Cool car.


This is a company town, maybe the biggest one in the country (and the sickest), and everything is about cars. And so, at the Motown Winter Blast, people actually stood in line for the chance to sit in a Corvette made of ice.

(Overheard: “Don’t put your tongue on the windshield.”)

I have a busy day today, capped by daylong snow, which would normally be delightful if I didn’t have to drive to Royal Oak. Tomorrow will be busy too, with even more snow — five to nine inches, bless my soul — and so, while I may not make it back, if I do I’ll have lots of stories to tell, no doubt.

In the meantime, console yourself with bloggage:

Yes! Yes! Yes! Someone finally states the obvious: Wind-chill is a crock. I can be more tiresome on this subject than a whole bottle of Ambien, but it’s nice to be right:

As the use of equivalent temperatures spread, people started to notice inconsistencies between real temperatures and their wind chill counterparts. For some reason, a day spent in a minus-40 wind chill was a lot easier to handle than a minus-40-degree day with no wind. Around 2000, two researchers—Randall Osczevski in Canada and Maurice Bluestein in the United States—began looking closely at this problem. Before long, they discovered that the adapted Siple-Passel equations grossly overestimated rates of heat loss.

Just since I’ve been paying attention, wind-chill figures have gone from something that’s only reported when it seems to apply, i.e., when the wind is blowing, to (new this year, in my experience) reported as the “effective” temperature. That is, I open my newspaper and read, “Today it is, effectively, 6 below zero.” Oh, I don’t think so. I know six below. Six below is a friend of mine. And you, 12 degrees with an occasional 15-mile-per-hour gust, are not six below. Besides, isn’t the wind chill what it “feels like” on exposed flesh? So put on some gloves, dummy.

Wind chill now has an evil hot-weather cousin — the heat index. Not crazy about it, either, because if nothing else, the reverse of “put on some gloves” doesn’t always work.

So that ought to set you up for some fun bitching today. If not, enjoy this, a montage of Horatio Caine and the Sunglasses of Justice:

Posted at 10:39 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

18 responses to “Cool car.”

  1. 4dbirds said on February 12, 2007 at 11:31 am

    I used to live in Berlin, Germany and it got quite cold but 6 below, no I don’t know 6 below.

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  2. ashley said on February 12, 2007 at 11:49 am

    So does humidity make any difference? I’m wif ya on the wind chill being bogus, but what if it’s just a “dry” cold?

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  3. John C. said on February 12, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the wind chill thing. Couldn’t agree more. Use it when it’s appropriate – when it’s cold and really windy. and then only use it judisciously, as in: “It’s 5 degrees out there. And with the winds we’re seeing, it could feel at times like it’s 20 below.” Something like that. The bogusness of windchill was driven home for me the other day. We were getting ready to leave friends in Chicago and I was packing the car. The temperature was minus-3, with no wind. Now, if you believe the wind-chill folks, it is minus-3 fairly often. But believe me, when it’s, say, 15 degrees, with a windchill of minus-3, it is possible to run outside wearing a turtleneck and a fleece vest, throw a suitcase in the trunk and run back inside without too much discomfort. I did this in a straight minus-3 and there was much discomfort after all of 45 seconds. My hands hurt and I had several of those whole-body shivers once I sprinted back inside.

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  4. MarkH said on February 12, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Ashley, it absolutely does. I live at 6,200 feet in the northern Rockies. We have just come out of our normal 4-6 week period od consistent below 0 weather (-20 to -30 at night, 0 to +10 in the day). It is not the same here as it is in the midwest. The higher you go , less humidity, therefore, the less “bonechill” in the cold. I grew up in PA and Ohio so I know the difference. We’ve gotten used to the more frequent and longer-lasting frigid cold, but I always feel for those of you in the lower climes anytime the temp approaches zero or below.

    Last week’s chinooks took us back up to +40 for a few days, but we’re back to the +10 range today.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the “bogus wind chill” stuff. When the wind blows up here, you notice the difference in cold weather. I’d like to study the scientific data first.

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  5. Danny said on February 12, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Guys, I don’t have time to read the article his morning, but it all comes down to the additional convective heat transfer from the wind blowing. The engneering of it is boiled down to air temp, air speed and the surface area and shape of the body part exposed to the wind. The last term is the hardest to deal with because this affects the geometry of the problem and the computation of the Nusselt number which is the affected dimensionaless convective heat transfer coefficient.

    So in short, if you don’t want to worry your heads about this, wear gloves, dummy.

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  6. Dave said on February 12, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Ashley, I’m glad I’m not the only one to use about the concept of dry cold.

    I can’t count the number of strange looks I’ve received when I asked by someone from warmer climes how I stand the cold and reply that it’s dry cold so you don’t notice it at all.

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  7. ashley said on February 12, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks. Good to know, for once, it isn’t just me.

    I remember in 1996 it got down to 7 Fahrenheit in New Orleans, and the humidity was still up high. I thought the cold was going through every layer of clothing I had.

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  8. brian stouder said on February 12, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    extremely cool car, indeed! Any chick (including Dixie Chicks, presumeably) who drives it will be sporting party hats (so to speak) – but her fella will have shrinkage.

    The Honda Element would look good as an ice-block, too – and would be easier to carve, no doubt

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  9. John said on February 12, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    “party hats”…nice euphemism! We say AN’s at our house.

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  10. alex said on February 12, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    We say “high beams are on.”

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  11. Randy said on February 12, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    I have to respectfully disagree about windchill.

    While the old system was inaccurate, the new one works very well here in Winnipeg. Our temperatures have been at -30 to -40 every day for over two weeks, and on the few days without wind, we really notice the difference.

    Winds here are pretty relentless, so they do have a major impact on the degree of coldness.

    Even in this current deep-freeze, there remains a hardy few who continue to ride bicycles to work. Too cold for me.

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  12. LA mary said on February 12, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Completely off topic…
    Here’s a photo of Britney Spears (no underpants issues) looking pretty bad for someone of her age. I know she has two little kids, but she also has a stylist and a makeup person and enough money to look nice when she goes out. She’s only 25.

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  13. brian stouder said on February 12, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Mary – thanks for sharing! I love staying abreast (so to speak) of celeb news!

    From the looks of it, she appears to be at a bar – and the other women are dressed in a similarly odd way (Biker babes? Speakeasy girls?) The fishnet on some of her colleagues caught my eye….that, and Brittney’s bejeweled necktie (which has the effect of pointing to where I’m looking anyway)

    Brittney seems to be in-step with the people there (at whatever party she is attending)….but she doesn’t seem to have any idea how she appears to us fly-over folks.

    The blonde from the Dukes of Hazard movie has that much going for her…she isn’t a self-parody, as much as a canny (so to speak) player.

    On the other hand, Brittney strikes me as the sort who hasn’t really figured out what her job is – nor how quickly it can go away

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  14. basset said on February 13, 2007 at 12:49 am

    ANs? we generally say “the turkey is done…”

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  15. czucky Dimes said on February 13, 2007 at 3:37 am

    The David Caruso thing: I haven’t seen that much ham since I got mooned on I-75 once by a bus full of maniacs on their way to the FSU/FL game.

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  16. Dorothy said on February 13, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Okay try as I might I cannot figure out what ANs means. Anyone??

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  17. John said on February 13, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Basset, I like the turkey reference! Very funny! AN’s came from Betsy’s days at Wake Forest when ladies still were expected to act gracefully and genteel. They were also expected to wear thick clothing during the winter to combat the dreaded “Agressive Nipples”.

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  18. Dorothy said on February 13, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Oh for crying out loud!

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