Scenes from a week in October

I sip my hot chocolate.

“Our work has natural cooling methods,” OldHousemate says, “which I think just means windows.”

“Ah,” I say, and laugh. “You’ll need fans in the summer.”

We pause. “Fan don’t actually blow air though, do they?” I say. If I were in a cartoon there would be a lightbulb above my head.

“Don’t they?”

“No,” I say. “They move air.”

“Oh,” OldHousemate says, and I should point out she is the housemate with whom I struggled to count to one million. “Why do they make us cold then?”

“I spose they move the air around…”

“But so do windows.”

“Good point,” I say, uncrossing my legs and eating the cream off my hot chocolate with a wooden stick like the imbecile that I am.”Maybe faster air is more cooling?”

“Who knows?” OldHousemate says. “Is a mystery.”

We stare ponderously out of the window.

***

“Please help,” I say to MindReader.

He looks up. “Just put the cheesecake on a plate.”

“I have tried to cut a slice and it won’t work. The base isn’t set. I have made a crumble.” I hang my head. MindReader follows me to the kitchen where he flops a lump of lemon-flavoured mascarpone onto a plate and adds the “base” onto the top of it. His mouth twitches at the sorry site of my cheesecake crumble.

“Can we call it a deconstructed cheesecake?”

“We can,” he says. “In your restaurant.” He eats a spoonful of the creamy topping.

“If you were served that in my restaurant and it looked better but tasted the same – would you send it back?”

“No,” he says, licking the spoon, “but there is absolutely no way I would order food at your restaurant.”

"Deconstructed Cheesecake"

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6 thoughts on “Scenes from a week in October

  1. Heh. Love it. Faster air IS more cooling, because it causes your sweat to evaporate faster. Moving air cools you by evaporating the very thin sheen of moisture on your skin, thus removing the heat. You can also get cooled directly by the air cooling your actual skin, but it works better when you’re sweating, even just a minute amount.

    • So does that mean that the air isn’t colder when it’s faster, it just feels like it is because it’s evaporating your sweat which cools you down?

      Incidentally Billygean, after the conversation above but before we got onto why blowing with your mouth open wide feels warm but pursed lips make it cold, I was also going to ask about those new Dyson fans. Could not be more confused.

      • Bingo…air temp doesn’t change with speed, it just feels that way. That’s why we have windchill factors (well, maybe not in the UK, but here we do in the winter), which depends entirely on wind speed v. the actual temperature. The windier it is on a cold day, the colder you feel. See: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/tables.htm It may be simply cooling your skin, not evaporating your sweat, but the effect is the same — it’s removing heat from your body, and faster air does that faster than slower air.

        The air coming out of your mouth feels warmer when it’s open wide because your lips/etc have more time to absorb the heat from the air as it passes through them — whereas if you purse your lips and blow, it goes too fast and instead of releasing heat to your lips, it’s actually removing heat from your lips because of its speed.

        The Dyson fans work by pulling air into the base of the fan and then “squirting” it from the inside rim of the circle part in one direction. Because it forces the air to come out in a tube-shape due to squirting it from around a circle, it causes the air behind the fan to be pulled into it as well, thus increasing the amount of air that goes through it. At least, that’s the theory. How well it works in practice, I have no idea.

  2. Thank you Nathan Pralle :) I do not have a science brain (believe it or not Billygean is much more sciencey than me) but thank you for making things a bit clearer nonetheless! I would like to take this opportunity to point out that both Billygean and I are actually rather intelligent people generally which is belied by the admittedly less-than-genius conversations that she posts up here… (Not that I mind!)

    • I have no doubt that you are both insanely intelligent (I know BG is and I can only assume that she hangs in like company). We cannot all be experts in every area. I don’t claim to be one in physics, either, but I’m a bit of a science geek and a definite computer geek, so I chime in where I can. :)

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