You Don’t Know How I Feel – All About Windchill

By Christopher De Voss @chrisdevoss

Wind chill, blows. (image public domain)

‘Tis the season. Not that season, it is the season of cold weather and colder weather.

Back in the day, there was only cold. There was a thermometer outside. The lower the temperature on that gauge, the more clothes you put on. If the trees were moving it was a cue to put another layer on to account for how the wind made you feel.

Not Anymore

That was then. This is now.

Now the local television news runs for at least two hours and the weather man has a lot of time to fill. And then there’s the internet and a round-the-clock television channel devoted to weather. Now even winter storms have names and their own specially designed ominous theme songs.

And we get a lot more information. Some of it might be helpful, but some is questionable…like wind chill or “feels like” temperatures.

How do they know how cold I feel in any situation? I asked some friends and got different answers. A middle school teacher told me it was 6th grade science and there was a table to help a person decide how cold they’d feel. Some one else said it was an algebraic equation:

Wind Chill = 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75(V^0.16) + 0.4275T(V^0.16)

Well, that makes things completely clear, doesn’t it?

No.

Are You Really Going To Believe A Guy With An Alias?

If you still believe, here’s the chart (public domain)

Here’s the thing. Does anyone, even a mathematician, know how another person feels? I would submit, my friends, that while that mathematician can solve for pi, he’s probably less qualified to understand feelings than average folk.

A lot of us have had someone close to us pass away. We can probably agree that it felt lousy. But if I came to you on that awful day and said “I know how you feel”, wouldn’t you at least be tempted to tell me that I had no idea how you really felt? I think you would. And if I said, “no, I really do, here’s the formula I used to calculate how bad you feel about your loss”, I think you’d be justified in tossing me out of the funeral home.

And yet we let the wacky local weather man, Storm Hunter, tell us how we feel based on an algebraic formula. We don’t even question it. We don’t know if he passed algebra. We don’t know that he remembered to raise the value of V to the 0.16 power. We just let a guy whose mom didn’t really name him Storm tell us how we’re going to feel simply because he’s on television.

I am not going to stand for it anymore. I won’t tell you how to feel, but I hope you won’t either. It’s time that we call out the weatherman’s “feels like” temperature for the foolishness that it is.

Bundle up, kids, the trees are moving.

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