Friday, August 11, 2006

Heat index conspiracy

Well, I guess my Tuesday blog entry paid off. One of my friends read it, then she drove thirty minutes one way to bring me some stew. How sweet is that! I'm doing much better now. Not sure what that was.

Yesterday morning I was online, not surprisingly, and looking at the weather. It said the temperature was 90 and the heat index was 97. That got the old cogwheel turning and I began to wonder, what exactly is the heat index?

Windchill, I get. X degrees with wind speed of Y equals Z degrees with no wind. Right? So is heat index the theoretical temperature with no humidity? And if so, why? When is there ever no humidity, especially here? Who would really know what 97 with no humidity would feel like?

It all begs the question, why do we need the heat index? Well friends, I have a theory. But I'm not sure you're ready for it. I believe we are the target of a systematic process of intimidation and manipulation, the likes of which we have never seen. No? OK, well maybe not.

But I do believe it is a ploy by the weather people. Think about it. For years, they could just give us the temperature and we'd be like, "Wow, eighty-seven degrees. Really? I was wondering how warm it was today."

But then, we started getting our own thermometers. They became commonplace, not just a tool used by meteorologists for observing atmospheric temperatures. A few people even got their own rain gauges, and weathercocks.

The weather people panicked. Because let's face it, without us to watch them, they are nothing. They had to come up with something new. Something we didn't have. Something to make us think we still needed them. So they created things like wind VIL, isobars, and yes, the heat index.

Then they could say things like, "This is the heat index today. This is how hot it really feels. This new measurement renders your piddling thermometers which give only the simple air temperature virtually useless, on days with temperatures of more than 80 degrees and relative humidities of more than 40 percent. You imbeciles! What made you think you could possibly understand the complex interworkings of meteorology!"

If you don't believe me, take a look at the actual heat index formula:

HI = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.1433127R - 0.22475541TR - 6.83783x10^(-3) T^2 - 5.481717x10^(-2) R^2 + 1.22874x10^(-3) T^2R + 8.5282x10^(-4) TR^2 - 1.99x10^(-6) T^2 R^2

(Heat Index (HI), where T is equal to the ambient dry bulb temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and H is equal to the relative humidity.)

Geesh! Seems like I remember seeing that on the board in college one day when I walked into the room and immediately dropping the class.

It's the same thing with pilots. All these gauges, knobs, lights, and buttons in the cockpit. We walk in wide-eyed and think, "Wow. I could never learn all that." When in reality, I bet the majority of the time they only use like 4 or 5 of them. On. Off. Landing gear. Simulated turbulence... you know, just to mess with people.

I mean, really, how hard can it be? Everyone knows you pull back on the thingy to ascend and you push forward to descend. And if all else fails, there's always the auto-pilot.

In other heat-related news, driving home Wednesday night I saw a church sign that said, "If you think it's hot here..."

It made me giggle... er.. chuckle. Is something wrong with me?

"Cos I know there's a better place than this place I'm livin'. How far is heaven..."

17 comments:

  1. YouBringYourMotherToTheWSOP????8/11/2006 11:33:00 AM

    So . . yeah . . Welcome to the South.
    Where the coolest day in the Summer is a Heat Index of 112.
    It was so hot last night that even the mosquitoes were in hiding.

    The temperature gauge outside my house said it was 99.
    The temperature gauge in my vehicle registered 106.
    I'm assuming that the vehicle gauge registers how hot it FEELS - thus the heat index.

    You know what you should blog about??
    How everywhere BUT the Deep South - - when it rains, it cools off. But down here, nope, it rains and it just gets hotter, more muggy, more stiffling.

    Just once I would like a summer where I could BREATHE! :)

    Good post!

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  2. You're hilarious.

    First, what the hell is a "cogwheel"?! (I mean... I can guess what it might be by the text of your sentence... but what would possess you to use such a word!?)

    Second, you've got too much time on your hands if you're looking up (and re-posting) actual heat index calculations.

    I might suggest you take up a second job? Or a girlfriend? Maybe masturbation?

    :)

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  3. So...what don't you understand?

    Simply stated... the water present in the air reflects the light, and creates chunky air because of that prismatic effect (which makes awesome sun tea, but kinda sucks to breathe) which amplifies the effects of the heat in relation to actual perception. So, when it's 87 with 89% humidity and you go from A/C to the outdoors, it feels like you just got slapped in the face with steaming hot oatmeal. A dryer climate may be in order for a day or two...say a desert location somewhere.

    Glad you got some stew. And had a friend to help you out.

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  4. First, Carmen is throwing a blogwarming party...go check it out, there may be single gals there (okay, maybe just Carmen, but free virtual food!)

    Second, re my blog...well after you've been together for a long time comfort takes priority. It's like, well if it doesn't happen today, there's always tomorrow or the next day. None of that "maybe I won't get to see them for a week."

    Third, yeah, I think you're on to something with that heat index and wind chill stuff. Job security for the weather folks who can't seem to predict what's going to happen... I think I told you about that quiz they had on the news once. It asked "How far into the future can the weather forcast be predicted?" I answered 2 hours ago, but the correct answer was 3 months prior.

    And BringYourMother is right about that rain in the south thing...what's the deal? I went to FL for Christmas one year and it rained the entire time and I was sweatting like crazy...IN DECEMBER!

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  5. Never knew that there was an actual formula--thanks Bone but uh you do have too much time on your hands

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  6. dear me, I hope the pilot does more than pull back on the thingy. I'm scared to fly anyway.

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  7. I think Heat Index is temperature with humidity, not without. Without humidity would be the dry bulb temp you mentioned. Heat Index is only to make us think "Wow, this heat sucks even worse than I thought it did! Not only is it 100 degrees, it feels like 110! This sucks!"

    You do need a girlfriend. My sister turned 21 this week.

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  8. MyMotherCameToMySoftballGames: Good point. I went outside a week or two ago right after we had a little rain. It was steamy. Toasty.

    Blondie: I'm not sure where cogwheel came from. I was thinking, wheels turning, mind churning, and that's what I would up with.

    I'll take your suggestions into consideration.

    Dorothy: I like the oatmeal analogy. Feels like trying to breathe in oatmeal sometimes. Not that I've ever stuck my face in oatmeal and attempted to inhale.

    Renee: Two hours ago. lol I love it.

    The rain just seems to add fuel to the fire. BringYourMother raised a good point. Welcome to the Southeast.

    Pia: Well, I figured there was, but I had no idea it'd be that complex. Perhaps my lyric for this post should have been a Styx song?

    Carmen: Well, they like to talk on the intercom a lot :)

    Lass: Yeah, it was hard to say that clearly. I'll try to reword it.

    I do need a girlfriend. You'll get no argument from me.

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  9. Why'd you have to go and get all mathy on me??? I think having weather people is just ridiculous anyway. I mean, when are they right? And why do I find myself mesmerized with The Weather Channel???

    Heat Index I can deal with, wind chill...HATE IT! So, when it's hot, I don't really care how hot, no matter how intricate the math calculation.

    I'm blabbering...I'll stop now. Have a super-duper weekend!!!

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  10. Dude you've got a lot of free time on your hands.

    But then again, if you didn't have that time, we'd be without you. And that would be sad.

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  11. I agree. If the heat index/ wind chill is "what it feels like" then that's what it is!!! Sheesh. Communists!
    Also, there was a weather channel here a while back that would have a contest if the weather dude was more than like 3 degrees off his prediction. They stopped that though. wonder why..... maybe he was off too much, as they usually are!

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  12. Heat index or no, it's too hot for me...I don't go outside unless I have to. Explains the five pounds I've put on...it's too hot to walk, and the Pepsi cools me down. I'll probably get cooled down and lose these pounds just in time to put them back on for Christmas! :D

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  13. Hehe...yeaaahhh, I've had that same thought flit through my mind about the windchill vs. humidity. It's the same thing, right? No matter how you slice it, hot is hot.

    I want to know how they came up with that crazy formula and how did they know it was the right formula? And really, how do they know it's correct now? Couldn't you just see 20 years from now, they come up with a different system and we, the general public, would never know.

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  14. I love the conspiracy theory. I never thought that meteorologists were trying to pull one over on all of us in order to make us believe that their jobs are still significant. haha.

    I saw a church sign a few weeks ago that said, "This heat is only temporary."

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  15. Carnealian: I'm sorry, honey. I know. It made my head hurt when I first saw it. Still does, actually.

    Heather B: Thanks.... I think :)

    GroovieChick: Yeah. I remember that. Didn't they give away free umbrellas or something? Probably ran out of umbrellas :P

    Jennifer: I think that's the way it works. Diet like crazy so we can eat what we want for the holidays. It's the American way :)

    Chickadee: Exactly. You get my point. That's why I'm here. To let the general public know what's really going on :)

    Aunt Krista: Thanks. Well, now you know. I felt someone had to bring it to the forefront of America's collective brain. Or something.

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  16. Great blog, I'll be coming back...

    And yes, us pilots really DO use all those dials and screens, because everything is interrelated in flight. Sure, you pull the yoke to ascend, but then your airspeed falls. This causes a corresponding DECREASE in lift unless the engine is sped up to increase airspeed, which causes a rise in heat, which must be controlled by adding more fuel to the air being burned by the engine, which decreases temperature but also decreases torque, and on and on... Heck, if you think about it everything in life kinda works this way, you know?

    Again, great blog!

    Ron

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  17. DrRon: Ah, the yoke! That's it.

    Thanks for stopping by. And for taking the good-natured post the way it was intended :)

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