Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A few miscellaneous observations about heat.

When you're freezing cold and your teeth chattering, heat is nice. Actually, what is happening is that your body is striving to generate heat so that it can remain above a safe body temperature. At first when cold we get goosebumps, which doesn't do much to help us keep warm but if we were furry critters the hairs would stand up to help hold in our body heat. Teeth chattering is the most visible and audible aspect of muscle contractions which are designed to help our bodies generate heat. Makes me cold thinking about it.

I'm not sure what possessed us to live in Minnesota, but staying warm is a preoccupation we distract ourselves with here at times. Making sure your furnaces or wood stoves are operational is a headache but better than the alternatives. (i.e.: freezing to death)

I remember having a beer once with a fellow who says he'd lived under a bridge for seven years and on days when it was thirty below the police would check on him to make sure he was still alive. He said they would show up at two or three in the morning and he would stand up and wave his arms to let them know he was all right.

It's interesting that cold is the absence of heat, but heat is not the absence of cold. Absolute zero is the total absence of heat. Absolute zero is theoretical, around -273 degrees C. Zero refers to the Kelvin scale.

I remember visiting the Dupont Pavilion at the 1964-5 New York World's Fair where they demonstrated some of the wonders of chemistry. They showed how matter is altered in extreme cold. The speaker, wearing a white lab coat, dropped a tennis ball into a cold glass box and when it hit the bottom it shattered.

If there were no sun, the earth would be a giant block of ice and life would be impossible.

Our bodies generate heat. Our "normal" body temperature is 98.6, but if we get too hot we die.

The sun is 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. I can't even get my head around that one. Susie's pottery kiln gets to about two thousand degrees, if I remember correctly. That's plenty hot in my estimation.

When people are kind to us it warms our hearts. In turn, when we are kind to others we are bringing them warmth that is good for their souls.
Warmth is a source of comfort. This is why Jesus said that if you have two coats and and your neighbor is without, we should give them one of ours.

As the eve of Christmas approaches, let's take a moment to remember those who need warmth, whether it be blankets or friendship.


LEWagner said...

"As the eve of Christmas approaches, let's take a moment to remember those who need warmth, whether it be blankets or friendship."

I shared my roof, and not only on Christmas. I'm proud that I did so.

"I pulled in to Nazareth,
Feeling 'bout half past dead.
Just need to find a place
Where I can lay my head.
"Mister, can you tell me where
A man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand,
"No" was all he said.

- 'The Weight'"

Merry Christmas!

ENNYMAN said...

That's a good thing...
Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may your 2010 be a good one.