We’ve spent how much on WHAT??? »« Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Seriously disgusting

“Morris” sort of sounds like “Mars” if you mispronounce it enough

It’s so darned cold — -30°C, with windchills that make me want to switch to Kelvin — that my university has closed, as well as all the local schools. But I still have to trek in to feed the fish at my lab, and this time I thought I’d record my whole journey on ShiverCam (I’m holding my iPhone while crunching through the thin snow and blowing winds). It’s less than 3 minutes.

I survived. But then…layers, lots of layers, and the only exposed skin was around my eyes, and I’m still trying to recover the feeling in my toes and fingertips. So not too bad.

Comments

  1. Kilian Hekhuis says

    So that’s where all the cold and snow went! We’re having an exceptionally warm winter over here* (14°C today!).

    * Amsterdam, Netherlands

  2. says

    -30 c? With windchill? Meh…I woke up to that on the weekend. Started my car (not plugged in either) and happily travelled the city in search of comic books and board games. Sure it was a bit nippy, but hardly anything worth shutting down over. No problem. Silly southerners, learn to dress in layers!

    For Reference, Edmonton Alberta Canada. ‘Cold enough for ya?’ is the city motto.

  3. Rich Woods says

    I must have been watching too many ‘found footage’ horror films recently. I kept expecting to see dark shapes moving at the edges of the video, hearing PZ say “What was that? It can’t be…no, no, NO!!” and a splatter of red to appear across the lens as the camera fell to the ground.

  4. Wylann says

    Sheesh, I’m feeling bad because 27F is too cold to ride my bicycle or motorcycle, and I have to take the car to work.

    I’m moving back to Az…..

  5. says

    A balmy -5 Celsius down here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this morning. Tonight’s forecast calls for -10C overnight. Time to let those faucets drip!

  6. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    otocump @ 2

    -30 c? With windchill?

    No, it’s -30c and then there’s a windchill on top of that. It was -49f/-45c in Morris when I checked Weather.com. I’m sure your antifreeze blood can handle that just fine, but at those temperatures humans lacking your superCanadianpowers are at some risk.

    After walking to my mother’s house and back and failing to answer my phone afterwards, I just had a surprise visit from her ensuring I didn’t fall down and freeze in the snow. (Surprise: I did not.) I’ll be happy when there isn’t a polar vortex squatting over me.

  7. chigau (違う) says

    Ah, the sound of walking on -30° snow.
    It’s only -16° here but it is snowing.

  8. says

    Don’t forget, PZ, record cold weather anywhere in the world during the winter definitively disproves global warming! (My father has explained this to me many times.)

  9. raven says

    Anchorage, AK, USA
    Monday 8:00 AM

    Overcast
    31° F
    Precipitation: 60%
    Humidity: 94%
    Wind: 1 mph

    It’s 31 F in Anchorage Alaska at 8:00 this morning. Meaning Morris is way colder.

    This is a common pattern. During the last near record cold spell on the west coast, it was near record warm in Alaska. All the arctic cold air goes south and is replaced by warm air moving north.

    This is BTW, a prediction of some models of global warming. The arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the earth. So that cold air has to be going somewhere. The theory is, it is not being bottled up in the north any more and drifting south. The other factor is a slowing in the gulf stream, which might be occurring already, although the data on that isn’t very comprehensive.

    That means we will have colder winters and hotter summers.

    I don’t know enough about climate models to tell if this is reasonable or not.

  10. rnilsson says

    +6C here on the Swedish west coast at 6 PM. Windy but not much rain. No snow or even freezing for a month. (Not much sun either, five minutes the other day was cheerful.) Abundant sea food. Mostly reliable power and internet.

    Check out the progress of Elon Musk’s stepwise attempt to fulfill his secret master plan of one day establishing human life on … Morris ??? Some of the rockets are supposed to be re-usable and land on their feet. Still in testing though.

    This launch is for a Thai geosat.>

  11. magistramarla says

    And people here in south central Texas are complaining that the low got down into the 20s last night.
    It’s 31F here right now. Since my hubby and I both grew up in the northern US, we simply laugh at them.

  12. Dhorvath, OM says

    Likely my least favourite sound found in regular(ish) situations is cold snow. Yucky to walk on. It’s above freezing where I live, so it’s not too regular for me.

  13. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    -30!? Ambient? Fuck. Here in SE England it’s 9 (5 with windchill), frankly balmy in comparison, and I still freeze every time I go outside for a fag.

  14. killyosaur says

    -14°C here in the Detroit area. All I can recommend is Under Armor Base Layer 4.0 for brutal weather (my wife used that as a layer while attending the Winter Classic game on New Year’s day, says it works quite well).

  15. Dhorvath, OM says

    It took three tries before I managed to read geosat instead of goats.

    Raises hand. So that’s what it said. Fear to click felt I.

  16. carlie says

    I got nuttin’. It was a balmy 40 this morning in an odd warm spike, although it’s been steadily falling since. Should only hit 0 tonight, and be up to a high of about 6 tomorrow. Seems positively tropical by comparison.

  17. Holms says

    Cancelled due to low temperatures? What a weird place you live in.

    P.S. what is with the icing sugar spilled everywhere?

  18. Reginald Selkirk says

    and the only exposed skin was around my eyes

    The calculation for wind chill is based on evaporation from bare skin. This is why I consider it to be bogus.

  19. rnilsson says

    Ah. Sorry, should have been more explicit (if that’s the word I seek). Also, launch is scheduled for about 3 – 4 hours from now, but it has been cancelled before. One is reluctant to take a chance with $60M.

    The previous geostationary satellite launch was postponed three times due to irregularities in the fuel feed. But it was successful on Dec 3. It was exciting to watch; almost as fun as that video of Man walking on Morris. (I think that was the site for video feed last time, it just hasn’t started the live countdown yet.)

  20. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Caine and Dhorvath #20 and #21

    Yep, I did that too. What’s worrying me now is why I saw the word “Thai” and then assumed the second word was “goat” rather than “geosat” :-/

  21. rnilsson says

    Reginald S: Good thing then that PZ used an eye-phone and other items of clothing (we hope!)

  22. says

    Thanks for the shiver-cam footage, PZ. No traffic, vehicular or human, only the braze PZ out to take care of his fish.

    Shiver-cam will let us know if you fall down and start to freeze to death — how many Pharygulites would call the Morris emergency services?

  23. says

    Reginald Selkirk:

    This is why I consider it to be bogus.

    Come to ND, and you can try an experiment. I’ll put you outside in the -65 F, and you can tell me all about how windchill is bogus after a half hour. Wait, you’d be unable to talk…

  24. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    It’s six in the evening over here! Of course I’m hungry! But that’s not what was worrying me :)

  25. madtom1999 says

    Had to do the last bit of Kilimanjaro in -30C and the wind was strong enough to blow 1cm pebbles in your face. In borrowed gear because the aircraft company had lost my baggage – I’m 6’5″ so some bits of me were very cold indeed! There was not enough O2 to feed my brain as well as my legs otherwise I would have returned to my tent.
    6hrs of sheer hell!

  26. says

    Way warmer under a new thick blanket of snow here in southern Ontario. Tomorrow we’re supposed to be chillin’ at -30 or so, I’m given to understand.

    One of those times I’m really, really happy to be a home worker. Waiting for a bus in that kind of weather is decidedly not on the pleasant side.

    Really gross bit: when I was about 10, and taking the bus across town to school, I had to transfer (at Warden and Ellesmere, for the cognoscenti of TO), and the wait was usually ten to fifteen minutes. My friends and I used to spit on the outside of the shelter, and see how far it would run before freezing solid. In temps like this, the answer is “not far indeed”.

    The part I hate is when your nose freezes up inside, and everything gets all stiff and weird everytime you breathe. Makes me glad for my big northern Euro ship’s prow of a nose, though, I’ll say that. Hell, in temps like that, I’d take a horseface for the extra warming time on air heading for the lungs.

  27. says

    Also, it’s the time when you come to sincerely loathe the people who design modern bus shelters, with their fancy glass panels that don’t come to the ground. When that cold cold wind is blowing up your pant legs, from that stupid fancy 1-inch gap they left because they’re sadistic bastards or something, and you’re cursing the gender role rules that require you to wear “nice clothes” to work, instead of the mountaineering gear that the weather calls for.

  28. rnilsson says

    I read somewhere, long ago, that winter athletes use a little plastic heat exchanger stuck in their mouth in order to pre-warm the air they breathe a little. Looked a bit like an old-fashioned match box. Maybe it contained some metal, like Al or Cu, to increase heat capacity. Maybe a length of pipe will help? I would not use bare metal, though!

  29. Olav says

    PZ:

    But I still have to trek in to feed the fish at my lab,

    Many serious aquarists have that task automated. Professional quality fish feeders may not be cheap, but if you are (or know) a good tinkerer you could have the same thing and tailor made as well. You could run it off an Arduino board or something.

  30. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Heh, indeed! Born north of Edmonton in Busby, Alberta. Ever have to use an outhouse at -25? You learn “go” fast — I mean FAST! No constipation.

    Grew up further in Calgary, delivering the Calgary Herald at 3am in the dead of winter.

    Leads me one thing I can always say about my life: I saved two people from death.

    Set the scene: January or Feb 1972, very, very cold, about 3:30am. Delivering papers in the snow, come across a parked car sitting on the street, engine running. Walk up to car quickly. Two persons inside, possibly sleeping, possibly dead. Several people die every year in Alberta from CO poisoning through sleeping in running cars. Driver’s face is against the window. I knock on the window. He doesn’t wake up. I knock again, then start beating; after about either one minute or eternity, the driver opens his eyes. I signal him frantically; after another period of time, he rolls down the window.

    “Sir, please shut your engine off.”
    “Muzza buzza whuzza?”
    “Sir you have shut your engine off, you could die!”
    “Whaa fump? Whassa up?”
    “Turn your engine off, I can’t hear you.”
    (Turns engine off.)
    I keep talking to him for a couple of minutes, mostly to let the air and CO in the car drift out through the window. Its clear they are transients passing through Calgary, and don’t have the money for a motel. As the driver wakes up, he gets more agitated, cursing at me a bit. I get him to wake his friend in the passenger seat. He rolls up the window as I beg him not to start the engine again.)

    I walk away, continuing my route. At every house I look back; the car’s engine stays off until I have to turn to the next street.

    The next day there is no report of two dead bodies found in a car. So I know I saved (temporarily) two lives that day.

    Cold of that degree is hideously dangerous, even in the middle of a city. You can die, folks!

  31. says

    Yeah, I thought for a bit that it would be fun to make bracelets that said “What Wouldn’t Calvin Do?”, because they’d be sellable to both C&H fans and Presbyterians (though oh how they’d interpret them differently!), but I don’t think the market’s big enough, and I know Watterson has refused all calls for commercializing C&H, so I wouldn’t do it anyway without his changing his position, because RESPECT! for The Best Comic Artist ever.

  32. opposablethumbs says

    Walk safely, PZ! :-) That bright sunlight on snow is very beautiful, but still glad your walk is a short one.

    Balmy single digits centrigrade here (currently SE Blighty, like Thumper). And grey and rainy and windy … :-(((

  33. davem says

    Ah, gotta love the gulf Stream, Here, 6 degrees north of Morris, I do seem to remember a frost one morning this winter…. Mind you, if it rains any more, I will probably drown.

  34. says

    I read somewhere, long ago, that winter athletes use a little plastic heat exchanger stuck in their mouth in order to pre-warm the air they breathe a little. Looked a bit like an old-fashioned match box. Maybe it contained some metal, like Al or Cu, to increase heat capacity. Maybe a length of pipe will help? I would not use bare metal, though!

    I’ve seen things like that in sports shops. They looked like pig snouts you wear over your mouth, with an elastic band over the back of your head, and there was a metal mesh that supposedly gets warm when you exhale.

  35. nich says

    Here below the Mason-Dixon some local school districts canceled classes this morning because it dipped down to a low, low…40 degrees F.

  36. ledasmom says

    The pediatrician said, regarding our new niece and nephew (currently residing in Minnesota), that if they wouldn’t wake up for a feeding “just toss ‘em on a snowbank”.
    We are thinking that he did not mean in the current temperatures.

  37. says

    I used to think that southern places closing on what seemed ridiculously light weather to me was something to laugh at, but then spent some time in Baltimore during a winter storm. A city with very little snow-clearing equipment, and few crews on standby, they basically shut down because half an inch was coming that afternoon. Schools closed, malls closed, just “goodnight Baltimore”.

    But then we left Johns Hopkins, where we’d been visiting someone for a few hours, and came to find a parking lot full of people frantically belting their cars with more or less bare hands, or their keys, or anything else, because the freezing rain coming behind the snow had coated every car in a sheet of ice. Most people couldn’t even open their doors, let alone get them cleared off enough to drive.

    We were very, very popular when people realized that our car had four ice scrapers in it. Something not one of them owned, because who keeps an ice scraper in a city where it rarely snows much? People were singing the Canadian anthem, sorta, in their unexpected happiness. They didn’t really know the words, but a lot of people sang the “Oh Canada!” line a few times over.

    It took us three hours to get out of that parking lot, as we loaned our ice scrapers and shoulders to a couple of dozen or more stranded folk trying to get home.

    So…yeah. They shut down, in a storm that wouldn’t even have people checking the radio here. But if they hadn’t, a lot of peope would have gotten hurt, and some killed, by unskilled drivers on dangerous roads, and accidents blocking emergency vehicles from reaching their destinations, and so many things.

    Just a thought.

  38. rnilsson says

    Hairhead, then you are net positive in life! Yay.

    WeedM, you must be more daring than me. Was on the right track though.

    cswella, a friend and associate of mine (also Dad’s) chose to wear sandals in the snow “because it was easier to shake it out than from regular shoes”. He did have a very warm heart, until it gave out one New Year’s Eve. I remember him fondly; others maybe less so. Not the next tin soldier clone, was he. One of a kind.

  39. wolja says

    Oh snap it was 32C here yesterday with wind heat.

    Gotta love the extremes but I think I’d take the -30

  40. gussnarp says

    re. Raven @#12:

    It’s 31 F in Anchorage Alaska at 8:00 this morning. Meaning Morris is way colder.

    This is a common pattern. During the last near record cold spell on the west coast, it was near record warm in Alaska. All the arctic cold air goes south and is replaced by warm air moving north.

    It’s also related to continentality. The high heat capacity of water leads to coastal locations, generally speaking, having more moderated temperature ranges while inland locations have more extreme temperatures. So the Dakotas and Minnesota and parts of Siberia tend to experience some of the most extreme temperatures on earth partly because they lack the moderating effect of a large body of water nearby.

  41. says

    They don’t have credit cards in Baltimore?

    They have credit cards sturdy enough to crack through a half-inch of ice in Sweden? Now that’s efficient thinking on product design. The few who’d tried it had mostly broken the cards, either in half or chipped around the edges. :)

  42. says

    Oh the joys of living in the North. Here in the Tampa Bay area of Florida it was about 70 F. this morning. Cold front moving in now and expect it to get into the upper 40′s tonight. Perhaps the coldest of this winter so far. I feel for you PZ!

  43. says

    In southern half of Finland meteorologists say it might not even be winter yet: their definition of winter says the daily mean temperature should stay below 0 °C. Which just isn’t happening. At the moment in central Finland the temperature is very close to 0, as it has been for weeks, and there’s maybe a millimetre of snow or frost barely covering the ground.

  44. says

    Weed Monkey:

    In southern half of Finland meteorologists say it might not even be winter yet: their definition of winter says the daily mean temperature should stay below 0 °C. Which just isn’t happening. At the moment in central Finland the temperature is very close to 0, as it has been for weeks, and there’s maybe a millimetre of snow or frost barely covering the ground.

    Enjoy it while you have it. I wish it was a not winter winter here.

  45. rnilsson says

    Also, CaitieCat, those CD jewel cases of yore can be somewhat useful I think. Cheaper to ruin than an actual credit card. Or other hard currency.

    But I have seen a few times those ice rains, and they are not fun to play with. There’s an ever so slight grade up from our cul-de-sac garage, and last winter we almost didn’t make it up it with studded winter tires. Luckily I had some gravel to spread and win purchase on the glass-like ice. Or would have missed work that month.

    It’s fun in a slapstick way to watch, but not quite as fun in the ER waiting room with all the other fractures and concussions, like my friend had to endure last week.

  46. Holms says

    Oh snap it was 32C here yesterday with wind heat.

    WTF 32C is eeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaasy! No complaints til 40+!

  47. says

    Caine

    Enjoy it while you have it. I wish it was a not winter winter here.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to suffer the extremes of cold you’re going through. But I’m not particularly enjoying this between the seasons bullshit either. Somewhere in the middle would be just lovely.l

  48. blf says

    No idea what the temperature got up to today (forecast was for c.12℃ IIRC), but at lunchtime I walked to the restaurant without a coat, wearing a thin short-sleeved shirt, in bright sunshine. Wasn’t warm, and had I stood still long enough I’d have gotten chilly, and the outdoor terrace was closed, but basically fine. No wind (slightly surprising), and no clouds to speak of (overcast with, starting tonight, traces of rain, was the forecast AFAICR).

  49. says

    rnilsson:

    But I have seen a few times those ice rains, and they are not fun to play with.

    No, they aren’t. We had a massive ice storm hit here in April of ’010, and it took out over 1100 towers, they were crumpled. A whole lot of people were without power for quite a long time, including us.

  50. rnilsson says

    That’s why it’s a good idea to bury the cables. Some 7 – 10 years ago we had recurring power cuts whenever the wind blew (which it tends to do here on the Skagerrak coast ,) and caused a short when wires crossed or a tree fell, but gradually those power lines have been dug down and now we mostly suffer outages when the utility accidentally disconnects the wrong branch for a few minutes. Last month we had a storm with gusts at circa 40 m/s which left our dustbins in the ditch and a lot of free firewood to collect in the surrounding country, but no outage. Although we do know where the camping stove, the candles and the matches are.

  51. ChasCPeterson says

    It should get up to around 20 Celsius here in Southern California.

    Southern California is a big place. Out here in the high desert it’s been about 15C by day and down to 0C at night.

    Ambient?

    Air. Strictly speaking, ‘ambient temperature’ is meaningless outdoors because objects exchange heat with each other (and the sky) with different surface temperatures.

    The calculation for wind chill is based on evaporation from bare skin.

    Nah, it has nothing to do with evaporation. It’s about convection, which increases heat loss from objects that are warmer than air even if they are (imperfectly) insulated.

  52. raven says

    Here’s What The ‘Polar Vortex’ That’s Hitting The US Actually Is
    By Lauren F Friedman5 hours ago Business Insider

    As tundra-like temperatures and wind chills as cold as 70 below zero fan out across the country, everyone is blaming the “polar vortex.”

    Polar vortexes, though, are nothing new. They occur seasonally at the North Pole, and their formation resembles that of hurricanes in more tropical regions: fast-moving winds build up around a calm center. Unlike a hurricane, these are frigid polar winds, circling the Arctic at more than 100 miles per hour.

    The spinning winds typically trap this cold air in the Arctic. But the problem comes when the polar vortex weakens or splits apart, essentially flinging these cold wind patterns out of the Arctic and into our backyards.

    NOAA scientists have suggested that warming temperatures in the Arctic may be responsible for the weakening of the polar vortex. When the vortex weakens, it’s more likely to break apart and become a factor in our winter weather. etc.

    Here is what I was referring to above, part of it anyway. This isn’t too well established though, yet.

    The other factor may be a slowing of the gulf stream. Some measurements have seen that, others not. IMO, no one really knows yet. You need a deep time data base to decide that. And it’s not even easy to measure the gulf stream.

  53. says

    That’s why it’s a good idea to bury the cables.

    That’s happening right now in Finland. It will take years and millions, of course, but now the power companies are legally required to pay for outages, so they immediately started digging. Socialist European cheese-eating surrender monkeyism FTW.

  54. Nathair says

    the power companies are legally required to pay for outages

    How does that work exactly?

  55. mothra says

    A fundamental reason that cables will not be buried in the Red River Valley (of the north) is that Fargo, for example, sits on a 50 meter thick clay ‘slurry.’ Underground pipes are periodically redone not only due to obsolescence but because the ground shifts and pipes break (and even deeply buried pipes freeze in winter). Fargo does not build up, because of the cost of having to build down to anchor buildings to bedrock. Houses routinely have steel beam reinforced basement walls and poured concrete floors; this combination allows the house to float as a unit on the clay. NDSU is also closed today- only essential personnel are expected at work. Reseachers at a university are not considered essential personnel- but some of us show up anyway.

  56. NitricAcid says

    University’s closed at -30? Luxury! When I were a wee lad, school was only ever closed if it were -40! And that were the official temperature, measured in the middle of town (always a few degrees warmer than the hillside we were perched on). If it was -41 for us, it was -39 in town, and school was on.

    But I no longer live in Northern Alberta; I live on Vancouver Island. It’s so bitterly cold here that my violets have started to wilt.

  57. rnilsson says

    And not a day too soon? Hmm? Maybe time to reclaim those profits they should have reinvested in their bloody own infrastructure, in good time, eh? Or get weeded out. After all, the profit comes from a gov:t concession, ultimately.

    Hang on, I just gotta invest in some other power co:s.

    No, seriously, we have similar problems in Sweden. The formerly state-owned Vattenfall (Waterfall, mainly hydro originally) went public some decade(s) ago and promptly wasted massive amounts of public funds on German brown coal mining and bought some utility for 50 beeelion too much. So now it is unable, unfortunately, to pay dividends to the State owner. At least, it still retains a regional monopoly over domestic power infrastructure and cashes in the loot from those who happen to live in their designated districts. 2014 is election year, but I hold little hope here.

  58. Akira MacKenzie says

    Today is my day off anyway, but I have nooooo desire to go out in this cold. I’m all warm and snug in my house, surfing on my tablet, and eyeing some left over chili for a late lunch. Probably going to start a fire later tonight and stream something fun onto the TV.

  59. bbgunn says

    Something I use to do when I worked on the ramp for one of the airlines back in the early ‘80s: I wore cheap ski goggles with a slight tint when the ambient temps dipped below -10F and the windchills slid down to the -40F to -60F range. Kept my eyes from freezing (they would tear up from the Jet A fuel that would blow back during engine start ups) and the tint kept me from being blinded by sun reflecting off of snow.

    Anyway, may have looked odd but with a balaclava, it worked wonderfully.

  60. blf says

    Mars is a neat place where you land multibillion dollar rovers armed with freaking lasers to do interesting science.

    Morris is a place with an obnoxious loudspeaker where professors are fed to fishes.

  61. george gonzalez says

    Do the edges of reality kinda wobble in Morris, like in a movie dream? Or is that some fancy phone anti-shaking algorithm going astray?

    Just consider yourself somewhat lucky to be able to walk to work. One of my ex co-workers used to drive down from Hinckley, 4 days a week. And then back home.

  62. rnilsson says

    Yeah! At end of transmission, T+10 minutes, everything looked good (from my POV under the clouds across the Globe). Another $60M+ not into the ocean. Happy night, Earth folks!

  63. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    Here in south-western Virginia it’s a mite chilly at 21 F and dropping, supposed to get down to low teen or possibly single digit temps overnight. That’s as cold as we’ve seen this season so far.
    Still nothing like PZ has in Morris though. Yikes!

  64. Stacy says

    PZ, wouldn’t you like to spend a few days in Los Angeles? Lows 40F.

    Remember, you and Jim Underdown talked about you giving a lecture at CFI-LA? He’s waiting to hear from you.

  65. ledasmom says

    All this is rather reminding me of “To Build a Fire” and the discussion of how cold it has to be for spit to crackle before it hits the ground.

  66. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    ledasmom@92,

    All this is rather reminding me of “To Build a Fire” and the discussion of how cold it has to be for spit to crackle before it hits the ground.

    I think I remember reading that in high school thirty or so years ago. I vaguely recall it had to be like -75 or so to “crackle” according to the story. That sound right?

  67. Menyambal --- I'll be a monkey's nephew. says

    It is -17C here, this evening, and not forecasted to get any colder despite a clear night. It is not bad out of the wind, and the basement wasn’t in danger of freezing.

    I took a pan of boiling water outside and threw it into the air. That was impressive. (Do be careful of where the water will land, mind.)

  68. chigau (違う) says

    Bad, Menyambal, bad!
    I’m drunk.
    How can I not try that?
    But it’s only -6°, it’ll hafta wait.

  69. ledasmom says

    I think I remember reading that in high school thirty or so years ago. I vaguely recall it had to be like -75 or so to “crackle” according to the story. That sound right?

    Found the story. It says that spit crackles on the ground at fifty below; the temperature given during the story is seventy-five below; therefore, the highest temperature at which spit crackles in the air is somewhere between the two.

  70. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    I miss days like those. Really. Here in the Sunburnt Country no one believes me when I say that. Hell, few of those I left behind believe me either. So long as you can afford to dress for it, and you know your limitations, it’s quite refreshing to go out on that sort of day. I even used to call my winter riding gear “The Spacesuit”.

    #5 Wylann:

    Sheesh, I’m feeling bad because 27F is too cold to ride my bicycle or motorcycle…

    I can’t speak about the motorcycle, but I rode my bicycle year round in a place where -20c could go on for a month or more, and the coldest I’ve ridden in was -38c. It’s perfectly doable, give the caveats above.

    #36 milsson

    I read somewhere, long ago, that winter athletes use a little plastic heat exchanger stuck in their mouth in order to pre-warm the air they breathe a little.

    Huh. Never heard of one of those, if I was still there I’d look into it. In the first couple of years of winter bicycle commuting I got pneumonia a few times. My doctor was getting concerned and quizzed me about my lifestyle. Much puzzlement was had because I was generally fit, until I told him I rode in winter without covering my mouth. It was his opinion that the cold air was irritating my lungs and making me more likely to get lung infections.

    I never covered my mouth because I have a beard and I wear glasses. The beard was enough to keep my face warm and putting a scarf over my mouth blew my moist, warm breath over my glasses where it would freeze making me unable to see. The solution was one of these. The vents directed my exhalations down away from my glasses. On really cold days I’d carry two filters so I could swap them out when the first froze up.

    These days I struggle when it creeps up into the +40c’s. I’m damn near incapable of functioning when it’s that hot. I’ve been trying to adapt by not letting myself get cold in winter but it’s not working very well. Ah to be young and adaptable again….

  71. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    ledasmom@96, Thanks, that was what I remembered off the top of my head. Didn’t mean for you to search it out for me, I did look it up after posting though. Been busy clicking between tabs I have open, so I didn’t update my post.

  72. chigau (違う) says

    just a note
    milsson
    is actually
    r nilsson
    (without the space)
    everyone put on your reading glasses or use copy-paste, please.

  73. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Dammit! I am wearing my reading glasses for fuck’s sake. Sorry rnillsson.

  74. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Annnnd I’m a further idiot…. [copypastes] sorry once again rnilsson.

  75. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    chigau@99, ( Hi chigau!) Damn, even knowing it, with reading glasses and /or nose pressed up against the screen I can’t see that! Looks like one letter “m” not two letters “r n” in this font. I guess it’s copy paste from now on for me! Funny though I usually do copy paste, but didn’t this time for unknown reasons.
    Sorry rnilsson for screwing up your nym.

  76. chigau (違う) says

    Hi Ray!
    This is why I am a Big Fan of copypaste.
    -fontses
    -is that a 0(zero) or a O(upper case ‘o’)
    (and I’m doing copypaste on an iPad using a stick with a “rubber” nipple)
    (talk about one-finger-typing)

  77. says

    Hope everyone is safe over there! Unseasonally cold here at 15C, in the middle of summer.

    I just watched CBS evening news(gets screened on pay TV here), and am somewhat astonished. The anchor seemed to be explaining the polar vortex to a bunch of 3 year olds. Won’t Americans understand what’s being said unless someone speaks slowly and uses simple words?

    That is a fairly cool resolution on that video, PZ! What is that, 15 megapixel?

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That is a fairly cool resolution on that video, PZ! What is that, 15 megapixel?

    The iPhone5 is rated at 720p and 30 fps for video.

  79. bortedwards says

    Ugh, having just move from Australia to Rochester, NY I am rapidly learning to convert small numbers F to stupidly negative numbers C. Tomorrow is going to be 1. On the wrong scale. Looking at the numbers back home and one of the towns I did some fieldwork in two months ago before I moved here was enjoying a balmy 121…!
    And CaitieCat, at least you GET a bus shelter. UofR doesn’t see fit to supply those (and not more than 8 buses a day in ‘break’) so my freezing Australian tail is hanging in the Lake Effect wind waiting to get in to feed my flies, which much like PeeZeds fish don’t know how good they have it!

  80. larrylyons says

    What are you whining for. Its just a typical Monday morning in Winnipeg. You Minnesotans just can’t take a bit of cool weather.

  81. kevskos says

    If it was -30 C you really did not need to worry about that icy patch, ice has lost most of it’s slipperiness by then.

    It got to 21 C in Yuma with an overnight of about 7 C.

  82. ck says

    Caine, Fleur du mal wrote:

    I’ll put you outside in the -65 F, and you can tell me all about how windchill is bogus after a half hour.

    Not to mention the fact the wind tends to find ways to blow through even some of the best winter gear out there. Everything has a seam somewhere, and those seams let the wind in.

    CaitieCat wrote:

    The part I hate is when your nose freezes up inside, and everything gets all stiff and weird everytime you breathe.

    That doesn’t bother as much as my eyelids freezing shut every time I blink if my eyes water a bit while outdoors (like on a windy day). Nothing quite like tearing your eyes back open every few seconds.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Finally saw the video. The snow was crunchy; typical of what I heard here all day. A shorter walk than I had in Dah YooPee, but not by much. brrrrrrrr.

  84. paulburnett says

    So I guess I won’t get any sympathy for getting sunburned whilst at the beach (on San Francisco Bay) yesterday…

  85. ck says

    “Morris” sort of sounds like “Mars” if you mispronounce it enough

    Or if you lick a metal pole in the middle of winter in Morris and then try to say, “Morris.” Try it. It’s fun, trust me. All the cool kids are doin’ it. You don’t want to be left out, do you?

  86. sundoga says

    Pleasent 26C (don’t know what that is F, I don’t speak Obsolete) here in Perth, Western Australia. A bit humid, but nice.

  87. playonwords says

    50 North here and 11C

    @ davidgibson #113

    It could be the grad students have fed the fish and the fish found them very tasty.

  88. cactuswren says

    blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2014/01/polar_vortex_minneapolis_weather_phoenix_warm.php

    If you ever wondered why we Arizonans put up with Brewer and Arpaio and the horrifying revelation that Stephen Fucking Seagal is considering a gubernatorial campaign:

    In Arizona it feels 100 Fahrenheit degrees warmer than it does there.

  89. says

    People continue to berate Southern schools for closing for “cold” weather without thinking about the fact that 15F with windchill on top of that is so rare down here that most kids don’t have proper clothing to stay warm while waiting for the bus. Especially kids in poorer neighborhoods.

  90. ChasCPeterson says

    Morris ain’t the kind of place to raise your fish
    In fact it’s cold as hell.
    And there’s no one there to feed them
    If you did.
    [/Shatner]

  91. says

    LOL, yeah, it was my socialist-coloured glasses that made me see that thick layer of ice on the INSIDE of all my windows this morning, where the moisture from my air had frozen to the glass overnight.

    Good call, Rush old boy. Well spotted. *eyeroll*

  92. rnilsson says

    O hi, chigau (違う)
    Thanks for defending my name ;-) but it’s not really necessary.

    A late old friend who moved to the US* showed me a simple mnemonic for converting F to C or v.v. : One way, you subtract 32**, halve the result, move the decimal and add that. So 68F = 19.8C pretty close. Other way, do the inverse: double, move decimal, subtract and add 32. So 20C*** = 68F pretty close. Doable in head.

    * to become a math prof
    ** which is obviously the differential at triple point of water, aka freezing point under the usual terrestrial conditions
    *** room temp where heating energy costs you, agreeable temp where AC is cheap

  93. rnilsson says

    113
    davidgibson

    7 January 2014 at 12:07 am (UTC -6) Link to this comment

    i thought the whole point of having a PhD was that the Grad students fed the fish?

    Are we quite sure the fish feed is not grated students?

  94. ChasCPeterson says

    re: Limbaugh (Lynna’s #120)

    Yes, I know, the bufoon is low-hanging fruit, but I cannot resist:

    We are having a record-breaking cold snap in many parts of the country. And right on schedule the media have to come up with a way to make it sound like it’s completely unprecedented.

    Because there’s nothing about breaking records that could be described as ‘unprecedentd’.

    they’re perpetrating a hoax, but they’re relying on their total dominance of the media to lie to you each and every day about climate change and global warming.

    Their total dominance the media except, you know, for the most listened-to radio program in the world.

  95. cgilder says

    Well, I can’t claim too much misery down here in Austin, but I’m pretty sure my citrus trees are toast despite my best efforts :(. RIP tasty oranges.