Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gabriel and Anders

     Glory day, with the sun shining and temperatures soaring toward eight degrees of centigrade.  And here I'll think centigrade, because (a) it better accounts for windy-ness and (b) it's not so demanding around capital letters.  Why Fahrenheit continues to require its capital letter will distress an otherwise pretty day with consideration of thermometers dipped in salt and water, at the ratio of one part salt to one part water in a bucket, then waiting around for probably the middle of next week for the bucket to freeze. Which is roughly what Gabriel Fahrenheit did some two hundred and fifty years ago, so he could mark Zero on his wretched thermometer. He was of  Dutch/German/Polish origin and either a little eccentric because of it, or he was Fish on Friday obsessed.

   Mr. centigrade himself, or Anders Celsius, was a Swede.  Not the root vegetable, but from that part of the globe which includes Lapland. Worth noting too, the Laps so impressed Walking Stewart he placed them in the upper percentile of people.  And of course Walking Stewart was correct because obviously some "Moral Motion" must have cart-wheeled, or accidently slipped, south from Lapland into Celsius'  Sweden, because in the end, it really does seem more sensible to think of the moment when ordinary, unadulterated rain water freezes as zero, instead of the 32 degrees, where it freezes on Fahrenheit's thermometer.   As for the digital thermometer, whether set to C or to F, they are clearly all part of a plot devised by battery merchants and their odious allies to hasten the end times, or the condition of "Fishless-ness," as I will from now on be calling it.


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