Wind Anemometers – How to Measure Wind Speed Accurately

For a science that is constantly in the lives of everyday folk, wind speed measurement certainly manages to keep out of the public eye. The measuring of wind speed happens to be an important part of a number of everyday technologies. Of course there is meteorology, the measuring of weather phenomena, that wholly depends on the gauging of wind speed; but a surprising number of other everyday specialties depend on wind speed measurements too, chief among them being aviation and marine and navigation, stability management in skyscrapers, environmental sciences and disaster management. Wind measurement is done with a device known as a wind anemometer; though it might be argued that that is a redundancy since anemometer comes from the Greek Anemos = wind.

Any device that measures wind speed is bound to sense the pressure of it too. For this reason, many anemometer designs are successful when used as pressure meters too in addition. A version of anemometer is known to have existed since around 1450. The modern wind anemometer though, has been around for more than a century and a half now; the first successful design was one that used a structure with four arms fanned out, each one with a cup attached that caught the wind and spun the structure. The inventor, Dr. John Robinson, held the impression when he made his invention that any cup anemometer would share the characteristic that it would spin at a third of the speed of the wind blowing past it, no matter what size it was built to be. Researchers took his word at its face for quite a while before it was discovered that the size of design used always affected the results. Researchers who had used the inventor’s figures for their calculations for years had to start over from scratch.

Cup anemometers, these simple devices, are remarkably accurate machines today nevertheless; the best examples can approach a 99% accuracy level, and still be no more expensive than about $1000. But the cup anemometer is still a mechanical technology that is prone to maintenance lubrication issues, friction, mechanical damage and ice formation. There are competing technologies that attempt to eliminate the problems seen in the mechanical design. One of the most popular wind anemometer technologies in use today is the ultrasonic kind. The principle of the ultrasonic design is this: the speed of sound depends on the speed and the direction of the air that it passes through. A headwind slows sound down, and a tail wind speeds it up. An ultrasonic wind anemometer fires high-frequency sound pulses back and forth between two receivers. If the pulse takes more time travelling in one direction than the other, that is a sign that the slower trip had a headwind working against it. The time differential helps calculate the wind speed. You’ll find these in use on tall buildings, on weather buoys and at weather stations.

Another wind anemometer design that is particularly ingenious is the constant-temperature anemometer. A thin wire held between two electrodes is heated up electrically to hold a constant temperature. A sensor measures the amount of current needed to hold the temperature at ambient temperature levels. Any loss of temperature that is faster than would be explained by the ambient temperature levels would have to come from wind speed. This is a particularly accurate method of measurement of wind turbulence. However, like the laser measurement method below, this can be a quite inexpensive device to buy and maintain.

Ultrasonic and constant temperature anemometers may be accurate enough for most purposes; but laser Doppler anemometers offer extremely tight accuracy. A laser anemometer uses two laser beams; one that travels through a sealed and clean pathway, and one that travels through exposed air. The beam that travels through the exposed air encounters dust particles that are borne along at the speed of the wind at the point. The laser bounces off those dust particles, and measures by Doppler shift the speed at which the particle has been traveling. The Doppler shift is compared to what is measured for the beam traveling through the sealed tube and a relative measurement is made.

It would appear from these descriptions that anemometers always need to be large and permanent installations; as it happens though, small and inexpensive handheld versions with digital displays exist for use by field researchers and trainer pilots. The most striking feature of these is the way they recognizably use nothing other than the same mechanics and structures of the professional devices, only miniaturized for handheld use.

Four Travel Buddies You Want to Avoid

You might think you already know this guy or girl.  You know the stereotypes.  We have the stinker, snorer, snoozie-nooner, party guy, captain go-go-go, no-doe, and the travel guru to name a few.   Great, but I’m not talking about any of them.

I’m talking about a different kind of travel buddy that you will want to avoid at all cost.  I’m talking about something so opportunistic that it gives a whole new meaning to the word “mooch”.  These guys aren’t your buddy at all.  These guys are true parasites.

1.) Giardia Lamblia – Topping our list as one of the most common is this guy.  He might have you go-go-go but it’s always to the same place, the toilet.

Somewhere along the trail you came into contact with infected feces, ut-oh.  Most likely it was in the form of contaminated food or water.  The Route of infection, fecal-oral – eww!

If your traveling in developing countries where poor sanitary conditions, water quality control and overcrowding are prevalent then you are at increased risk.

Also at risk are campers and backpackers.  This is particularly true in mountainous regions where streams can be infected with human or animal waste and carry Giardia cysts (resting stage).  Always treat your water.

Once you ingest the cysts the acid in your stomach activates the cysts and releases trophozoites (active form of parasite in your body).  From this point it’s all fun and games for the parasite as it attaches to your small intestine and starts to reproduce.  As you pass feces it now contains more cysts waiting to reinfect another.

In the meantime you are blessed with sudden explosive foul smelling diarrhea, excessive gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, tiredness and loss of appetite.  When you think about the parasites method of infection your symptoms are great for its survival and desired goal to find more human hosts.

Preventive Measures for Travelers –  Practice good hygiene, follow food and water precautions (appropriate water filtering), avoid accidental water intake during swimming.

Fun History –  Giardia is often referred to as “Beaver Fever” due to the high occurrence of campers getting the disease from drinking contaminated water inhabited by beavers.

2.)  Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous – This next one is going to have you feeling like the stinker.  Why?  Because once people catch site of your ugly lesions they are gonna avoid you like the plague.

This travel buddy can be picked up in southern Europe as well parts of the tropics and subtropics.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 90% of the world’s cases of CL occur in eight countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria (Old World); and Brazil and Peru (New World).  Over 75% U.S. civilian cases are acquired in Latin America, including popular tourist destinations such as Costa Rica.

Travelers at increased risk for CL include adventure travelers, bird watchers, ecotourists, missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers, soldiers and anyone doing research outdoors particularly at night.

The vector-borne culprit is an infected female phlebotomine sand fly.  Risk for infection is highest from dusk to dawn as they are night feeders.  Although less active in the day, they may bite unsuspecting hikers that brush against tree trunks or other resting places.

The event of infection can go completely unnoticed.  Sand flies make no buzzing noise, are about 1/3 the size of mosquitoes and don’t have a wicked mean bite.  It’s what comes after that will remind you of your friendly new travel buddy.

Preventive Measures for Travelers –  Reduce contact with sand flies.  Avoid outdoor activities especially during the hours from dusk till dawn.  Wear protective clothing and barriers.  Use a repellent with DEET.

Fun History– That was the good kind.  Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar or black fever is the most severe form of leishmaniasis.  If left untreated it will certainly cause death.  Here’s the bad news,  the World Health Oganization reports that in southern Sudan, “the number of cases from September 2009 until now is more than six times higher than in 2007-08.” and “more than 6,000 people have been infected and over 300 have died in the last year.”

3.)  Malaria – genus: Plasmodium The good old standby.  If you travel abroad, come home and fall ill everyone will be quick to say “you probably have Malaria”.  So do you?

According to the CDC there are about 1,500 cases of Malaria in the U.S each year, mostly from returned travelers.  Sub-Saharan Africa travelers are at the greatest risk for both getting malaria and dying from the infection.  However, any country where malaria is present results in a risk for travelers.

A great tool for you to use is the CDC Malaria Map Application.  Users can search a interactive map and get information about malaria endemicity in any particular region.  What’s great is it recommended medications for malaria prevention for that particular area.

Mosquitoes are the culprit carrying the parasite that causes Malaria.  Mosquitoes are also the thing you want to avoid to avoid picking up this new travel buddy.  Can you imagine that, heading out camping realizing there was a real legitimate risk of contracting Malaria.  People in the States often joke, “Probably got Malaria” after being bit a bunch but we don’t really think we have it.

But what if the circumstances are right?  You were in a high risk area, you got bit by mosquitoes.  Did you know you could come down with symptoms up to a year later.  Anyone that has traveled abroad should seek immediate medical attention up to a year after any possible exposure if symptoms present.  Malaria is always a serious illness and sometimes deadly.  Symptoms of Malaria include fever and a flu like illness.

Preventative Measures for Travelers –   Avoid contact with mosquito bites through the usual means including protective clothing, repellents, insecticide treated bed nets, etc.  If you know you are traveling into a high risk area you should consider bringing malaria prevention medicines.  Consult the Malaria information by country table list to see the CDC-recommended options.

Bringing your own medicine will give you some peace of mind and in the event you are diagnosed with Malaria abroad.  This will ensure you have immediate access to an appropriate high quality anti-malarial treatment plan.  Not doing so could leave you in a bad situation.  In some countries where Malaria is present it is not unheard of to receive counterfeit or sub-standard drug treatment.

Fun History – The word “malaria” comes from the Italian mala aria, and means “bad air.” It was believed that malaria was actually caused by breathing in bad air-namely, foul vapors emanating from swamps, latrines, and so on. The stagnant water provided a breeding ground for mosquitoes which was actually the responsible culprit capable of spreading the parasite.

4.)  Ascaris lumbricoides– This is the largest nematode (roundworm) that can parasitize the human intestine and it’s also the most common.  This thing can actually grow 5 to 35 inches long and produce more than 200,000 eggs per day inside the body.

Infection occurs worldwide but is most common in tropical and subtropical areas.  Developing countries where sanitation and hygiene are poor result in higher risk.

Ascaris Infection occurs when a person accidentaly ingest ascaris eggs found in soil.  Common routes of infection include contaminated food or touching your mouth with your hands after coming into contact with the eggs.

Once in the small intestine the eggs hatch into immature worms.  The larvae migrate to the lungs and then to the throat where they are swallowed. When they reach the intestines they develop into adult worms.  The adult female is responsible for laying eggs which will eventually pass into ones feces.

Symptoms can be mild (adominal discomfort) to none.  Slow weight gain or growth is often associated with Ascaris infection.  If your thinking this sounds like a great way to lose way think again.  Heavy worm infections have been known to cause a intestinal blockage.

Preventative Measures for Travelers– Telling you to avoid contact with soil that may contain human feces sounds redicoulous but make sure you do this.  If possible don’t deficate outdoors.  Always dispose of diapers properly.  Wash hands with soap and water before handling food and avoid any food that may be contaminated with soil.  Wash, peel or cook your food throughly before consumption.

Fun History–  Has anyone heard of the  new weight loss craze in Hong Kong?  Apparently, certain Chinese-language websites have been promoting the use of products that contain Ascaris worm eggs with the promise of fast weight loss.  Did you see what I said at the start of this article, these things can grow up to 35 inches long.  Don’t do It!

Aside from the obvious gross factor these worms can cause serious complications including death.  No more needs to be said.

BONUS BUG) Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) – These guys are the real travel gurus.  If they talked you would likely get a earful of how they traveled harder, further and just plain better then you ever did.

You would likely hear stories of how they hopped one backpack in a crowded metro car to another and then got a free stay in a 4 star hotel after two nights bumming in some filthy flat.  The next day they decided to travel again with some complete stranger they picked up in bed and ended up on a 7 day cruise.  Not ready to go home yet they hopped bags at luggage in the airport and were on their way to Tahiti.  Wow, What a life.

For more on Bed Bugs please visit our full post on Bed Bugs and Traveling.

Bonus Fun About Parasites– Did you know most parasites need a host, often more than one different kind to complete thier life cycle.  Check out this cool video on how the clever parasite gets it done.

Successful Incentive Travel Begins With Good Planning

Developing a successful incentive travel reward takes a little pre-planning and work to ensure it generates desired results. A company must first determine what business goals are to be achieved through the use of this type of program. Having a basis of what will be accomplished makes it easier to set reachable milestones and select a motivating destination. This basis also allows a company to choose an itinerary that is capable of promoting the purpose of the program. Travel packages are typically implemented to boost sales, amplify morale, promote a product, retain employees, or as a method for creating a loyal customer base. One program does not typically solve every experienced difficulty within an organization. Needs should be organized in a list fashion in order to tackle the most urgent ones at first. An incentive could target customers, employees, or a business area such as sales and should be used as a driver to reach the desired results.

Incentive Travel: Tips for Setting Reward Objectives

The set objectives should be a first priority when beginning to form an incentive travel plan. Trip packages are more capable of supplying the anticipated outcome when the necessary accomplishments are known and understood. Taking a problem and turning it into a goal makes a good approach to resolving organizational issues. An issue can include these among other scenarios:

Sales

Safety

Service

Teamwork

Morale

Attendance

The characteristics of possible realistic aims will guide the way as a company chooses what will be accomplished by a motivational program. A business or department performing this planning must remain focused on what is to be accomplished and create simple aims with a precise purpose. All objectives being achieved with an award program have to be related in order to for participants to understand what must be done. Unrelated goals should be achieved in separate packages to ensure a successful incentive travel plan. An ambiguous goal can seem like a great idea; however, it will only be a success when the objective is achievable. A planned set of objectives must be:

Realistic

Reachable

Measurable

Timed Appropriately

In Line With Company Goals

The path to an award has to be measurable in order to make the process fair and encourage continued participation. Incentive travel awards create an environment full of healthy competition and measurable progress is the only way to make this productivity fostering environment possible. Awards used on the customer side of business must also be measurable to make certain consumers know what they have to do to receive the offered incentive. Setting a high sale goal or a set number of new customer sign on during a slow time of business is not fair to participants. The purpose must match the time of the year and what is realistically possible for a program to be effective. Additionally, all chosen goals should fall in line with organizational aims and stay true to set policies. Taking the time to properly decide these elements before choosing a destination or promoting activities will greatly increase the success of this motivational endeavor.