Posts Tagged ‘sun’


Photo: RMIT University/Nature Communications
Australian university researchers have developed an ultraviolet (UV) active ink that changes color when exposed to UV rays to help sunbathers see when they’ve had enough sun exposure.

My kids expect that every spring I’ll trot out the latest skin-cancer articles to scare them about sun exposure. Well, after all, getting skin cancer is something to worry about. I have a number of people in my family who have had dangerous melanomas. I myself had what they call a melanoma in situ. I had it removed in the 1990s and still get checked every six months.

Given winter vacations to sunny climes, spring and summer are not the only times to be wary. You might be interested in reading about a new way to protect yourself.

According to Nicola Davis at the Guardian, “A simple paper sensor featuring smiley and frowny faces drawn in UV-sensitive ink has been produced by researchers in a bid to keep us safe in the sun.

“Scientists say the different expressions appear in sequence as UV exposure increases, offering a low-tech way for people to gauge when it is time to cover up.

“The team add that they have produced different versions of the wristband for different skin tones – something they say is important given that darker skin can tolerate greater UV exposure before damage occurs, and more exposure is needed to produce vitamin D.

“Further, the sensor can respond to varying levels of the different components of UV radiation: while UVA is thought to cause skin ageing and wrinkles, it’s mainly UVB that causes sunburn and leads to skin cancer. …

“Writing in the journal Nature Communications, [Prof Vipul Bansal, lead author of the study from RMIT University in Australia,] and colleagues describe how they sought to tackle the issue by creating a cheap device based on phosphomolybdic acid, or PMA. This substance turns from colourless to blue in the presence of lactic acid and UV radiation.

“The team then used this mixture of lactic acid and PMA as an ink to draw four invisible faces on paper, and used transparent sheets of the sort used for overhead projectors to create filters that they put on top of them. This allowed the researchers to tweak the intensity of UV radiation reaching the ink so that the faces changed colour in sequence as exposure to UV radiation rose from 25% to 50%, then 75%, and finally 100% of a ‘safe’ dose.

“The team found that the PMA-based ink turns a darker blue colour under UVB than UVA over the same period of time, meaning that the higher the proportion of UVB in the sunlight an individual is exposed to, the quicker the sensor will indicate a 100% dose of UV radiation.

“By further adjusting the number of filters for each of the four faces, the team were able to adjust the system to produce different sensors to work for six different skin tones.

“Bansal said that while devices were designed using UV light in the laboratory, they are currently being tested in outdoor conditions. The team hope that the sensors will be on the market in a year, costing about a 1AUD [$0.71] a piece.

“Matthew Gass of the British Association of Dermatologists, who was not involved in the research, said said the product does ‘have the potential to be another tool that helps people avoid excessive sun exposure, but they are not a replacement for actual sun protection in the form of sunscreen, protective clothing, and making use of shade.’ ”

My dermatologist insists that sunscreens should include zinc and be waterproof. Just FYI.

More at the Guardian, here.

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Time for a photo round-up. Winter in New England: warm days, cold days, snow, ice, complicated shadows, empty facades, food and drink.

If you get any time to be alone and quiet — maybe just nursing a head cold — use it well. Everyone needs time to think.































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When I said I was taking my laptop on vacation, Bob urged me to forget about work and release my “inner Frenchman.”

Well, my inner Frenchman is having a field day as I have a couple days without work and before the family returns to the island. I wouldn’t like it all the time, but for a brief spate, it’s nice to just take pictures and naps, read an Eliot Pattison mystery about the French and Indian War, and plan lunch with friends. The days are sunny, the evenings may feature an art opening.

(Wish I could say the beautiful produce is mine, but it’s Sandy’s and Pat’s, from their garden.)





























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Fyfe-Day-repertoire-with-frame-cardGreeting card of Meredith Fyfe Day’s “Repertoire with Frame.”

Back in the early 1990s, I worked for Meredith Fyfe Day at Harte-Hanks newspapers, where we whipped into shape tottering stacks of press releases of wildly varying literacy.

That was Meredith’s day job. She was also a working artist. My husband and I have long enjoyed her shows, several of which were at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell when Meredith was the artist in residence.

Recently a friend of hers tagged her on Facebook, which was how I learned that the Lowell Sun wrote an article on her latest artistic venture.

Reporter Debbie Hovanasian writes at the Sun, that Meredith “was recently awarded a grant from the Parker Foundation. The result is ‘Making Art with Artists,’ and Fife Day, who teaches painting at Middlesex Community College, couldn’t be more thrilled.

“During her prior experience teaching art to young students,’I could see the kids blossoming, even the tough kids who said they didn’t like art. I would encourage them and it would light a spark. They’d come back with such enthusiasm, and I fell in love with seeing that change in children,’ she said.

” ‘Making Art with Artists’ is a seven-week summer program offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at no cost at Christ Church United on East Merrimack Street [Lowell, MA] …  with emphasis on fourth- to eighth-graders, she said.

“The program facilitates the teaching of art to under-resourced and under-served children, Fife Day said. The four teachers are experienced, working artists who will make a presentation of their own work to the students in two successive classes. …

“One of the program’s goals is for the children to adapt the techniques of the artists in order to make their own artwork as well as collaborative artwork, using their own and combined imaginations, Fife Day explained. It also aims to give children a positive alternative to high-risk behavior by giving them high quality educational opportunities …

“Fife Day is currently seeking community donors — food or funds — for a lunch program, which she plans to offer free of charge to the budding artists, a cost not covered within the grant.

“The day is structured so that the students work on individual projects in the morning and group projects in the afternoon. There’s also yoga after lunch and free time early morning and late afternoon, during which Fife Day is exploring having musicians and other volunteers willing to donate their time to entertain or supervise the children.

” ‘It’s about giving the children hope and letting them have fun believing in themselves, knowing that the next day can be as much fun as this one,’ she said.” More here.

Photo: Lowell Sun
Art by Meredith Fyfe Day

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It’s been surprisingly cold this April week, but at least we have had some sunshine. What if we lived in Norway, where people go for months without the sun? How would we manage? For that matter, how do Norwegians manage?

Suzanne Daley writes in the NY Times about one Norwegian town that got fed up with light deprivation and decided to try something new.

“Yearning for sunlight has been a part of life in [Rjukan, a] quaint old factory town in central Norway for as long as anyone can remember. Here, the sun disappears behind a mountain for six months of the year.

“It is worse for newcomers, of course, like Martin Andersen, a conceptual artist who arrived here 12 years ago and would find himself walking and walking, searching for any last puddle of sunshine to stand in. It was on one of these walks that he had the idea of slapping some huge mirrors up against the mountain to the north of town and bouncing some rays down on Rjukan.

“The town eventually agreed to try, and last fall, three solar- and wind-powered mirrors that move in concert with the sun started training a beam of sunlight into the town square. Thousands of people turned out for the opening event, wearing sunglasses and dragging out their beach chairs. And afterward, many residents say, life changed.

“The town became more social. Leaving church on Sundays, people would linger in the square, talking, laughing and drinking in the sun, trying not to look up directly into the mountain mirrors. On a recent morning, Anette Oien had taken a seat on newly installed benches in the square, her eyes closed, her face turned up. She was waiting for her partner to run an errand, and sitting in the light seemed much nicer than sitting in a car. ‘It’s been a great contribution to life here,’ she said.” More here.

Daley writes the article like a folk tale. You could imagine your own ending.

Photo: Kyrre Lien for The New York Times
In winter, the town square of Rjukan, Norway, is illuminated by sunlight reflected from three computer-controlled mirrors on a mountain overlooking the town.

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