Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Romantically sweaty

The cod history, 1066 and all that, first published in 1930 is still in print. It is famous for its definitions. “History,” the authors say, “is all you can remember.” History is also divided into “good things and bad things”.

And that there were two sides in our civil war: “Roundheads (‘right but revolting’) and Cavaliers (‘wrong but romantic’)”. Even as an impressionable young Tyke I was proud to belong to the former. And I’m pleased now to salute the authors’ prescience. Modern Cavaliers no longer cleave to the monarchy but persist with romantically wrong opinions.

A friend suffered from the heat while driving in France. I pointed out that the car had air conditioning. “Oh, I have to have the windows open. I can’t do with breathing that artificial air.”

Once (I don’t make a habit of it) I drove, stresslessly, from the Channel ferry port of Caen to Castelnaudary, 45 miles from the Mediterranean. Some 600 miles made possible by switching on the A/C and closing the windows. No sweat and no exhausting wind roar, just 80 miles hour after hour. Mind you, my car was a Lexus, preferred transport of the US criminal classes.

Artificial air? Well, my air had been shriven of pollen (I’m a hay feverist) and of unnecessary moisture. And like most A/C systems mine offered two options: treatment of self-contained air or of incoming air. Being revolting I chose the latter. Besides, I believe the Cavaliers over-dressed.


High Horse said...

I am very interested in your concept of 'romantically wrong opinions'

I am often amazed by other people's theories about life around them, but your blog reminded me of a very recent revelation from a knighted relative of mine.

As we got into the car yesterday I immediately set all heating and fans to full blast endeavouring to heat the car as quickly as possible. My passenger turned the fan down explaining that having it at full blast did not make the car heat any quicker. His theory was that by turning the fan down and therefore allowing the air to move more slowly through the system that this would give the air more time to heat up!


Barrett Bonden said...

Molecular physics should provide the answer to that one but, alas, not from me. There used to be a belief that the interior of a car would heat up more quickly if one opened one of the windows "allowing the cold air to be blown out". This seemed to infringe the Second Law of Thermodynamics but I could be wrong.

As to people's theories about life around them these find their greatest concentration on the subject of electricity. Most are justifiably scared of electric shock but seem unaware of electricity's ability to create heat and subsequent ignition. I have already blogged on this dangerous area of ignorance. Given my professional background it is quite likely this topic will re-appear in thinly veiled form.

Lucy said...

But should you run in the rain? One school opines that you get just as wet if you do, but to me commonsense(a weasel word of course) tells me that the less time you spend in the rain the drier you stay.

Our car air conditioning makes nearly as much of a roar as the open window. Works not well, perhaps. But modern cars are not designed, it seems to me, to travel with window open. I don't know what your friend bases his idea of real air from anyway.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: My recommendation would be to run out of the rain. Swimming in the rain is quite pleasant because of the superiority one feels towards clothéd people. Singing in the rain... well, we all know about that.

Noisy A/C? Does it roar all the time or only when it's marching towards the thermostat setting? Theoretically it should simmer down once the temperature target has been reached.

And that's a good point about modern cars. Ask Tom whether an open window increases the drag coefficient. Incidentally your reminder about Tom's background means there will be a reduction in the number of Works Well posts taking a broad-brush approach to physics. I'm sure he wouldn't bother reading WW but for me he will be a chasteningly professional presence.