during the long nights of winters.

The subjects in the Colorado study lived more normal lives.

“We weren’t studying people who had sleep difficulties,” said Kenneth Wright, an integrative psychologist at Boulder. “The amount of sleep they got did not change. What changed was the timing of their sleep and the timing of their [internal] clock relative to when they slept.”

The researchers took eight adults, average age around 30, and followed them around the normal course of their lives for a week. The subjects spent most of their time indoors while working, studying, eating, and sleeping. Most of the light they encountered was artificial. Then, they sent the same people out camping.

Sleep and light were measured daily and the hormone melatonin every hour across 24 hours, once after the week of living at home, going to work, school, and then after a week of camping.

Melatonin is the “hormone of darkness,” said Namni Goel, a psychologist and sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Scientists use the hormone to measure photoperiods, or the physiological response that organisms have to cycles of daylight and darkness. 

“It rises at night naturally, and falls during the day, suppressed by light,” said Goel.

Melatonin also drops the body’s core temperature, making it easier to sleep. People often take melatonin pills to help them fall asleep, she said.

After the week’s study indoors, the Colorado subjects went camping in the Rockies. Instead of artificial lighting, they had only sunshine during the day and campfires at night. Wright estimates the light from the sun was four times as intense as what they experienced indoors. The nature of the light also changed during the day. Think of the bright white light of midday and the golden glow that often precedes sunset.

After their week of camping, researchers measured the subjects’ melatonin levels again.

The researchers found that the onset of melatonin shifted two hours earlier, and the subjects’ actual sleep shifted more than an hour earlier. Their bodies were recalibrating themselves, Wright explained.

When they woke in the morning in their normal lives, the melatonin and the external time were in conflict. They were waking up, but the melatonin in their bodies was telling them they should still be asleep. That might account for their still feeling sleepy, Wright said.

When they were out in the outdoors, the melatonin levels and the sun cycle were more aligned–the levels went down as the sun rose and before they woke up. They were subject to more light — sunlight — for the majority of the day.

The relationship between light and sleep and how much sleep a person needs has been the subject of several classic experiments.

Some involving putting subjects in deep, totally dark caves for weeks at a time have discovered that the 24-hour-day is almost exactly right for our bodies. The average amount of time our bodies consider a day comes to 24.3 hours, Goel said.

Goel and other Colorado scientists agree that the experiment was small, with only eight subjects, which limits what can be concluded. Nonetheless, the findings justify more experiments like it.

And more camping.

Inside Science News Service is supported by the American Institute of Physics. Joel Shurkin is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. He is the author of nine books on science and the history of science, and has taught science journalism at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. [/private]

Reprint – “Stand” – An Adventure Documentary

 

Stand – Power Teaser

 [media url=”http://vimeo.com/52119128″ width=”400″ height=”350″]

[private]http://lighthousememories.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Vimeo-.mp4[/private]

 from  PLUS

 

STAND, presented by Quiksilver Waterman, will take viewers on a journey through the waters of B.C.’s west coast. Through the stories of an aboriginal high school class building their own stand-up paddleboards as a form of protest, the efforts of expedition stand-up paddler Norm Hann, and the powerful surfing of iconic west coast native Raph Bruhwiler, the diversity of people, landscape and wildlife that would be affected by an oil spill
will be articulated. STAND will take you to the core of the issue and unfurl the soul of B.C.’s west coast one paddle stroke at a time.

Cedar Standup Paddleboard

The crew is currently raising funds through the popular crowd-sourcing platform IndieGoGo, in order to complete post-production and bring this story into the mainstream consciousness. You can become a champion of the Great Bear and help protect our precious coastlines by donating to the project and in return receive some great rewards.

IndieGoGo Fundraiser: indiegogo.com/standfilm

Created by Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob

Music:
Original Score by Alan Poettcker (myspace.com/thesekidswearcrowns)

Sound Design:
Gregor Phillips (cinescopesound.com/)

Cinematography: Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob
Editing: Nicolas Teichrob

Additional footage courtesy of:
Adam DeWolfe (adamdewolfe.com)
Pacific Wild (pacificwild.org)
Peter Yonemori

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STAND – a SUP adventure through the Great Bear Rainforest

 [media url=”http://vimeo.com/38708656″ width=”400″ height=”350″]

[private]http://lighthousememories.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/stand_-_a_sup_adventure_through_the_great_bear_rainforest_1280x720.mp4[/private]

October 23, 2012 –  “STAND” the new film from b4apres Media in association with Dendrite Studios will take you into the heart of the largest temperate rainforest on the planet—the Great Bear in British Columbia, Canada. Hung on the skeleton of a good ol’ fashioned adventure undertaken by a group of surfers, the potential effects of introducing super tankers to these pristine waters will be articulated. As the crew moves through this remote region under their own power, the landscape will be unfurled one paddle stroke at a time and punctuated by the faces and fears of the First Nation people who call this garden of Eden their home. Not just an efficient mode of transport, a stand up paddleboard expedition will be symbolic of “standing up” to preserve this last bastion of rainforest. Captured in cinematic High Definition, the film will bring the Enbridge Pipeline debate into the collective consciousness in a way that will have you fishing in your basement for that old fluorescent wetsuit.

Quiksilver Waterman has signed on as the presenting sponsor for STAND. Since the crew had the concept for the film last year, they have been searching for a partner to support the project. That partner, however, needed to be the right fit and believe in the cause, in protecting British Columbia’s West Coast. Thankfully Quiksilver Waterman along with the Quiksilver Foundation 1 share a strong commitment to the environment.

Norm Hann and Raph Bruhwhiler are both Quiksilver ambassadors and agreed to join the project from the beginning. Both are true waterman and dedicated to the protection of the waters that they derive so much enjoyment from as well as the occasional seafood platter. Having Quiksilver Waterman involved makes the perfect trilogy and will allows the filmmakers to illuminate the stories, adventures and landscapes that abound in this truly magic part of the world.

Long protected by the 1972 Trudeau government moratorium on crude oil tankers plying British Columbia’s north coast, these waters are now facing the risk of oil spill. Potentially, 225 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) per year would each transport approximately 2 million barrells of oil through the Great Bear Rainforest. In context, today’s supertankers carry ten times the volume of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Put simply, the pristine marine and terrestrial ecosystems as well as the people of the Great Bear would likely not recover from such an incident.

This issue is perhaps the most important environmental issue in B.C. history. Whats more, a catastrophic oil spill could reach beyond borders and impact much of the Pacific North West coastline.

Visit the official Dogwood Initiative Website to learn more and find out how to get involved.

August 21, 2013Go see the film in Toronto.

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FOOTNOTE:

1 For years, Quiksilver and Roxy have been actively engaged in charitable activities, both locally and globally. Quiksilver recognises the concept of corporate social responsibility and benevolence. We want our philanthropic work to have impact beyond what we do as one company and believe that we can do this by coordinating the support of other organizations and individuals. The Quiksilver Foundation was formed to bring all of Quiksilver’s charitable giving under one umbrella. The Foundation commenced its activities as a private foundation in October of 2004.

With offices in Europe, Australia and America, Quiksilver has the capability of reaching people worldwide. Quiksilver has the vision of making a difference to community and environment through the Quiksilver Foundation.

The Quiksilver Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to benefiting and enhancing the quality of life for communities of boardriders across the world by supporting environmental, educational, health and youth-related projects.
The Quiksilver Foundation has a commitment to improve the quality of all our lives.
We desire to benefit:

Local Communities, including schools, local charities through support and outreach programs;

Major special projects and organizations sharing our focus on children, education, science, oceans and the environment.

Weather Observing – a Large Part of the Job

Note:- How to obtain an up-to-date weather report from a BC lighthouse

McInnes with weather instruments (lower half) – photo John Coldwell

One of the duties on most of the lighthouse stations, and especially on McInnes Island, up to 2003, was the reporting of local weather (weather visible in the immediate area of the station) to Environment Canada (EC) – earlier called the Atmospheric Environment Service (AES) – for re-broadcast to boaters, pilots and climatologists.

This became even more important after the Tropical Storm of October 1984 hit the British Columbia coastline.

Extreme Tendency November 05, 1988 – scan Glenn Borgens

Every three hours during the day, starting at around three o’clock in the morning we would collect the information on sky condition, visibilty, wind speed and direction, rain/snowfall, wet and dry bulb temperatures plus maximum and minimum temperatures, station pressure and tendency (whether pressure was rising or falling and how rapidly), and sea and swell height. This was then recorded on AES forms or in a notebook depending on the station. Not all stations reported or had the instruments for all observations. These records were forwarded to AES every month along with a Climate Summary for the month. Continue reading

Foghorns and the Changing Coastal Soundscape

 Foghorns and the Changing Coastal Soundscape

Technology and politics are changing the tune of the maritime chorus

April 20, 2012 | 3:46 PM | By  and with thanks to Climate Watch

Read the full text version of this story at KQED’s QUEST site. (more photos – retlkpr)

East Brother Island, with the 19th-century lighthouse on the left and fog signal building on the right. - Craig Miller

East Brother Island, with the 19th-century lighthouse on the left and fog signal building on the right. Continue reading