Illustration: Judean Landscape (Image Credit: Dr. Barry Lynn)
There's a mosquito in our room, my wife says. However, while she says she's heard it every night, I've only heard it once and I've never seen it.
A while ago, it got so bad that we bought a mosquito zapping light. That should have solved the problem, but mosquitos (unlike humans) evolve quickly and our particular brand of mosquito spent their time daring each other to fly as close to the light without getting zapped!
Fortunately for us, mosquitoes don't wear fur coats and when it soon turns quite chilly and wet, all we need to do is sleep with the windows open and the heat off and the mosquito zapping light will look like the best place to be.
So, why am I writing about mosquitoes? Because I didn't want to mention from the "get-go" that temperatures are already falling at upper levels of the atmosphere and Monday afternoon will probably see our warmest temperatures for some time to follow.
But, it's not just that, it's the wind and rain that will probably persist until the end of the week, if not the end of the Hanukkah holiday. If you have plans to light outside, you'll probably need an umbrella — and possibly a blow torch — to light those candles.
The wet, cold, and wind is "courtesy" of a large amplified trough, initially located over central Europe with an extension into the eastern Mediterranean. The trough is actually forecast to amplify further and open a connection into the Ukraine, Belarus, and the polar regions of Siberia — which could bring our coldest air in quite some time just as we move from Hanukkah into the middle of the month.
All this spells pretty much doom for the mosquito population until next year. While, I don't suppose one of "our" readers can help us with this, perhaps someone can explain some other mysteries I've had pertaining to communication among species.
For instance, cat owners have probably spent a good deal of their waking hours exchanging meows with their cats; I've always wondered just what was said during these conversations. I'd like to know what I'm saying, too! Keep in mind that you hardly ever hear a cat say "Meow" to another cat, so we're probably talking communication on a very basic level — more like "baby talk."
Speaking of which, babies like to talk but really no-one knows what they are saying, except perhaps other babies. Realizing this — and realizing that I had a unique opportunity to decipher baby talk — I asked my then 2+ year old daughter (who had just learned to speak "real" words) just what her younger brother and sisters were "jabbering" about. Amazingly enough, she couldn't tell me — she'd already forgotten baby talk!
I think it's a shame because if I could understand baby talk then perhaps I could teach my wife how to understand me and vice-versa. Right now, the only word I really know in Hebrew is the word me’atzben — which means annoying, irritating, frustrating, and bothersome all in one word. She didn't tell me what it meant but I could guess (and I've heard the word often enough to remember it well).
Of course, there's the small issue of understanding the nuances of how husband and wives speak to each other. For instance, the wife says: "Honey, the garbage needs to go out," and the husband says: "I'll do it," which means I will do it (in the future) — and that's where the trouble starts.
Fortunately, I now have a calendar where I get a "smiley" face for every day I behave like the ideal husband I wish to be, and I find it's a great motivator.
On a final note: former U.S. President George H.W. Bush passed away the other day. While he and his Secretary of State had disagreements with the Israeli government during his presidency, various articles have documented how much he helped the Jewish people in their time of need. He passed easily in his sleep.
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.