Mii thinks it feels too cold

, Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whenever it's cold out, the weather reporters get a little nutty. They seem obligated to actually interpret the weather for us. For instance, right now weather.com is reporting the current temperature as -17° F. They also report, "Feels like -33° F." Reporting the Wind Chill Index would be too difficult for us to understand, I guess. But if they tell us what it feels like, then we'll have an instant appreciation for the data.

What does -33° F really feel like anyway? I don't have a lot of experience with -33° F as a comparison. Besides, whenever it actually is -33° F, the weather people always say it feels like something else. So I'm not any more enlightened to know that it actually feels like -33° F right now.

Here's my experience with what -33° F feels like; I slip out of bed at 4:45 am when Perry get restless, bundle up in my DAS parka, R1 tights and powerstretch gloves, step through piles of snow with an old pair of untied running shoes, trying to get to Perry's poo before he eats it, then come back inside with a dog that is already limping from the cold snow. OK, I'll file that away in my brain for next time they tell me that it feels like -33° F outside.

I'm sure the "feels like" terminology got started because the wind chill formula is stupidly complex. If fact, there's an old complex formula, and a new complex formula. Here's the old one:
And here's the new one:
Back in the 1970s, when we were supposed to start switching to the metric system, the formula for wind chill index got messed up. So the weather people felt like they had to explain the change. Finally they threw up their hands and came up with the "feels like" explanation for wind chill index and have been using it ever since. But in doing so, they've gone beyond reporting objective data and are effectively reporting what our emotional response should be. I don't really care how they come up with the number anyway. After all, I don't really know how a thermometer works but I still understand when they report the raw temperature without any explanation. Dumbing down the wind chill index in the 1970s should have provided a clear sign that we would never adopt the metric system in the United States.

I can figure out for myself that with a raw temperature of -17° F, a wind speed of 7 mph, a wind chill index of -33° F and all the area schools closed due to temperature, that I probably shouldn't take the dog out for a long hike today. Maybe I'll stay home and play Wii. Maybe playing Wii will actually feel like I'm doing something else. Maybe I'll make some Miis that actually look like real people. Here's one I made that looks like John Lennon.


  1. dmarks said...

    That Mii looks like Steve Jobs from 30 years ago.

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