So, Just How Cold Is It?


Yesterday, I ventured out of the house—just barely beyond the front doorway—just enough to confirm that I preferred to remain inside.

I do not have a baseline for what is “too cold,” but when I become cognizant of the individual hairs inside my nostrils, it is too cold for me.

“Polar Vortex” is a wonderful neologism for a period in which every storm seems to need catastrophic hyping. The phenomenon has prompted newscasters to exclaim that it is now as cold in the American Midwest as it is on Mars. But what they seem to be comparing are the daily low temperatures in parts of the Midwest and the daily high temperatures on much of Mars. That’s like saying that Philadelphia is as warm as Miami in early April because the average high in Philadelphia and the average low in Miami are both 59 degrees.

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