Cornhusker Chameleon

Weather that happens here, and nowhere else.

Isabel Johnson, Broadcast Editor

When the state of Nebraska is brought up, people automatically begin to trip over themselves to crack a joke about corn. Another famous one is, ‘Do you guys ride tractors to school?’. A less common thing brought up, but still a joke, is the paradoxical weather.

‘If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes’ said by every Nebraskan ever.

The chameleon changes its body to blend into its background, to survive. The human body has to do the same thing. The physiological changes the body goes through is no walk in the park. The body adapts to its environment in six weeks, to no longer try to kill you in all types of weather. Weather can be one of the most boring things to talk about.

When brought up in casual conversation, it’s usually a signal that the conversation has either gotten boring, or there is a significant pause-leading to silence that must be filled.

But Nebraskan weather isn’t boring.

There is nowhere else like it in the United States, maybe even the world. I haven’t been to the entire world, and don’t know anyone who has, but I’m sure they’d tell you the same thing.

People who have been here their entire life, have become chameleons. Even though there can be animosity towards the cold wind that blows, there is still a conversion that has to happen, in order to be able to stand against the Artic winters we get.

Acclimatization is the physiological response to a number of environmental factors. A good example of this is Korean women pearl divers, or amas. They dive into ten degrees Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit water. Their body is considered to be the best, to study whole-body stress, because they dive in only cotton swimsuits.

Another example of people to study acclimatization on is Nebraskans. Nebraska and its surrounding states get the full four seasons.

Winter, spring, summer, fall. We get them all.

All within 77,358 square miles. Of course, there are other places that get all four too, but not to the full effect that Nebraska does. From -18 degrees in the winter, to 115 in the summer. Fall and spring vary so much, you have to keep both wardrobes out and ready for whatever mother nature feels like that day.

In extreme cold weather, our bodies are designed to protect the things we need the most. Vital organs like the heart, lungs and kidneys are all shunted the blood flow, causing extremities such as fingers, toes and nose are left to the bitter bite of the wind. Fun fact: you feel like you have to pee more in the cold, cause your kidneys lose blood flow. It’s also important to know that being cold, can actually make you dumber. This is because the brain is on overdrive trying to keep the organs alive, so rational decision making is put in the backseat.

Even though it’s winter, heat is coming, so here are some of the dangers of extreme over-heating. According to the CDC, there have been 7,415 heat-related deaths between 1999 and 2010 in the United States. Australia’s government warns that overheating can cause heat rash, dehydration, and even stroke. Heat can cause a number of psychological problems as well, so it’s important to be safe and smart. Consistently hydrating and eating non-heavy, greasy foods is important for your body to keep its metabolism up and for your skin cells to sweat, which allows you to cool faster.

Nebraska gets put through the ringer in all sense of the word. The ability to adapt like a lizard, to both extremes is vital to the safety of yourself and friends. Be smart when leaving you house, no matter the weather or time of year. Have water and non-perishable food in the winter, and a good way of keeping cool and water in the summer.

Be safe Wildcat chameleons.