Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mom Was Only Partly Right

"Close the door. Were you born in a barn? You're letting all the cold air in!" My mother probably shouted this exact phrase several hundreds of times when I was a child. Not that she was different from most mothers who had addled children...I think my issue was that standing in an open doorway in colder weather was somewhat refreshing: warm on one side and cool on the other. A rotation every few minutes, and the rotisserie body temp was good. Except for Mom, of course.
Since those days, I have learned that she was only partly right in her assessment of the temperature exchange that was happening: it wasn't that I was letting cold air in, per se; it was that I was letting warm air OUT, thus cooling the house. I learned this is an environmental science class in which I was tutoring a student. There's this pattern of ocean currents, nicknamed "The Conveyor Belt" that basically provides a current for the entire planet. The water starts out near the equator, where it is, understandably, quite warm. It moves northward toward the Arctic, losing heat as it disperses through colder waters. This is why the weather in the British Isles is so crappy: the water currents flowing past there have just come from the Arctic so cold, foggy, misty conditions are the norm. Eventually, the water gets back to the equator, warms up, and continues its way around the globe, offering warmer temperatures to cool water. OK. I've got that, but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I discovered that the same principle works on human tissue!
It was almost 9 p.m. and I was riding my bike home from study table. The temperature hovered around 20, but I had dressed for it so I had no worries, right? Right, except for the bike saddle. Gel bike seats aren't very gel-like at 20 degrees, but I gave it little thought except to note how hard the seat felt.
During the ride, though, as the seat began to lose the rock-hard texture, I noticed that my rear end was getting increasingly cold! At that point, the light bulb went on, and I remembered Mom. My body heat was transferring itself to the gel in the seat, making it somewhat more pliable but making my rear end considerably more chilly.
I marveled at the realization all the way home, blissfully aware that my bike seat was cushy while my personal "seat" was numb.
Ah, science!


At 6:53 PM, Blogger marvin said...

One bike was $5 in Lincoln 1959 pennies. Then a junky Swinn made in China in late 60s. Then a put together that never ran right until wheel and seat stolen while I was out of town. Much later two dirt bikes with motors. Roadrash ruined new pants so sold bikes. Grandad rode all over small town in his 60s...never had a car.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Just goes to show that experience really is the best teacher.


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