Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Second Annual Haunted Computer Paranormal Conference

It's official. The Second Annual Haunted Computer Paranormal Conference will be Oct. 23 -25, 2009 in Wilkesboro. Tourism lives!

And the best part is you will be coming as the leaves in the Appalachian mountains start the annual color show. These are some of the oldest mountains in the world. And, we take it for granted, but the autumn color is almost unique on the globe.

I used to make my science students read this article, Fantasy, Facts and Fall Color, and answer a list of questions. It served several purposes. First, it proved to some of them that they were capable of reading 10 page articles from Pardue University, it explained biology and physics and chemistry of color and pigments in the leaves and finally it emphasized the asset of leaf color change to tourism in our state.

"The areas of deciduous forest in the world which give autumn coloration are limited. In the southern hemisphere only one small area of this type of deciduous forest can be found and it is located in the southern part of South America. In the northern hemisphere only eastern Asia including central and northern Japan, southwestern Europe with narrow extensions northward along the Atlantic Coast and eastward through south-central Europe, the eastern U.S., and southeastern Canada have weather conditions and the deciduous trees favorable for brilliant fall color. A few places scattered in western North America, especially in the mountains, have bright fall color too. Autumn color is excellent in the vicinity of Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. - Fantasy, Facts and Fall Color"

I love North Carolina and I wanted to impress the students with some of the reasoning. Sometimes they complained I was stretching their little brains too far. Well, when the people in the backcountry were 16, they were old enough to join the militia. I imagine they are still capable and they have no idea how strong and agile they are. They just take it for granted. Most importantly, they all have to produce a similar document to graduate AND create a product from their research AND defend the whole package in front of a group of outsiders. I think this is like a Masters...

We live at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian range. The leaves may be past their peak at the highest elevations, but between Asheville and Wilkesboro, Oct 23 is likely the start of the best color. Check out the NPS visitor's center. It won a LEED gold rating for "green" buildings. Congratulations, National Park Service!

Also, look for Ken Burn's new documentary coming this fall about our national parks. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, the path of militia to Kings Mountain in 1780 during the American Revolution is also featured. I can't wait.

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