Sunday, April 06, 2008

Feeling Comfortable at 294 Degrees

“Winds light and variable, temperatures in the mid-290’s. It sounds like a good day for a picnic, so get out there and enjoy it, because the next day it’s going to drop down to the mid 270’s, with a possibility of 270 overnight.”

That’s for the U.S. of America, not some other planet. Here & now, not some time in the global warming future, either. How will we survive it? The same as we do now, because it’s 295 degrees Kelvin in my room as I write this. 72 Fahrenheit, 20.2 Celsius (formerly Centigrade). I’m sure there are other ways of measuring heat which I haven’t learned. Well, I know there are, but I’m not that esoteric at this time of day.

Kelvin starts with Absolute Zero, which we can’t quite attain, although we can come pretty close and nobody really wants to go there. The Celsius scale is zero at freezing and 100 (“Cent,” or 100) at boiling; it makes sense if you are water. There are seven different stories as to how Fahrenheit came about his scale, some of them pretty good (the coldest temp he could produce in his lab was called “0” and the melting point of butter was called “100”).

To find the temp in either C or F, you add this or divide that and/or multiply the other thing. OR: You keep a little list in your wallet with ten-degree increments, which are close enough that you can guess what’s in-between. After a while, you get fairly good at it and don’t need the aid. People will be simply amazed that you can come up with the appropriate reading on a moment’s notice.


Anonymous ruthc said...

The "down and dirty" conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit is quick and easy to do in your head. Amazes those around you who don't know what you're up to.

April 07, 2008 6:57 PM  

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