Pat Shingleton: "Croaks and Chirps"
Years ago we attended an engagement party at our friends home, Jan and John Valluzzo. Their backyard was decorated beautifully for the event complete with a symphony. It wasn't the prestigious Baton Rouge Symphony but a symphony of croaking frogs. The backyard racket, as John called it, was courtesy of the "rain" frogs and it wasn't an isolated incident for this event. John hears them all the time and is attempting to include "frog's legs" to the menu at McDonald's. (OK folks, let's not contact McDonald's, I'm tossing some humor around here.) From amphibians to insects, some believe that crickets chirp more in warm weather than during cold times. in 1897, physicist Amos Dolbear believed that the cricket was a thermometer. Not only do crickets chirp for a mate but they also correspond to "Dolbear's Law" which incorporates listening, counting and addition to determine the outside temperature. So here's how it works. The next time you are around some crickets, listen and count the number of chirps that you hear in 14 seconds. Once you record that number add the magic number 38 and it matches the Fahrenheit temperature. Eight years ago this formula was tested by Thomas Walker who wrote, "Cricket Field Study." Numerous crickets chirping at the same time compromises this endeavor. Baton Rouge's own cricket, "Cricket Neely" of Gino's Restaurant, uses his own crickets to not only calculate the temperature but also bar tabs.