Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Overheard at Lem's, years ago:

Amartel said...
Christmas favorites:
Bob and Doug McKenzieDecember 15, 2013 at 1:59 PM
Here is Chanticleer, appropriate for the shortest day of the year:


ndspinelli said...

chick, You have always been generous in highlighting commenters.

Lem said...

Ditto what ndspinelli just said. Thanks Chick 🐥. I'm guessing you are going away.

ricpic said...

Can someone explain to me something that has been troubling me for years -- why is it that winter is generally more severe after the solstice, when the days are lengthening and you would think with more sun the temperature would be moderating.

Amartel said...

Thank you! Love these two Christmas songs.
When I lived in a colder, snowier location (Providence and later Boston), I always felt that it was colder and more dreary later in winter after the excitement of the start of the season (first frost! First snow! First deep
Snow! First foot deep slush! (Providence)) and the holidays had passed. From mid January to late March was a long slog.

Chip Ahoy said...

Colder after solstice:

Stored heat.
USA Today weathe, Why it turns colder after shortest days of the year
Seasonal lag
CS Monitor,
Winter solstice: Why isn't the shortest day also the coldest?

The Straight Dope, Why does it get colder after the Winter Solstice?

That's enough of that. They all say the same thing when you ask directly.

I pondered something similar at a very young age while my dad driving the family is stuck in a traffic jam. What a f'k'n bummer! When the light turns why does traffic move in fits and starts? Why doesn't everyone move at once? Everyone creeps up to the bumper of the car in front of them, then leaves a huge gap before moving so that traffic resembles the movement of an accordion. Why not all go at once like a train? It would be much more efficient. I thought. We tailgate each other at lights then leave car lengths of space while moving. For the rule of the road is NEVER TOUCH ANOTHER CAR WITH YOUR CAR! So this weird stretch out accordion movement through traffic lights it must be.


Chip Ahoy said...

As for winter being colder the oceans have a part in the whole stored heat calculation. Like a stove the change is not instantaneous. A pot of water with ice in it will have its surface water continue to getting colder even as the bottom of the pot has heat applied directly.

Similarly, and conversely, steaks that are fried in a pan continue to heat internally after they're removed from direct heat. The internal temperature continues to advance even though the exterior heat has stopped. And there goes your medium rare steak.

Consider Earth's orbit around the sun. It's shaped as an oval. Brace for your mind to be blown.

Earth's perihelion, the point where Earth is nearest the sun, is two weeks after Winter solstice. (that occurs on different dates depending on your location on Earth. Solstice is not the same date all over the globe. And Earth's aphelion, the point farthermost from the sun is two weeks after Spring solstice.

Shouldn't that be reversed? Closer = warmer, farther = colder. Huh? Well, shouldn't it? Shouldn't winter be Earth's perihelion? The point where it's nearest the sun?

Well, it's not! And who am I to question? What am I, God?

The tilt of our axis bears on all this. And the severity of our winter is exactly that, our winter under discussion and not, say, Australia's winter. How Americacentric we are in our weather-related questions.

Also, I don't see any of these "heat storage" sites mentioning Kepler explained all this oval orbital movement. When you divide the oval into 4 equal parts then Earth speeds up as it whips around closest to the sun and slows as it curves around the larger outer reaches. The earth's orbital speed is not a constant. (although its inconsistency IS constant) This is shown very nicely on the original Cosmos program where I first saw it. Here's some guy with a (nationalized) speech impediment explaining it, skip to 9:40 YouTube video Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler and Planetary Motion

Does this answer your question about why the Earth is colder after winter solstice when logically it should be heating up directly? Is it comforting this same question has vexed other serious thinkers such as yourself, even such luminaries as Kepler? He's the guy who figured out our orbit is elliptical and not circular, and its speed around the sun is not a constant. The sun's gravity whips us around, when we're being cold up here on North America due to Earth's axis, and Australia's summer, and slowed down farther out in our summers, farther from the sun and slower on the elliptical orbit. Our summers are slower and farther from the sun. Our winters are shorter as we whip around nearer the sun. Isn't it all so mind blowing?

Amartel said...


MamaM said...

Generosity is an outpouring of spirit. It's preceded by openness, curiosity and a willingness to give and receive light. All of which chickelit has revealed over and over and does here too as he invites readers and listeners to encounter the heart of advent--in bursts of light, levity, and music.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

While Oh Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song.....Faaaall on your knees!!!!

I'm really quite taken with this song and video that Chip Ahoy linked to several years ago (IIRC). Annie Lennox..God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

The video has a very mysterious and Medieval feel to it and makes me appreciate just how old some of these songs are. Plus....she has a very strong voice.

Amartel said...

I read recently (here?) that "Do You Hear What I Hear" was actually written in the early 1960s in reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis. And all this time I thought it was some ancient medieval carol what with the biblical imagery, shepherd boys, lambs and whatnot. MISLED! Though when I thought about it is more of a 20th century melody, plus the kite reference, should have been a giveaway.

Amartel said...

My other fave Christmas music is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special jazz tunes by Vince Guaraldi which is also from the 1960s, especially the remake of "O Tannenbaum." Guaraldi played in jazz clubs all over the Bay Area for years before he hit the big time by composing the music for the most popular Christmas special ever. Charles Schulz was another Bay Area guy. Classic SF Christmas.

ricpic said...

I'm in a class with Kepler! Thanks Chip.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The guy in the lecture series I just finished up said that Earth's southern hemisphere is larger that the northern.

First I ever heard of that.

He's a neurologist, so you want to dismiss it and say "what the hell do you know?"

But he said that he's read and loved every one of Stephen Hawking's books so he's probably right about just about everything.