Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taking the temperature of Danny G.

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Here we are in the middle of November and it’s 62.1 Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit degrees. Good thing it’s not 62.7 degrees, the temperature at which I break out into one of those classic November sweats.

Two things about this mild November temperature are worth noting: 1) D.G. Fahrenheit assumed room temperature exactly 271 years and 60 days ago (that's 133 years and 16 days ago Celsius) and 2) it is absolute, irrefutable proof that Global Warming©, sorry, Global Climate Change© and The Global Climate Crisis© are upon us and ready to receive your tax deductible contributions via a worldwide network of recently formed 501(c)(3) organizations.

It’s my journalistic duty to bust the myth that’s been foisted upon us by some of world’s most reputed weather scientists—climatologists, if you will; quacks, if you won’t—namely, that the Fahrenheit scale is somehow unfit for use by the elite scientific community. Only we schleps who form the lowbrow bourgeois would continue to use such an antiquated measurement—so they say in their uppity, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Well, let me be perfectly clear about my reaction to this class versus classless attack. Phooey!!

Since when do newspapers have contests for their readers to guess the date of the first 37.8 degree (Celsius) day each year? Hey, we all know that when it’s 100, it’s hot. And when it drops below zero, well, look out because the wind chill will freeze your exposed body parts on contact.

Continuing to glare down their long skinny noses, the clever research grant backed scientists have told us that the Fahrenheit scale was set to 100 on the hottest summer day one 18th century year in Germany and to zero on the coldest winter day that same year. That’s not scientific, they say. That’s a random occurrence, an arbitrary way to set a scale.

In my own thorough, non-grant funded research, I’ve discovered that this explanation of how the Fahrenheit scale was set is just an old wives’ tale. In fact, zero on the scale is the point where an equal mixture of ice and salt freezes. Okay, you may say, the ice, by definition, is already frozen and how in the world can you tell if a grain of salt is frozen or not? Good points, but that shouldn’t take away from D.G.’s scientific method.

He also set 90 degrees to be equal to normal body temperature. Unfortunately, D.G. didn’t realize that 90 degrees is the temperature of a dead body some six hours after the poor soul’s last breath. A few minor adjustments to his brilliant invention later, D.G. used it to measure the boiling point of water: 212 degrees. Perfect! A palindromic number. Science at its best.

Compare D.G.’s work to the clearly unimaginative Celsius scale where zero is the freezing point of water and 100 is the boiling point. A third-grade kid could’ve come up with something that simple. What good is a third grader’s temperature scale for a sophisticated scientist, noting that the words “simple” and “sophisticated” are listed as antonyms in Webster’s dictionary?

So there it is. I have, in a concisely worded short essay, beaten back the affront brought upon us by this egocentric group of “worldview” scientists. That the United States is virtually the only country left in the world employing the Fahrenheit scale should not discourage us from honoring tradition and the good science of Danny G. Besides, everyone knows that 72 is room temperature. Case closed.

Copyright 2008 Randy Hunt

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