Celsius is really stupid (a rant, I mean dissertation)

Ok, ignoring the “that’s just how we’ve always done it” factor and looking at it from an objective and scientific point of view, there is no reason for any country to use the celcius scale for weather temperature EVER!!

Being a red-blooded, arogant American I will not give up my yard stick until they pry my cold dead fingers from around it, but, I recognize the obvious advantage of a metric (i.e. base ten) system of measurement.

However, there is no such thing as metric temperature!!!

Temperature is not like inches or quarts. If you have two cups of water, both at 70[SUP]o[/SUP] F and you pour them together you don’t get 140[SUP]o[/SUP] F water. Temperature is more of an abstract scale rather than a quantitative measurement. Consequently, the correct scale to use is based solely on its relavence to the situation and not the ability of its units to be easily factored.

Put simply, when dealing with weather, on average, what’s the coldest it gets? Call that point A (or 0[SUP]o[/SUP] F). What’s the hottest? Call that point B (or 100[SUP]o[/SUP] F). Divide the two points by 100 units (hey, base ten!) and you’ve got the perfect system for measuring air temperature, the fahrenheit scale!

Yes, if you’re a chemist computing ergs, joules & calories then of course you use celcius. But its because these units are all based on each other, not ten!

In day to day life air temperature only affects the human situation. In other words, if you hear that its 12[SUP]o[/SUP] F in the morning, you know that means your car will need to warm up a little. Not because the fahrenheit temperature scale is crossindexed to the heating coefficient of the aluminium/iron alloy comprising your car’s engine block, but because, on a scale of 0 to 100, 12 is pretty friggin’ low!

My point is that using celcius as an air temperature scale is ridiculous not just in the way using say light-years to measure sparkplug gap would be ridiculous, but in the way using pints to measure string would be. You could do it, but why? It’s not designed for it at all. Fahrenheit, in every way, is.

Oops, I meant to post this in General. Please reply there (if you dare)…

Admn, please delete me.

Cute rant, for a troll.

But what the hell, I’ll bite.

Celsius makes sense because:

  1. Water freezes at 0 degrees. A useful landmark for day-to-day use, weather-wise.

  2. Water boils at 100 degrees. Another useful landmark, cooking-wise.

  3. Scientist don’t generally use Fahrenheit or Celsius. They use Kelvin.

Ya’know. One of these days, I’ll form an opinion and open a hot headed thread before giving it any thought. Sounds like fun.

You seem to not know what the Fahrenheit scale is.

  • Celsius * runs from 0 to 100.

Fahrenheit runs from 32 to 212.


Well Farenheit(Sp?) is more accurate than Celcuis, plus it lends itself to a comfort scale. For example 70 is average on a % scale and that is the average temp most people are comfortable with.

I’ve already alerted you all to my beliefs on C vs. F. (if you don’t know, I’m unimpressed by Celsius.)

It’s probably because familiar with the Fahrenheit scale than the Celsius scale. But I like the fact that there is nearly two degrees F for one degree C. I like the fact that I can have a precision of fifty tick marks in my confort range rather than twenty-eight.

Yes I’d prefer if we were more aware of the metric system, but in temprature, why mess with something that works. Or do we export weatherpeople overseas too?

Tell a man that there are 400 billion stars and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint and he has to touch it.

And ye thought 0 degrees Farenheit was as cold as it gets?

Dr. Watson
“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” – (I forget, dammit, but not me.)

In all fairness, I think he meant that 0° Fahrenheit is seriously shivery cold (as opposed to 0° Celsius, which is merely the temperature that water freezes; and 100° Fahrenheit is hot as hell (as opposed to 100° Celsius, which is “you were dead several degrees ago and now you are starting to cook”). i.e., his reference point is “on a scale of how it feels when that’s the temperature it is outside when you stick your face out the door.”

Even in his own terms, though, it flunks as a scale. The low end is too high for that. Ask anyone from Minnesota where the low point of a scale of not-particularly-Guiness-Worldrecord, ordinary daily temperatures would lie and I think you’d be down a lot lower than 0° Fahrenheit, probably -60 or thereabouts. The upper end is closer, I think. Even in the hottest inhabited areas, I don’t think you have heat waves where the temperature hovers around 160 for the day’s high for days on end or anything.

Designated Optional Signature at Bottom of Post

anyway, i think this topic works in Mindless Pointless Stuff…
because when all is considered, the fight over temperature scale is pretty Pointless.

Just trying to help you out.

Tell a man that there are 400 billion stars and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint and he has to touch it.

Heck, I always thought Celsius was made popular by a bunch of angry Frenchmen who didn’t even want to take their temperature like the King.
Glad their 10 hour clock didn’t make it.
If metric temperature makes Hale Ants climb a tree could you figure what metric time would do?
Then again, I do find it irritating when the radio guy says the wind is Easterly at 7 knots.

Okay, I may have been a bit quick with the “troll” label. Still, it seems to me that it is more a problem of familiarity than usefulness.

The issue of precision is remedied by including fractions, if you want to get that particular. Honestly, though, who can tell the difference between a room that is 70 degrees and a room that is 71?

Markxxx, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by 70 being average on a % scale. Shouldn’t that be 50?

AHunter admirably pointed out the problems of basing a temperature scale on comfort. Comfort varies widely, depending on the person, and what they’re acclimated to.

Celsius, OTOH, is based on solid information (alright, assuming you’re at sea-level). I stand by my belief that Celsius is more useful.

Oh, and for additional reading on this pertanent subject, check out I Hate Celsius!

Sigh. So far as scales of human comfort level go, us building designer types have something called a psychrometric chart, which takes into account a whole range of factors related to temperature, such as relative humidity, dew point, absolute humidity, and silly technical stuff like that.

Somehow we manage not to kill too many people by either cooking them or freezing them, whether we start with Celcius or Farenheit.
But the OP said, “. . .on average, what’s the coldest it gets?” And I still submit that, “Cute rant, for a troll,” qualifies as the best answer yet.

Dr. Watson
“A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grow keener with constant use.” – Washington Irving

Let me clarify:

Of course I know that 0[sup]o[/sup] & 100[sup]o[/sup] C are related to water. My point is, unless you’re doing distillation experiments or going ice fishing (or an elementary school kid trying to memorize the freezing & boiling temps), who the hell cares?

The fact that it has become cold enough for water to freeze is not significant in how the human body reacts to temperature. More importantly, the freezing point of water is not cold enough in terms of weather, to make it the zero point of the scale.

I know its subjective, but I think its true to say this:* 0 to 100[sup]o[/sup] on the fahrenheit scale best represents those temperatures which the human body is most familiar with.* Obviously, 0 to 100[sup]o[/sup] on the Celcius scale best represents the three states of H[sub]2[/sub]O. So which scale do you think is better suited for measuring air temperature? That’s the key. Fahrenheit is not “the English” scale and Celcius “the metric”. Fahrenheit is for measuring human comfort and Celcius is for scientific experiment.

It’s not a case of Metric vs. Imperical, its a case of apples vs. oranges and which one is better suited for making pies!

I knew some hearty northener would mention this. Sure, an Eskimo is more acclimated to cold BUT no matter how long its been 50[sup]o[/sup] F below zero he’s still not going to call 12[sup]o[/sup] F “warm”, strip off his whale blubber and go for a dip. And I don’t care where you’re from, cold temperatures have a diminishing return. That is, the human body senses a great difference between 70[sup]o[/sup] F and 20[sup]o[/sup] F, but much less of a difference between 0[sup]o[/sup] F and -50[sup]o[/sup] F.

Look, neither celcius nor fahrenheit are absolute scales, meaning they both set zero at an arbitrary point. And they both use negative values which in terms of the real world don’t really exist.

By the Gods, it’s hard not to admire a man who’s willin’ to stretch a Zen inanity to its bitter end.

Mind ye, I’ll not be eatin’ any of this man’s pies, but fer sheer doggedness I’ll give him a 6, because I like the beat and he’s easy to dance to.

Thank ye kindly, Hail Ants, fer bringin’ this up. Just fer fun, have ye any thoughts on cryogenics? Or perhaps Carnot’s Theorem? Maybe when yer up to it we could take on the problem of temperature variables in electro-optical effects.

I think someone already mentioned that science is generally conducted in Kelvin, and any arguments concerning Farenheit v. Celsius are about as gainful as arguing ‘reservoir tipped’ v. ‘ribbed for maximum pleasure’.

I admire yer zeal, but what the hell is this doing in MPSIMS?

Dr. Watson
“The circulation of a frictionless fluid acted on by forces which can be represented in terms of potential energies is not dependent on the time.” – William Thomson

Damn straight!

And I’m still waiting for the new millenium to start…

Well that’s so much bollocks.

I have lived in a Celsius/Centigrade country all my life. To me, 0 degrees means snow, sleet, the air is frigid. It is the temperature that truly represents cold, because the moisture in the air is now frozen.

Heat, to me, is anything over 30 degrees, and this past couple of weeks we’ve been getting 40 degree temperatures.

It’s all relative, to the point where you’re talking crap. You’re used to it, that’s all. That doesn’t mean Celsius is a bad gauge, it’s just alien to you.


The Legend Of PigeonMan

  • Shadow of the Pigeon -
    Weirdo of the Night

Well, Hail, you must have one of those weird Australian globes, if you think Kentucky is North of New York.

Cecil Adams on the origins of the Fahrenheit temperature scale: