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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... the dog days of summer.


CURWOOD: Feel like lying down and letting your tongue wallow on the floor? Don't want to fetch one more thing because of the heat? Well, it's no surprise: the dog days of summer are upon us. Of course, humanity's problem with the summer heat is an old one. The dog days got their name from the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. The ancients believed that Sirius, the Dog Star, which rises simultaneously with the sun during this time of year, adds to the heat of the sun, thereby causing the unusually hot weather. The Romans called it Canecularis Dies, and also thought that earthly dogs were more inclined to madness and rabies during this time. In general, the dog days are said to last from July 3rd until August 11th. The English thought that if it rained on the first dog day, the rain would continue for the next 40 days. Which inspired this bit of doggerel: "Dog days bright and clear indicate a happy year. But when accompanied by rain, for better times our hopes are in vain." That's a bone to chew on until it cools down again. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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