Thursday, August 21, 2003

Kelvin blog.

Hottest day of the year so far, the weather wardens say. Hit a peak of 94° F. at O'Hare, where the wardens keep the Mother of All Thermometers. Bah. It isn't really hot till we cross into the three-digit Fahrenheit zone.

The rest of the world, even our Canadian brethren, has deluded itself into believing Celsius is more "rational," or some such, than Fahrenheit. I don't object to Celsius for the purpose of science, and I certainly got my mind around it while living in Japan, but it's arbitrary, if not counterintuitive. In Fahrenheit, 100 is very hot and 0 is very cold. That's a system that speaks to the human body as it lives and moves through the atmosphere, not to something like the boiling and freezing points of water; and to a human mind that thinks in base 10 and its multiples.

To Celsius believers, I say if you want something really rational, something approved by the international scientific community, let's all use Kelvin. No minus temps to distract us, considering that below zero by definition doesn't exist in Kelvin. A warm day at the beach would be a nice 300° K or so, which is easy enough to remember. Water would freeze around 273° K. Anybody can learn that. It would be fun to see bank time & temp signs registering a scorching 310, or a bone-chilling 260. Which means as much, intuitively, as –10 and 40 C.

In any case, it was 'ot & sweaty on the walk back from the train today. No hitchhikers to be seen (see yesterday's blog). But the minor-league Schaumburg Flyers were getting ready to play a home game at Alexian Field, which is very near the station. It was hot, but people were happy to be milling into the stadium from the endless parking lot.


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