This is the first in a series of posts about stuff that cheeses me off. I don’t seem to get any inspiration to write unless I’m ready to throw blunt objects, so it is only fitting that I write about things that anger or annoy me. It greatly assists in my blogging output (which my fans know has been impressively weak), and serves the dual purpose of protecting my furniture and other possessions, however few and worthless.
Before I begin in earnest, I should also state that although I put a number in the title, that number does not represent any specific order or magnitude of aggravation, but rather simply illustrates that this is the first in a series. With my track record, it may be a while before we see number 2, so the reminder of what number I am at will serve a useful purpose down the road.
Today I want to rant about some annoying weather reporting terminology that has become commonplace. There are few things as consistently irritating to me as hearing that although the temperature is 21 degrees, it actually feels like 30 degrees. I ask the innocent but important question: What ever happened to the term ‘humidex’? Wasn’t that term (and its representative number) contrived as an indicator of something that we, especially in Montreal, already know, that when humidity is high, it seems to be hotter than the actual temperature indicates?
I prefer that 30 is given to me as the humidex reading, as opposed to being told what it ‘feels like’. I mean, do they really know what I’m wearing? Is it not possible, perhaps even likely, that I am suffering from hot flashes or the chills or some other condition that makes the temperature ‘feel like’ something other than it actually is? If I had just run across the street, it might even feel like 40! While I am in a refrigerated trailer, chances are great, barring severe incompetence on the part of the trucking company, that the air will feel much colder.
Actually the media might be more savvy than I give them credit for being. While I complain that the media has reached a new low in appealing to the lowest common denominator in intelligence, I hear people running around the office at work screaming, “Oh my God!!! It’s minus 30!!!”, when in truth the temperature is minus 8, but it happens to be a little windy. Once again, instead of bringing out this ‘windchill factor’ reading honestly (which as an aside I thought was ‘windshield factor’ when I first heard it as a kid: windchill being, I suppose, another contrived weather term that did not occur to my already advanced intellect, whereas a windshield was something I had already heard of – oh how I digress!), we are told that it ‘feels like’ minus 30! How do they know I’m not wearing an Inuit parka? Perhaps I am sitting in a greenhouse, in which case it would actually ‘feel like’ plus 25, no matter what the temperature. Or perhaps I am sleeping next to an exhaust vent of a downtown highrise. It might be minus 8, but it ‘feels like’ plus 8, and after I am finally put into the squad car, plus 25. If I sneak a bite out of the discarded remains of a doughnut on the back seat of the squad car, the temperature may ‘feel’ a degree or two warmer. Of course once in prison it might only ‘feel like’ 15 degrees, depending on the prison, I suppose. If you factor in fear, and the effects of breaking into a cold sweat, it might ‘feel like’ the termperature is off the mercury, that is if these meteorologists indeed use mercury anymore.
I should mention that all of these temperatures are given in degrees Celcuis.
Recently, I witnessed the most extreme manifestation of this problem possible. A CBC Radio newscaster gave the long term highs and lows ONLY using the ‘feels like’ numbers, leaving temperature completely out of the forecast. I would have fired that guy.
If you’re still there, you surely appreciate what I am trying to say. When I seek out information, I want it to be accurate, and most importantly, OBJECTIVE. Stick with the facts, please. Subjective information such as what it ‘feels like’ outside is best left for kindergarten discussions, in my opinion.
I really can’t say whether this development is more indicative of a growing contempt big media (the weather forecasting agencies are equally responsible) has for its audience, or a simple lack of respect for the intelligence of the public. I know very few people incapable of understanding the concepts of humidex and windchill, so it is probably a little of both. I can understand how a 5 year old might benefit from the ‘feels like’ language, but how will this child advance intellectually if we insist on using terms designed for the comprehension of children in newscasts, whose target audience is supposedly adults?
I expect that their real reasons for using these new terminologies are more cynical in nature. Extremes get people’s attention, thusly attracting more viewers, or keeping their attention longer. This is why we never hear about ‘humidex’ in winter, even though there is no doubt in my mind humidity adds a chill in cold in a similar way it creates the impression of exagerrated heat on a hot day. Does not the wind cool us down in the summer? I submit that it does, yet we never hear about the windchill factor on a breezy July evening.
There is another possibility. Could it be that there might be some element of climate alarmism in this choice of terminology? I’m just asking.
So weather editors everywhere, please stop telling us what it ‘feels like’ outside. This information is simply too subjective to be considered as news. Stick with the ‘humidex’ and ‘windchill’ readings.
And while we’re on the subject, let me remind all of you weather reporters out there in radio, television and cyberland, that ‘humidex’ and ‘windchill’ factors are not measured in degrees. They are represented by a standalone number. Temperature is measured in degrees. Please refrain from this most common of errors as it drives me up the walls.
Now excuse me while I get a life.