Saturday, February 7, 2009

Temperature Swings

It's 6 degrees where I am right now, at 9:30am. And it's going up to 43 degrees today. I'm curious as to how this can happen by 3:30pm, when the sun starts heading down.

But, the time it's taken me to arrange my browser and write this entry - a minute or two in all - the temperature has gone up to 13 degrees. Well, suppose that's how it's done! 

Whenever outdoor temperature swings widely, in either direction (but worse when it decreases), a large number of people get sick. Some cold or bug or malaise will go around. Surely this effect is as old as our species, yet no one seems to notice the correlation. Apparently doctors and scientists are unaware of it (in fact, I feel slightly "woo-woo" for even mentioning it). 

How is it possible that the correlation isn't popularly noted? We're genetically configured to notice such trends (we learned to farm and do many other useful things by our ability to spot cycles and correlations), and you'd think we'd be extra sharp on factors affecting our health. My guess is that we once knew, but lost that knowledge when we started living in insulated housing, and felt we needed to pay less heed to the effect of outdoor cycles on our physical health. Our conviction that we're divorced from such things exceeds our psychological inclination to scan the horizon for health-affecting factors.

Ten minutes later, it's still 13 degrees. 

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