1. says

    About 40 (F) here in the shadow of the Sandia Mountain in the high Chihuhuan desert this fine late autumn morning. Bright sunshine, no breeze, ceiling unlimited…

  2. Lambo says

    Well, maybe on the west side, but the low for the past three days (according to both NOAA and that thing on top of the science building) is 12 degrees F on the 18th.

  3. says

    I need to call my folks in Minneapolis to see if they’re okay.

    Out here in CO it might make it above freezing today – yesterday it was almost 70.

  4. Nick Gotts says

    Poor Ichthyic! Moving from the US to NZ just at the time when the right gets its biggest thrashing in decades in the former, but takes power in the latter! But yes, Happy Birthday Ichthyic!

  5. negentropyeater says

    Magic number reached : 776.76

    That’s the S&P 500 level that just got broken today (downwards of course), which was the historical 10/10/2002 low of the last period.

    Which means that now, we got to go back to January 1997 to find the same value.

    If you had invested in a diversified portfolio of stocks about 12 years ago, and sold them today, you’d have roughly the same amount. Makes investing for the long term sound a bit STUPID, doesn’t it ?

    And it doesn’t look like it’s getting better.

  6. Fedaykin says

    It’s roughly 28F here, and I might get a titch cold if I were to go outside for more than 15 minutes in my shorts and a t-shirt.

    My co-workers think I am bananas.

  7. Uncephalized says

    Sorry Z, but the only “magic” zeroes are 0 deg C, and 0 K. One of those you obviously passed a while ago, and the other, well… good luck getting to that one.

  8. Chris Davis says

    Fahrenheit looks amazingly twee from a distance away – an as antiquated as groats and hogsheads.

    It’s extremely silly, and you lot really need to knock it off lest we taunt you a second time. Wasn’t the zero point based on frozen wee?


  9. says

    Makes investing for the long term sound a bit STUPID, doesn’t it ?

    depends on your definition of long term.

    It’s sunny and 60 °F here in Charleston SC. I haven’t seen 0 °F in a looong time.

    When I first full time moved to Jackson Hole, WY the day I arrived the mercury hit -40 °F.

    Now that was cold.

  10. SteveM says

    Surely you must mean first time this season, not this year? :-)

    No, O°F is based on mixing equal weight of snow and salt.

  11. ThirtyFiveUp says

    Belated thanks to the kook who started the “evil, liberal, rich, socialist, baby killer, godless atheist, etc., etc.; with a limousine and a Trophy Wife” meme.

    PZ, you seem to be very happy to acknowledge that she is a trophy wife, although not the stereotype John McCain snared.

  12. JohnnieCanuck says

    So would now be a good time to convert the last(?) hold out nation on Earth to metric?

    It’s kind of like the best time to plant a tree. Twenty years ago or NOW.

    Canada attempted to make the change a long time ago. I blame our lack of complete success on the anchor that is chained to us because it is our largest trading partner.

    One vaguely humourous result of this story was that a can of paint went first from 4.54 litres to 4.0 litres for a while. Then, because of NAFTA, I suppose, it went to 3.79 litres. Consumers got to pay for the retooling costs, naturally.

    American scientists should be at the forefront of the metrificaton movement. Let me guess, the big business lobbyists have Congress in their pockets and everyone has given up.

  13. says

    I mostly live in Alaska so when these conversations pop up, I can peer over the top of my paper, go `oh, that’s quaint. It was -34°C this morning` and then patronizingly pat people on the head.


    I /think/ -34°C is -30ish F, for the metric impaired.

  14. Sili says

    I think they’ve threatened snow here tomorrow and Saturday.

    So that would put us somewhere around 0° Reamur – or 100° Celcius if you prefer (the original Cs, of course, not those silly newfangled things).

  15. says

    One of the reasons why the US still hasn’t metricized is that it would take an act of the federal government to abolish the use of traditional units in marketing to get metric used, and most people don’t want traditional units banned. The reason that such an act is necessary is due to the historical accident that caused most of the metric units to be a little larger than their traditional equivalents. If, for example, some gas stations sold gas by the liter while others sold it by the gallon, the liter-using gas stations would *seem* more expensive, because people would use the rough approximation of “1 liter is about a quart”, so, for example, 50 cents per liter would actually be equivalent to $1.89/gallon, but people would think of it as being $2/gallon, and so it would seem more expensive than the stations selling gas at $1.89/gallon, and people would go to the cheaper-seeming gas stations. Likewise, if some items, such as cloth or flooring, were sold by the square meter, they’d seem more expensive than those companies selling by the square yard, since 1 square meter = about 1.196 square yards.

    If it had happened that metric units were a little smaller than their traditional equivalents, I’m sure we’d have mostly metricized by now, because companies would convert just for the benefit of seeming cheaper!

    As for Celsius/Fahrenheit, I like having 0 be well below freezing – it lets me reserve 0 for weather that’s really cold. 0 C isn’t all that cold. Likewise, being able to refer to really hot temperatures as triple digits is nice. Triple-digit weather in Celsius would be fatal. :-) However, I do wish that freezing were a round number in our system, like, say, 30. A 2-point adjustment would make Fahrenheit so much better …

  16. davem says

    The Fahrenheit scale has to be the most useless scale ever invented; based on a water/ammonium chloride mixture for zero, and blood temperature for 100 (and he got the latter badly wrong, anyway). Celsius makes so much more sense. Who cares what 0F is – it has no discernible affect on the weather, whereas 0C obviously has. Here in the UK, we’ve had weather forecasts showing both, for the last 30 or 40 years. About bloody time we dropped the degrees F.

  17. 'Tis Himself says

    The Fahrenheit scale has to be the most useless scale ever invented

    You mean Centigrade or whatever foppish name the meteorologists* decided was nicer than Centigrade. O°C is brisk, jacket or sweater weather. O°F is gloves, coat, hat, scarf weather. And below O° should be ass-freezing cold, which O°C definitely is not. And hot temperatures are just as bad. 9O°F sounds hot. It’s Centigrade equivalent, 32°C, is cool (cold for Californians and other people unworthy of snow). Body temperature of 1OO°F means you’re having a fever. Body temperature of 38°C sounds like death by hypothermia.

    No, let’s continue to use the Fahrenheit system like God intended. If it was good enough for Jesus and his contemporaries like George Washington and Benjamin Disraeli, it’s good enough for me!

    *And why are people who specialize in meteors saying anything about the weather anyway. Meteors have little effect on weather, unlike comets. I could understand a cometician doing weather on the TV, but why people who “do” meteors? It makes no sense.

  18. Peter Ashby says

    So would now be a good time to convert the last(?) hold out nation on Earth to metric?

    Um, yes, over here, no East of you, over the pond. The UK waves at good old USA using IMPERIAL measures still (with some heresies of course). At the same time we are waving with the other hand to to our fellow Europeans in the EU, that hand is of course fully Metric.

    Officially the UK went metric in the early ’70s, but it was only the late ’90s when we were able to go to the supermarket and ask for 500g of cheese or 100g of thinly slice ham from the Deli counter. All the prepacked food is listed in metric (an EU law requires it) AND Imperial. Our road signs and speed limits are in miles and miles/h. There is some small talk of changing this spreading out from the Ferry Ports.

    I can finally buy metric only tape measures. For sure most tapes are imperial and metric, it’s just that the imperial is always along the top. My metric tape is French.

    I think in metric having been raised and educated in New Zealand. Coming back to the UK was like stepping back in time. But the EU is my saviour, it means I can buy metric chisels from a guy in Berlin without hassle. Meanwhile Ashley Isles in England can unashamedly bring out a new set of chisels, entirely in imperial. What is so silly is that all the sheet materials (mdf, ply etc) have been metric for years.

    Everything the Brits make is in metric so people use it at work. Yet in other parts of life it is imperial. People have been to jail for clinging to imperial. It will take serious effort by our EU partners to change us. You Americans just have the Canadians…

  19. says

    I scored a 5m., metric-only tape measure from RS, a few years ago, after having used them in France and getting used to being able to measure right to the edge in both directions. A fortnight later, discount supermarket Lidl had some 8m. ones in :(

    Not all prepacked foods are dual-marked — most are marked in metric only, and the nutritional breakdown is invariably per 100g. But children’s clothes are sized in centimetres, whereas adults’ clothes are sized in inches. Milk is sold in pints if it’s in glass bottles which are returned to the dairy, or litres if it’s in plastic cartons.

    There are some good natural correspondences in SI: a pendulum 1 metre long has a half-period of about 1 second, g is about 10 metres a second every second, and cheap steel is good for about 1 Tesla of magnetism (OK, that last one’s probably only important if you’re designing a transformer).

  20. 'Tis Himself says

    There are some good natural correspondences in SI: a pendulum 1 metre long has a half-period of about 1 second, g is about 10 metres a second every second, and cheap steel is good for about 1 Tesla of magnetism (OK, that last one’s probably only important if you’re designing a transformer).

    The speed of light in a vacuum (C) is much closer to 186,000 miles/sec (186,282 miles/sec) than it is to 300,000 km/sec (292,792 km/sec).

  21. Chris says

    ..Trophy Wife, PZ? Even if that’s referring to a private joke and not to be taken at face value, the sad reality is that in a public space like this it *will* be taken as is — as at least one comment so far has shown. There’s no value in reinforcing people’s internalised misogyny.

  22. JohnnieCanuck says

    Well as seems so typical of me, right after posting, I looked up what I was talking about.

    The USA is in great company. Liberia and Myanmar are the only other non-metric countries. Economic power houses.

    Canada is much like the UK in having a random assortment of old and new styles. Speed limits, distances, gasoline pumps and the weather are metric. Screws, bolts and house construction wood, not so much.

    Super markets were caught between a rock and a hard place when the regulations required them to switch over. Fines if they didn’t and few customers if they did. It wasn’t too long before the enforcement types blinked and allowed both on packages.

    Young adults today have a foot on the shore and a foot in the boat. Most of their parents are only comfortable with Imperial and most of their teachers used only metric in class. Binumerate? No. Maybe bimetric.

  23. Valerie Hoyle says

    O.K. In North Manchester (Eng) its -5 C. cold.
    100 grams of sweets are about 4oz. this is VERY important to know. Especially when buying in bulk from the sweet seller on the markets.

    In regard to the mormon blog.. Mormons don’t believe angels have wings.. don’t you know they don’t need wings to fly?????

    The painting of Joseph Smith in the church history building in Salt Lake City really looks like gay Kevin Costner.

    Some pints of milk come in plastic bottles as well as glass.
    Butchers HAVE to price and sell things in metric. Of course they don’t always but can be fined if caught out. It pisses them off… according to my Butcher.

    Soda comes in cans of all sizes and bottles in litres.

    Clothes sizes are usually in American and European(metric) and English. As are shoes. This can be confusing at times.

    English cigarette packets have vile rotting pictures on them of cancers.

    Paint is in litres. And this mac of mine spells litre the american way… liter.. this pisses ME off.