Dry skin on airplanes

Ian and I have been on planes a lot recently. The last time we were about to board flights going in opposite directions, we were complaining about how dry the air is on those planes… making you thirsty, and worse, drying up your skin.

And why does your skin get so dry? All of these reasons are caused by the high altitudes (>25,000 ft) at which many planes fly:

  1. Low humidity: Relative humidity is less than 25% on airplanes, and can go as low as 1%. This is way worse than the Sahara, apparently. Here are some things you can do to fight that dry air, although I don’t intend to apply an edible vegetable oil inside my nostrils.
  2. Low oxygen content: Healthy skin needs oxygen ((“Special Focus Topic: Skin Care.” DOI: 10.1177/014572170403000616; 2004; 30; 952 The Diabetes Educator.))  ((The Look You Like: Medical Answers to 400 Questions on Skin and Hair Care (p. 116) [This article states the importance of oxygen for skin, but also suggests you can’t just apply oxygen to skin to make up for it (which is what a LOT of skin care products would have you think).])), and it doesn’t get it at those high altitudes.
  3. High ozone levels: “the combination of ozone and the oils in skin, hair and clothing is producing toxic chemicals known to cause headaches, nasal irritation, and a number of other symptoms associated with ‘sick building syndrome’, including dry, itchy skin.” ((http://www.theopenpress.com/index.php?a=press&id=23934)) Installing ozone-destroying catalysts in all planes could help.

I can’t even imagine what it’s like for flight attendants’ skin. :(

November 15, 2007. travel. 1 Comment.

Canary Islands named after dogs

I just reviewed a couple of papers for the 2008 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, which will be in the Canary Islands. Reminding myself where the Canary Islands are (west of Morocco! …even though they are Spanish islands) led me to the wikipedia page, which tells me that the Canary Islands are likely named from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning “Island of the Dogs”, and the canary birds are probably named after the islands.

(Much more info here.)

November 8, 2007. travel, words. 1 Comment.

What is a nor’easter

nor'easter eyeApparently I missed another “nor’easter” last weekend while I was off in sunny, life-warming California. I thought a nor’easter was just a storm in the northeastern US. The trusty Wikipedia tells me not only what a nor’easter is, but also has a whole page devoted to the storm Boston just had.

A nor’easter … is a macro-scale storm whose winds come from the northeast, especially in the coastal areas of the Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada. More specifically, it describes a low pressure area whose center of rotation is just off the coast and whose leading winds in the left forward quadrant rotate onto land from the northeast. The precipitation pattern is similar to other extratropical storms. They also can cause coastal flooding, coastal erosion and gale force winds.

I missed the last listed nor’easter (November 2006) while I was in St. Louis. And last month, while I was in Seattle, I missed another storm. Is coincidence??

April 19, 2007. Boston/Cambridge, how things work, travel. No Comments.

Scott and Susie SWOOP!

Scott and Susie are on their honeymoon in New Zealand, and today they SWOOPed!

ss_swoop_fall ss_swoop_glee

March 29, 2007. family, travel. 1 Comment.

Seattle food

I’ve been remiss in posting because I went to Seattle from Wednesday to Monday (photos). It was an awesome trip, a really fun time with Ian and family. Susie’s wedding was just right in so many ways. And… we ate a lot of food. Yummy food!

Here are some (!) of the places we went:

Six Seven restaurant on the waterfront, for the 25 for $25 thingie. For my dinner, I chose:

Blue C Sushi (in University Village)
Great conveyor-belt sushi, and not expensive. They charge by the subway-line-coded plates. This place is super Tokyo-d out, with videos of Shibuya and Roppongi Hills flyovers projected onto the walls, authentic subway announcements audible from the bathroom stalls, and even those special high-speed hand dryers they have in Japanese restrooms! (boingboing post about those dryers) I had two cream puffs for dessert the first time we went there.

Trophy Cupcakes

Trophy Cupcakes made the cupcakes for Susie’s wedding. They have peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and, for St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness cupcakes with green Bailey’s icing. And they have normal flavors too. The cake is super-moist and even the huge amounts of icing are highly appetizing.

Fresh Flours Bakery

When I showed Jennifer the Fresh Flours website, she could immediately tell that the baker was Japanese. (“I know my Japanese muffin papers!”) Ian and I split a chocolate croissant and a red azuki bean bun, and I had an Earl Grey with the fattest (hand-packed!) tea bag I’ve ever seen.

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
Big family dinner here. My favorite was the Lasagna pizza (“Pomodoro San Marzano, rosemary ham, fresh ricotta and mozzarella, fresh basil, Grana Padano.” Pomodoro Grana… molto buccismo… TASTY!)

611 Supreme

I had a phase when I hated crépes, but I think that was because I had some that tasted like puke when I was a kid. Now, I like them! I had “[something] d’oeuf”, which was a huge crépe with two eggs sunny-side up, Gruyére, and spiced potatoes on top. Also had the best coffee I had in Seattle (from Vivace), served in a French press, with cream in a little glass jar.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

These fine cheese people have an open view to their cheese-manufacturing bonanza along the side and back of the shop.

Pike Place Market
All I ate here was dried strawberries and a sample of the pickled asparagus (for Bloody Marys). And I saw a little fish-throwing.

Places for next time:
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats
Cupcake Royale

March 22, 2007. family, food, travel. 1 Comment.