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Taking the temperature

May 13, 2019

It is kind of research that raises an eyebrow, that people the world over set their thermostats to match the climate where our species evolved in east Africa. On second thought, though, I worry that glosses too easily over seasonal variation. I’m even more skeptical of a Harvard study that concludes that heat slows down the brain. No doubt, the students slept more poorly. And sleep is indeed important to memory formation. But does that implicate heat? Or just any change that creates a little stress? How would the students fare after a year, then acclimated to living without air conditioning?

Greg Laden writes about the rat in a can effect, where grad students cuddling a rat was interpreted as somehow soothing it, rather than frightening it. Just because modern students think they cannot live without air conditioning, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t adapt fine to that.

Ob disclaimer: I lived my high school years in Texas without air conditioning.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 13, 2019 5:20 pm

    I don’t know Russell, being from Texas I am pretty sure you have a pro-heat bias. It is likely a result of your brain being roasted during your high school years. I, having grown up in a more rational climate, sensibly view any temperature above 75F as life threatening. However, I do not have air conditioning. When we have a hot spell I simply take the boat out into the ocean where it is seldom above a comfortable 60F. Incidentally, we have snow in the forecast for late tonight. I am beginning to rethink my decision to launch on May 9 this year.

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