5 things you may not know about the cold

Greetings from the icy depths of hell. That’s Dante’s 9th circle of hell for you literary types. How cold is it here you ask? It’s so cold my garage door froze to the pavement! I had to manually lift it tonight. No small feat for someone who is seeing a physical therapist twice a week for a bad left shoulder and neck pain. Which reminds me, I have to sit up straight, pull my shoulders back and down while typing. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You try it. Damn it that hurts.

The temperatures have not gotten above freezing since Saturday. This corner of the world is not used to these frigid days and nights. My house is not insulated for anything under 50 degrees Fahrenheit  It’s western Nevada for goodness sake! My poor pellet stove it trying, but so far I’ve only managed to hit 70 degrees in the house.

You’d think I’d get a reprieve from the cold while working. Normally our office is at least 72. But no. Two days ago a pipe burst in our ceiling causing the heat to go out. So there we were, all Bob Cratchit like, huddled in front of our monitors hoping to catch the warmth our computers put out. All of this got me thinking about ice, the cold, snow and unicorns (okay the unicorns may have been hallucinations setting in right before hypothermia took over).

So this week our list is 5 things you may not know about the cold.

Cold enough for you?

Okay, okay, I know I shouldn’t be complaining. The high was 2 on Monday and truth be told, I lived in Montana were winter highs reached -16. But, and I cannot stress this enough, is western Nevada! Did you know the coldest recorded temperature happened in Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2010, when it dropped to -135.8?

Really want to lose weight? Work out in a cold room

When we think of weight loss we think sweating is the best way to reach our goal when in fact our body tends to burn more calories when it is cold. While it is not really good to work out in a cold room (our muscles tense up) it is good to know that while you are shoveling snow or trying to open a frozen garage door you are burning more calories than briskly walking on a spring day. This is why we tend to crave protein-based meals in the winter. Case in point: my usual lunch consists of an apple, string cheese and some nuts. But by lunch on Tuesday I was ready to pounce on a unicorn and eat it raw. Between shivering at my desk and walking the hallways I had burned far too many calories for an apple as a reward.

Ice isn’t just cold it is strong

At a thickness of two inches ice will support a man. At a thickness of four inches it will support man on horseback. A thickness of six inches will support a team of horses with a with moderate loads and a thickness of ten inches, will support 1,000 pounds to the square foot. This would explain why it took a large hammer and a lot of pounding to knock four-inch blocks from my drainpipes. Don’t tell my therapist.

It froze what?

We’ve all seen the pictures of skaters the Thames during the Little Ice age. But did you know that in March of 1847, Niagara Falls froze? The local paper of the time, The Niagara Mail, stated that, “Ladies and gentlemen rode in carriages one-third of the way across the river towards the Canada shore, over solid rock as smooth as a kitchen floor”. Now that would have made a great Instagram photo!


Snow as a literary device

So you are all curled up reading a novel, not quite knowing what to expect and it starts to snow. What does this indicate? A light dusting could mean someone is attempting to cover up a crime, or possible fairy enchantment (if you are reading a fantasy) but deep heavy snow means doom. As Thomas C Foster, author of How to Read like a Professor puts it,’ “Tt’s never about the weather”. Heavy snow in a book could mean isolation, madness or death. The more it snows, the worse it’s about to get. This is why the readers of George R R Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire (I am now one of them) should not be surprised by all the deaths in the series. After all, he warned us over and over again ,“Winter is coming!”

Now it’s time for me to pry my hands from the cold keyboard and head of to bed. Oh, which reminds me of another good cold fact. Fleece is the best material to wear on winger nights like these. I have a fleece blanket to go along with my fleece sleepwear. I just recently found this out after living here for 10 years, because, once again, this is western Nevada, I shouldn’t have to wear layers to bed! Winter is coming? Winter is here my friends and she’s a cold bitch.

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

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