Friday, February 20, 2004

Yesterday on the early morning show on CNN the weatherman gave a question. Suppose the temperature today is 0 degrees. What is tomorrow's temperature if it is twice as cold as today?

Eventually he gave the answer as something like -230 degrees. I forget exactly what absolute zero is but the answer was half way between zero and absolute zero.

There are several things wrong with this problem. First, I don't know how to measure "cold." I know how to measure "hot." It is the measure of the motion of molecules but what is cold.

If I were going to measure cold, I would say it is how much lower the temperature is below comfortable. Therefore, assuming that 72 degrees is comfortable, the answer to the question would be -72 degrees.

I also have a problem with using the word twice when correctly it should have been half. I think twice should be used for increasing and fractions for decreasing.

I concede that this is a totally unimportant subject but it bothers me and led to a lot of thinking on my part.

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