Pat Shingleton: "Too Much Light and Heat..."
We're fortunate in south Louisiana to have the atmospheric characteristics to enjoy marvelous sunrises and sunsets. Research indicates that after sunset there are physical benefits. Scientists discovered that only when it's really dark can your body produce the hormone melatonin. Melatonin fights diseases, including breast and prostate cancer. Small amounts of light around your bed at night switch off the production of melatonin. A dark night may keep certain cancers under control. Light during the evening hours, even emanating from your bedroom television, turns on other immune system hormones that should be activated only in daytime. If these hormones are depleted, you could be more likely to catch a cold. Scientists believe nature also needs darkness, as animals' immune systems grow weak if there's artificial light at night. So turn off everything, enjoy your rest and wake up with dawn's early light. Finally, bogus stories lace the colorful history of Death Valley, CA. Here's a good one. In 1874, the editor of the Virginia Territorial Enterprise needed some space to fill. He concocted a story about a scientist who invented a suit called, "solar armor." The scientist covered himself with a sponge-like material, saturated himself with water and set across the desert. According to the newspaper article, they discovered the inventor perched on a rock, frozen solid. The rapid evaporation of water had supposedly turned the sponge into ice. The scientist's beard was covered with frost and a foot-long icicle hung from the end of his nose. Back then, the story had the trappings of scientific fact. The hoax was so successful that newspapers all over the world reprinted it. Perspiring does lower the body temperature, as more people have died of dehydration in Death Valley than heat stroke.