Showing posts from December, 2015


Here is a repost of my entry over at the University of Vermont's EcoBlog, a site run and maintained by the UVM Field Naturalist graduate students. If you like this entry, I highly recommend checking out the weekly posts by the rest of my talented colleagues!

One good thing about a mild winter is we avoid that familiar experience of leaving a warm house to enter the arctic interior of a frosty, morning car. Imagine sitting down in that frigid seat: Your shoulders tense and tighten like old taffy, you shiver spontaneously, and the chill leaks into your soul at the space between your pants and socks. Your heart accelerates and your blood pressure spikes. Eventually, either your mental resolve or your car’s heating system recalls you from distress.

Your rational mind knows that things could be a lot worse, so why does our very evolution invoke this intense response anyway? When hit with cold, skin receptors tell the brain to dump a hormone into our system that forces all these unpleas…