Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Really, Really Cold!

From my most recent gas bill:53% warmer than last month, maybe. But 3,950% colder than this time last year? Wouldn't that be, like, below Absolute Zero? I sure hope they figured my bill correctly....


Drang said...

If all molecular activity has ceased in Indianapolis, can Hell be far behind?

It's a pachyderm winning The Won's senate seat, wasn't it?

WV: tenticar. No, it's too cold, let's stay in a motel.

Patrick said...

That's proof of global warming right there... telling ya.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

You can safely ignore that section of your gas bill. If you go back to last year's bills you will see that the numbers are meaningless even if they ran the calculation correctly, because they don't actually match up to reality.

TJIC said...

I have a philosophical complaint with quantitative comparisons involving "colder", or "less".

If X is 100 degrees, and Y is 90 degrees, then Y is 10 degrees colder than X. If Z is 80 degrees, then I'm willing to admit that Y is "twice as cold" as Y is ... in comparison to Z.

But if there is no Y, and only X and Z, how can we say "such-and-such PERCENT colder?". Compared to what? The surface of the sun? The surface of my tea kettle?

Joanna said...

I measure relative cold by how insistent my cat is to get into my lap, especially if I'm trying to work on my laptop.

Old Grouch said...

What if you have more than one cat?

Blackwing1 said...

It's pretty straightforward...just start with zero as -459.67F and do all the number in Rankine. It says so, right in my thermogoddamics textbook.

If you're a EU-nik, start with -273.15C, and do 'em all in Kelvin.

Fun with math! And remember, it's not really cold until the F and C match at -40F'n'C (frickin' cold).

Joanna said...

"What if you have more than one cat?"

Then God help you.

Sherm said...

Yep. Percentages don't work unless you have an absolute zero point. Temperature shows this easily. Many would have us believe that a drop from 100F to 80F is a drop of 20%. Unfortunately, that same drop in temperature on the Celsius scale, from 38C to 27C, would be 29%. Apparently, one good reason to keep the Fahrenheit scale is that our temperature swings won't be as great. I'll wait by the mailbox for my Nobel prize for solving climate change.

Ed Skinner said...

I passed through northern Indiana on Sunday and back on Tuesday night but must've missed the *really* cold spell. Thank goodness because I only had my lightweight NRA wind breaker!

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I believe they consider the winter x% colder or warmer based on how much gas you used, not on the actual temperatures you experience.

That being said, in my experience the numbers they show for last year's usage often are not borne out by the actual usage shown on last year's billing. So whether or not the algorithm is correct, the answer they get by using it typically does not tally with reality.

holocryptic said...

Here's how I measure temperature:

Really effin' cold
Really cold
kinda chilly
kinda warm
kinda hot
really hot
really effin' hot.

Don't confuse me with your number theory craft stuff.

Dave said...

My latest bill has the electric, gas and water portions estimated. Not so strange. It also says that the meter reader was on site at such and such a time and date. Uh, then why didn't the meters get read?

NotClauswitz said...

Just wait till you get "Smart-Meters" that read it (whatever it is) and send it wirelessly (via an unsecured modem) to Big Gas where it's processed using an Internet Exploder interface clapped together by "we only make vanilla" Oracle developers in Bangalore. Then even time-zones have an opportunity to intervene and play a role in the calculations.

phlegmfatale said...

Scary. I've always felt things weren't entirely accurately measured, and the bill averaging thing seems suspect in particular. I think that very soon, home heating and cooling bills will typically be greater than the mortgage or the rent.

Does that sound cynical? Okay. Maybe I'm cynical.