Winnipeg next week!

Next Saturday, 9 January, I’ll be driving up to Winnipeg to talk with the local humanists. You can come, too! There’s a bit of a warning there, though:

Myers will speak at 7 p.m. at the CanadInns Club Regent Casino Hotel in Ambassador Room B.

Admission is free but because seating is limited, attendees are being asked to register. Email to or phone 792-0931.

Reserve a seat today!


  1. raven says

    Right now in Winnipeg it is -13 F according to the weather internet.

    Do people actually go anywhere when it is that cold out?

  2. PZ Myers says

    It’s -11° F here in Morris, and my wife and I both walked a mile to the coffee shop this morning, when it was even colder. So yes, we do go out.

    Of course, my wife made it clear that I was insane.

  3. B166ER says

    Man I wish I lived north of the border, or at least closer to Manitoba, because I would definitely be there. Yet Everett, WA (about 15-20 miles north of Seattle) is a bit far to journey from. Speaking of speaking events, you need to come back and give the pacific northwest some love P.Z. Even though we are a very secular area comparatively, we could really use your solid trouncing of superstition, whether it wears the mask of traditional religion or new age kookery. So if you ever get a chance P.Z., just know that you would be very warmly welcomed if ever you want to come back for a visit.

    No Gods, No Masters

  4. blf says

    Little Poopyhead Pee Zed is going to drive? Oh for feck’s sake, take the TGV—despite its recent not-quite-as-severe weather-related problems it’s still… ah, wait a minute. Wrong continent. Sorry. Stoopid North Merkins.

  5. PZ Myers says

    I’m planning to be in Seattle for a few days at the end of this month, mainly to visit family. If I got invited to talk while I was in the neighborhood, though…

  6. says

    Winterpeg in January? Oh, my. And you think -11°F is cold? Heh, heh, heh. I did my PhD in Winterpeg, so I know of what I speak. There are two seasons in Winnipeg – mosquitoes and freaking cold. I have to admit, I’m not sure which was worse.

  7. cousinavi says

    Listen, Peez…dunno if you’ve ever been to Winnipeg or not, but you can stuff your Minnesota winter up your tentacle.
    Winnipeg is on record as featuring the coldest motherbitching intersection on the planet. You only THINK you know cold. You goin’ to Winnipeg. When you go home, you will forever after wear shorts and t-shirts and call it comfy. Winnipeg, eh. We measure heat…except in Winnipeg, where there ain’t no heat to be measured.
    Long underwear…and triple socks. Don’t fuck around. The alternative is death by cold. Hyperhypothermifuckyou.

  8. blf says

    And they spelt your name right!

    Long dark freezing cold days and nights, confined indoors with only the diminishing supply of dogs for company, leads to many strange lunacies…

    (So am I talking about Sili, Pee Zed, the ones in Winnipeg who spelt Pee Zed’s name correctly, me, or perhaps the Canadian nutter who shall not be named? Ha Haa ba ba had hee ha ha… you’ll never know…!!!1!!)

  9. cousinavi says

    RMM Barrie @ 17

    There’s a reason Neil bought a hearse and booked out for California.
    Winnipeg – two seasons: FUCKING COLD and Damn Poor Sleddin’.

  10. blf says

    I just noticed the e-mail address: ham_librarian@…

    I first recall was, what? Not bacon?
    Then: Would an ook! secure a reservation?

  11. Paul K. says

    Meh, you get used to the winter. If we (Winnipegers) didn’t want to live here, we’d move…

    The Missus and I are very much looking forward to seeing PZ next weekend.

  12. llewelly says

    Right now in Winnipeg it is -13 F according to the weather internet.

    Do people actually go anywhere when it is that cold out?

    In Winnipeg they make sure to go when it is only -13 F because they know it may not be so warm again for a week.

  13. Bob Russell says

    I’m not sayin’ it is cold here right now, but I saw a preacher walking down the street with his hands in his own pockets!

  14. cousinavi says

    You all will fail to understand how MUCH COLDER it is in Taiwan at 12 degrees C.
    You talk about -21..but it ain’t -21 in your house. You have a furnace making your home toasty.
    In Taiwan there’s no interior heat. Concrete and tile, and 12 outside is 12 inside…and 12 is GODDAMN COLD.
    We LIVE in scarfs and toques til April.

  15. ChrisGranger says

    We’re rockin’ a “feels like -29F” wind chill factor right now, and it has warmed up considerably this afternoon. PZ, if you’re driving up here, please do take some safety precautions like having food, water and blankets in your vehicle just in case.

  16. ChrisGranger says

    Cousinavi, 12C is still t-shirt weather for me. I don’t break out a jacket until it’s closing in on freezing.

    If you’ve never experienced being outdoors in a “feels like -50C” wind chill, I don’t think you understand what cold is. Most winter days here, you could come in from outside and warm up by climbing into a chest freezer.

  17. FordPrefect says

    One of the joys of living in Manitoba is remembering nights where we would go down to -55 F! Before the integrity of my thermometer is called into question, I can confirm it by a fun little property of liquid propane tanks.

    When the temps drop low, you need the tank to be fuller than (-1)(the temp in F) so, if you have a tank at 55% it will stop boiling when the temps drop to -55ish. Which means some very cold moments trying to hook up a griddle pan under the propane tank in the dark after the furnace has gone out…

    But, if you love blue skies and sunshine, then this is the place to be. So it washes out in the end :) Unless it’s a bad mosquito year of course :)

    Looking forward to seeing you in person PZ!

  18. cousinavi says

    Posted by: ChrisGranger | January 2, 2010 4:38 PM

    Cousinavi, 12C is still t-shirt weather for me. I don’t break out a jacket until it’s closing in on freezing.

    If you’ve never experienced being outdoors in a “feels like -50C” wind chill, I don’t think you understand what cold is. Most winter days here, you could come in from outside and warm up by climbing into a chest freezer.

    Brother, I’m from Nova Scotia. You don’t need to tell me about cold any goddamn thing.
    Let me tell YOU about concrete and tile houses with NO INTERIOR HEAT.
    I understand you have no conception of this. You go from a a warm house – well dressed – to a warm car and then back into a building with HEAT.
    There is a basic human heat thing that Taiwan OVERDOES 9 months of the year -sweaty, oppressive monster shaggy ugly heat.
    BUT, these other three rainy, cold, no furnace 12 degree bullshit months…man, just TRUST ME…I’d take -30 and an oil fired hot water radiator system 9 times on Sunday and five weeks outta three any hour of the minute.
    TRUST ME. 12 fucking degrees is COLD, and I guarantee you I’m wearing more layers than you are right now.

  19. RMM Barrie says

    Cousinavi @29

    I can relate to what you are saying, having trekked around factories in Taitung City in January. The concrete floors are damp from the humidity and suck the heat out of ones feet. However, there were remedies.

  20. The Tim Channel says

    Bet you don’t see many reptiles running around in Canada!! To wit: Number two in my National Geographic backyard moment series:

    Mississippi Fly Trap


  21. Black Jack Shellac says

    Notice the registration email … I think it might be an elabourate trap set by Ken Ham. Who let that lunatic across the border? This increased border security thing is supposed to keep crazy wanks out of the country, no?

  22. Noni Mausa says

    Yes, it is cold here in Winnipeg now. But even a month ago I was wondering whether the river would freeze over. We had shirt-sleeve weather right into late October. To balance that (I guess) we didn’t get a real summer until on into September. The earlier part of the “summer” was downright chilly, too cool to even paint my garage.

    That’s life on the prairies. The temps vary all over the place. I’m expecting our usual February thaw with puddles to splash in, but the snow will likely not be gone till May. Unless something else happens. Weird weather seems to be the rule here now.

    But we have very good beer here, year-round. * hint hint *


  23. Anthony says

    I’m looking forward to your visit.

    And while we may have heated homes up here in Winterpeg. think of the homeless, who are outside constantly in our 30-below winters. I think those poor souls beat Taiwan concrete boxes.

    At least it’s a dry cold…

    BTW: Will you be going out for refreshments afterward, P.Z.?

  24. Brenden says

    Five blocks away from where I lived just 4 months ago .. and I’m in Halifax now. Dang for bad timing. I will say though, you’re brave for doing the January Winnipeg thing. I’m a native Winnipegger, and when I visited for the holidays, I froze my knickers off.

  25. cousinavi says

    @ Anthony: Homeless sucks in all weather…although -30 gotta suck. As I posted on my blog: finally the churches are doing something decent with their steeples (at least in Nova Scotia), and opening up the pews to offer respite from the cold.
    Still and all…my point remains in the main. No interior heat; concrete and tile. The outside temp where you are is dramatically lower. I am wearing WAY more clothes than you as a matter of necessity.
    Not to put too fine a point on it but I’d trade toilet seats with you ANY time.

  26. Souljacker says

    Before making the trek be sure to watch Guy Maddin’s, ‘My Winnipeg’. An amazing surreal documentary/fictional/autobiographical film I saw for the first time a few days ago. Packed to the tentacles with useful information about the town, most of which is likely untrue but still worth knowing.

  27. Donna Harris says

    Hey Anthony (#34)

    Donna H. here. The genuine, real HAM librarian.

    Re: Refreshments after the talk.

    Do you have any recommendations? I’m not familiar with Transcona. I was just thinking about the Playmakers Lounge in the hotel after, but I don’t know how large or how noisy it is.

    Any ideas??

    (Remember – we don’t want PZ driving too far in THESE temperatures)

  28. shonny says

    What I could really imagine is PZ in an episode of Corner Gas next summer.
    As far as I know the show is finished, but they should make one special.

    Ok, ok, now back to the real world again.

  29. Brad says

    You think -13F is cold? Wow.. Sorry but -13F is like T-shirt and shorts weather almost. When it’s -40C plus windchill, then you can say it’s cold.

  30. Ory says

    When are you coming to Edmonton PZ?? I’m pretty sure we have some Humanists here!

    Well, at least one anyway.

  31. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I’m really impressed by all these folks bragging about how they go skinny-dipping in -40°C weather. “Cold, you think that’s cold? You don’t know the meaning of cold. By the way, my dick’s longer than yours.” :P

  32. Dan says

    @Donna Harris #39

    There’s also a Tavern United nearby. Sports bar, quiet, laid-back atmosphere.

  33. Donna Harris says


    I had forgotten about that other hotel.

    The Tavern United is at the Canad Inns Transcona. That does sound like a possibility, if the other lounge is too full.

    Anyone know how large that location is? Or how busy it usually is on a Saturday night?

    Thanks Dan!!

  34. daveau says

    Wind chill, wind chill, wind chill. Wind chill is for whiners. If it’s 35 degrees with a wind chill of 25 degrees, does the water in your birdbath freeze? No. The ambient temperature remains 35. Should you dress for wind chill temperature? No. You dress for ambient and cover your face, because evaporation = cooling. So unless you’re naked in the full force of the wind, stop citing the wind chill as something meaningful.

    OTOH -13 is damn cold.

  35. fletchka says

    The Tim Channel @ 31
    Cool video, though I wouldn’t like it my backyard. Its probably true that you have more reptiles, but Manitoba is somewhat famous for its snakes.

  36. fletchka says

    Sorry the link doesn’t work. I tried. As usual my computer skills came up short. It’s supposed to be a YouTube video of Manitoba’s Snake Pits

  37. RMM Barrie says

    daveau @ 46

    The wind chill index is based on how the human body loses heat in the cold and wind.

    The wind chill is expressed in temperature-like units, but because it is not the actual air temperature, it is given without the degree sign. For example, if the outside temperature is -10° C and the wind chill is -20, it means that your face will feel as cold as it would on a calm day when the temperature is -20°C.

    So, no one does not dress for ambient.

    Environment Canada has more detail on the above, taken from their site.

  38. tohellwithyourturtle says

    You’re worried about garter snakes? That’s as bad as being afraid of trees…that carry salmonella.

  39. tdc.udel says


    Actually as a fun bit of science lore, that can freeze the water in your bird pond, but only if the wind is very fast and the air is very dry. The dry wind carries away the water vapor over the bird pond which must be replaced by evaporation, an endothermic process. Since the water is already so cold, it won’t take much evaporation before the top layer freezes. The numbers might need to be fiddled with to make sure the evaporation takes away more heat than the now warmer wind gives, but it is technically possible.

    It’s similar to subjecting a glass of water to vacuum, it will boil and freeze at the same time.

  40. daveau says

    RMM Barrie-

    Only on exposed skin, so, as I said, not if you cover your face, assuming otherwise normal winter gear. Your body feels colder than ambient because of evaporation. If it’s covered, even with just a windbreaker, there will be no wind-aided evaporation. No evaporation, no effect below ambient.

    Besides, I’d dress the same for -13 as I would for -40. Anything below zero, really.

  41. daveau says


    Thank you. Someone who knows some science. Yes, under those circumstances you could get ice above 32 degrees (like 32 1/2). But once you got that really thin ice crust on top, evaporation would cease and that would be the end of the cooling. It would never freeze solid like it would if it was really 25 or whatever.

  42. Biology Blogger says

    Uh-oh. Doesn’t Dennis Markuze/David Mabus/The crazy one, live in Canada? You might get your

  43. reyfox says

    -40 C? Ha, that’s nothing! That’s beach weather for me in Vostok Station, Antarctica! Suck it, temperophiles!

  44. Anthony says

    @ Donna Harris (#49)

    I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the Transcona area. There is the Tavern United, mentioned by Dan in post #44, but that’s the only one I can think of.

    Perhaps the Playmaker’s lounge would work best. It’s close ;)

    On another note, I received your e-mail. Thank you for placing me on the waiting list. I hope they can add enough seats.

    Anthony D.

  45. chgo_liz says

    Came home today to temperatures 80 degrees (F) colder than where I woke up this morning. Still, not as bad as Winnipeg.

    Spent the last week and a half swimming with Caribbean Reef squid. Cute little things. Made me think of Cuttlefish. And cuttlefish.

    Sorry for the OT post, but I really did think of this blog while swimming with the little critters.

  46. Lee MacPherson says

    @ Donna Harris (39 & 45)
    Playmaker’s Lounge is going to be pretty busy and probably loud because of everyone playing the slots, and it’s not very big.
    I have been to some other Tavern United’s (but not the one in Transcona), and usually the Saturdays are pretty busy there. At least the ones I went to were pretty big, but I only have a few other places to compare it to (I don’t go often). I suppose it may depend on how many people there will be, but I don’t think Playmaker’s Lounge will be good.
    Maybe Dan knows the area better?

  47. Rachel Bronwyn says

    PZ – Let us know if you choose to speak in Seattle. Winterpeg isn’t an option (not that I want to spend time there anyways) but getting to Seattle from Vancouver, BC is cake.

  48. says

    Do you ever do the east coast?
    Winnipeg’s a bit of a hike from Prince Edward Island :)

    Is there a Crackergate video? I’d like to add it to my favorites for my ’30 Seconds of Blasphemy’ project, but all I can find are video sequences showing stills.

  49. Rob D. says

    Prof. Myers, I just wanted to say thanks for your willingness to spend some time talking with us in Winnipeg…we’re very exited to have you- looking forward to your lecture!

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  51. RMM Barrie says

    daveau @52

    Your body feels colder than ambient because of evaporation

    Evaporation is only really important at human body temperature of 37°C plus. In cooler temperatures it is all about heat loss, increased by wind removing the boundary layer of air. At lower temperatures skin holds moisture, so unless you wet your face, evaporation is virtually a not a factor. This is a complex subject with many variables, so brevity should not be viewed as me being flippant.

    Only on exposed skin, so, as I said, not if you cover your face, assuming otherwise normal winter gear.

    Yes current wind chill formula were calculated from data on exposed faces, while the old numbers from arctic wind blowing on a plastic bag full of water to measure heat loss in an inanimate object. So the clothing has to be good enough to surpass the combined effect of temperature plus wind, to conserve heat. When dressing, that is why one considers both temperature and wind. Most people here dress to conditions, as there is no normal winter gear. A windless minus whatever day is very different from a windy one.

    I take it that from the handle, and word usage, you are Dave from Australia.

  52. RMM Barrie says

    tdc.udel @51

    Actually as a fun bit of science lore, that can freeze the water in your bird pond, but only if the wind is very fast and the air is very dry.

    No matter how hard the wind blows, the temperature does not change for an inanimate substance, that is the water, that has reached the surrounding temperature. Cold air is dry, and combing the two as you have done, I know of no instance in nature where the water would freeze in a bird bath.

    Can you cite anything other than “lore”?

  53. RMM Barrie says

    Biology Blogger @54

    The crazy one, live in Canada? You might get your

    Look what you attracted.

    Considering that if said subject drove from Montreal to Winnipeg it is 2765 Km using a U.S. route, and 2440 Km using a Canadian route but taking longer to drive, while from Montreal to Morris MN is 2285 Km

    Save the inane for your blog.

  54. daveau says

    RMM Barrie-

    I bow to your depth of knowledge. And I am not being flippant about that. Before my attack of SIWOTI, my original point* was not that wind chill doesn’t exist, but that it is mostly irrelevant if you are wearing clothes. And your car will start as easily at 0 degrees and no wind chill, as it will in 0 degrees with -40 wc.

    The handle is from French class. I was raised in MN and currently live in Chicago. (Or Chicageau.)

    *Which in itself was another attack of SIWOTI, which I am prone to in the evenings.

  55. Noni Mausa says

    “…No matter how hard the wind blows, the temperature does not change for an inanimate substance, that is the water, that has reached the surrounding temperature….”

    You know, I would have thought so also. But it is absolutely the case that a car parked up here in an unheated, uninsulated non-attached garage will start easily when the same car parked a few feet away, but outdoors, will not. All my cars have been inanimate, I am pretty sure, but this has been true for all of them. Perhaps, I have wondered, the earth below the garage has been protected from the wind and thus allowed to slowly radiate a little extra heat to the enclosed space, but how long would you expect this to go on? A week, a month, several months?

    It is a puzzle.

    ~on the waiting list, but not especially hopeful~

  56. FordPrefect says

    Dang! I emailed my request to register for 2 people 45 minutes after this blog post was pushed out and there is no room at the inn for me :(

  57. RMM Barrie says

    Noni Mausa @70

    will start easily when the same car parked a few feet away, but outdoors, will not

    I have no idea where “up here” is, but your observation is myth. A car could care less on starting, if the temperature and humidity are the same. Wind just is not a factor.

  58. RMM Barrie says

    daveau @ 69

    Had to consult my urban dictionary for SIWOTI, that purveyor for the advancement of the American language.

    Had a roommate from Adelaide that used the expression winter gear, and his cricket gear, and and. Is what made me look for meaning.

    My teenagers advance your argument for wind chill. Problem is, sweaters or thin hoodies are not winter gear, so the wind goes through, leaving them wondering what the problem is. Work fine for still days.

  59. n says

    I have experienced this myself, in an unheated (though insulated) garage.

    Wind (chill) is a factor. The whole concept of windchill is to relate an equivalent temperature that indicates how quickly an object will loose its heat. e.g. if it is -20 deg C but there is a windchill of -40 deg C, the object will not reach an ambient temperature lower than -20, but the rate of heat loss will be much higher.

    Also, the garage will have the effect of trapping radiated heat from the car, further reducing the rate of heat loss compared to a vehicle parked outdoors. Obviously an uninsulated garage is not as good at this.

    So, if the vehicle is nice and toasty when it is parked, It is likely that when you come out to start it the following morning, the coolant, engine oil, battery & starter motor, while not exactly toasty, are still a few degrees above ambient, thus making the car easier to start.

  60. Noni Mausa says

    RMM Barrie: “… your observation is myth. A car could care less on starting, if the temperature and humidity are the same. Wind just is not a factor.”

    My observation is an observation. That’s a sorta science thing, you know? I realize all the factors you mention, and I agree with them, but nevertheless si muove if I park it inside, even overnight, (12+ hours) so everything has a chance to cool down to ambient (my garage is far from a sealed environment, BTW.)

    “Up here” is Winnipeg, where I have been recharging, boosting, kicking and towing cars for 35 winters now.


  61. tradewinds says

    Alright you guys the temps as we speak are Morris mn -15, Winnipeg -8 (both temps are celsius)So you’ll be ok PZ.Just stay out of the wind.

  62. says

    Ah wind chill, my old nemesis.

    Daveau is half-right and half-wrong. If the outer layer of your clothing is wind-proof, you form a bubble of warm, moist air inside it. This can be dramatic: from my own experience, a thin raincoat can be as warm as a thick sweater!

    However, as others have pointed out, wind increases the speed of heat radiation. The effect is small if you’re bundled up, thanks to the bubble, thus it’s easy for your body to adapt to it. You’d only fell the effect in the long term, not hopping from house to car.

    I’ve got one minor nitpick for RMM Barrie. It’s true that your body tries to minimize evaporation in cold temperatures, but as one of our survivalists has put it: You sweat, you die. Once that sweat soaks into your clothing it starts to cool down and pull heat from your bubble big-time.

  63. Ted Zissou says

    Nice group up there. I enjoyed meeting those who came for ‘Letting go of God’ in Fargo.

  64. RMM Barrie says

    HJ Hornbeck @77

    You sweat, you die.

    Absolutely, that is the 37°C where cooling is accelerated. Part of the complexity.

    Noni Mausa @75

    My observation is an observation. That’s a sorta science thing, you know?

    True, when properly measured in some verifiable way. The old big V8 could hold heat for 12 plus hours. But then it had a carburetor that might ice up and stick the choke open, with the wind being a factor in the rate of cool down. If all things in the car are equal to inside and outside temperature, wind does not enter into the equation.

    Without admitting too much age, was born in St. Boniface, when it was still separate from The Peg, so know from whence you come.

    n @ 74

    but there is a windchill of

    Windchill is an index applied to animate things without reference to degrees, ( but to a scale F or C ). Is why the Weather Network uses the term – Feels Like. Cars feel nothing, so your reference is to the rate of cool down, not an animate perception which still has heat and produces heat as long as it is alive. Is a different subject where wind is a factor. As a practical matter, your description is accurate of the phenomenon, but not some of the words.

  65. ckitching says

    The other thing that might affect the garage/open air starting is the block heater. In an enclosed structure, the block heater can be more effective at heating the engine as the radiated heat will not be actively blown away from the vehicle. Convection currents caused by a warm engine will still carry this warmed air away, of course, but these currents are still usually far weaker than the wind will be.

  66. Robert MacDonald says

    PZ, please come to Toronto again…it’s not far from Winnipeg…just a half hour’s drive east after the last Tim Horton’s on the edge of town.

  67. Noni Mausa says

    Thanks, RMM Barrie. And ckitching, your block heater idea might indeed have something to do with it.

    I’d bet anything that someone has done the research on this problem or whatever it is. We have facilities here (mostly further north, I think) for testing how cars do in cold conditions – I bet they know.

    Finally, I haven’t had an 8 cylinder car since the neighbour kid bought my Chrysler Newport and then crashed it somewhere in Ontario, about 20 years back. Man, that was a sweet car, if you happen to own an oil well. You could have raised a family in there, and still had room for a small library and a wet bar for when company came to visit. With a disco ball.


    driving 4 cylinders now, a step up from the 3 cyl I had just before it