Friday, June 06, 2008


OK, it's been pointed out to me that my references to Fahrenheit temperatures are confusing. I cannot always guarantee a celsius translation, but here it goes, with a funny story to match.

About ten or 12 years ago, my youngest brother was still living at home. He had some tropical fish. We had a family friend named Meg who was perhaps 3 at the time. Every time she visited, she rushed into my brother's bedroom to visit those fish. Except for that one last time, when the fish were all, umm, floating at the top of the tank. Then Meg raced out saying, "The MOM-eter's broken, the 'mometer's broken!" Ahh, temperature can make such a difference in our world. Poor fish.

Of course, I have referred to thermometers as "'mometers" ever since. (MOM-eter can be your pronounciation guide...) Meg is now a teenager and would be mortified if she knew I remember this, recount it all the time and think back on it fondly!

Now, a brief tutorial:
I consulted this website as my guide. I should preface this by saying that I think it's totally stupid that the US didn't convert to metric a long time ago. That said, I live my life largely in a non-metric sphere. I find it's like language, though. When I am living and speaking in another language, I just adjust almost automatically. I'd say, "it will be 33C today," just as if I'd say, "Ya-sus" when greeting my Greek friend or "Ah-halan" when saying hey to an Egyptian friend. (Alas, I only really can manage in French and Hebrew, but I've learned a few other words along the way.) So, here's my guide:
-40 Darn Cold in both Fahrenheit and Celsius; also equivalent to the same temperature.
Fahrenheit: Celsius: Commentary
0 -18 Cold. Too cold for shovelling without an asthma attack.
32 0 Winter weather, freezing, just perfect for snow. Good.
70 21 Ideal warm weather. Nice breeze. Hammock. Book.
90 32 Standard summer weather in KY. Humid. Sweaty.
95 35 Humid high for the day, July and August in U.S. South.
100 38 Not at all unusual in Virginia & North Carolina, where I used to live. Darn hot, all work must be done before 10 AM. Drink lots of water and sweet tea.
104 40 Stinkin' hot. Unusual in Kentucky, standard in North Carolina or Virginia. At this temperature, the asphalt feels squishy and one prays for a thundershower so the temperature will break to, say, 85. No kidding.

Hope this is helpful for my Celsius-inclined readers! We're aiming for a 35 degree (Celsius) day or two this weekend. Is it cooler where you live? I hope so!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you want the first two lines of your chart/list switched around.

I got fairly good with weights and distances in metric in Korea. Area of houses is measured in pyeong, which is useless knowledge, but temps still throw me. I can imagine a 20 kg box or a 20 km drive. I can't imagine temps in C.

June 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

No, I think the first temp. is in Fahrenheit and the second is that what you mean?

June 6, 2008 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

The visual of Meg announcing the "mometer is broken" is too cute :)
I've gotten better with the metric conversions although I never really embraced it. I'm not a big fan of change I guess. I've had to learn as most of the medical necessities for the animals are metric measurements.

We are headed for a couple of 90f/32c days. A little early for these temps in Maine but it's coming whether we are ready or not. Have to get those air conditioners installed. I'll try not to whine before the weekend's over. I'm not a heat lover although the gardens will love it.

Have a good weekend!


June 6, 2008 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Where fibers meet mud said...

90 32 Standard summer weather in KY. Humid. Sweaty.
Or in the Ohio River Valley where we go from plesant to 90 in one day... just like the reversal - plesant fall weather to sub-zero in one day.

I just shake my head...

June 6, 2008 at 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the translation :-) London is doing its standard trick again today of starting out bright and sunny for a couple of hours then raining all afternoon. I obviously need to get up earlier.

June 7, 2008 at 4:44 AM  
Blogger Karen Johnson said...

Thanks for the amusing conversions. Like Amanda, I'm pretty good with weights and measures, but get totally confused with temps.

Here in the wet gray Pacific NW, I don't bother looking at the temp until mid July. This is Rose Festival week in Portland (parades, waterfront amusement center) and that always means rain...sure enough - today is the parade and it's drizzly.

June 7, 2008 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about 67, and I've got a sweater on. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," Mark Twain.

June 7, 2008 at 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in the farthest north of the upper peninsula of the state of michigan, it is a balmy 77. Finally warm and even though the bugs are out in force, it is so nice to walk outside without a jacket on.
I am not a numbers person, so switching faren. and celsius, let alone the metric system causes brain fry. I should tackle it some day to keep the brain active!

June 7, 2008 at 4:30 PM  

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