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Tuesday, July 29, 2008 


Finally, some days of actual heat. Not summery, warm-ish, but hot. I must admit after four summers here I am still baffled. The first two were painfully sweltering and the last two have been bizarrely cold. Wearing jumpers and long trousers type of weather. So it’s been stunning to have the last few days where it’s been… twenty… five… ish… oh forget it, I’ve got no idea what the temperature actually was. Everything’s reported in Celsius, and I’m still utterly clueless when it comes to translating that into practical terms.

Look, as a scientist I’ve been deeply steeped in the world of metric for many, many years. I know the three most important Celsiuses:
0 º C = 32 º F
37 º C = 98.6 º F
100 º C = 212 º F = 373 K (Oh yea that’s right, I just went Kelvin on your ass!)

When I’m told it’s 68 degrees, I know exactly what that means in Washington DC, and grab the nearest skirt and long sleeved tee, and I’m done, dusted and out the door. Here, I’m at a loss. And I play my guessimation games, “Ok if 10 is like 50 and 20 is like 70, then today is….” but they the time I follow this train to its conclusion I’m well distracted and moved onto some other morning chore that doesn’t involve me getting dressed. It doesn’t help that it could easily be 18 degrees in October, March and July. Seasons here can blend into one, whilst the next week can be completely different from the last and so knowing the temperature is actually rather important. This is why I’ve just given up and taken to carrying a jumper with me always, like an old crazy woman.

(P.S. Did I just use the word 'jumper' twice in that post? #59: Sweaters are called jumpers, for no discernible reason.)

I often thought of creating a sort of picture chart for those of us who are Celsius-challenged. It would have a number and then pictures of appropriate clothing.

Similarly, I have a coat that I simply refer to as my "below 8 coat." That it is, it is too heavy to wear unless the temperature is below 8.

Rough rule of thumb - double C and add 30.

18 * 2 + 30 = 66F (so about 1.6F out but closer enough to work out if you need gloves or not)

I'm all over that rule, but math before coffee? Never going to happen.

Well done on taking the sweater everywhere with you. Sometimes I feel like a chump walking along the street wearing a rain jacket while everyone else is in shorts. That is at least, until it starts raining.

When daddy is in Ireland, we double celsius and add 32. Close enough.

-- Poppster

Heres how I see it simply in celcius: 0 is freezing, 10 is cold, 20 is warm and 30 is hot

First, really looking forward to having you in the City - well San Mateo isn't the City but then neither is Danville. And while I am very much "metric," that's only because it's a decimal system - the fact that a meter is a particular length means nothing. It's decimal! However, I see no significance in what water happens to do at sea level. To me, zero should be cold and one-hundred should be hot. With Fahrenheit, zero is effing cold and a hundred is effing hot. Minus 18 degrees? 38 degrees? Nothin'! Ta hell with centigrade!

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