Snow way

By Phil Plait | November 14, 2009 11:10 pm

Look. It’s really just this simple. If you live in a place where it snows, and your car/truck/SUV/van/whatever is covered, then I don’t care how late you are, or how tired you are, or how hard it is to reach. You have to get a broom or a brush and GET THE SNOW OFF YOUR WHOLE VEHICLE, AND NOT JUST A LITTLE PORTHOLE IN YOUR WINDSHIELD YOU CAN SEE OUT OF.

Here, let me make it easy:

car_snow

Oddly enough, I get unhappy when the snow — or, joy of joys, a big ol’ slab of ice — flies off your car and hits my windshield or just sits like a mine in the middle of the road.

Seriously. People who do this are a menace to others. Brush off your whole vehicle.

Pictures courtesy Per Ola Wiberg (Powi) and MSVG on Flickr.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind
MORE ABOUT: idiots, snow

Comments (150)

  1. Chris

    Oh, yeah. I live in Columbus, OH, and the disease is here too. Personally, I am mentally incapable of driving if I have snow on my car. It just annoys me on some deep level.

  2. Chad

    Oh, FSM yes! Why can’t people figure this out?

  3. Roy

    Sometimes, when the snow partially melted, then refroze, then snowed AGAIN… there’s no getting it off, man. You spend twenty minutes in the cold chipping away just to get that little porthole to the point where your poor defroster has a chance.

    I hereby propose an alternative solution: I moved. I know it won’t work for everyone, but it worked for me. In conclusion: Idaho BAD. SF Bay, GOOD.

    (brrrr… it’s 19C in here…)

  4. JC

    What’s this snow stuff?

    Signed Southern California Born and Bred.

  5. mj

    People are a menace to others.

    Corrected.

    You’re welcome.

  6. I live in Atlanta, GA. If we get that much snow, we just shut everything down until July. So.

  7. Rebisaz

    I’m with you JC. What the hell?
    Renee in Phoenix

  8. Lonny Eachus

    No wonder. You never learned the trick, Roy. What you do is go outside, start your car, warm it up for a minute, turn the defrost and fan on full, then GO BACK IN THE HOUSE for that 15 minutes or so and get another cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

    Sorry, carbon sequesterers, but in this part of the country that is sometimes, really, the only practical answer. Not after a typical snowfall, but in conditions like he described. You can take a pickaxe and chip at the ice on the car all you want, but all you are going to do is work up a sweat and damage your paintjob, and probably your windshield too.

    The answer is to get your whole car warm on the interior, and also the hood. THEN you remove the snow and ice. That works. The other thing does not.

  9. ColoradoGal

    To Lonny: A segment on the local news tonight (in light of the coming snowstorm) warned viewers against leaving their cars running to warm up. Apparently car thefts spike on very cold and snowy days here in Colorado.

    In regards to the picture accompanying the rant: How hard is it to clear off a Mini Cooper, really??

  10. DreamDevil

    This is the main reason I eventually sold my car and I’m not getting a new one until I have a garage.

  11. StevoR

    If only snow was my worry weather~wise.

    We’re currently experiencing a heatwave – the first ever in November for Adelaide (South Oz) – with the temperature outside around forty degrees above zero celcius. It was forty yesterday and thirty nine for the past few days before that. That’s over 100 Fahrenheit I think.* Every day for the past week has been well over 35. Last year in Adelaide we had our hottest ever heat wave , the year before our record longest. (Or was it the other way round?) This year we’re having our earliest …

    Snow what’s that? ;-)

    PS. I have actually seen snow a couple of times in my life both in Japan (Okayama) when on uni. exchange and when I was too young to remember it in England as a baby before my family moved here. Snow? Wow, it is beautiful, the way it drifts down gently from the sky and much less of an issue than searing heat. IMHON – & course I’m probably biased! But I’d swap heatwaves for snowfall anyday. If I only could

    * I don’t really know squat about the Fahrenheit system but I think 100 F = 38~ish degees celcius right? BTW. When are you guys in the States gonna join the rest of the planet & go metric so getting on a sensible temperature system eh? ;-)

  12. Jim (elbuho)

    I thought you were going to sell us a product there – “Try new Snow Away, guaranteed to get every speck of snow off your car”

  13. Danil

    Lesson I learned long ago is that the folks who can’t sweep their cars clear of snow also can’t drive in it. I like that these people mark themselves as a safety hazard.

  14. idlemind

    A year or so ago Phil actually lived in a place where snow was a rarity — sounds like he’s just amazed how the locals who may have had a lifetime to learn about such things can be such boneheads. (I think Danil nails it.)

    40*1.8 + 32 = 104. I’ve learned to do that in my head (it’s just another step after the double, shift, and subtract method I use for calculating 18% tips). My 8-year-old, who’s never left California, knows Celsius — they actually taught it in his first grade class. It takes practice to remember it, though…

  15. StevoR

    @ 7. Lonny Eachus :

    Sorry, carbon sequesterers, … (Snip)

    A bit off topic but I am curently halfway through reading Prof. Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven & Earth’ (Connor Court, 2009) on the whole climate change issue & this prominent Australian skeptic (who also took on Creationism & wrote a great book about that) and geologist is a climate skeptic who certainly makes a very strong case for global warming being natural and caused by solar, astronomical & geological cycles. You know temperatures have fluctuated much more dramatically in the past with England once being more like the serengeti complete with elephants and rhinoceri right? All without any human industry or COz emissions at all.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_and_Earth_(book) & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Plimer

    I used to be very sure that human activities and pollution were jeopardising our planet. Now I must admit I’m no longer so sure. I’m not saying Plimer has absolutely everything right but I am no longer firmly in the “Alarmist” camp when it comes to whether the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is firm reality or not.

    I ‘d strongly recomend that everyone here (incl. the Bad Astronomer) reads the book & decides for themselves. Its pretty well written and very well researched as far as I’ve read sofar anyhow.

    I’m more & more leaning towards Plimer’s side here in that temperatures & carbon dioxide levels have previously been much higher in past aeons and the Earth has managed quite well. From the[perspecyive of geological (& astronomical) time; we are in an ice age period just in an interglacial within which there are naturally warmer and cooler periods and generally the warmer periods have been better for us. Temperatures have frequently risen and fallen before, some times very rapidly and oftenm to levels far hotter than now without us around to cause it and with Co2 levels generally *trailing* and not preceeding the climate changes

  16. I'd rather be fishin'

    We get that in Alberta too. Morons who brush off a periscope-sized space in the windshield and then go driving on the freeway likes it’s June. Why bother shoulder-checking before a lane change since 99.99% of all windows are under 5 cm of ice and snow? Jerks.

  17. Well, Phil, you’re the one that moved from Santa Rosa. Sounds self-inflicted to me…

    – Jack

  18. theMark

    @ 12, StevoR
    Make sure you read all the OTHER books that say the opposite of Prof. Plimer’s theories, too, okay?
    Otherwise it’s just like saying “The Secret” is the only book people should ever read… ;)
    Being the lone dissenting voice doesn’t mean “being right by default”.
    Oh, and yes, England was a lot warmer back in the day when the whole continent drifted along the equator. Fluctuating in the several thousand or millions years range is a bit different from fluctuating in the hundred year range, too.
    Just remember most books are NOT meant to be “fair and balanced”. They’re there for cherry-picking to make the facts fit to the author’s agenda or world view, and for propagating that world view. Seems it worked.

    Oh, yes, the “snow on cars” issue. Note: anecdote. We hardly get that here in continental Europe any more, at least not around where I live. Over the last decade, the main issue has been how snow cannons necessary for the ski tourism need more and more water and energy because it doesn’t effin’ snow any more like it used to just two decades ago, and the glaciers are receding. “Natural cycle”. Yeah, riiiight.

    Sorry. In a sarcastic mood right now.

  19. Thomas Siefert

    If it’s raining heavily, TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS MORON!
    It’s not about what YOU can see, it’s about being seen by others.
    This rule applies at dusk and dawn too.

  20. Arlo

    It’s warmer than “normal”! Global warming.
    It’s colder than “normal”! Global warming.
    There’s more precipitation than “normal”! Global warming.
    There’s less precipitation than “normal”! Global warming.

    I’m not a “denialist” (and that’s one of the least skeptical terms I’ve ever heard), but the term/idea of “global warming” has reached such a global meme that every variation in the weather seems to confirm it in peoples’ minds.

    It’s like the “low fat” meme that has dominated our unskeptical minds for the past half century, ignoring the diet of our paleolithic ancestors for 2 million years, who we evolved from, in favour of the diet we adopted a mere 10 thousand years ago. Every study that confirms our unthinking idea that low fat / less animals is healthier is nodded at with sage approval, while every study / culture that shows that high fat / more animals / less grains/legumes/dairy is healthier is instantly dismissed. We’re so convinced that fat is bad that we are even feeding our dogs “whole grain” dog foods, like their wolf ancestors were master agriculturalists.

    There’s no real hope anyways, so…. sigh.

  21. Lonny Eachus

    @ 12, StevoR

    I, too, have checked into many claims of the “warmers” and found many of their arguments wanting or, in extreme cases, just plain false. For example, even the IPCC’s estimate for maximum ocean rise in a worst-case carbon scenario, by the year 2100, is significantly less than 1 meter, yet people keep quoting figures like tens or even hundreds of feet. It’s just ridiculous.

    I am not a “denier”… I am well aware that the earth has been trending warmer, over thousands of years. However, the question of whether humans have actually contributed a significant amount to this warming VIA RELEASE OF CARBON DIOXIDE, is anything but decided. I would have to see some real science, of both quality and quantity that I have quite frankly not seen, to be convinced.

    Note that as part of my opinion I am taking into account the claims by authors of scientific papers, some of them papers that were referenced by the IPCC, that their science does not support the conclusions reported by that same IPCC, which is, after all, a political body.

    The nice giant numberless graphs used by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” have also come under serious question, with the authors of one paper, the source of one of the graphs, having withdrawn that graph from their paper with an admission that it was created using improper procedures. Another of Gore’s graphs has been challenged by the claim that one of the two lines in the chart had been shifted approximately 300 years in relation to the other, with no mention of the shift. That is misleading and unethical.

    Further, let’s not forget that Al Gore owns many shares of certain companies that stand to make a grand fortune trading carbon credits, should a cap-and-trade law ever come to pass.

  22. Lonny Eachus

    By the way, pardon the multiple posts, but I would like to pick up the baton on a pet peeve of mine — one I know Phil will understand — and that is of old, tired, stories that have been thoroughly debunked but keep raising their damned heads anyway, as though we were playing whack-a-mole.

    I refer, of course, to the “poster child” of some “warmers”: Mt. Kilimanjaro.

    Snow and glaciers on Kilimanjaro have been receding for a long time. “Global warming” was widely blamed for these, but it has been known for some time (http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/16905/Junk_Science_Kilimanjaros_Snow_Cap.html) that in fact loss of ice and snow on Kilimanjaro is due to deforestation at lower altitudes by the native population. In the past, air blew over the forests, picking up moisture, then up the mountain. The cooling at altitude caused the moisture to precipitate back out in the form of snow and growth of ice crystals. This is a well-known process. But with the trees being cut down, there is less moisture. Less moisture, less precipitation. It is as simple as that.

    I would not bring this up except that just the other day, somebody was referring to global warming and wrote something to the effect of “Melting at Mt. Kilimanjaro PROVES…” and I just sighed. I begin to sympathize with Bad Astronomer in re: the clueless moon landing deniers.

    Who — by the way — have been strangely silent since those recent pictures came in. Yay!

  23. wtfjebus

    haha… I have to admit to being guilty of this on occasion while living in snow country. Granted, I was a lame-braned teen-ager at the time, but that probably isn’t much of an excuse.

    Luckily (I guess), I live in Phoenix now, so this isn’t an issue for me any more.

  24. jest

    good thing about global warming.. (as opposed to climate change)

    Soon, I won’t have to worry about this problem.

    Right?

  25. Adam English

    @ 16, Thomas Siefert

    Being seen by others is moot when you are driving on the correct side of the road.

    I live in NH, we get frequent snow storms. I believe there are nation-wide laws that prohibit leaving your car covered to prevent visibility. For example, it is illegal to have anything hanging from your rear view mirror.

    Like most things road-related, it is the lack of the police controlling drivers that will cause damage on the roadways. The San Fransisco bay bridge project is a good example: even with the truck crash, people continually drive way too fast and die, then the police just put up more warning signs and say, “Maybe they aren’t properly notified of the speed limit.”

    They recently repainted some road marks in my city after people continually got ran over crossing the road on a regular basis. No one wanted to admit the people driving cars are , for the most part, retarded and ignorant of any life form besides themselves.

    I myself have almost been driven into an intersection island after some elderly woman tried passing 4 cars and getting in front of us in an intersection instead of waiting in line on the 1 lane road. A few winters ago I was almost run off a bridge when a Ford F350 decided to turn left even though he had a yield and we both entered the same lane on a bridge. He should have yielded to my right turn but again, most people do not know Right of Way laws. My co worker did the same thing this summer and knocked over two motorcyclists in an intersection. It’s funny, because our other co workers thought she had the right of way, too.

  26. Melanie (Australia)

    StevoR – Just dying of heat here in the Riverland at 44C for the last week. Even the natives trees and shrubs that survived last summer are dying. Agghhhh snow…. heard about the stuff. Its white and cold isn’t it?

  27. Most of the time I try to get most of the snow of the vehicle but there are times I do not get the top. Yes I have had accidents but it all happened when I worked a 6:30pm to 3am shift and somedays hardly got any sleep.

    One winter day when I was a passenger I saw an all white car covered in snow while it was still snowing out. It zipped through an intersection while we trying to do a right turn on a red light and he cut us off. After getting through the intersection the guy flipped us the bird. The driver wanted to follow him but he had to get me to my drop off point.

  28. Jay

    What’s snow? Seriously.

    From Kamakura, Japan.

  29. Chet Twarog

    Another unmentioned DANGER are the trailer trucks with layers of ice/snow atop the box flying off cart-wheeling several feet (meters) with the wind!
    And, tailgaters w/o lights, w/o cleared off snow, on cell phones texting, drinking coffee, eating, while driving.
    If your windows are a fogging on the inside, use your air conditioners with heat to clear them.
    Yep, and too little traffic law enforcement!!!
    Ah, I feel badly about our Aussie mates drought. We just had 4.47″/11.4cm
    of rain overnight in 17 hrs in Brunswick, Maine.

  30. Peter B

    Lonny Eachus said: “I, too, have checked into many claims of the “warmers” and found many of their arguments wanting or, in extreme cases, just plain false.”

    With respect, that doesn’t mean that global warming isn’t true, just that it hasn’t been proven to be real.

    “For example, even the IPCC’s estimate for maximum ocean rise in a worst-case carbon scenario, by the year 2100, is significantly less than 1 meter, yet people keep quoting figures like tens or even hundreds of feet. It’s just ridiculous.”

    But what effect would a rise of 1 metre have? Not only would it severely affect low-lying locations like much of Bangladesh, but I understand it would increase erosion, and thus affect much more land, and therefore buildings, further away from the sea. There’s just been a report that nearly 250,000 homes in Australia would be affected by a sea level rise of 1 metre. That’s a lot of homes in a country with a population of 22 million.

    “I am not a “denier”… I am well aware that the earth has been trending warmer, over thousands of years. However, the question of whether humans have actually contributed a significant amount to this warming VIA RELEASE OF CARBON DIOXIDE, is anything but decided.”

    For me the question is not whether the Earth is getting warmer. I’m well aware that the Earth has been much warmer in the past. The question instead is how fast the Earth is warming compared to previous warming episodes, and the effect this might have on the many environments on the Earth – will organisms be able to migrate fast enough to keep up with their preferred environment, or be able to evolve fast enough to adapt to warmer conditions in their current locations?

    “I would have to see some real science, of both quality and quantity that I have quite frankly not seen, to be convinced.”

    May I recommend the work of Dr Graeme Pearman, formerly a scientist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). It was his presentation at the 2004 Australian Skeptics National Convention which convinced me that global warming was a genuine and serious problem.

  31. Hey Chet I am getting that rain here in St. Stephen New Brunswick, but I do not think we are going to get that much rain.

  32. Chet Twarog

    #25 Davidlp Just finished raining–4.70″/ 12.0cm in 17 hours.

  33. sophia8

    Don’t have a garage, but don’t want to have snow on your car? So get a car cover, or just a big tarpaulin.
    Seems pretty simple to me. But then, I’m not a car person.

  34. astral

    Yeah! Freezing rain should be banned for removing it scratches your car! And big cars should be banned from short people, for they don’t reach the top!

  35. StevoR

    @ 21. Melanie (Australia) Says:

    StevoR – Just dying of heat here in the Riverland at 44C for the last week. Even the natives trees and shrubs that survived last summer are dying. Agghhhh snow…. heard about the stuff. Its white and cold isn’t it?

    Yikes. That’s worse than Adelaide alright. My sympathies. If it’s any consolation, my garden is dying too. :-(

    “Cold?” What is this cold you speak of? ;-)

    @ 15. theMark Says:

    @ 12, StevoR : Make sure you read all the OTHER books that say the opposite of Prof. Plimer’s theories, too, okay? Otherwise it’s just like saying “The Secret” is the only book people should ever read…

    Very true &, yes, that’s good advice – seriously. I have read (& still will read too) many other books giving the “Alarmist” perspective &, as I stated, I was once a firm believer in climate change. Reading Plimer’s book has, if not totally changed my mind, certainly put the opposing case convincingly. I’m still reading Plimer’s book at present (1/3rd -1/2 way through) and I have also personally met him and seen one (very powerful) presentation he gave to the local Astronomical Society. Yes, I’m impressed – and, no, I’m not certain about the Anthropogenic Greenhouse Effect (AGE) anymore.

    Not that I’m 100% convinced the AGE is totally wrong although I’m sorta leaning that way as I read more. But one thing I am sure of is that – unlike what I’d thought previously (& am now willing to admit I was wrong about) – there is, after all, a strong case to suggest that global warming is actually natural and not caused by Human activity esp. CO2.

    BTW. “theMark” : Don’t forget to take your own advice here! Are you willing to read Plimer’s ‘Heaven & Earth’ and assess the arguments for the other side yourself or have you already done so? Honestly, I’m curious here not meaning any flame war or anything like that. ;-)

    As I said before – read the book yourselves before you make up your minds folks.

    Being the lone dissenting voice doesn’t mean “being right by default”.

    Quite true & worth keeping in mind again. But nor does it make you wrong either. Science isn’t decided by vote but by evidence.

    It seems that much of the AGE “evidence” might be unreliable, is definitely highly politicised and is also largely based on over hyped predictions based on computer simulations that does not take key geological & astronomical processes and cycles into account. Volcanoes can dramatically effect global climate, the Sun esp. things like the sunspot and solar activity cycles (eg. Maunder minimum, Sporer min. etc..) is one of, if not *the* single biggest climate driver.

    As I noted before, it seems that rising C02 *follows* rather than precedes warming and levels were much higher in the past. The planet has been far warmer and far colder (& had far more Co2 it seems) and this hasn’t been the end of the world. Nor have more dramatic past climate changes taken place due to human activity – so if humans weren’t driving the climate then, is it not reasonable to suggest maybe we’re not now either?

    Oh, and yes, England was a lot warmer back in the day when the whole continent drifted along the equator. Fluctuating in the several thousand or millions years range is a bit different from fluctuating in the hundred year range, too.

    Yes, but that’s not what Plimer or I were referring to – Plimer describes a time (actually he describes many times & cycles) much more recently when the continents were in essentially their current positions. Historical times even.

    This reminds me of something in one of those ‘Ladybird’ books I read & grew up with as a kid. In fact, I’ve still got it on my bookshelf and, wait, here it is! From ‘Our land in the Making -Book 1 Earliest Times to Norman Conquest’ by R. Bowood (Wills & Hepworth, 1966), Page 18 :

    “In the interglacial periods … it was so warm that the hippopotamus wallowed in what is now the River Thames and the lion roamed and hunted all over Britain, followed by the scavenging hyena, as in Africa today.”

    (NB. Capitalisation original.)

    On the opposite page is an excellent illustration with the caption : “earliest man stalking hippos in the Thames Valley, about 250,000 years ago.”

    Now 250,000 years may seem a hugely long time to us – but it is a geological eye blink. The Thames was as hot as Africa is then – & humans weren’t to blame! Doesn’t this make you think?

    This in a basic child’s book, one my Dad got decades ago, and clearly non-controversial – we’ve always known climate varies big-time! Humans have endured significant climate change episodes like the Little Ice Age (1300-1850 AD), the Medieval Warming (900- 1300 AD), the Dark Ages Cooling (535-900AD.), the Roman Warming (500 Bc-535 AD) and the Bronze Age Cooling (3,200-2,500 before present) to name just a few in an on-going very extensive list. (Page 24 ‘Heaven & Earth’)

    Just remember most books are NOT meant to be “fair and balanced”. They’re there for cherry-picking to make the facts fit to the author’s agenda or world view, and for propagating that world view. Seems it worked.

    Yes, again I’m aware of that – & please note that its not limited to one side of this debate. I understand Al Gore had quite a few howlers in what he wrote and the IPCC and “Hockey stick” graph guy have some pretty clear biases and cherry-picking selectivity to boast of too. Does Plimer have his prejudices – sure. Do I? Do you? Doesn’t everyone? Surely you don’t think Al Gore & the IPCC are without a blemish of self-interest and ideological bent? :roll:

    We all know, I think, when a book is making a case & can bear that in mind. What we have to look at is how strong we as readers consider that case is and whether the evidence backs it up or not. We can take things into account & conclude on our own whether we agree or disagree and to what extent.

    So far, to me Plimer does seem to have a persuasive case – one that has made me re-assess my own views. Whether you – or anyone else – comes to similar conclusions or is willing to change their views based on fresh evidence & perspectives is a matter for you.

    Read Plimer’s book & see if it works or not for you that’s all I’m asking. This is a contentious issue and I’ve spoken to some people I respect who agree and others who I also respect who disagree with Plimer. I must admit I’d really love to see what the BA makes of it.

    Sorry about the OT discussion folks – normal service can resume now. (Or/& co-exist happily I hope. Not meaning to threadjack, just something I’m finding interesting and worth talking about.)

  36. Nigel Depledge

    OK, I haven’t read all the comments, so apologies if someone else already said this first, but:

    If snow falling off the car in front of you hits your car, you’re driving too damn close!

    Seriously, tailgating is dangerous and aggressive even on a clean, dry road, and it’s downright crazy when it’s snowy and icy.

    Having said that, I also agree that you should get as much snow and ice off your car as you can before you set off. This is especially true if the chunks of snow / ice are large enough that they can act as an obstacle in the road. Here in the UK, it is rare to get more than about 3 or 4 inches of snow at a time (except in upland areas like Wales and Scotland), so it is unlikely that we’ll have that part of the issue.

    My own car has occasionally ended up with a sort of white mohican (the centre of the roof is hard to reach, and if the snow is hard, I can’t apply enough leverage to shift it), but I have often seen cars with a layer of snow all accross the roof, and on the bonnet (hood) and on the boot lid (trunk).

  37. StevoR

    @ 24. Peter B :

    May I recommend the work of Dr Graeme Pearman, formerly a scientist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). It was his presentation at the 2004 Australian Skeptics National Convention which convinced me that global warming was a genuine and serious problem.

    You may indeed – is there a book title or website for / by him?

    I am willing to be convinced either way & will admit it if I’m wrong – if I am. ;-)

    Also I do believe in treating the environment well, that pollution is a terrible thing, that the loss of biodiversity etc .. is dreadful & so forth – but I also believe in looking at the video and following where logic & science takes you whether you like it or not. In the case of the AGE, at present & in my opinion, the evidence appears to be supporting Plimer’s view more than the “warmers” side.

    I don’t think we need – or deserve – to be scared silly by horror tales *if* the science is wrong. In fact, if the science is wrong and being abused as *might* be the case then the consequences are bad for science and the environment alike. We owe it to ourselves to say what’s true and scientifically accurate not what is politically convenient or correct at the time. We need to get the science right regardless of personal views.

    We can preserve the environment & behave ethically to fellow species for a whole load of valid reasons without needing the semi-religious extreme Green vision of Apocalpyse to scare us into behaving well.

    Some folks may find this worth checking out too – an article examining the overlappings and conflict of Science, Religion, Philosophy & the Environment (esp. the AGE) by Fank Furedi as an interesting article worth blogging about :

    http://www.frankfuredi.com/index.php/site/article/344/

    (Source : ‘The Australian’newspaper, 2009 Nov. 13th Page 14.)

    PS. I’ve emailed that to the BA the other night and had no response from him yet.

  38. StevoR

    Note too please that I personally don’t necessarily agree with everything in that Furedi article myself.

    I only present it here as something I thought was interesting and perhaps worth considering for folks to mull over for themselves.

    PS. Just saw that 4 JC beat me to the “what snow?” line right at the start. D’oh!

  39. RichV

    This is why I no longer live in Denver and now live in Williamsburg, VA. Snow is very rare here. We manage to get some maybe twice a year but it’s almost never that deep. We went back to Denver to visit relatives in December several years ago and it just reinforced our original decision. Now when we go back, we travel in spring or late summer as we did this year.

    As a “motorcycle enthusiast”, I like living in an area that has seasons and where I can still ride most of the year.

  40. Peter B

    G’day StevoR

    http://www.futureclimate.com.au/associates.html His biography is on that screen.

  41. justcorbly

    I have two one-word answers for snow: Move or garage.

    The earlier advice to start the car 15 minutes early and let the heater and defroster run is good advice, too. Consumes gas, yes, but so does the ambulance that takes you to the hospital.

    I live in an area that sees serious snow perhaps every two or three years. This reduces people to a state of numb wackiness. Who knows what they’ll do. I’ve talked with people who won’t scrape all of the snow off their car because they don’t want to leave it in their driveway.

    Best to stay home until it melts.

  42. StevoR

    Also I do believe in treating the environment well, that pollution is a terrible thing, that the loss of biodiversity etc .. is dreadful & so forth – but I also believe in looking at the video and following where logic & science takes you whether you like it or not.

    Ah, the joy of spell chequers! Sigh. :roll:

    That’s supposed to read :

    Also I do believe in treating the environment well, that pollution is a terrible thing, that the loss of biodiversity etc .. is dreadful & so forth – but I also believe in looking at the evidence and following where logic & science takes you whether you like it or not.

    Natch!

    Although I ‘spose a video could be a form of evidence worth following on occassion! ;-)

  43. Alan B.

    @StevoR: If you’re going to be a AGW “skeptic” please rely on someone with more credibility than Plimer. He is a guy who believes “the sun isn’t composed of 98 per cent hydrogen and helium, as astronomers have confirmed through a century of observation and theory, but is instead similar in composition to a meteorite.” See http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/story-e6frg8no-1225710387147. I’d give you more sources, but then my comment would probably be stuck in moderation.

  44. shawmutt

    Dude, clean off the snow? You call yourself an astronomer?!?! There’s no better way to demonstrate what a comet is than with a snowy car barrelling down the highway at 75 mph!

    I create quite a tail!

  45. 9. StevoR Says:

    * I don’t really know squat about the Fahrenheit system but I think 100 F = 38~ish degees celsius right?

    40C=104F spellcheck

    Here’s a quick online converter…..http://www.albireo.ch/temperatureconverter/

    16. Thomas Siefert Says:

    If it’s raining heavily, TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS MORON!
    It’s not about what YOU can see, it’s about being seen by others.
    This rule applies at dusk and dawn too.

    Careful NOT to use high-beams.. it causes you to blind yourself (and others) in rain or snow, and if, like here in Tucson, there’s a ‘long sunset/rise’ turn on the lights ESPECIALLY if it’s at your back.

    20. Adam English Says:
    1)I live in NH, we get frequent snow storms. I believe there are nation-wide laws that prohibit leaving your car covered to prevent visibility.

    I’ve lived in Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, and Arizona.. and had snow at some time in all. (in fact, I built a small snowman in Tucson!)

    As for ‘covering’, how about putting a tarp or other means of keeping the windshield and rear window clear, pull the snow off with the tarp? Aren’t there ‘car covers’ available at most auto parts stores?

    2) They recently repainted some road marks in my city after people continually got ran over crossing the road on a regular basis.

    The most ignorant thing, IMHO, is crossing the ‘gore zone’.. the solid white lines, usually a triangle for merging, and cutting in front of someone in the through lane.. and usually crossing 3-4 lanes of traffic to get into the fast lane (then driving slower than everyone else on the road).
    BTW ‘gore zone’ is the name that local Law Enforcement uses, probably standard across the US

    23. Chet Twarog Says:

    Another unmentioned DANGER are the trailer trucks with layers of ice/snow atop the box flying off cart-wheeling several feet (meters) with the wind!

    I know that locally there are laws against ‘unsecured loads’ (e.g. gravel trucks.. one left a nice star pattern in my previous car’s windshield). Check your local laws.

    J/P=?

  46. Being seen by others is moot when you are driving on the correct side of the road.

    And if nobody ever turned, changed lanes, or went through an intersection, you might have a point.

  47. I’ve been hit by the same storm (up in Fort Collins), and I must say I agree totally. I love laughing at people who stop hard at a stopsign or something and have the entire contents of their roofs slide down onto their windshields.

    Well, I love it if I’m not behind or in front of said person.

  48. In Maine, it was a law that you had to clean the car off for the very same reason Phil cites. It could be dangerous to others driving behind you if snow blowing off your car obscured their view. And ice crust or slabs of snow flying off could damage stuff or hurt someone walking on the side of the road. The law means the lazy driver is liable for any damage or injury caused by their laziness. I know that sounds like common sense anyway, but having the law on the books gives it extra weight. It’s just dumb not to clean the snow off anyway. Though I’ve not seen anything as bad as in the picture above!

  49. Eamon

    I live in the ‘Snow Country’ part of Japan and we see those idiots too, often driving about with 30 cms of snow on top of their roof – with chunks falling off randomly as they navigate the streets of the city where I live.

    Morons.

  50. Douglas Troy

    Phil,

    That’s not unlike living in Atlanta, GA when Fall Flying Water from the Sky (aka Rain) comes down. People here, despite seeing Small Flying Water often, act like it’s the first time they’ve ever encountered it, and attempt to flee from it, at top speed, in their cars/trucks/SUVs. And when I say “Top Speed”, I mean, 20mph over what they normally drive on a sunny day, which isn’t ever speed limit either, and they tailgate; actually, they climb into your trunk and you pull them home.

    Oh, and while this is going on, they text their friends, twitter and post video/pictures of the Small Flying Water, because, you know, it’s like “end-of-the-world” type of stuff.

    Facebook Update: My God! There’s, there’s Water coming from the sky!!!! I’m going to church now to pray for the sinners. If only this guy in front of me, that’s pulling my F-150 with his bumper, would go faster.

  51. For those of you recommending car covers, don’t bother – they tend to freeze to the vehicle since as the warm car cools, the melt refreezes and your cover becomes a permanent fixture (at least til spring.) I think they have a picture of a car in this situation in the encyclopedia under “Screwed” …

    Amazing what living in a climate that gets to -30C (before windchill, -45C with) teaches you!

    Regards,
    Gord from Winnipeg, Canada (no snow yet!)

  52. mocular

    Timely post BA! Plenty of snow here in Loveland this AM.

  53. This is only symptomatic of a bigger problem: People don’t think about anyone else .

  54. Adam English

    Here is something for those of you in warm climates to think about: when it gets near 20 degrees F and below, and your car is nice and warm but you turn off the windshield defroster, it cools down and flash freezes the liquid snow on a nice sheet of ice. Then you gotta pull over and literally de-ice your windshield. It has happened to me in about 30 seconds in some cold weather. You suddenly lose all visibility. I had bad wipers once and had to not use them as well, because it added to this cycle of ice because it would spread slush around and it was easier for me to see with small pockets of ice rather than the entire windshield covered.

  55. Buzz Parsec

    #28, Sophia8, have you ever lived anywhere that it snows? That won’t work at all. For a foot of powder, it’ll do fine, but powder just brushes off, or the wind will blow it all off as soon as you get about 20 mph. But when it changes back and forth between rain, snow and sleet, the cover will end up a frozen intractable mass weighing hundreds of pounds, and frozen in place. What’s more, you won’t be able to get inside the car to start the engine and turn on the heater. So you would have to wait for it to melt, which could literally take weeks.

  56. adastragrl

    Very entertaining to see how a post about cleaning snow off your car has devolved into a global warming debate! My own stance on global warming: It’s not about saving Earth as Mother Nature will survive, it’s about us humans adapting to the changes. So whether the changes are man-made or not is irrelevant, will we survive them? Clearly, water and air pollution and ruining of the environment in general is detrimental to our own survival. And if we do ruin stuff to the point that we exterminate ourselves, give Earth a few million years and something else will eventually take over our niche.

  57. llewelly

    15. StevoR Says:
    November 15th, 2009 at 12:41 am :

    A bit off topic but I am curently halfway through reading Prof. Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven & Earth’ …

    Please read this analysis of Plimer’s book.

  58. llewelly

    44. shawmutt Says:
    November 15th, 2009 at 6:28 am:


    Dude, clean off the snow? You call yourself an astronomer?!?! There’s no better way to demonstrate what a comet is than with a snowy car barrelling down the highway at 75 mph!

    I create quite a tail!

    Please change your name to Shoemaker – Levy 9.

  59. llewelly

    42. StevoR Says:
    November 15th, 2009 at 6:16 am:

    Also I do believe in treating the environment well, that pollution is a terrible thing, that the loss of biodiversity etc .. is dreadful & so forth – but I also believe in looking at the evidence and following where logic & science takes you whether you like it or not.

    Please read Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming.

  60. Daniel J. Andrews

    Re: Plimer. The science is excruciatingly bad in that book, and Plimer repeats long-debunked myths (he knows this too), makes up graphs, refuses to cite his controversial data, and cites papers but then claims they say the opposite of what they actually say. Where have we seen this technique before (antivaxxers perhaps)?

    When challenged by Monbiot, who is a journalist, to back up some assertions in his book, Plimer ran away from the debate he had originally sought.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/aug/05/climate-change-scepticism

    Plimer also keeps repeating long debunked myths like volcanoes are responsible for most of the CO2 (not even close…see RealClimate.org, and see the science behind figuring out where the CO2 is coming from—hint: burning fossil fuels leaves a signature that volcano CO2 does not have), that it hasn’t warmed since 1998 (you can debunk this yourself with the GISS temperature data and Excel to draw a trend line—also this past month four independent statisticians were given these numbers but not told what they represented: All said there was no downward trend), and other silliness.

    But this doesn’t stop Plimer….he repeated the cooling myth again this month. At this point you can only conclude that Plimer doesn’t even have the math skills of a Grade 11 student, he is delusional, or he is lying. See here for a list of common climate myths that you really should avoid if you don’t want the label “denialist”.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    Btw, if you don’t know the difference between weather and climate then you really need to do some basic background research. Knowing the difference is the very first thing you should learn. Without it you’re no different from an antivaxxer who complains about mercury in MMR shots (regular readers know there isn’t mercury in MMR vaccines).

    To say global warming isn’t occurring is to put yourself against 97% of the climatologists
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119210532.htm
    and pretty much every major science organization around the world. Even Dr. Patrick Michaels who is a favourite of denialists (deny and ignore all evidence and all correction and that makes you a denialist, not a skeptic) told the Heartland Institute this year, the globe is warming and we’re probably causing it, so deal with it. That’s like some antivax doctor telling Generation Rescue, Age of Autism and Green our Vaccines, “Vaccines save lives, they don’t cause autism. they’re not toxic, so deal with it”. Stunning.

    The globe is warming, we likely (90%) have something to do with it. That is science, not politics. It is beyond politics because this is the consensus of scientists worldwide. What we do about it, however, will be politics. Debate and argue about what we will do, but do not twist the very solid science to say warming is not occurring in the first place so we don’t have to do anything.

    If you want to know what uncertainties we’re still dealing with, then check NASA.
    http://climate.nasa.gov/uncertainties/

    If you want to debate this or ask questions don’t do it here (I do my serious debating/teaching on sites dedicated to one topic, and don’t have time to repeatedly scan through loads of comments on other topics looking for a relevant one), but come on over to RealClimate.org. There is a link that says, “Start Here”, and this is where you can learn what the scientists are saying. This is material from peer-reviewed journals and summarized nicely in one place. Providing you are serious about learning and aren’t just a troll looking to (inadvertently) demonstrate the Dunning-Kruger effect the commenters at RC are very helpful and knowledgeable.

    Oh yes, don’t mention Gore as if that somehow discredits warming, the science or the scientists. That’s the red clown nose that tells them you’re to be laughed at. If you don’t know why you’ll be laughed at and then ignored then you don’t know enough about climate science to even offer an opinion (you can if you want, but it will be an uninformed opinion and those don’t count for much in science).

    Finally, ask yourself, are the vast majority of scientists worldwide from every type of political system lying, or is there a global conspiracy to make us believe warming is occurring, or are scientists worldwide all suddenly and collectively incompetent in their own field of expertise? If you say, “yes”, then you are no different from antivaxxers and moon landing hoaxers in that you reject the experts and embrace the amateurs.

    [I just know someone is going to link to the list of 18,000 or 30,000 scientists say global warming isn’t occurring to demonstrate there is no consensus. That list is another red clown nose…even newspapers know that now. If you don’t know why, you might want to spend a couple of minutes figuring that out too].

  61. Katrina

    Yes! This is a pet peeve of mine too.

  62. Jenny McCarthy

    Fact: 100% of the people who don’t brush the snow from their cars were vaccinated.

    What more proof do you need?

  63. Daniel J. Andrews

    Ha. That Yes car was parked in a garage and never had snow on it in the first place unless the person took time to clean out all the snow from the grill, and along the base of the windshield, and edges of the windows.

    If a chunk of ice flies off a car in front and hits your car then you’re most likely too close to the car in front of you given that the roads are probably slippery and icy and you will need more braking time. A friend of mine asked why I didn’t drive south to southern Ontario to visit him in the winter–“You’re a northerner, I thought you knew how to drive in the snow”. My reply was, ” I do know how to drive in the snow…but you southerners don’t”.

    First snowfall in Toronto sees cars littering the highway medians and ditches. First snowfall in the lower mainland of BC is even worse…they don’t even have all season tires and panicked motorists just leave their cars on the road when they start sliding. It’s an obstacle course out there, and whole towns shut down in conditions that are daily driving conditions for those of us who live in the north.

    As many have pointed out, brushing the snow/ice/mess off is just not an option at times. E.g. a cold front pushes out warm air, nice wet snow drops, then temperatures plunge overnight as the cold front moves through, and when you head out to your car it is encased in an armour of snow. Or rain, sleet, snow, freezing temps and it is another type of armour. Both can require you to literally chisel the snow out of the door frame so you can get your fingers in there and crack it open without pulling the handle off your car. That snow-ice armour will be attached to your car for a long time to come….until it flies off and smacks the tailgater behind you.

    By all means though you do need to clear your windshield. It is kind of scary to see some car driving down the road all fogged/iced over except for a small hole in front and a frost-scratched hole on the driver’s side window. We see that and we give that car a wide-berth (the police will pull over cars like that too).

    Incidentally, wherever I am working I try to live within an hour’s walk of work. If my car is encased in armour I just leave it. I’ll slowly chip away at it over a few days, let sublimation and evaporation help, keep new snow from accumulating, and eventually it is drivable again should I need it. A few years ago we had lots of snow/ice on and off, and I just gave up and didn’t drive the car from mid-January to first week in March.

  64. Jeff in Tucson

    ROFL! Phil posts a tiny little rant about a pet-peve–a public service, really, to protect drivers in the snowy regions–and it turns into a heated global warming debate? Hahahaha. Maybe I can get everyone started on abortion too?

  65. DemetriusOfPharos

    @JC, Rebisaz, et al
    Snow is what happens when Nature’s temperature drops below what you try to artificially make the temperature in your house during the Summer.

    Signed: Native Utahan (one who sees the full range every year, Global Warming or no)

  66. Grego

    And its deadly. There’s a new law going through right now here in New Jersey, requiring trucks remove excess snow & ice before hitting the road. It’s the result of an incident where a man was killed when a slab of snow/ice came off the top of an 18 wheeler & went through the poor guy’s windshield (his widow’s leading the charge). Of course, the trucking companies are fighting it, claiming the drivers might get hurt removing the stuff and it’s expensive. What’s a few more fatal accidents, right?

    Here’s hoping the idea catches on elsewhere…it’s a menace to everyone on the road in these parts. I prefer to view comets in the sky, not screaming down the NYS Thruway.

  67. Plainview

    Interesting topic for a science/astronomy blog.

  68. sophia8

    ROFL! Phil posts a tiny little rant about a pet-peve–a public service, really, to protect drivers in the snowy regions–and it turns into a heated global warming debate? Hahahaha. Maybe I can get everyone started on abortion too?
    For the love of Dog – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. Jesso

    Oh my goodness, this is exactly what happens when it snows here in North Texas. We only get “snow” (that’s really sleet and ice more than snow) maaayyybe once a year, so people really just DO NOT understand how to drive in it. You get people who just chisel out a small hole on the windshield, the people who drive down the highway 20mph slower than everyone else because they are scared, the people who drive down the highway at 30mph faster than everyone else because they are too stupid to realize that ice is slippery, and the people who think they won’t have any trouble at all going up over those 3-4 story high ramps. I like watching those last people on the news, because they keep sliding backwards, but they still keep trying to go up!

    My personal favorite, though, were the people who thought it was a *brilliant* idea to drive down the wrong side of a very hilly road that was iced over. The police had closed the eastbound side, because it was covered in trees and had no chance of thawing, so people decided that, instead of making a detour, they would drive east down the westbound lanes! My apartment complex is near the top of a hill on this road, so I watched people doing this, and watched one car going east up the hill as two cars going west crested the hill. I still have no idea how the eastbound car avoided being hit, but he managed to swerve into the median just in time. Idiot.

  70. Benjamin Brown

    As a Floridian, I am curious as to what this snow stuff everyone is talking about is.

  71. Michelle

    As a french canadian, I say DAMN RIGHT. Nothing more annoying than some lazy bum on the highway in front of you dropping snow at you from their car!

    I also wonder what these hurricane things those Floridians are speaking of are…

  72. RAF

    Gee, Phil…you could always move back to sunny california. :)

  73. Sean

    I’m betting the snow Phil got was the same storm we got in Laramie. What’s even more awesome is I got a parking ticket for being parked to far away from the curb when I was really just outside the gutter so my car wouldn’t get stuck.

  74. DarnItAllToHeck

    Thankfully Western Canada is basking in the unusual warmth of global warming consequences. Still no snow and above zero. Sweet. Talk about being of two minds on GW. Our oil makes us rich while warming our previously frigid winters.

    Yes, I know, for the greater good, we should shut down our tar sands but really, what have polar bears or coastal bangladeshis ever done for me?

  75. The Other Ian

    To those who are saying that an unbrushed car is only a hazard to tailgaters, that simply isn’t true. I’ll agree that the snow flying off of somebody’s car is usually only a minor irritation, unless you’re tailgating the person or driving at highway speeds. The real threat is the warming of the car’s cabin, eventually melting the bottom layer of the snow / ice. Then when the driver breaks, even just a little, all that snow and ice comes crashing down onto the windshield. The car is now driving blind on a potentially icy road. That creates a hazardous situation for everybody.

    Please, brush off your whole car. At minimum, brush off the windows and roof.

  76. skylyre

    As a New Englander, MA to be specific, I SO agree! Ever since I’ve been driving, I can’t stand to leave a flake on my car if I can help it lol. I’m short too, only 5′, and somehow I manage with a nice, long brush/scraper for the roof.

    The icy roof problem is solved by warming up the car for a while – something that’s just part of winter life for snowy climates. And if the door is frozen shut, I usually just try all of them to see if any are easier to access, and if not you’ve just gotta pound the ice off :) Works for me! I also park in a garage at home, but if it starts snowing at work… oh well.

    Thomas, I too dislike when people don’t have their lights on in rainy/dusky weather. Don’t get mad when I cut you off – I couldn’t see you!

    I thought it was hilarious when I went to NC during the winter to visit some relatives. It rarely snows there and it happened to when I was there. It was barely a dusting but the sight was too much – cars were all pulling over unable to drive in the harsh conditions. I couldn’t believe it.

  77. Eidolon

    I have always lived in Colorado where snow is a reality, not something you only hear ugly rumors about and I agree with BA. I can deal with the driving, but the white out that follows a semi is just a bit too exciting. Add in the peep show drivers , and driving after a snow is a real PITA.

    There is a reason that it’s called a garage, not a storage unit.

  78. Eidolon

    Daniel @ 60:

    Good damn post.

  79. What’s this “snow” you speak of? “Ice”? Like one puts into a mint julep? How very odd.

    /relaxes back in a chair, on the side of a sunny hill just West of Santa Rosa.

  80. Alan in the US

    Living in the snow belt, I firmly believe the garage is for the car, and not a place to fill with stuff. When I didn’t have a garage I always cleared all the snow off my car – I simply don’t feel safe driving any other way. Folks who can’t be bothered to clear the snow off their car should lose their license, plan and simple. There’s no excuse for driving without good visibility all around.

    Clear skies, Alan

  81. Tom Woolf

    I grew up in Buffalo and was taught, and re-taught, Phil’s wise words from my wise father. If I had not listened that 2nd time the only snow I would have had to worry about was the snow I’d have had to WALK through, because there’s no way my father would have let me drive while being a danger to others…

    On a side note… after living “up north” for my first 24 years, I tried Florida for 11. After recognizing that “heaven’s waiting room” was a living hell, I moved to Raleigh, NC (a very nice place). One day during my first winter here (yes, we do get all 4 seasons here, just that they are all in moderation) work was going to be closed at Noon due to an expected 6″ of snow in the afternoon. I laughed and stated “driving in that amount of snow is not bad – you just have to be careful.” My coworker, and ex-cop, was very clear about the foolishness of my statement: “You know how to drive in it because you grew up in snow. I know because of police driving school. The other 8 of 10 drivers do not have a clue.” Since that time, I have successfully avoided paying bumper cars on snowy days.

  82. Guilty.. *hangs head in shame*

    In my defense, we have a Ford F350 and I can’t get anywhere near the roof. I get as much as I can off the hood and the sides of the roof, but I’m not tall enough to get all of it.

    Maybe I need a stepladder.

  83. In some areas, driving with snow and ice on your car that flies off is counted as an “improperly secured load”. (Ontario Canada, for example.) So the police can stop you for it.

    Of course, they never do… but that’s an entirely different issue.

  84. okaasan59

    We have a different variety of the same varmint here in Louisiana. Those are the people who speed through gravel-covered construction zones, slinging up rocks on everyone else who’s trying to proceed with caution.

  85. Scenario_dave

    The only problem with warming your car up is watching your car drive off while looking through the living room window. With my 20 year old truck, I start the engine and lock the doors, if they’re not frozen up. Then I use my wife’s keys to open the door. I can’t do the same with my wife’s car because you can’t lock the door with the keys in it. Another safety device designed to help you get your car stolen.

  86. Ray

    @Scenario_dave

    The simplest solution is to let your wife sit in the car. If she gets stolen your insurance will cover it.

  87. Lonny Eachus

    @ #30 (Peter B):

    Quote: “The question instead is how fast the Earth is warming compared to previous warming episodes, and the effect this might have on the many environments on the Earth – will organisms be able to migrate fast enough to keep up with their preferred environment, or be able to evolve fast enough to adapt to warmer conditions in their current locations?”

    I understand and I can very much sympathize with that point of view… however, as I very clearly stated (in capitals even), that is not the question that I was addressing. I have nothing in principle against what you wrote, but that is a completely different context from what I was writing about, which was greenhouse warming theories, and CO2 in particular.

    So, we aren’t even necessarily disagreeing on any of this… I am just a bit curious why was it presented as a reply to my own post.

  88. StevoR

    @ 60 60. Daniel J. Andrews Says:
    November 15th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Re: Plimer. The science is excruciatingly bad in that book,

    Well reading further last night I encountered the following line which mades me wonder again :

    “In 1998, the Hubble telescope showed that a moon of Neptune (Triton) since it was visited by the Explorer space probe in1989.*

    WTF? “Explorer?” Huh?!?

    This spaceprobe – as I thought everyone knew – was ‘Voyager 2′. That was the one & only spacecraft to ever fly past Neptune twenty years ago last August . (It was actually one of the things that sparked me into astronomy.) As far as I recall (& please correct me if I’m wrong), there has never been an interplanetary spacecraft named ‘Explorer’ – although the USA’s first satellite went by this name I think.

    Yikes. :-o

    I have to admit that badly shakes my confidence in Plimer’s accuracy. I’m no expert on climate but I do know my space history.

    Plimer also there talks about the idea that the whole solar system is warming which I believe the BA has debunked here too.

    At this point you can only conclude that Plimer doesn’t even have the math skills of a Grade 11 student, he is delusional, or he is lying.

    I’ve met Ian Plimer personally and talked with him a bit. He came across to me as sincere and trustworthy, basically a good bloke, but perhaps I’m biased? I don’t think he’s lying nor do I think he’s mathematically incompetent.

    Note too that Plimer is a skeptic who was named Australian Humanist of the year in 1995 and fought vehemently politically and in court against the Creationists. He’s no anti-science religious Wrong-wing nutter. He has been a pro-science and pro-skepticism champion and thus deserves to be taken seriously when he draws the comparison of AGE -Extreme Greens & Creationist-type religion in my book.

    To say global warming isn’t occurring is to put yourself against 97% of the climatologists

    But not 97% of geologists and astronomers or scientists generally I’d guess. ;-)

    Climatologists are funded to investigate it from a climatological aspect. There is plausibly motivation funding and attention~wise for them to spin scare stories and exxagerate. Plimer may be wrong about some things but I do suspect the climatologists generally have a “jurisdictional blindness” issue and are too willing overlook geological and astronomical factors that may effexct the climate. Just my impression.

    Thanks for the links – I shall do as you suggest & take my research & questions there. :-)

    @ 57 & 59 llewelly Says:

    15. StevoR Says: A bit off topic but I am curently halfway through reading Prof. Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven & Earth’ …

    Please read this analysis of Plimer’s book.

    Please read Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming.

    Okay I’ll read those. Thanks. :-)

    Mind you, I won’t guarantee to agree with them & bear in mind that this is a polarised issue where strong opinions and vested interests & ideologies are at play on both sides – but I’ll take a look and judge for myself on the actual evidence.

    —-

    * Plimer cites as a source for this (footnote 570) “MIT News Office 24th June 1998.” Whether the error was his or theirs, it’s still a shocker & one I would’ve thought one that takes no less than a second to realise is wrong!

  89. Spectroscope

    @60 Daniel J. Andrews Says:

    “… don’t mention Gore as if that somehow discredits warming, the science or the scientists. That’s the red clown nose that tells them you’re to be laughed at.”

    Thing is Al Gore markets himself as a climate expert and is a leading political and public polemic pusher of the AGE hypothesis. It may be true that Al Gore isn’t a climate expert any more than he invented the internet. What he says just isn’t credible &, frankly, Gore is the original big fat liar! ;-)

    The problem is, at least in public, he is seen as “the man” when it comes to climate change – & if the science and everything is sound then the scientists would be well-advised to disassociate their works and results from this clown.

    Unfortunately, it is too late – Gore is too strongly linked with the whole climate change issue and his involvement automatically makes the science less trustworthy and more highly politicised in many people’s eyes. It’s a really problematic political-scientific crossover. Similarly, in the other direction, there’s Hansen who was a genuine scientific figure but has since evolved into a more political one after his clash with the Bush administration.

    When politics & politicians get mixed in with science then the science and its credibility suffers. There is a definite politicisation of science on Global Warming and it does cause the real science and scientists involved major headaches in getting real science across.

    The people over at RealClimate may laugh at those thinking Gore speaks for them or climate change science – but he is certainly seen that way by too many of the general public & that hurts their cause. Because, to many Americans, the joke is Gore.

    Not saying that’s right or wrong just how it seems to be.

  90. Cindy

    For all the people who say that you’re tailgating if you get snow on you from the car in front haven’t been in a situation where the snow had frozen to the top and it’s now a sunny day with dry pavement. Then you get the whole slab of snow coming off an SUV while you’re on the highway and it can be fun.

    I remember one time when I lived in NH and had gone down to Concord to do some shopping. It had started to snow and on the higher elevation parts of I89, the snow was sticking to the ground. I counted at least 4 SUV’s that had spun out on the side of the road. I was driving a little “econobox” with all-season tires and was smart enough to hang back behind the salt truck.

    It was nice living in NH because a) the roads were plowed and b) most of the people knew how to drive in snow. I now live in NJ and tend to not drive in snow because I tend to get behind a yahoo driving 10 mph while having an a**hole behind me wanting to go the usual 80 mph.

  91. energyrater1

    Ok time to have some fun with a Floridian point of view. Minnesota. Get up with 10 minutes to get to work (typical for FL) a

  92. energyrater1

    Ok time to have some fun with a Floridian point of view. Minnesota. Get up with 10 minutes to get to work (typical for FL) a

  93. Gonzo

    Love how this post brought out the global warming denialist crowd. LOL.

    I have found that, in general, if you begin your post with “I am not a global warming denialist” chances are great that you are.

    Also – clear your frakkin’ windshield.

  94. energyrater1

    Here is a Floridian point of view. I worked a few months in Minnesota in the early part of the year. Got up with 15 minutes to get to work and look outside and it looks like the posted pictures. First thing a Floridian does is turn on the wipers and realize they don’t work. oops! Better turn off the wiper before I burn up the motor! Crap! No dang ice scraper! Yes I make a cruise ship port hole and put the defrost on high. No time to put the heater on and wait 10 mins for another cup of cocoa! Driving now I notice the white rooster tails as I’m cruising along at 60mph, sooo coool! I think it looks neat. Next I see a little tiny crack in the windshield morph into a snake racing from one side to the other. I cannot believe I am actually watching the windshield crack right before my very eyes. Turn off the defrost and the crack stops two thirds across. Hey I’ll take my Spanish speaking cohorts and 15 mins of extra sleep over THAT anyday of the year.

  95. StevoR

    @ 45. John Paradox Says:

    40C=104F spellcheck. Here’s a quick online converter….. (link snipped)

    Thanks for that J/P=? ;-) 8)

    Cooler today only 30 degrees Celsius :-)

    Sadly warming up again to 40 + later this week – after today’s breif 1-day break from an “8 consecutive days over 37″ Adelaide heatwave. Sigh. :-(

    @ 40. Peter B Says:

    G’day StevoR : (Weblink.) His biography is on that screen.

    Okay. Thanks. I’ll check that out. :-)

    @ 43. Alan B. Says:

    @StevoR: If you’re going to be a AGW “skeptic” please rely on someone with more credibility than Plimer. He is a guy who believes “the sun isn’t composed of 98 per cent hydrogen and helium, as astronomers have confirmed through a century of observation and theory, but is instead similar in composition to a meteorite.” See (weblink snipped.) I’d give you more sources, but then my comment would probably be stuck in moderation.

    Yes, I actually read that section last night and mentally *facepalmed.*

    Pages 115 -116 ‘Heaven & Earth’ (Connor Court publishers, 2009) :

    “The Sun formed on the collapsed core of a supernova. (Snip) … There is recent visual evidence of rigid, iron-rich structures below the Sun’s fluid outer zone. (Snip) … The Sun is actually a pulsating star … “

    Plus Plimer quotes a paper titled ‘Is the Sun a pulsar?’ (Toth, P. 1977 Nature 270: 159-160. Which sounds pretty bad & has considerably lowered him & his credibility in my estimation. But then he seems to contradict that view & goes with a more, um, ‘conventional’ ( & accurate) description of the solar structure later leaving me somewhat baffled.

    I do still think he make some valid points with astronomical & geological cycles – & I’m really not sure that human C02 is the culprit anymore & as noted Earth’s climate has been naturally much hotter & C02 levels higher in past eons without the dreaded Eco-Apocalypse happening.

    But then I’m planning & trying to restrain myself here while I go to research & discuss this topic elsewhere as has been suggested. If I can .. ;-)

  96. MessierTidy Upper

    For those that may be interested Plimer appeared on the ABC-TV news program ‘lateline’ witha transcript available here :

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2554129.htm

  97. EmaNymton

    Well, StevoR, I’m not sure that you’re choice to believe such a terrible source says much for your judgment.

  98. Gerard

    People who scrape a mere porthole are a menace. Therefore you must scrape your entire vehicle?

    I thought this was a pro-reason website. Oh well.

    Gerard

  99. Allen

    So from the timing of the original blog post, sounds like you got hit with the same snow storm that just went through Denver. Yes? No?

    I’m not sure about those slabs of ice, though. Maybe been having bad dreams? As many lazy schmoes I’ve noticed out there failing miserably at cleaning off their cars, I have yet to notice any of them having ice flying off their vehicle. But that could be because the snow would need to melt, somehow not run off the car roof, and then freeze. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky.

  100. sophia8

    What’s Al Gore supposed to have been saying about climate change in the last couple of years? I’ve obviously missed the memo telling me to buy his books, listen to all his speeches and check his website daily – so bring me up to speed, peeps!

  101. Ray

    I have to bag on Phil for his choice of pictures. The NO picture, which is supposed to be an example of someone who hasn’t cleaned off the snow before driving, is no good.

    That car has obviously not moved in a while. Look at the snow buildup on the tires and ground around the car.

    At least get a better example for the rants.

  102. Nigel Depledge

    Thomas Siefert (19) said:

    If it’s raining heavily, TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS MORON!
    It’s not about what YOU can see, it’s about being seen by others.
    This rule applies at dusk and dawn too.

    Oh dear, you’ve managed to run into one of my pet bugbears.

    If it’s raining but you can still see where you are going, leave your headlights off (but feel free to use sidelights).

    It’s not about people seeing only your car, it’s about letting them see everything else they need to as well (like that pedestrian who just foolishly stepped into the road in front of them, or the motor sccoter whose electrics just failed because of the rain, or the sign warning them of a severe bend in the road, or … well … everything else that isn’t lit up).

    Headlights – even dipped-beam headlights – will shine off a wet road and dazzle other drivers. (Dipped-beam headlights can also dazzle other drivers on a dry road when you go around a bend or over a crest).

    If the light is difficult, use sidelights – these will never dazzle anyone, but they still give other people a good chance of seeing your car.

    There are only five conditions where headlights are justified in the daytime (including dawn and dusk) – fog, falling snow, heavy spray, being underground [e.g. in a tunnel or carpark] or cloud cover so dense you cannot see where you’re going.

    As a rule of thumb for dusk, dawn and rainfall : if there were nothing coming the other way (and no street lights), would you be using main-beam headlights? If the answer is “no”, then you don’t need your headlights on.

  103. Joshua See

    > BTW. When are you guys in the States gonna join the rest of the planet & go metric
    Don’t hold your breath or your degrees. The best answer I can come up with would be to scan the cover of my first -and only- edition copy of “Think Metric Now!” complete with the “Withdrawn/Destroy” stamp the library put on it. There has been no significant political movement since the 1970s for metrification. Science and engineering fields in the US will continue to use metric, the schools will continue to give it lip service, and the rest of the US will continue its ad hoc, limited metric use.

    > so getting on a sensible temperature system eh?
    Actually, the temperature scale strikes me as the second weakest part of the metric system, after the omission of decimalized time. Celsius is great if you’re a glass of water, not so much if you’re a human being. 40˚C and -20˚C are unremarkable points on a scale. 100˚F and 0˚F are strong hints to find shelter. Keep in mind that linear scale was a feature Celsius adopted from Fahrenheit in a failed attempt to win popular acceptance. Celsius has historically required legal compulsion to force popular use, it never had appeal outside of the hard sciences, and was not or˚iginally intended as an all purpose temperature scale.

  104. Jack Frost

    Damn dude.

    Chill.

    How long have you been living with snow anyway? You sound like someone who has only dealt with a single season or two.

  105. K1p

    I lost a front window when a sheet of ice flew off of a semi trailer.

  106. Thomas Siefert

    Nigel Depledge (101) said:

    There are only five conditions where headlights are justified in the daytime (including dawn and dusk) – fog, falling snow, heavy spray, being underground [e.g. in a tunnel or carpark] or cloud cover so dense you cannot see where you’re going.

    I agree,what I’m getting at is that people don’t seem be able to make the right decision on when to use their headlights.

    In both Sweden and Denmark, headlights must be used 24 hours a day. After introducing the new rules some years back, both countries saw a drop in accidents where one part hadn’t noticed a vehicle coming towards them, most notably pedestrians and cyclists.
    I would guess that taking the decision away from the driver of when to use headlights have been the benefactor of the lower accident rates.

    In Australia it is recommended to drive with your headlights on at all times when driving in the bush. I can personally testify that even in broad daylight on a sunny day, you will notice oncoming vehicles sooner when they got their headlights on.

    From the UK The Highway Code:

    Lighting requirements (113-116)
    113

    You MUST

    • ensure all sidelights and rear registration plate lights are lit between sunset and sunrise
    • use headlights at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting. These roads are generally restricted to a speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h) unless otherwise specified
    • use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226)

    Night (the hours of darkness) is defined as the period between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise).

  107. Thomas Siefert

    Whoops, lost Rule 226

    226

    You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves (see Rule 236).

  108. Gus Snarp

    If there were a hell, there would be a special circle of it for people who don’t clean snow off their cars properly.

  109. Nigel Depledge (#36):

    If snow falling off the car in front of you hits your car, you’re driving too damn close!

    Seriously, tailgating is dangerous and aggressive even on a clean, dry road, and it’s downright crazy when it’s snowy and icy.

    You’ve never seen “good” snowfall then, have you? We’re not talking about the cloud of powdery snow that blows off the car as it drives down the road. (Which can be bad enough to “blind” the driver of the car behind you.) We’re talking about the roof-sized slab that flies off as a single chunk, gets lifted in the air (picture the roofs of houses in videos of hurricanes), and slams down onto the car behind it.

    No tailgating required. At highway speeds, it can take several seconds for the slab to come back down. If you’re “lucky”, it’ll hit your roof. If you’re not so lucky, it’ll hit your windshield. (In fact, you’re probably safer in this scenario if you *are* tailgating, as the slab will fly over your car entirely. Tailgating is still a stupid thing to do, of course.)

    As Phil said:

    I get unhappy when the snow — or, joy of joys, a big ol’ slab of ice — flies off your car and hits my windshield or just sits like a mine in the middle of the road.

  110. Pouria

    @104.

    Is that a phenomen only happening in the US or something? In Sweden, you have to by law always drive with headlights on, be it a sunny day or rainy night. And I have not once been blinded by other vehicles (unless they other drivers are idiots that drive with full headlights on). Also during heavy rain/fog, you use foglights, so you don’t blind yourself.

    The idea behind headlights always being on, is so you can distinguish between a parked car (turned off), and a moving car while in traffic. Also, then no one forgets to turn them on at night, something I noticed alot of people did while I was in the US studying.

    /P

  111. Nigel Depledge

    Thomas Siefert (108) said:

    In Australia it is recommended to drive with your headlights on at all times when driving in the bush. I can personally testify that even in broad daylight on a sunny day, you will notice oncoming vehicles sooner when they got their headlights on.

    Yes, you will nearly always see a vehicle from farther away when it has its headlights on.

    The question this raises is: when do you need to?

    And does the beneift outweigh the risk?

    (The risk being: potential for getting dazzled; objects lit up distract you from noticing objects that are not lit up; and headlights obscure direction signals – perhaps not relevant in the Australian bush, but very relevant on the busy roads around most of the UK.)

  112. Nigel Depledge

    Pouria (112) said:

    And I have not once been blinded by other vehicles (unless they other drivers are idiots that drive with full headlights on).

    You must be one of those lucky people that can tolerate having bright lights shone at you for short periods of time.

    Be aware that not everyone is like that. I am frequently dazzled by other drivers’ dipped-beam headlights, for one of the following reasons:

    1) Headlights incorrectly adjusted; or
    2) Reflection off a wet road; or
    3) Oncoming vehicle going over a crest in the road; or
    4) Oncoming vehicle going around a curve that means I am briefly within the intense part of the headlight beam.

    There are ways to cope with this, but why should I have to if the other driver does not need to have their headlights on?

  113. Arg, yes Phil! It’s a horrible problem i saw every snow in Boulder. And even people who cleaned off their windshields wouldn’t clear off the *tops* of their cars, so snow would blow off and hit me or cover their rear window again.

  114. Nigel Depledge

    Ken B (111) said:

    You’ve never seen “good” snowfall then, have you? We’re not talking about the cloud of powdery snow that blows off the car as it drives down the road. (Which can be bad enough to “blind” the driver of the car behind you.) We’re talking about the roof-sized slab that flies off as a single chunk, gets lifted in the air (picture the roofs of houses in videos of hurricanes), and slams down onto the car behind it.

    No tailgating required. At highway speeds, it can take several seconds for the slab to come back down. If you’re “lucky”, it’ll hit your roof. If you’re not so lucky, it’ll hit your windshield. (In fact, you’re probably safer in this scenario if you *are* tailgating, as the slab will fly over your car entirely. Tailgating is still a stupid thing to do, of course.)

    Maybe you missed the rest of my comment. I went on to say:

    Having said that, I also agree that you should get as much snow and ice off your car as you can before you set off. This is especially true if the chunks of snow / ice are large enough that they can act as an obstacle in the road. Here in the UK, it is rare to get more than about 3 or 4 inches of snow at a time (except in upland areas like Wales and Scotland), so it is unlikely that we’ll have that part of the issue.

    (Bolding added for this response.)

    Any chunk of ice or snow that is large enough to act as an obstacle will also be large enough to fly in the wind as you describe.

  115. Nigel Depledge

    Joshua See (105) said:

    Actually, the temperature scale strikes me as the second weakest part of the metric system, after the omission of decimalized time. Celsius is great if you’re a glass of water, not so much if you’re a human being. 40˚C and -20˚C are unremarkable points on a scale. 100˚F and 0˚F are strong hints to find shelter. Keep in mind that linear scale was a feature Celsius adopted from Fahrenheit in a failed attempt to win popular acceptance. Celsius has historically required legal compulsion to force popular use, it never had appeal outside of the hard sciences, and was not or˚iginally intended as an all purpose temperature scale.

    But at least the Celsius scale is based on something real.

    What’s the basis of the Fahrenheit scale?

    But, if your have been paying attention you will know that °C are not an SI unit. The SI unit of temperature is the Kelvin.

  116. Petrolonfire

    @110. Gus Snarp Says:

    If there were a hell, there would be a special circle of it for people who don’t clean snow off their cars properly.

    That’d be the ice circle of hell then? Or the “fire *for* having too much ice” circle of hell perhaps? ;-)

    But there’s a snowball in you-know-where’s chance of that being real, alas! ;-)

  117. Plutonium being from Pluto

    It makes me so glad the snow & ice on Pluto is methane instead of H20. ;-)

    Well, there is the liquid water layer near the Plutonean core but that’s suffused with a nice radioactive Plutonium-Neptunium-Thorium-Uranium mix that helps give us Plutoneans our energy! ;-)

    If you send any spacecraft our way (you”ll have to go below Pluto’s methane & nitrogen ices crust so New Horizons we’ll just have to wave too) make sure you don’t forget those tasty RTG’s won’t you! ;-)

  118. john

    >58. llewelly Says:
    > November 15th, 2009 at 8:41 am
    >> 44. shawmutt Says:
    >> November 15th, 2009 at 6:28 am:
    >> Dude, clean off the snow? You call yourself an astronomer?!?!
    >> There’s no better way to demonstrate what a comet is than
    >> with a snowy car barrelling down the highway at 75 mph!
    >> I create quite a tail!
    > Please change your name to Shoemaker – Levy 9.

    Can’t be done Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter. shawmutt hit a Saturn.

  119. Petrolonfire

    Can’t be done Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter. shawmutt hit a Saturn.

    LOL. Well, as long as you don’t rear-end Uranus! ;-)

    (Hey with a set-up like that, somebody had to say it! ;-) )

  120. Gus Snarp

    @Nigel – Well, here in the Northern U.S. we get drivers who after a foot of snow finished up with freezing rain will go out and make a half meter hole in front of the driver and set off for the morning commute. I mean this quite literally, half meter is in fact being generous. So not only is snow blowing off, but they’ve given themselves tunnel vision.

    But not only do you get the sheets of ice, when there is no ice cover you get a car blowing off a constant cloud of snow that makes visibility zero for any car behind them, even at more than reasonable following distance.

    And finally, the biggest problem usually occurs during acceleration and deceleration (for reasons that should be obvious to everyone here), so it is when these drivers take off from stop lights and you are still close behind them that the most snow blows onto your car. Or when they brake hard and throw a left turn (that would be like a right turn for you), and you are far enough back to avoid hitting them, but not to avoid the chunk of ice and snow they fling into the road.

  121. Gus Snarp

    But the worst are tractor trailers on the highway. Nothing more fun than when a fifty foot by eight foot chunk of ice comes hurtling off into four lanes of high speed traffic. Maybe they should be required to run electric defrosting wires in the roofs of the trailers and melt it off before setting off. Ah, but that would impede interstate commerce, the greatest sin in America.

  122. To an extent, I agree. Drivers should be sure that they have fair visibility and that there’s not too much ice piled up on the vehicle.

    That said, the ‘no’ pic is sitting and has been for some time, the ‘yes’ pic has just come out of a garage when it’s not snowing, and if you are hit by a chunk of ice, you are following too close.

    Most people follow too close anyway, and in ice and snow conditions it usually gets worse. People creep up as visibility drops. Maybe they want the company?

    If the vehicle you were following were to suddenly stop, you would be as unable to avoid it as to avoid that falling chunk of ice. That’s why you get thirty-car pile-ups on winter days.

    Trucks are the lifeblood of the American economy, and their drivers are already overworked. The infrastructure does not exist to store them in garages, and they have no choice but to venture out into the snow. It’s really not fair to ask them to stop every few miles in a snow-storm to brush off.

    Instead, you should yield the roadway to them. Avoid driving when you can, give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going, and don’t crowd other drivers, especially those in much larger vehicles.

  123. Gus Snarp

    @JediBear – I can assure you that you can be hit by a chunk of ice or blinded by snow without following too closely.

  124. GaryB

    I’ve lived in Saskatchewan for 54 years and had to scrape windshields for most of that time. What I found worked best of all was to remove the windshield and side windows. Since then I have not had to scrape.

  125. Gus Snarp

    @JediBear – If the snowfall is so heavy that truck drivers would have to stop and clear their trucks to prevent buildup on a vehicle travelling at 70 miles per hour, then they should probably just get off the road until the weather clears.

  126. Thomas Siefert

    Nigel Depledge (113) Said:
    November 16th, 2009 at 8:32 am

    And does the beneift outweigh the risk?

    (The risk being: potential for getting dazzled; objects lit up distract you from noticing objects that are not lit up; and headlights obscure direction signals – perhaps not relevant in the Australian bush, but very relevant on the busy roads around most of the UK.)

    According to the numbers the benefits outweigh the risks, sorry no links, this was all from the status reports on the news in Denmark in 2005 after 15 years of compulsory 24 hours headlights. The introduction of the rules in Denmark in 1990 was based on the positive numbers from Sweden that introduced the rules in 1977.

    I can’t recall being dazzled by the headlights during daytime and I have never heard or seen any news reports blaming headlights for any daytime accidents (not saying that it hasn’t happened, just that I have never heard of it).

    The other argument that you hear, is that fuel consumption goes up, which is correct, but do we really want to sacrifice road safety for energy savings? If you worry about that, turn off your air-conditioner, stereo (does anybody younger than 40 call it that any more?) and/or seat heater.
    Well, that point is about to be moot anyway, more cars now come with dedicated Daytime Running Lamps which uses low-consumption LEDs.

  127. evinfuilt

    That’s one of the reasons when you car shop you shouldn’t buy a car/SUV that you can’t sweep the snow off of the roofline. Even with just a simple 1 foot long brush on 1ft handle I could clear my roof off for less than a minutes worth of work (and do it before the ice scraping.) I actually had an order I had to do while I lived up in the cold north.

    Somehow open door and get brush out
    Clear off vents for front windshield
    start engine, all defrosters to full
    sweep off all snow (from roof to bumper)
    Scrape, scrape, scrape. Even a couple minutes of defrost helps it all break up.

    I admit I don’t mind if I still have ice on the passenger side of the windshield. I also use the winter windshield wiper fluid (defroster stuff.) A quick squirt of that always helps finish off the work.

  128. 117. Nigel Depledge Says:
    November 16th, 2009 at 8:47 am :…at least the Celsius scale is based on something real. What’s the basis of the Fahrenheit scale?”

    Gabriel Fahrenheit lived in a village that had extensive dairy farms surrounding it. The value for “0” was the coldest day in the the village the winter he was setting up the scale. For “100” he used the body temperature of a cow. Really.

    He at least gets credit for being the first to quantify temperature.

    – Jack

  129. Chanelle

    @ 3 Roy: I hereby propose an alternative solution: I moved. I know it won’t work for everyone, but it worked for me. In conclusion: Idaho BAD. SF Bay, GOOD.

    I must disagree. I will gladly put up with a bit of inclement weather in order to be able to enjoy everything else about Idaho.

    @Nigel Depledge: For the arguement about headlights, I drive a Saturn and have some form of headlights on all the time, so sorry if that bothers you, not something I have control over.

    Finally, for the original topic, I totally agree. I’ve had to, on more than one occasion, run my windshield wipers to keep clearing snow coming from other vehicles, both in front and beside me, it isn’t just from tailgating. I don’t drive all that much, and I still see people every day who don’t have enough windshield cleared. Sometimes, though, the melted, and then refrozen stuff just doesn’t scrape off. As for leaving the car running, it was on the local radio lately, when a radio host had her car stolen for doing exactly that, that it is illegal (here in Idaho, anyway) to leave a running vehicle unattended, because it encourages theft.

    I always brush as much as possible off my car before going out on the roads, but even so, some of the fine stuff still comes off while driving.

  130. Pyro Lizard

    Preach it, brother Plait! It really ties my noodle when I see people driving around through a tiny fist size port hole in their front windshield. It especially balds my tires when I see police passing by these offenders without pulling them over. IMHO, driving with limited visibility is tantamount to driving under the influence.

  131. StevoR

    @ 117. Nigel Depledge Says:

    But, if your have been paying attention you will know that °C are not an SI unit. The SI unit of temperature is the Kelvin.

    Yes, the Kelvin system for temperature makes most sense I agree but I’m quite happy with using degrees Celsius for normal weather.

    Question for you if I may please :

    How do you create the degrees Celcisus (°C) symbol in html here?

    I wish I knew how to do that ..

    BTW. Worked out a way to remember the spelling of Celsius assuming I’ve got it right here (checked with how somebody else – Nigel Depledge I think – has it too.) Think three parts : Cel for “Cell”, ‘Si’ italian or spanish for ‘yes’ & ‘us’ so think a homeless drunk Italian or Spaniard saying “Cells for us? Si!” Dunno if that helps anyone else but hope so. ;-)

  132. Gus Snarp

    @evinfuilt – you really have to keep a big scraper/brush in the house to deal with step one.

    @Chanelle – I usually don’t leave my car unattended, I just let it run while I clear it off.

    And speaking of having an order, I always scrape my car from the top down, then I do side windows after the top, windshield after the side, because it allows the maximum amount of work to be done by the defrosters and the minimum by me.

  133. astral

    Huh? Kelvin system makes sense? Thought it is based on imaginary point of zero that has no relation to reality? It is an 1800-century fabrication, and makes sense only to those that imagine things like an accurate thermometer.

  134. Mrs. BA

    @Nigel Depledge – Being in the UK, if your car does get some snow on it, can’t you just wait 20 minutes for the next rain to clear it off? ;)

    I seriously used to think everyone must be exaggerating about how much it rains in England until I spent 10 days there. By the fourth day I was getting a little bummed by the partly- to completely cloudy skies, then a local commented on how lucky I was that the weather was so nice during my stay – and they were serious! I love living at the base of the Rockies and having 300+ sunny days per year. It’s worth dealing with every snow-covered idiot on the road.

    I don’t mean to sound negative about the UK. It’s a really beautiful place and all the people we met were lovely. Plus – there’s the shortbread. I could easily live there if I didn’t suffer from mild seasonal affective disorder. That’s the main reason I wanted to leave the San Francisco are – great place to live, but not enough sunshine for me.

  135. Thomas Siefert

    @ Mrs. BA,
    Having lived in London for the past four years, I’ve found that it isn’t as bad it’s been made up to.
    One good advice though, before you leave your house in the morning, look out the window and if there’s a clear blue sky, bring your umbrella.

  136. Nigel Depledge

    Gus Snarp (123) said:

    @Nigel – Well, here in the Northern U.S. we get drivers who after a foot of snow finished up with freezing rain will go out and make a half meter hole in front of the driver and set off for the morning commute. I mean this quite literally, half meter is in fact being generous. So not only is snow blowing off, but they’ve given themselves tunnel vision.

    … and you are far enough back to avoid hitting them, but not to avoid the chunk of ice and snow they fling into the road.

    OK, point taken. But you guys must be crazy to go out driving when it’s like that. ;-)

    In the south of England, where snow is rarer than in the north, a fall of a couple of inches of snow can bring the nation to a halt. In the north of England and southern Scotland, it takes a good 5 – 6 inches to have the same impact.

    So you’re talking about levels of snowfall that I have never even seen, let alone tried to drive in.

  137. Nigel Depledge

    JediBear (125) said:

    Most people follow too close anyway, and in ice and snow conditions it usually gets worse. People creep up as visibility drops. Maybe they want the company?

    LOL!

  138. Nigel Depledge

    Thomas Siefert (129) said:

    According to the numbers the benefits outweigh the risks, sorry no links, this was all from the status reports on the news in Denmark in 2005 after 15 years of compulsory 24 hours headlights. The introduction of the rules in Denmark in 1990 was based on the positive numbers from Sweden that introduced the rules in 1977.

    Dipped-beam headlights generally dazzle people for only short periods of time. we all have to cope with them at night, so those same coping mechanisms can be applied to daytime driving too. I cannot recall a recent journey to work when I wasn’t dazzled by at least one car using its dipped-beam headlights when it didn’t need them.

    It would be nice to not have to deal with that.

  139. Nigel Depledge

    Channelle (132) said:

    @Nigel Depledge: For the arguement about headlights, I drive a Saturn and have some form of headlights on all the time, so sorry if that bothers you, not something I have control over.

    Yeah, Volvo have the same thing on cars they sell here in the UK.

    It bugs me and it hurts my eyes, but its hard to argue against the stats from Sweden (as mentioned by another commenter), even though there are several differences in circumstance between Sweden and the UK.

  140. Nigel Depledge

    StevoR (134) said:

    How do you create the degrees Celcisus (°C) symbol in html here?

    I wish I knew how to do that ..

    Switch on NumLock
    Hold down Alt
    Using the number pad, type the numeral 248
    Lo: °
    (this doesn’t work using the row of numeral keys at the top of the keyboard. I don’t know why).

  141. Nigel Depledge

    Astral (136) said:

    Huh? Kelvin system makes sense? Thought it is based on imaginary point of zero that has no relation to reality?

    Er, no … absolute zero really exists. Just because making a machine to achieve it is really, really hard (or perhaps unfeasible) doesn’t mean we should abandon it.

    It is an 1800-century fabrication,

    Erm … I don’t know what century you’re living in, but I’m in the 21st, so we have a long wait for the 1800th.

    and makes sense only to those that imagine things like an accurate thermometer.

    Erm … or an accurate spectrophotometer? Physical thermometers are not used for truly precise temperature readings.

  142. Nigel Depledge

    Mrs BA (137) said:

    @Nigel Depledge – Being in the UK, if your car does get some snow on it, can’t you just wait 20 minutes for the next rain to clear it off?

    Heh. well, when I lived in Southampton (on the south coast) I didn’t have a car, but that would have worked. I never saw snow there last more than about 3 days.

    Currently, I live in the north of England (next time you’re in the UK, try to take the time to visit Durham* – it’s a gem), and snow will occasionally last for about a week. When I lived in Scotland, the snow would typically last for a week at a time, and sometimes lasted for about 10 days (and white Christmases were commonplace, yay!).

    I seriously used to think everyone must be exaggerating about how much it rains in England until I spent 10 days there. By the fourth day I was getting a little bummed by the partly- to completely cloudy skies, then a local commented on how lucky I was that the weather was so nice during my stay – and they were serious! I love living at the base of the Rockies and having 300+ sunny days per year. It’s worth dealing with every snow-covered idiot on the road.

    I think I would get bored if the weather were the same every day.

    I don’t mean to sound negative about the UK. It’s a really beautiful place and all the people we met were lovely. Plus – there’s the shortbread. I could easily live there if I didn’t suffer from mild seasonal affective disorder. That’s the main reason I wanted to leave the San Francisco are – great place to live, but not enough sunshine for me.

    Wow. And here was me thinking “the West Coast gets the sunshine…”.
    Does that mean the Beach Boys have been lying to me?

    *Not the one in North Carolina. The one after which that one was named.

  143. Angela

    Don’t knock all North Carolinians! I live in Boone, North Carolina, and we typically get several moderate to big snow storms each winter (and a number of little ones). This March, we had nearly 3 feet. Most people who’ve lived here very long know how to drive in snow and are careful to make sure our cars are completely cleared off, lots of following distance between other cars, driving slowly, etc. It’s the students (this is a college town), their parents, and tourists who have to drive up the mountain to see the snow who are the problem, typically. You can usually tell who’s who because they have the giant SUVs and think that 4-wheel drive will prevent any problems, and so they don’t usually bother clearing off more than a little tiny hole in their windshield. It’s actually amusing to watch the 4x4s sliding around the highway (when I’m watching from my house and no one gets hurt). From my old house, I could see a major highway. I’d generally just stand there with the phone to call the highway patrol when someone was stuck in a ditch or the collision seemed to be hard enough to cause injury.

  144. Jeffersonian

    Cleaning for visibility, sure. It’s the law. But climbing onto the roof to clean it? Ridiculous. I’ve lived in high Colorado as well as down here in the metro snow-shadow (big snow in Boulder is actually rare and is mostly a fall/spring occurrence – winters are mild which is what makes Boulder a year-round sports mecca) and the number of times I’ve been “slammed” or “iced” by roof snow = 0. Number of times I’ve had it obscure my own visibility = 0. Some of you seem to be saying “I hate it when I’m driving on a snowpacked road and some additional flakes are added by the car in front of me, wahhh!” . It’s just snow – not blocks of ice (which I’ve also never had on top of my car – Colorado snow may be generally feather-light but where is this country/state where you have blocks of ice on top of your car?). Phil may sound new to the situation but there are many Boulder groundies (who spend little time in the mountains) who haven’t dealt with it much, including thousands of college kids.

    @nigel
    My peeve is people who drive with their parking lights on at highway speeds (not legal in most of the US). Some people can’t figure out the difference between “parking” lights and “driving” lights. Just FYI, many modern vehicles do not allow you to use just the parking lights. Mine has ALWAYS ON parking and driving lights – it’s a proven SAFETY FEATURE (though it’s annoying at drive-up windows where you SHOULD turn your driving lights off, people). You’ re recommendation is also opposite to both US driving instruction and the law – at least in the states I’ve lived in (parking lights are only to be used while parking and at parking speeds). ;)

    @arlo
    “It’s like the low fat meme that has dominated our unskeptical minds for the past half century, ignoring the diet of our paleolithic ancestors for 2 million years, who we evolved from, in favour of the diet we adopted a mere 10 thousand years ago. Every study that confirms our unthinking idea that low fat / less animals is healthier is nodded at with sage approval, while every study / culture that shows that high fat / more animals / less grains/legumes/dairy is healthier is instantly dismissed.”

    So, seems that you’re saying: since they died young, so should we. And any discovery that helps us live healthier and longer than our predecessors should be discarded.

    “We’re so convinced that fat is bad that we are even feeding our dogs “whole grain” dog foods, like their wolf ancestors were master agriculturalists.”

    Dogs will drink antifreeze or kill themselves with chocolate or chicken bones if you let them. Are they better decision makers than veterinary nutrition studies?

  145. astral

    and makes sense only to those that imagine things like an accurate thermometer.

    “Erm … or an accurate spectrophotometer? Physical thermometers are not used for truly precise temperature readings.”

    a so called ‘accurate spectrophotometer’ is only accurate up to a point. Are you certain that kind of an instrument lets all the radiation in? Does it register or fade in the circuits? On the latter sentence, it seems you agree with the surfacestations study, good for you.

  146. Gus Snarp

    @Jeffersonian – Blocks of ice happen all the time. We get at least one snowfall a year that results in this condition. It requires some fluctuating temperatures as the front moves through, but is really quite common. First you get snow, anything over 2 inches of accumulation is enough, it has little to do with amount of snow. Then the temperature warms and the snow turns to rain, some of the snow melts, some doesn’t. Then the temperature plunges rapidly and the falling rain and melted snow refreeze creating sheets of ice on top of vehicles. Usually this happens overnight, since nightfall helps to provide the plunging temps.

    Now I live in a major city on the great lakes. We don’t stop for snow, it happens too often and th economic impacts would be tremendous. So what happens is massive fleets of snowplows and salt trucks are deployed to clear the streets. The result is that in spite of large snowfalls and ice accumulation, the major roads are relatively clear for the morning commute. So there is no snow on the road, no snow falling, only snow from uncleared cars. It does affect visibility, and it does result in dangerous chunks of ice blowing off of vehicles. Just because you don’t notice it doesn’t mean the rest of us are lying about it.

    I noticed something else: you mentioned “climbing on the roof”. Who said anything about climbing on the roof? How about drive a smaller car? Buy a long handled snow brush? Run the heat for a while while you clean the rest of the car and the stuff on the roof can be pushed right off. Are you really so short and your car so big that you can’t reach it with a long handled snow brush (or a broom)? Or is it just an excuse because you don’t want to get up a little earlier or do a little work?

  147. Gus Snarp

    @Jeffersonian – one other point – it may be cold enough in Boulder most of the time that you don’t get these conditions because you don’t get the warm up. Trust me, it happens across the Midwest on a regular basis, and from what I’ve heard it’s common in the Northeast as well.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »