Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana)

Bhavana and I went for another hike this afternoon in the Somerset County Sourland Mountain Preserve. The hike, a Wildflower Walk, was organised by the Sourland Conservancy Stewards. The hike was led by Jared Rosenbaum of Wild Ridge Plants, LLC. Jared is a naturalist advisor to the Sourland Conservancy’s Sourland Stewards program. We had met Jared's wife Rachel Makow. Rachel led a wild edibles walk through the Rock Mil Preserve two years ago, and we were a part of that.

Kiran and Shaan were supposed to come with us, but Shaan forgot he had a birthday party and bailed. Kiran had the sniffles, which she thinks is from allergies, so she stayed home.

The air was crisp and refreshing, but we soon warmed up as we stumbled along the rock-laden pathways. We traversed the rocky landscape while Jared shared his knowledge of the season’s first wildflower blooms. I don't remember the names of all the flowers Jared showed us, but this one was my favourite. I kept calling the trout lily, a yellow wildflower, the striped salmon. The group laughed every time I got it wrong.

I spotted the round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica Nobilis var. obtusa) while walking, looking down as I moved along. It was one of two poking out from beneath the dry leaf bed. The ornate and mottled leaves are visible year-round. The furry-stemmed flowers arise in the earliest spring; fur on the stems and new leaves protects against April cold fronts. Solitary bees pollinate the hepatica, and forest ants disperse the seeds.

Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana)
Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica americana) · 25 April 2015 · Nikon D5100 · 90 mm f/2.8

The variegated and mottled leaves are visible year-round. The furry-stemmed flowers arise in the earliest spring; fur on the stems and new leaves protects against April cold fronts. Solitary bees pollinate them, and forest ants disperse seeds.

I rented the same Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD Macro that I used for the vernal pool walk. I lit the flower with my Nikon SB-600 and a Rogue Flashbender.

Do ants disperse them? I never knew that ants were involved in the life cycle of flowers! You can find the entire photo set on my Flickr.

What's the Ideal Room Temperature?

Cloudy Clouds

With the weather this week fluctuating between dry and warm and then cold and damp the environmental system inside the office has been stressed. Some of my coworkers feel too hot and so set the thermostat to a temperature reminiscent of winter. For one co-worker that meant anything below 20°C (~68°F). She set the thermostat and about two hours later a bunch of us started complaining it was too cold. I decided to research the topic and sent her the results of my research.

What's the best temperature for an office? I found a few articles that referenced research that indicated that 70-72°F was ideal for productivity. This article claimed 23°C (~73°F) and so did this one in Forbes. It seems that productivity rises in the winter and decreases in the summer. I'm not refuting that 72°F was great for productivity, but it is uncomfortably cold. I don't think I could work a whole day at that temperature and be happy. In fact other research indicates happiness decreases in the winter and depression increases. Corporate America is filled with unhappy but productive workers in the winter but happy and low producing workers in the summer.

At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate.

I found another article that reference research that seemed to show that while productivity was ideal around 73°F, productivity and comfort were optimal around 25°C (~77°F). If you want optimally productive workers keep them cold but unhappy. But what if employee happiness is important. Well then 25°C (~77°F) is ideal. It's not too cold and not too warm. It's just right.

I'm not sure I can convince my office coworkers to leave the thermostat at 25°C (~77°F) but I would love if I didn't have to wear a sweater to work in my office in the summer. Now to convince my wife that 68°F is the optimal winter temperature for the house. Or maybe I'll just grab another beer first.


Grass_NIKON D5100_20150422_5850

I was sick today. After dinner last night I felt nauseous. I went to bed but didn't sleep. I tossed and turned until around 1AM when I rushed to the bathroom and lost my dinner to the toilet bowl. I felt better after throwing up but I didn't sleep much. I took the day off from work to rest. Bhavana thinks it was a 24 hours stomach virus.