Thunder Megaphone – A Glacial Valley Can Focus and Amplify Thunder Into a Most Extraordinary Sound

We’ve all heard thunder, and we all know what causes it. Many of us have heard two distinct kinds of thunder, but perhaps we never really noticed or thought about it. Recently, I heard a third kind of thunder.

“Ordinary” thunder – a thoroughly extraordinary sound, but the kind of thunder we hear most often – happens when lightning occurs at some distance from the observer. The initial sound of the lightning bolt echoes off surrounding objects and air masses. Because it is echoed so many times, the thunder stretches out into many, many seconds, even though the initial sound might have lasted a second or two at most. Moreover, because the initial sound echoes off soft things with indistinct surfaces – clouds, thermoclines, and weather fronts – and because many echoes reach the ears of the observer at different times, the original sound is greatly distorted. Almost all high frequency components are filtered out, and the observer hears mostly a low-pitched rumble.

When lightning strikes very close to the observer, within a few hundred feet, the sound is entirely different. The observer might not hear echoes of the thunder at all, but only the pure initial sound. It is a single, sharp, intense “POW!” It may be followed by a much quieter, but still loud, whistling or hissing sound.

But what about that third kind of lightning?

I was camping alone in Crawford Notch State Park in northern New Hampshire, when thunderstorms began rolling into the valley just after dinner. I tidied up my campsite just before the rain started, then retreated to my tent. One thunderstorm passed without much incident.

Darkness had fallen by the time the second thunderstorm rolled up from the south. I occupied myself by counting the time interval between lightning and thunder to track the movements of the storms. Fifteen seconds before the thunder rolled up from somewhere west of Mount Bemis, and I knew the storm was just under three miles southwest of me. Seven seconds between the flash and the rumble beyond Frankenstein Cliff, and I knew the storm was passing nearly a mile and a half to my west.

And then it happened!

A flash. I counted eleven seconds. And I heard a sound unlike any thunder I had ever heard before.

The cacophony included at least half a dozen rapid repetitions of the “POW!” of a nearby lightning strike. But at the same time, there was the rumbling and roaring of “ordinary” thunder, but much, much louder than usual.

Before I could figure out what that sound was, there was another flash somewhere to the north. Again I counted eleven seconds, and again I heard that utterly incredible crackling and powing and rumbling and roaring.

This time, I figured it out.

It was a lightning strike right within the upper reaches of Crawford Notch just a couple of miles north of me. It was right within a gigantic stone megaphone formed by Webster Cliff on the east, Mount Field and Mount Willey on the west, and the old glacial cirque of Mount Willard for a backstop on the north.

And this 1,500 foot deep, three-mile-long granite megaphone was pointed right at Dry River Campground.

Yes, the beautiful U-shaped glacial valley of Crawford Notch is a nearly perfect megaphone, albeit open on top. The bare stone faces of Mount Willard and Webster Cliff echoed the initial “POW!” of the thunder almost undistorted. The western slope of the notch is a bit more heavily wooded, but there’s enough bare ledge and rockslide there to provide a pretty good echo. The open top of the notch was covered by the underbelly of the thunderstorm itself, which provided enough of a soft echoic surface to create the usual rumbling of thunder in addition to the clean “POW!” echoes off the rock faces.

But all of this sound was extraordinarily loud because of the megaphone that focused it all right on me and my campsite.

After I got this all figured out, there was a third lightning flash in the north. Yes, eleven second later, there was that glorious, unearthly sound again.

I wondered why I had never heard this kind of thunder before. I have probably experienced thunderstorms in Crawford Notch at least a dozen times over the years, but never heard the Thunder Megaphone.

My best guess is that I probably have heard it before, but never noticed it. Most of the times I’ve camped there, it was with a crowd of friends and family. Much goes on when a thunderstorm rolls in. Ponchos have to be broken out and put on, while at the same time, various disorderly what-nots need to get stashed into cars and tents before they get soaked. There is a bit of yelling and shouting to be done, and paradoxically among the mayhem, kids and dogs need to have their fears calmed. Meanwhile, tarps over the tents and picnic tables are flapping in the gales, making a poor imitation of thunder themselves.

In all my 25 years camping in Crawford Notch, this may have been the first time I experienced a thunderstorm while I was camping there alone. There was no tarp over the tent, and I had anticipated the thunderstorm well enough to get everything into the car long before the rain started.

So, when the lightning and thunder came, I had nothing to do but observe.

What a treat!

I half hope we get a thunderstorm the next time we go camping in the mouth of the Thunder Megaphone.

Affordable Web Hosting

These days, with the web hosting market becoming increasingly competitive, it is not hard to find affordable hosting. A simple web search using your favorite search engine will bring up all types of affordable web hosting options.

It is important to do your research before paying for any of these web hosts, however. Companies exist that can offer affordable web hosting to anyone, but they all offer different plans with different capabilities. It does not do you any good to sign up for an affordable hosting plan if it does not give you everything your website is going to need.

The prices for shared server hosting range from about $ 2 to $ 10 / month these days. Most of the affordable web hosting plans in the lower end of that price bracket is perfect for someone who just wants to host a personal website or blog. However, if you are looking for unlimited bandwidth or want to be able to use a specific software package or coding method you might have to pay a couple dollars extra. It is better to stay with the software and coding that you are comfortable with and pay a bit of extra money than it is to try and learn a new method just so you can get a slightly more affordable web hosting plan.

To make an already affordable web hosting plan cost you even less, you can look for coupon codes. Many hosting companies will have a referral program of some sort. Usually these programs work by allowing their customers to create and distribute coupon codes. The new member gets a discount when they use the code, creating a more affordable hosting plan for them. The person who gave them the code usually gets a discount of some sort as well – it may be money credited to their account, or a free month of hosting, or a free upgrade on their current plan.

You can find these coupon codes by simply searching "web hosting coupons" or "[your chosen host] coupons". Just make sure you read the fine print before using any of these codes. The main thing you want to find out is if they are expired or not. Some people will post these codes on their websites and then forget they exist – so when they expire, they never get taken down. You also want to find out if this code will cause your plan to be more affordable indefinitely or if it only applies to the first year of your hosting.

The best web hosting plan for your website might not be the most affordable web hosting plan. A coupon code might be just what you need to make it affordable – but it does you no good if it only makes it affordable for the first year of your hosting. Especially if you need to sign up for more than a year in order to use the coupon (which is often the case). Just make sure that you fully understand what exactly you are agreeing to.

The Benefits of Non-Profit Branding

To the uninitiated, branding is synonymous to the image of a logo. Yet, branding is much more than a logo. What then, is branding? “Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand” (Kotler & Keller, 2015). One can clearly tell from this definition that branding is much more than a logo, a website or a brochure.

In times past, non-profits adopted the concept of branding mainly for fundraising purposes. Today, branding has evolved beyond fundraising purposes and offers the following benefits:

1). Builds Trust

An effective branding strategy that communicates the impact of a non-profits work engenders trust. By sharing its’ activities and progress, people become aware of the role the non-profit plays in its’ community. With the trust earned, a non-profit can easily garner support for its’ causes.

2). Advocacy / Expanded Support Base

Once people become aware of a non-profits’ work, it becomes easier for them to connect with its’ brand. Consequently, they not only become loyal adherents of the non-profit but they also become its’ advocates. This can serve the non-profit in many ways. For instance, success stories shared on a non-profit’s social media page can be re-posted by loyal adherents and shared with their friends. Such activities have the power of expanding a non-profit’s support base since a wider audience is reached through the act of sharing.

3). Increased Funding Opportunities

A strong brand improves the rate of success of a non-profits’ funding endeavors. By creating a positive brand image, it becomes easier to engage favorably with funders and stakeholders alike.

4). Facilitates Partnership Formation

A strong brand makes it easier for a non-profit to forge meaningful partnerships. The ability to collaborate with other organizations enhances a non-profits ability to implement projects that have a wider reach/scope. This in turn creates a favorable perception for the non-profit and influences its’ fund-raising potential.

5). Reflects a Non-Profit’s Identity

According to Nathalie Kylander & Christopher Stone (Spring 2012 Blogpost), a ” brand embodies the identity of the organization, encapsulating its mission, values, and distinctive activities”. In essence, a thoughtfully planned and executed brand image will convey the ideals of a non-profit to its’ constituents and the general public in an effective manner. It will aid in reflecting the unique value proposition of a non-profit while differentiating it from other entities.

Thus, its’ constituents and the general public will be in a position to familiarize themselves with the vision of the non-profit while keeping track of its’ achievements. As a result, the process of nurturing relationships with supporters(such as volunteers) and sympathizers to its’ cause while entrenching its’ position will be greatly improved.

It is essential for a non-profit to develop a compelling and consistent brand since it engenders trust among its’ audience, expands its’ support base, increases its’ funding opportunities, facilitates its’ ability to forge partnerships and reflects its identity.

References:

Kotler & Keller: Marketing Management (2015), American Marketing Association (AMA)

Nathalie Kylander & Christopher Stone (Spring 2012). The Role of Brand in the Non – Profit Sector[Blogpost]. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_role_of_brand_in_the_nonprofit_sector#bio-footer

Healthy Weight Loss Diet Secret – Stay Away From These Diets

From bookstore shelves to spam emails, the world around us is arranged with different dieting solutions promising that they're the healthy weight loss diet that you've been waiting for. Whether or not you have actually purchased one of these books, it's pretty easy to see that the majority of them are too good to be true.

The majority of them are simply fads that will come and go because they'll allow for some immediate fat loss and then you either stop losing weight, quit altitude, or rebound and start gaining weight once more. Although they may appear in different forms and under different names, fad diets are made up of the same six concepts that are recycled over and over again.

The six fads to watch out for

Among the many fads that promise a healthy weight loss diet, there are six that always seem to weasel their way back into our lives every few years. They are as follows:

1. Eating Fat-Free – this diet promises that as long as you do not eat any fat, you can eat whatever you'd like. The idea is that as long as you're not eating any fat, you will not get fatter. In reality, though, the majority of the fat-free products that are currently for sale are jammed with sugar and other empty calories designed to replace the flavor of fat.

They do not provide much in terms of vitamins, minerals, or fiber, so it will only make you unhealthy and send your metabolism reeling until you finally rebound and gain weight again when you start eating normally once again.

2. 100-Calorie snack packs – virtually every brand of snack on the market today now has its tiny 100-calorie individually packaged version that is supposed to let you snack without the risk of gorging.

Although the concept seems to be a good one, these snacks are typically unhealthy, low in fiber, and not very filling, so that you will not feel satisfied by eating them. This means that you'll likely eat more than one bag, or you'll eat something else, negating the value of the snack pack's measured calories.

3. The calorie vacuum – this one says that if you simply eat an amazingly low number of calories, then all you have to do is sit back and watch the weight fall off. In actuality, this will only slow the metabolism, causing the body to go into "starvation mode", where you'll feel hungry, and you will not lose much weight, and when you do start eating again, your weight will skyrocket.

Even a brisk daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes can make an intense difference on a calorie-reduced diet. Any healthy weight loss diet must include some increased activity level.

4. Detoxing – this diet promises that you'll lose weight instantly by cleaning up your digestive system and removing the tremendous amounts of toxic sludge that has been building up inside you through your lifetime. In reality, the body is actually very good at removing its own toxins, as long as you eat a high fiber diet to ensure that you're regular.

5. Protein, protein, protein – as long as you're eating protein and removing carbs, then you can eat all the fat you want, according to this fad. Instead, it's a much healthier idea to balance the levels of protein, carbs, and fat in your diet.

Whenever possible, try leaner proteins such as chicken or fish, and eat lots of veggies. Whole grain carbs and dairy are great for you and should not be removed, or you risk your proper nutrition.

6. Snack Cake and Donut Diet – The idea here is that as long as you stay within your maximum calorie limit, it really does not matter what you eat. If you want to eat donuts and snack cakes all day, then you can, as long as you do not overdo your limit. Except for the fact that every day that you eat like this, your body will lose critical vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can be detrimental to your health.

If you're serious about losing weight and skipping the fads, then download your free copy of the "Experts Guide to Understanding Weight Loss" and work with a healthy weight loss diet that skips the fads and uses facts instead.