It’s cold, scientists baffled by Arctic front in Winter and all that, but it is miserable. It turns out the heating system in my shitty apartment can’t handle sustained temps much below freezing. The heating element only adds a few tens of degrees to whatever passes through it, so it blew warmer air, warmer meaning about 45 degree F if the thermostat is accurate. But hey, armed with a solid knowledge of thermodynamics and several layers of clothing, it also turns out that if you just leave the hot water in the shower on, that warm air rises to the ceiling and gets yanked into the heater and that gets it almost to 60 degrees. Which got the apartment above 50. … Let’s just say it was a bad night. Then I saw what was hitting the majority of the US and thought I’d better just quit bitching:
LA Times — A brutal “polar vortex” gripped much of the Midwest on Monday, pushing temperatures to record subzero lows, grounding more than 4,000 flights and prompting authorities to urge residents to stay home or go to emergency warming shelters. In Chicago, temperatures dropped to a record 16 degrees below zero at O’Hare International Airport on Monday, spawning a new National Weather Service Twitter hashtag: #Chiberia. Records also fell in Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana. In Minneapolis, it was minus 18 — minus 40 with the wind chill — and the high was minus 12. Margaret Roth found herself stranded in the Twin Cities, where she had arrived from Florida for a wedding. It was so cold, she said, that the inside of her nose froze.