Sunday, July 20, 2014

Phoenix in The Smithsonian - and in the summer

Not sure how gratifying it is to have Phoenix as a site to study the effects of heat on civilization.

The May issue of The Smithsonian magazine featured an article called "Hot Enough For You?".

One item mentioned a study to see how long it takes for the second driver at a light to honk when the light turns green and the first driver doesn't move.  The study showed that when the temperature was 108 drivers were more likely to honk or get angry than if it's 84 degrees.

Well, duh.

The air conditioner on my little four-cylinder engine doesn't cool if I'm not moving.  So yeah, people get more agitated.

Studies predict that summer temperatures in Phoenix in the second half of the century will regular hit 130 degrees.


Still, it generally makes it to 115 degrees at least a couple days in the summer.  Will 15 more degrees make that much difference?  You learn to adapt.  Just as people adapt to climates where the temperature plummets to -30 or -40.

And basically with the same adaptation.  Stay inside.

If you have to go outside, do it early in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat up the concrete, or late in the evening after the sun starts its descent.

Good parking spots are hard to come by.  I'm lucky to have underground parking at my office.  Shady and cooler.  The next step is covered parking, but that all depends on the time of day and the direction the parking spot faces.  After that people look for the meager shade from a tree planted in a parking lot.

The worst is a spot in the open.  If you have to park in the sun for even an hour, you dare not touch the seat belt buckle with your bare hands.  Seriously.  You can get burned.

Don't leave anything in the car that isn't heat tolerant.  I've known people who have had candles melt or soda pop explode because of the heat.  And if you are buying ice cream, either bring a cooler or hope that it isn't more than 10 minutes to home.

Mostly we think, it's 110 degrees out.  Do I really need to go shopping?  Do I really want to go out into this heat.

Generally the answer is No, no I don't.

Your perspective changes.  We applaud when it is "only" going to be 100 degrees for the day.   The weather reports a cooling trend from 108 to 103 degrees.  And we are grateful for the five degree decrease.

Will the future be people isolated in their homes, connecting only via social media?  Maybe.  But I'm hoping someone comes up with an underground infrastructure where people can work, live, and travel underground, away from the searing rays of the sun.

At least, that's the way I'd write it.

No comments :

Post a Comment