Warm to the Task

Writing after a long gap. Apologies for staying away. What better date to start again than the Ides of March? The pen is warm again, the ink that had frozen (quite literally, for I use a fountain pen) is back to its task. And so are my frozen fingers.

I had suffered two shocks – one from the markets and the other from the US East Coast weather – both of which left me cold and too numb to write. With a bit of a medical condition that had developed as well.

I am now back in warm and sunny Hyderabad and feel quite giddy at the constant battering of the sun at 100 degrees F. F for real Fun. In New York /New Jersey, the only television channel that used to play in my room was The Weather Channel (TWC). It was as if my unblinking act of viewing TWC would somehow make things better. It was on one such extended viewership sessions that I came across a light hearted comical filler program on TWC. It was a correspondent of TWC asking people really tough posers like the spelling of the word Arctic,  the shape of snowflakes, the expansion of the acronym TWC, etc. One such poser had set me thinking and occupied me for a few moments as I braved an extremely irritating 120+ kmph wind that somehow always figured out the way to blow right into my face even though my walking route to the train station hardly changed and it was generally straight.

The weatherman had asked: “If someone told you that tomorrow will be twice as cold as today, and today is Zero degrees then what would be the temperature tomorrow?”

I thought about this for some time during my return flight to Hyderabad and also posed this to some of my work colleagues and friends. I got a lot of interesting answers, but Adithya’s almost nearly and quite surrealy corresponded to how I thought about it as well.

For a layman it would be simply zero degrees multiplied by 2 which is Zero degrees

However temperature has various scales one of which is Fahrenheit

0 degrees – 32 F and half of 32 would be 16 F which in turn converts to  -8.8 degrees

But it isn’t that simple in my view – Cold is nothing but absence of heat and measuring heat is a whole lot harder when compared to temperature which is straightforward.

For example let us take 2 scenarios

Scenario 1 : 20 degrees today 10 degrees tomorrow

Scenario 2 : 10 degrees today and 5 degrees tomorrow

In both the scenarios how can you say that it is twice as cold just by reducing the temperature to half.

Going back to school days we used to measure heat in what we call as Kelvin scale

0 degrees Celsius  would be 273.16 degrees Kelvin.  Twice as cold => 273.16/2 in Kelvin scale which is 136.58 degrees Kelvin. 

When we convert this back to Celsius we would get – 136.58 degrees Celsius which I feel has never been recorded on earth I guess.

So I feel the weather channel guy must have not attended his science classes otherwise he would never make such a statement 😀

or this one from Kishore (which he said he checked off some internet resources):

The answer depends on which temperature units you are referring to when you say “0 degrees.” Since we most commonly use Fahrenheit temperatures here, we’ll assume that for now. If the temperature is 0 F today, then being twice as cold tomorrow presumably means it will be “half as warm.” If so, that means tomorrow’s temperature will be halfway between 0 F and absolute zero, the temperature at which there is no molecular motion and therefore no heat at all.

Because absolute zero falls at -459.67 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, “twice as cold” as 0 F should be about -229.84 degrees!

If you were referring to 0 Celsius (the freezing mark) instead, then absolute zero on that scale is -273.15 C, and “twice as cold” would be -136.58 degrees C 

Ok. “Cool”. Even if you were fortunate enough to feel the East Coast of the US chill this season, you may have a different take on this. Which is fine, as long as you shiver too.

The best part of this year is that assorted groundhogs came and went; companies and event organisers announced and celebrated the onset of Spring (in their thick winter coats!) . What spring? There’s no let down of the blizzards, sleet, rain, snow, flash floods and yes, even some forest fires!!!

Living there and arriving to work at 8 A.M. EST is tough. Glad for my base to be in a tropical, sweaty, paradise. Check out this photo which Anthony sent me. Most cars look white in the winter there!

But not the car that Eddy drives. It’s a black Lincoln and he is such a welcome sight especially on the day he is at my door to drop me off to the airport!  I’d called him at 6:30 EST (for a 11 PM flight!!) and was sheepishly listening in to his lament about some of his other customers who call their cabs even earlier! At 5:30 PM! So eager are we to get stuck in the (usually) Fri evening NY traffic to JFK that we end up reaching JFK at nearly the same time if we’d left much later! But his calling on my igloo earlier last week did break some ice and I managed to escape to the welcoming warmth of a NY traffic jam and already begin my path to a much needed thaw. While in the cab, we did talk about his theory of global warming being responsible for the harshest winter in a decade as also the rapidly rising cost of gasolene in the US. We also tried to unsuccesfully convert gallons into litres (unit sale measure of fuel in India) but gave up after a few traffic signals. However, we did wonder as to what would happen to the privacy of people staying in igloos if global warming continues to persist?

About Kaushal

One Response to Warm to the Task

  1. Rishab says:

    Feels nice cool weather


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