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Temperature Scales Adjustment

Re-standardize both Fahrenheit and Celsius by adding 40
  [vote for,

It happens that 40 degrees below zero is the exact same temperature on both the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales. Here's some background info, just because (feel free to skip next two paragraphs)

Fahrenheit marked as zero the lowest temperature he could reach in his laboratory; I have no idea why he thought a lower temperature couldn't be achieved someday. The size of the temperature unit he picked was based on him using a mercury thermometer --it was accurate enough to allow fairly fine temperature divisions-- he decided to use 180 units between the freezing and boiling points of water. 180 is one of those numbers that has a great many possible divisors....

Celsius came along about the time the metric system was popularized, and decided that 100 units of temperature between the freezing and boiling points of water made more sense in that context.

The -40 temperature thing is basically a coincidence (could possibly be used to DEFINE "co-incidence"). To convert a temperature from either scale to the other, first add 40. Then either multiply (from F to C) by 5/9 or multiply (from C to F) by 9/5; the fraction is related to ratio between 180 and 100. Finally, subtract 40.

This Idea proposes that the "-40" temperature be declared "zero" on both scales. All measurements on either scale would then permanently be values 40 degrees higher than before. (And compared to doing other conversions of historical recorded data, this would be super-easy.) Converting between the two scales becomes simplified (just multiply by 5/9 or 9/5, nothing more).

I'm linking a cartoon in which it is claimed that temperatures in the 70s somehow "feel better" for people used to the Fahrenheit system. Well, if all temperatures on that scale were 40 degrees hotter, the numbers might now "feel uncomfortable", and encourage a switch to Celsius --and because all temps on that scale are now also 40 degrees higher, a "room temperature" like 25C becomes 65C --a numerical value close to what Fahrenheit users are used to "feeling".

I'm sorry that the Celsius users won't feel so comfortable (but mentally converting any "new" temperature to the old scale is super-easy ...). I expect they'll eventually get used to it. And more sooner than later, the Fahrenheit scale can be simply thrown away, with everyone using the modified Celsius scale.

Vernon, Feb 15 2016

Temperature Cartoon http://www.xkcd.com/1643/
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Feb 15 2016]

Standards http://www.xkcd.com/927/
[scad mientist, Feb 15 2016]

Planck temperature scale https://en.wikipedi.../Planck_temperature
[the porpoise, Feb 16 2016]

Boiling point vs. altitude http://www.engineer...ltitude-d_1344.html
Relevant [8th of 7, Feb 16 2016]


       So a fraction of mankind uses a particularly archaic standard of measurement, and therefore everyone else should change?   

       I think not. Get with the (metric) programme.   

       Happy to go straight to Kelvin scale for temperature, but the ".15" thing would get annoying.
Custardguts, Feb 15 2016

       I think the last generation of Fahrenheiters are already shuffling to the grave, so this issue will soon go away.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2016

       [whine] But they're training their grandkids to machine stuff in imperial! They're still making imperial fasteners, and measuring stuff in a /64 inch scale instead of millimetres like the rest of the world [/whine].   

       Someone make them stop.
Custardguts, Feb 15 2016

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2016

       The United States of Archaica is the obvious candidate. A vigorous programme of culling is indicated; they're just not killing one another fast enough.
8th of 7, Feb 16 2016

       Creative relabeling of gas stations in the 70's just led to customers asking for "just enough liters to get me to a station that sells gallons". It's hard to fight inertia.
whatrock, Feb 16 2016

       Yes, it's strange that "inertia" and "momentum" are synonymous amongst physicists, yet are antonyms in Anglo-British relations.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2016

       You want something new then make room-temperature the new zero, so everybody whose comfort zone isn't centered all the time will feel a bit odd and need therapy.
FlyingToaster, Feb 16 2016

       No. I like my house set to 72. Not 71.6, and not 73.4. And I'm sure as hell not going to resort to adding a decimal point to delineate degree measurements.
RayfordSteele, Feb 16 2016

       Surely, in the spirit of the 'bakery, you could go for 22 1/2 °C? Or, if your attachment to older units is so deep, how about twenty-two and thruppence degrees?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2016

       What puzzles us greatly is that your species has failed to adopt a logarithmic temperature scale; your Kelvin scale, for example, has inconveniently large values for your local practical purposes, and most of the Universe is crammed into the lowest ten degrees.   

       Then again, it's one of the reasons that your show gets such consistently high ratings. And that's another puzzle; why don't you ever show up at the awards ceremonies ?   

       // It's hard to fight inertia. //   

       No it's not, if you're using a correctly-sized reaction propulsion system.
8th of 7, Feb 16 2016

       [Rayford], your thermostat is probably inaccurate by a few tenths of a degree (at least) anyway.
notexactly, Feb 16 2016

       The amount of temperature variation in my place is about 4 degrees per inch anyway, so the thermostat setting is just for decoration. But its beautiful in theory.
RayfordSteele, Feb 16 2016

       Problems of scale would be immediately solved if we made proper use of the elvin (0.001 Kelvin).   

       Plus everyone would feel a lot happier if they could say "It's a quarter of a million Elvin outside today!"
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2016

       I thought that's the word for more than one Elvis.
Voice, Feb 16 2016

       I have yet to see a convincing argument why Celsius is better than Fahrenheit for everyday usage. For scientific purposes, fine, but in general I don't really care how much warmer it would need to be out for water to boil at sea level. It makes no sense. You can't add temperatures, and it's not like there are any units other than the simple “degree” (i.e., nobody uses kilo-degrees or centi-degrees) so there's no value to having standardized units as with grams, meters, etc.   

       The choice of pure water at sea level as the reference standard for Celsius is completely arbitrary. But with the Fahrenheit system, most outside temperatures that you are likely to encounter fall in the 0-100 range; anything outside that would be extraordinary. With Celsius, the same range is about -18 to 38. Utterly ridiculous.   

       Also, with Fahrenheit degrees being smaller, the basic unit is about the minimum difference in temperature one can detect. With Celsius this is not so, leading to the clumsy use of half-degrees in many applications.   

       All so you can quickly determine that if it were X degrees hotter, water would boil? Who cares? For that matter, who even cares how much colder it would have to be for water to freeze? That is completely irrelevant information—either it's currently below freezing or it's not.   

       So what's the advantage of Celsius again, for the general public? This is one application where the metric system really is demonstrably worse.
ytk, Feb 16 2016

       //The -40 temperature thing is basically a coincidence (could possibly be used to DEFINE "co-incidence").   

       That's an intersection. Coincidence is overlying.   

       The only true temperature scale is the Planck temperature scale [link]. Nobody understands exponential notation, so weather reports would round: 0 means you're fine or dead, and 1 means you're dead. Thermostats would be factory set to 0 for customer safety. It would greatly simplify things.
the porpoise, Feb 16 2016

       //This is one application where the metric system really is demonstrably worse.   

       Inches, cups, and pounds are also more human-friendly.
the porpoise, Feb 16 2016

       I agree, but there's an argument to be made that the ability to convert easily between various measurements outweighs the benefits of the human-scale units of the English system. But for Celsius, there's no such advantage. It's just a less convenient way of expressing the same thing.
ytk, Feb 16 2016

       I think the freezing point of water is highly relevant, and it makes sense to have it be zero.   

       It makes very little difference to me whether it's 65°F or 66°F. But if it's less than 0°C I know that it might snow; that I'll have to defrost the head gardener before he can get to work; and that I should take the 'rover instead of the Jag.   

       Name me one other temperature, on either scale, where a single degree's difference is generally relevant. Apart from the 100°C needed to make a decent cup of tea, which is what in °F?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2016

       //Name me one other temperature, on either scale, where a single degree's difference is generally relevant.//   

       Room temperature. A single degree Celsius can easily mean the difference between comfortable and too cold. Which is why many electronic thermostats allow you to set the temperature in half-degree increments. Which is patently ridiculous.   

       //But it’s everywhere. Celsius is more or less universal//   

       So we should use an inferior standard because everyone else isn't smart enough to use something that's unambiguously better?
ytk, Feb 16 2016

       //Which is why many electronic thermostats allow you to set the temperature in half-degree increments. Which is patently ridiculous.//   

       Why is that ridiculous? Are we not pleased to discuss this on a half- rather than a whole-bakery? Give me the answer in half an hour.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2016

       Everyone knows the two reference points of celsius are the boiling and melting points of water, but few people know that two reference points of fahrenheit originally were the melting point of water and body temperature. These 'constant' temperatures were positioned at 32 and 96, so there would be 64 divisions between them, to ease the production of thermometers. However at some point the scale obviously drifted by a few degrees and this fact is now totally useless.
mitxela, Feb 16 2016

       //Everyone knows the two reference points of celsius are the boiling and melting points of water//   

       Except… everybody's wrong.   

       From the 'Pedia: One effect of defining the Celsius scale at the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW, 273.16 K and 0.01 °C), and at absolute zero (0 K and −273.15 °C), is that neither the melting nor boiling point of water under one standard atmosphere (101.325 kPa) remains a defining point for the Celsius scale.   

       The net result is that the 0-100 scale is actually slightly off, so it's really more like 0.01-99.9839.   

       Besides, my point is that even if it's “close enough”, so what? Close enough for what purpose? It's meaningless to most people. Even for making the aforementioned cup of tea, you don't need to know the temperature at which water boils. Just apply heat until you see bubbles and/or hear the teakettle go off. At that point, you can be assured that the water is indeed boiling—no need to measure it.
ytk, Feb 16 2016

       // Everyone knows //   

       ... except in the US of A, where the reference points appear to be the melting point of Donald Trump's hairspray and the boiling point of illegal Mexican immigrants ...
8th of 7, Feb 16 2016


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