Wind chill and the winter blues

Daniel Engber over at Slate Magazine wants to dump the wind chill factor. He is bitter over the “paternalistic impulse” of weather reporters “to explain not just how cold it is, but how cold we’ll feel.”

The best algorithm we’ll ever have for determining how cold it feels comes from our own experience. A look out the window gives us most of the variables we need to compute our own, personal weather index. (…)Weather reports can give us more specific information than we can get on our own, like predictions on what the wind and temperature will be in the future. But there’s something absurd in the notion that the weatherman can tell us how we feel. Even the most rigorous meteorological model just mimics the one we build for ourselves.

In a related column,

Word comes from a psychologist at the University of Cardiff, which is to be found in Wales, I believe, that this time of the year is empirically proven to be the unhappiest.


We didn’t need a research study to know that we’re in a trough here. Spirits are low. Bills are high. Spring is a long way away, even in Malibu, where just the other day some poor schnook slipped on ice that had collected on his driveway when his lawn-sprinkling system kicked on in spite of a 29-degree frost.

So there, David.

The wretched of the earth who do not have a travel allowance have two alternatives. One is staying at home with a raging head cold. The other is the seasonal equivalent of Stockholm syndrome – you can embrace the source of your captivity and go play in the snow somewhere. Right now, that means Denver. But who knows? [with global warming and all] Soon you may be able to go skiing in Mexico City.