December 6, 2010

"People my age don’t want to put hats and scarves on in their homes..."

Old people in Britain are cold.

Ironically, I read that while wearing mittens. I've been trying to warm up my hands for the last hour. It's not really a big deal. I keep the thermostat at 62°. I could turn it up, but I don't. It may be true that as you get older, the cold gets to you, and I feel sorry for people who don't have the option to turn up the heat. I think that wears on you psychologically. But, really, it's healthy to keep the air you breathe cool. It's also good for the environment not to burn more fuel for heat. Shouldn't it be normal to warm up your extremities with sweaters, slippers, hats, scarves, and even mittens? Why is there some idea that if you are getting old, you shouldn't have to use clothing to warm yourself?

142 comments:

rhhardin said...

A Doberman runs something over 100 degrees F, very toasty sharing a bed.

john said...

It's our internal furnace that slowly goes out of service as we age, Ann. Bundle up a very old person and they may still become chilled under all the clothes.

Kind of reptilian when you think about it.

madAsHell said...

My 85 year old mother....turns up the heat for the bridge game. Otherwise, she wears sweaters....

Yeah...save up your money so you can die someplace warm.

john said...

Is it gonna be a three dog night up there?

edutcher said...

Lefties don't give to charity because they think that's what government should do (also, they're the greediest hypocrites on the planet).

When people in Blighty are freezing to death and the oldsters are dying of heat stroke in La Madeleine because nobody can afford heat (or AC)and their family doesn't check on them because that's what the government is supposed to do, you have the compassion of the Welfare State on display.

Ann Althouse said...

But, really, it's healthy to keep the air you breathe cool. It's also good for the environment not to burn more fuel for heat

Not when you have The Blonde's circulation - or lack of it. After Labor Day, every night is a three dog night.

ref, ref

MrBuddwing said...

Ever see the movie "Reversal of Fortune"? Remember the scene in which Claus von Bulow (played by Jeremy Irons) puts on a heavy coat, hat, scarf and gloves before climbing into bed next to Sunny von Bulow (Glenn Close)? Any daydreams I may have had about living in a mansion were effectively dashed by that scene. (What, the rich can't afford to heat up a huge master bedroom?)

Word verification: asmin.

Michele said...

Try some Hand Warmer packets like HeatMax Hot Hands -- they last all day.

Bruce Hayden said...

Old people in Britain are cold.

It's Britain, so no one should be surprised.

That said, I read something last weekend from a Brit who is pushing the theory that we have entered into a new mini-Ice Age, based on how cold it has been the last couple of winters, and that solar energy output is down. He is predicting about a 30 year cold snap.

We shall see.

wv: colon - not worried about mine yet, but worrying about them is something else the elderly do.

Beta Rube said...

I'm looking for more comfort because the world is very abrasive.

Ann Althouse said...

@Beta... yes, there is that electric blanket...

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"I keep the thermostat at 62°. I could turn it up, but I don't."

In Barack Obama's America, the price of home heating oil is now $3.05 per gallon. I can no longer afford to heat my home.

I keep the thermostat at 59 degrees to keep the pipes from freezing and wear a fleece hat to bed and hope I don't wake up with pneumonia.

Can the nation last two more years before this fucking dolt is run out of town on a rail?

Maguro said...

Well, I used to live in England and when people over there say that their house is cold, they don't mean 62F. That's where Brits set their themostats under normal conditions. People who are worried about not having enough fuel are living a lot colder than that.

One of the issues is that it normally doesn't get all that cold in the UK and a lot of houses are rather drafty. When it's 40F outside, that's not a big deal, you just put on another sweater and brew up some tea to keep warm. But when it's 10F or 15F outside, that's not very effective, particularly for old people.

Terry said...

We are destroying the environment anyway. Let's all run our thermostats at 72 deg.
Somewhere an empty office building is heated to 72 deg. through ignorance or apathy.
We are not savages. Keep warm.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"He is predicting about a 30 year cold snap."

Yes, because of the global warming you see.

Breathe people! Breathe!

traditionalguy said...

Maybe it's a three dog night. On the other hand, why not use some of that natural gas the oil industry vents into the air to get rid of its huge surplus? The English have always been known for heating their bodies and not their homes. I say different heat strokes for different folks.

Paul said...

Ann,

If you want to freeze your buns off, that's ok, but don't ask others to do so for the 'environment'.

People have been burning wood, coal, oil, etc.. even cow dung for centuries to keep warm. And now, with nuke power, it is not all that polluting.

But in Britain, because of the economy, they simply can’t afford to keep warm. Not much difference than in Dickens’s time! Now that’s a sad commentary.

Mimi said...

Wonder if the Pres. is still cranking up the thermostat in the Oval Office?

Lem said...

Its heartwarming to watch the Patriots pound the Jets on Monday Night Football.

John Burgess said...

In England, normal annual temperatures range from about 40 to about 73. Anything outside that range is 'extreme'. Right now, temperatures are running around 0 to -5. That's pretty damn cold, relatively speaking.

Florida is dropping into the 30s and 40s right now, with freeze warnings and snow expected in the north. That's not quite the normal winter here, either.

Of course, it's not the -25 that Eastern Europe is experiencing...

Ann Althouse said...

"But in Britain, because of the economy, they simply can’t afford to keep warm."

It's a strange article, referring to people dying because they can't heat their homes, and then describing the dead bodies found in the gardens... outdoors.

If you're indoors and your hands are cold... you aren't dying. You're just uncomfortable.

woof said...

It's warmer in London (28) than it is in Atlanta (26) right now.

William said...

People who like a cold environment always talk about this preference like it's a sign of their good character. It's not. The wish to wear swaddling is a sign of repression and a real character flaw. People was turn up the heat are much kinder and gentler and far superior to people set the thermostat low.

The Crack Emcee said...

It's also good for the environment not to burn more fuel for heat.

When are you people going to stop with this lunacy?

BAS said...

My grandfather used to wear a sweater in 80 degrees 90% humidity when he got old. It also happens when you are sick.

Don't judge old people unless you walk in their shoes. Being old or sick is a terribly helpless feeling, even for people who were like you once, successful and important.

LakeLevel said...

I knew a bunch of Japanese exchange students in college. When I asked them what they thought of Minnesota winters,they all said they liked it. Puzzled, I asked "It isn't too cold?" In unison they all said, "It's so warm... inside"

traditionalguy said...

I for one think we should all order flowers for the dying folk's families through the Amazon Althouse portal, in her name, until she gets the money to run the home temp at 70 this winter. Heck, at the temp she now runs it ,the squirrels in her attic will freeze before spring. No wonder the bowl games all started in warm places on New Year's Day. The Rose Bowl started in sunny southern California...but the Professor won't go watch Wisconsin lose because it is so warm out there. So she will have to watch the game on TV in a cold house with frozen squirrels in the attic.

GMay said...

It's not Good for The Environment™ to burn less fuel, it's good for your moral preening.

traditionalguy said...

One of the irritating things a spouse will sometimes do is getting into bed and putting icy feet against your warm back. Another is being too happy too early in the morning.

Gene said...

I think, people care more about contrast than they do absolute temperature. In the last ten years of her life, my mother used to set the furnace thermostat at 85 in the winter and the air conditioner at 70 in summer time. I once asked her why wasn't she cold in summer when the temperature went below 75. She said, "in your house you can set the temperature anywhere you like."

Mark O said...

Ann is a tough audience today. I, for one, won't be advising her of my pending demise or that I might like to be warm indoors.

former law student said...

Huh? The Brits have always kept it cold in their homes. They used to mock us for turning up the heat when we could just put on a sweater. Central heating was looked on as a sort of venial sin.

JAL said...

If you're indoors and your hands are cold... you aren't dying. You're just uncomfortable.

Well these people are elderly and they are cold. (Your time will come, Professor.)

My guess is a number of them went through the war and the London blitz. They deserve to be warm.

My mother is 93 heading towards 94 and her internal thermostat is set differently. She likes to be warm when it's cold and she likes to be cool when it's hot.

It's okay. And her carbon footprint for her whole lifetime would be the equivalent of one of Al Gore's bedrooms for a year.

PatCA said...

Well, who knows what hyperbole this article employs to advocate for a government heating handout, but I agree that elderly people who are cold and riding buses to keep warm are really cold. They are not just whinging.

GMay said...

"And her carbon footprint for her whole lifetime would be the equivalent of one of Al Gore's bedrooms for a year."

That evokes the the image of Al Gore exhaling quite a bit. Not what I need before going to bed.

Joan said...

The heat hasn't been on all day, it's 73 degrees in here (I can read the thermostat from here, huge digital readout), I'm wearing two layers including a heavy sweatshirt, and I'm kind of chilly.

People with chronic illnesses tend to be cold, and it does wear on me psychologically. When I'm cold or even a little bit chilled, every joint starts complaining, esp the hands. Pain tends to make me cranky, and I don't think I'm unusual in that regard. People who don't have RA (I suppose OA is just as bad if not worse) probably don't understand how much pain a 10-degree drop in temperature can produce.

My best operating temperature is about 80 degrees, which is why I live in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area... I only suffer mildly a few months of the year. My heart goes out to the old folks in Britain, where it is both cold and damp. Ouch.

sunsong said...

My 89 yr old mother doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks she *ought* to be doing. She will set the temperature wherever she wants. She got some pretty silk long johns and she's a knitter so she has some wonderful socks. She also got a directional electric heater for $60 that puts off a little to a lot of heat. So she can stay warm without heating the whole house.

But the bottom line is - she is not going suffer because somebody who doesn't even know her thinks she *ought* to. One of the perks of being old is that you don't need approval.

BJM said...

Thanks to an uber efficient wood stove our entire house is a comfy 68, on a few 18" logs a day...which were harvested from our property last spring.

Waste not, want not.

Oligonicella said...

"If you're indoors and your hands are cold... you aren't dying. You're just uncomfortable."

Wow. Aside from now being a physician, you missed line one?

MIDDLE class families are among millions of Britons who cannot afford to heat their homes this winter, as elderly ride on buses all day to stay in the warm.

They cannot afford to heat their homes. You can afford to comfortably heat your home. Your cold hands are not in the same category as theirs.

Turn your heat off for the rest of the winter and you get the dispensation to talk about how tough you are.

Been there. Ain't nice.

Ralph L said...

My boss started turning up the heat several years ago when he went on blood pressure medication, so my feet are no longer cold at work. The flip side is in summer, when he's comfortable at a temperature that I'm not, but it's his electric bill.

wv - unfiar - damn right

Rose said...

How did we get tot his point? Mankind has survived living in caves, in frigid winters, they have survived life in the desert, Eskimos built houses out of snow.

Before the current veneer of civilization - the one we are living in that says everything should be comfy and provided by the govt. - people did what they had to to get warm, cut wood, tan furs, bundle up, snuggle up, light the fire (no question as to be "allowed" to have a fire....

I'm just not getting it - are we in the time machine, weena? These limp noodles hardly seem human.

Ralph L said...

Rose, not many lived to old age.

MamaM said...

Mittens? Like thumb in the thumb hole, fingers all together?

What's next? Snowpants! Swish, swish, swishing through the house.

Mittens sound less efficient and more childish than straws in icewater.

I'll wrap in a blanket or afghan when reading or working at the computer, but I draw the line at mittens. Fingerless gloves, maybe.

Jennifer said...

I can empathize. We've never heated or cooled the house as much as the average person does. I mean, it's winter - wear clothes/it's summer - ice water! But, here in Germany, we're intimidated by the cost of filling a giant oil tank and we've set the thermostats even lower.

We typically keep the house to 15°C/59°F during the day and 11°C/52°F at night. Our friends all complain when they're here. But, we wear long johns and fuzzy house shoes and an extra sweater and cuddle under blankets when watching tv. Not a big deal most of the time. But, when you don't feel well or are just having a tough day, it is really nice to have the option to jack it up a bit and luxuriate. I imagine the constant cold can really just start to wear on you if you don't have that option.

Rose said...

The old age thing had many factors - today we have refrigeration, more knowledge about food related illness and how to avoid it, antibiotics, vaccines, hot and cold running water at our fingertips, heat and light as well. We live longer. We can live to be 115.

We have it all and we have reduced ourselves to self flagellation and donning Al Gore's hair shirts, then whining. It's sickening.

In this time of great knowledge, great accomplishment and what was and should still be great prosperity it is CRAZY that we are having this discussion.

What has happened to us? We are a nation descended from men who crossed oceans and deserts and hacked their way through granite, who carved a life out of the wilderness, who saw half their children die of pneumonia and other childhood diseases.

Have we lost our minds?

Rose said...

One former friend proudly confided that he and his wife wore sweaters and shivered in their house at night - trying to keep their carbon footprint down.

In exasperation I asked him WHY?! Why in the hell is he doing that when his neighbor has a $5,000 a month (yes five thousand) PG&E bill for their grow house. Does he not see the irony?

This guy was and is a big advocate for the pot culture. he fully believes in their right to waste energy for that purpose. But he'll assume the guilt mantle and wear the hair shirt, and even be a little proud of himself for his martyrdom.

He voted for Obama, too. Koolaid is a more powerful drug than you realize. Just some of us are immune.

Penny said...

"One of the irritating things a spouse will sometimes do is getting into bed and putting icy feet against your warm back."

Your wife is extremely limber.

Penny said...

Althouse as energy czar.

Cedarford said...

But, really, it's healthy to keep the air you breathe cool.

Yes and no. Cold humid air like you get in the UK is a breeding ground for pneumonia and rinoviruses.
Cold dry MW America air is better.

Being in the middle of Green Party ruined Europe where people shiver banned from burning wood and coal, with green power doubling electric costs? Not so good. Being deadly reliant on the will of Vlad Putin to send or not send natural gas west? Also not so good.

rhhardin said...

Rabbit

[Obama] ran on a program of magic, which in the context of the declining economy, essentially promised something for nothing. Now the words have been incanted, and no rabbit is yet emerging from the hat. The midterm result suggests the electorate doesn’t believe the rabbit will ever appear at all. Unable to carry of the illusion, he is temporizing at the edges, entertaining the audience with patter and old card tricks. But the Left wants the rabbit produced from nothing, and they are angry. Now he finds himself friendless, abandoned by an audience half of who think he’s a fraud and the other half of which thinks he’s not trying hard enough.

AllenS said...

Last winter 70 per cent of household were forced to cut down or ration their energy use because of cost.

“People my age don’t want to put hats and scarves on in their homes, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I sit in a blanket put on a hat and sometimes go to bed at 7.30 in the evening.”


Since the article never mentioned what temperature it was inside these old people's houses,
I have an idea that these old people would be comfortable in your 62º house.

Jay said...

"I keep the thermostat at 62°. I could turn it up, but I don't."

And if the global warming propagandists get their way, you won't have that option.

AllenS said...

Althouse -- It may be true that as you get older, the cold gets to you

May be true? In other words, may be that isn't true. Do you know any old people? Especially older women.

I've got to give you some credit here, Althouse, at least you didn't call them sissies or pussies.

Paco Wové said...

"When people in Blighty are freezing to death and the oldsters are dying of heat stroke"

Obviously, it means we haven't been buying enough compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Do the Althouse who wants shivery old people to suck it up and take one for the planet, and the Althouse whose delicate eyes can't stand CFL light, know about each other?

Clyde said...

If it's not warm enough inside to blog in shorts and a t-shirt, it's too darn cold.

Although it's 72 degrees inside at my house this morning (and 34 frosty degrees outside!), so it's not a shorts kind of day.

We Floridians would appreciate it if you would keep the cold weather Up North where it belongs. ("Up North" begins at the Georgia border, by the way.)

On the plus side, it's probably a good morning for manatee watching at the power plant...

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't tell old people to suck it up generally. I only objected to the statement that they shouldn't have to bundle up indoors to get to the comfort level!

Also I'm including myself in the category of old, as I note that I took the step of wearing mittens, even when I had the power to turn up the heat.

These comments are full of swipes at me taken by people who jumped to see one thing when something more subtle was there. Put on your thinking hats when you enter this blog. One of my literary devices is making things feel easy to read.

Jay said...

It's also good for the environment not to burn more fuel for heat.



And here is the "solution" to that:

one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.

This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.

Prof Anderson admitted it “would not be easy” to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods

He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.

This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited and goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.


So not only will you not be able to turn up your thermostat, you'll have to eat less.

Isn't saving the planet fun?

AllenS said...

Last winter 70 per cent of household were forced to cut down or ration their energy use because of cost.

Sounds like a lot of people just can't afford to raise the temperature in their homes.

Only one person in the story, a woman who is 75 complained that “People my age don’t want to put hats and scarves on in their homes, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I sit in a blanket put on a hat and sometimes go to bed at 7.30 in the evening.”

She might be complaining, but she is bundling up inside her home. There's a very good possibility, that she just can't afford to raise the temperature in her home to even 62º.

Michael said...

Cedarford: Is that true? I argue w/ my wife about cold weather as a cause for the common cold. I say that you can't catch a cold by getting cold, only by coming in contact w/ someone who has the virus. I take of two or three minute ice cold shower every morning (after a normal one) and hardly ever get colds.

Christopher said...

Paul Zrimsek wins the thread.

madAsHell said...

My MacBook becomes nice and toasty when I'm working. I think it's a feature.

Type faster!

AllenS said...

Michael,

Here's my theory on why people catch colds more when they get cold. A lot of people are walking around with the cold virus. They don't catch the cold, because their immune system is able to fend it off. Our body temperature is usually 98.6º, if you drop below that I don't think our immune system is able to fend it off as easily. My theory only.

madAsHell said...

I thought cold showers were for....oh, never mind

dreams said...

I keep my thermostat on 65 and thought I was tough. An electric throw is good when just watching TV. Heat pumps in KY are not very efficient.

Maguro said...

Nine elderly people died every hour from cold-related illnesses last winter against a background of soaring energy bills.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332343/Nine-pensioners-died-cold-hour-winter-prices-soar.html

These people are living at temperatures far, far below 62F.

Fred4Pres said...

Woodburning stoves heat relatively cheaply and get things toasty. Trouble is you have to keep feeding them wood.

I have spent winters in drafty cool (but not really cold) places like Egypt. Over time it gets to you. A concrete building with no insulation and tile floors can sap the heat out of you. The only place of comfort was the truck.

Michael said...

AllenS: I expect you are right, but I will keep this from my wife.

chickelit said...

...the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.

Once the vaunted great economic equilibration is achieved at the expensive of lives in the West, hopefully people like Professor Anderson will still be around. I want him alive to be taunted and hounded for advocating the needless deaths for our elders, all in the cause of creating a more "fair" world.

Misty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

Wikileaks Founder's Sex Case Leaks of Insincerity.

Fred4Pres said...

Here's my theory on why people catch colds more when they get cold. A lot of people are walking around with the cold virus. They don't catch the cold, because their immune system is able to fend it off. Our body temperature is usually 98.6º, if you drop below that I don't think our immune system is able to fend it off as easily. My theory only.

Doctors say that theory is BS, and yes of course we get sick from germs not temperature, but I suspect that the old conventional wisdom on temparature may prove to have some merit over time.

Fred4Pres said...

Ironic that Wikileaks likes leaky condoms.

Michael said...

madasHell: Here is the cold shower theory. As a child I read that on Alcatraz the prisoners were not permitted cold showers since it would build an immunity to the Bay water temperatures and thus impede or discourage escapes. On the offchance that I ended up in Alcatraz I decided to try cold showers which I have incorporated for over fifty years as part of my morning routine.
Also oddly I change my watch from my left to my right wrist on the premise that if ever I am stranded at sea in a lifeboat my wrists will be of uniform tan and therefore not subject to horrible sunburn. Another result of a story I read when I was a kid about downed airmen in the Pacific.

bagoh20 said...

If you look back in history you will see that people often do silly things like this, and later people look back and ask: why would they believe that? Some of you people are gonna give our children's children a good laugh. So thanks for that.

Tibore said...

"But, really, it's healthy to keep the air you breathe cool."

This probably isn't what the professor meant by "healthy", but: Studies (such as the Johns Hopkins 1979 to '87 study of Norway's mortality rates - which is one way of measuring what's "healthy", if you think about it) show a sweet spot of outdoor temperatures in the 66 to 77 degree range. Outside of that, mortality increases. Another Johns Hopkins study statistically shows something that should be obvious to most people: Mortality increases with the cold for people in warm temperature latitudes and with the heat for people in colder regions.

Right now, I'm seeing more articles about cold weather mortality than warm, but I'm not sure if that's really because that's the bulk of the findings, or just an artifact of my choices of search terms. Anyway, the point here is that in regards to mortality at least, it's not a one-size-fits-all thing. In Wisconsin, and for people used to the temperatures normally found in Wisconsin's climate, biasing towards colder temps may indeed be better for a population, but that may not hold true for people in warmer regions, or who are acclimated to warmer regions.

Big Mike said...

You keep your house at 62, Professor?!? I thought I was doing well at 25 C (= 68).

But I don't think I want to go any lower. Below that my wife's arthritic hands and my arthritic knee complain too much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We keep the timed thermostat set at 68 (or higher if we feel like it) in the great room (living, dining, kitchen)when we are in it and down to 60 when we are not in the room. Zone heating in the other rooms with separate natural gas heaters in each room. Bedrooms are set to warm up to 68 in the morning before we get up and the evening before we go to bed.

Generally the heat doesn't come on all that often if we have a sunny day because we built the house to have solar heat contribution and extremely well insulated. Even during Thanksgiving when it was about 6 degrees at nite and 22 during the day. Of course cooking all day on my Wolf range helped keep it toasty warm.

The trick to keeping your home comfortable while not spending a fortune on heating is to NOT let the house get too cold. If you keep the ambiant warmth in the house it doesn't take as much energy to warm it up. You are NOT really saving anything by letting your house get so cold.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Althouse:

My hands often get cold when I'm working in my husband's office.

I wear felted knit fingerless mittens or fingerless gloves so I can work on the computer and still keep my hands warm. They work very well. Try them in you haven't alrady. You'll love them and they are very stylish right now.

I have an electric pad that I wrap my feet in also.

I'm one year older than you so I guess I'm also classifying myself as ....ahem...older.

AllenS said...

When my hands get cold, I stick them in my pants.

GMay said...

AA professorialized: "These comments are full of swipes at me taken by people who jumped to see one thing when something more subtle was there. Put on your thinking hats when you enter this blog. One of my literary devices is making things feel easy to read."

Then put on your writing hat.

Take responsibility before swiping back at a bunch of your readers who all seemed to take away something you did not intend. Your readers aren't stupid.

If you want to get into whatever "subtleties" you were going for, your little "devices" can be picked apart even further with little thought.

MadisonMan said...

My house is 61 in the day, and 55 at night. There's very little heat in the bedroom, but we have, and I swear by it, an electric mattress pad. What a luxury!

When my kids complain about being cold, I usually tell them to put on socks or a sweatshirt. We will turn up the heat when mother-in-law visits. If it gets above 65, though, I am boiling.

MadisonMan said...

From the article: I've worked all my life. It doesn't feel fair (to be cold).

Stock answer: Life isn't fair.

Gabriel Hanna said...

My thought is that if you are paying for the heat, you have the moral right to set the thermostat to any temperature you please. If you want it to be 90F in your house and have a beach party in the middle of winter (as my cousin did when he was in college) then do that, it's your money.

As for the environment issue, I'd rather we didn't degenerate into another global warming thread with Gish gallops of misinformation and outright nonsense that goes straight past the creationist level of dishonesty into the 9/11 troofer level; but we're going to get that just the same.

John Burgess said...

FLS: It was my experience, living in the UK in the mid-90s, that the Brits overheat their homes far more than Americans. At least those who can afford the cost.

buster said...

I once lived in England in a brick house built circa 1900. It always amazed me that in cold weather it was colder inside the house than outside. That and the fact that the plumbing pipes were installed outside the house on the exterior walls so they were sure to freeze when it got really cold. Before going there I had thought the British were good engineers.

wv: ingst angst in England

ricpic said...

Overheated dried out air, the result of setting the thermostat too high, is the cause of my first cold this winter. Every winter I panic, overheat the house and catch cold. Only then do I realize that, yup, the house shouldn't be over 68 degrees in winter...too late.

Ann Althouse said...

"Take responsibility before swiping back at a bunch of your readers who all seemed to take away something you did not intend. Your readers aren't stupid."

I intend to challenge you with concision and trip you if you don't pay attention. So pay attention. If you can't read this blog, don't read it. If you don't like my writing, read something else.

Ann Althouse said...

"My thought is that if you are paying for the heat, you have the moral right to set the thermostat to any temperature you please. If you want it to be 90F in your house and have a beach party in the middle of winter (as my cousin did when he was in college) then do that, it's your money."

I don't think that's the issue with the old people in the UK.

GMay said...

AA at least did the courtesy of responding: "I intend to challenge you with concision and trip you if you don't pay attention. So pay attention. If you can't read this blog, don't read it. If you don't like my writing, read something else."

I do generally like your writing, but I don't find your writing beyond reproach either. I know you do, but that's your problem.

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"These comments are full of swipes at me taken by people who jumped to see one thing when something more subtle was there. Put on your thinking hats when you enter this blog."

You realize you're not a professor here, but just a gal with a blog, right? You should note that I have never once swiped at you or your posting when it deals with constitutional law.

"One of my literary devices is making things feel easy to read."

Then apparently you have failed rather broadly.

The failure of writing to get across the thoughts and 'subtleties' of the author is the fault of the author, no one else.

William said...

This is a variant of GBS's observation that the English consider themselves very moral when they're merely being uncomfortable. There is nothing healthy or character building about living in a cold room. If you can afford comfort, seek it. If your inner thermostat allows you comfort in a cold room, well good for you, but you do not exist on a higher moral plane.....If I close the window, the room gets stuffy. If I open it, the room is too cold. There is no comfort in winter climes.

William said...

Comfort is harder to acquire and maintain than character.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Ann Althouse:

I don't think that's the issue with the old people in the UK.

No, it isn't, but I wasn't really talking about them.

If I'm old and poor and I live in a place where it doesn't normally get that cold, in a house that wasn't designed with unseasonable cold in mind, there's little right now I can do about it but suffer. There might have been decisions I could have made in the past which could have altered my circumstances now, but you can always say that.

Part of being poor is losing a dollar in the future because you need to save a dime right now. I don't have a solution for that.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Speaking as someone in an apartment with a malfunctioning radiator at the moment, 60 degrees Fahrenheit is way too freakin' cold. Even if I turn up the oven and leave its door open, it's a very drafty and cold 65 degrees at best. If it were any colder, the heat would keep dropping and the oven would help even less.

I go through this at the beginning of every winter, because my building has cranky radiators. Even wearing a coat all day, it gradually sucks all the heat from your body. I've been known to resort to sleeping on my bathroom floor with the door closed, because only there can the heat build up.

It's better to leave and go live someplace else until the heat is fixed, or to stay in bed (or on the bathroom floor) all day.

Give those old people fuel. I wouldn't make a dog live like that, and I only live like that a couple of days a year.

Michael said...

I knew a guy who grew up in a huge house in New England. His father made him and his four brothers sleep in an unheated wing. The father, my friend remembered fondly, said "Cold boys don't make trouble."

Jennifer said...

25°C is 77°F not 68°F. 20°C is 68°F.

traditionalguy said...

I want to know the Professor's rates for Ghost Writing. She could do such a nuanced hit piece on my enemies that they would probably see it as a complement to them. Everything these days gets written as a contrast to someone else's point of view, until we can hardly see what an indictment the contrasting makes. The leftists say that Obama is a capitalist Republican now...which is not true except by a contrast to V. I. Lenin.

Big Mike said...

@Jennifer, you are right. 20 degrees Celsius is correct for my winter household temperature. And me a mathematician! I grovel in shame and horror.

(Well, I am a bit embarrassed.

Ann Althouse said...

"You realize you're not a professor here, but just a gal with a blog, right? You should note that I have never once swiped at you or your posting when it deals with constitutional law."

I sure do. I have to be supportive and pleasant to students. I can kick your ass here.

Ann Althouse said...

"You realize you're not a professor here, but just a gal with a blog, right? You should note that I have never once swiped at you or your posting when it deals with constitutional law."

I sure do. I have to be supportive and pleasant to students. I can kick your ass here.

reader_iam said...

In looking at in-house items on my must-do list today, there's exactly one I could accomplish (though not nearly as efficiently and quickly, despite both arthritis and carpal tunnel in my hands) wearing gloves or mittens.

I live in an old, very drafty house, and we do keep the thermostat down by American (and even Althouse!) standards. Too expensive to heat such a house the way I might prefer in my rapidly circulation-declining, joints-degrading state. Now, it's our fault we bought such a white elephant**, so no whining about the cold or the expense. However, compassion for others whose situations I may not completely know costs nothing, and I can definitely afford that. : )

Be said...

The thing that's striking me in the article is how folks are talking about this as being "unfair," about how the government's policy is "broken," yet it is up to the government to fix things, not the individuals themselves.

I'm actually hearing a lot of similar stuff from my partner who has been dealing with the French Pension Boondoggle the past couple months. On one hand, it's upsetting to hear because he's worked hard, put his trust and money in the Government. Their repayment? Treating him with runaround to the tune of losing a couple months' wages in some gray period where he's not officially working and not officially retired yet either.

It's not fair, but he'll be fine.

For someone poorer (who isn't a doctor or who doesn't receive farm subsidies, either, for that matter), it's really got to be awful to live in such an expensive place and to see their money pissed away by the government in 'allocations familiales (breeding subsidies),' 'HLM' (subsidized housing) construction - essentially subsidies for developers that will never be paid back, bank bailouts, etc.

I think about this stuff and it makes me happier with the contents of my little 403(b). Lost a bit back in the Spring of 09, but now it's fairly secure (until the current admin decides that they can manage it better than I can). Though it's not a tremendous amount of money, I think I can make it grow enough to take care of me later on. Don't want to be in a position of having to depend on what the Government doles out.

Be said...

Sorry for the wordiness. Could've just said, "Give a man a fish..."

Carol said...

Old people get cold easily because they don't move around that much. I'm 61 and am always freezing when I'm sitting for an hour with my eyes glued to the laptop. As soon as I am up and doing something, then the layers start to come off. But expecting the elderly to be perpetual motion machines seems unreasonable. You just tend to slooow down eventually.

AllenS said...

reader,

Are your windows drafty? Here's a good idea for you. Buy some Gorilla Tape (don't use Duct tape for this). Clean your window frame and wooden molding. Place strips of Gorilla tape along the glass edge and outward onto the molding (covering the gap). Try using strips of tape about 12 inches long.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Be:

Could've just said, "Give a man a fish..."

But teach a man to fish and he'll spend all day drunk in a boat.

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"I sure do."

Assignments are part of classwork, not daily commentary.

"I have to be supportive and pleasant to students. I can kick your ass here."

And I yours.

meep said...

We keep our thermostat at 60F during the day [55 at night].

We have no problem with wearing scarves, robes, slippers, etc. inside the house. I like wrapping up in a blanket....

I don't get it quite. If the home is at 40F, then there's generally a bad insulation problem....

former law student said...

Even if I turn up the oven and leave its door open, it's a very drafty and cold 65 degrees at best.

If it's a gas oven, you're risking carbon monoxide poisoning, because gas ovens were designed to heat a small enclosed space, not a room.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Quick reader_iam household tip!

In a cold, drafty house, in order to bring butter up to the "room temperature" needed for Christmas cookie, try putting the sticks on a thin cookie sheet or layered newspaper (if you still get such a thing) and putting them on top of the dryer** as you do laundry. Works like a charm! (You do have to pay attention, though.)

**The old radiator tip isn't working too well, or at least not timely enough, this year, I'm afraid.

P.S. I have been baking up a storm this year and am likely to continue to do so for various reasons unrelated to warming to the kitchen, though--DAYUM!!--there is that decided side benefit, I must tell you.

/OT

k*thy said...

Why is there some idea that if you are getting old, you shouldn't have to use clothing to warm yourself?

I don't know - maybe you should ask (and waste your breath) the two most curmudgeonly old guys I've known - my father and father-in-law. Knowing these guys, I'd harbor a guess that'd be some combination of control, their due, and appearances.

BladeDoc said...

72F winter and summer. I paid for it, I can spend it. And it's cheaper than a divorce which would leave me paying for my 65F condo and her 80F house.

pct said...

If you are having a lot of problems with your fingers getting cold, you may have Raynaud's Syndrome. Or you may just be cold.

Penny said...

While I have no clue how many people in my neighborhood "dress up" for winter inside their homes, I suspect it is very few.

It's much easier to take note of how many people in the neighborhood care about their energy consumption in the summer, when nearly all windows are closed from the first warm spring day until well into fall.

Americans have an unusual attachment to their air conditioning and to their cars, also air conditioned.

Can people be talked into lowering their heat a few degrees in the winter? Maybe so. But I dare anyone to tell Americans to turn off their AC and stop driving their cars. The price of energy has to go through the roof to see any changes on those fronts.

Sofa King said...

If you keep the ambiant warmth in the house it doesn't take as much energy to warm it up. You are NOT really saving anything by letting your house get so cold.

With respect, that violates the law of thermodynamics. The rate of heat loss is going to be greater, the wider the temperature differential, so the warmer your house is, the more heat it will lose, which must be replaced by the burning of fuel. At the extreme end, once your house is cool enough it doesn't lose any heat at all.

Imagine a bucket with a small hole in the side. Assuming you need the bucket full an hour from now but not in-between, which wastes more water: letting it empty as far as the hole, then filling it up quickly an hour later? Or constantly adding water at the same rate it leaks out over the entire hour? Note that even if it wouldn't drain all the way to the level of the hole within the hour, you still replace less water doing it all later, because maintaining it at full forces water out the hole at the maximum pressure.

Methadras said...

Send the country Snuggies.

Methadras said...

For all of the olds.

Sigivald said...

I'm not your age, and I say we didn't defeat the Germans at Pearl Harbor in order to have to wear sweaters at home.

(And, the environment? Not so much. Carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant, that much is clear.

Want to complain about coal byproducts, sure, but do it by pushing nuclear power, not suggesting that people just use less energy.

Energy use roughly translates to wealth, and "be poorer because it's good for Baby Gaia" or "it's healthier to breathe cool air" [Source please?] aren't going to cut it when people are freezing to death, literally.

Or even when they're wearing their woolens indoors because they can't turn up the heat.

Frankly, in the first world, nobody should have to do that.

john said...

Temperature and Heat are not the same thing.

Your body core temperature is 98.6F, so your body is circulating blood to to your extremities act as a radiator to maintain to that temperature. As you age, your circulation is not as efficient and it take more heat to maintain temperature. Adding a sweater just slows the process, it does not correct it.

I have poor circulation in a finger due to a previous injury, As I grow older, I find the finger gets cold very quickly. In fact, I can induce frostbite in the finger by holding a cold beverage in that hand on a relatively warm day.

So I have no sympathy with those who blame the elderly for not putting on extra sweaters. I will be the first to turn down the thermostat when I can, but blaming the victim.....

Penny said...

"...but blaming the victim....."

Look, there are many of us older Americans who spent our lives being "energy aware" for a host of reasons that I won't itemize. While I have some issues with legislated behavior, who would argue against increased energy consciousness?

Perhaps Althouse's intention with this post is merely to move us to THINK more about our energy use. That's a good thing.

Also, it's entirely possible that Althouse knows her readership well enough to know that even an appearance of "blaming the victim" would result in heightened discussion about an important topic. That is also a good thing.

Penny said...

Althouse as Martha Stewart as energy czar...

Lionheart said...

Seems to me Althouse is as prickly as Obama when called on her bullshit. Writing something flippantly and then lashing out (kicking ass) when some fail to see the supposedly subtle, mind-blowing deeper meaning reminds me of the high school English teacher who gets carried away with ever more esoteric symbolism in literature just to show how smart they are. And, "read something else" is just a stupid response when most of us come for the comments and not the Althouse pronouncements

Be said...

@Gabriel:

"But teach a man to fish and he'll spend all day drunk in a boat."

Or, in the case of my uncles, dream up a better filtration system so that the 'homebrew' doesn't blind folks so hard next season.

MathMom said...

Sofa King -

My a/c guy said I lose money by letting my house go over 83 deg in the summer, because the furniture also heats up and it takes a lot of a/c to cool down all that thermal mass. I used to let it go to 85+, but after he told me that, I notice that the room may feel like it's cooling when the a/c is actually running, but when it kicks off, I feel heat radiating from the upholstered furniture. It takes about 12 hours of cooling for that to change. I've been letting it go to 82 when we're gone, and I think he's right. It cools faster when it hasn't gotten so hot.

I'm thinking your example is for an empty house, not taking into account the thermal mass of furniture?

WV: Propar. Is is propar to diss people in England who live in uninsulated stone and plaster houses?

Be said...

@ Methadras:

"Send the country Snuggies."

It's probably cheaper than "Project Heat," as we call the uncontrolled, 80 deg f w/no thermostat that you find in an awful lot of buildings in Urban New England.

Seems kind of (kinda?) ugly to have to open your windows in below 0F conditions so you can breathe.

jamboree said...

If it is really getting to you, vacuum. Seriously. Vacuum - with an upright, heavy vacuum.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@MathMom:

It's because you and Sofa King are talking about different things.

The farther away from outside temperature you keep your house, the more energy you have to pay for to do that. That is Sofa King's point.

You don't save energy by waiting until your house is at 90 before bringing it back down to 70, true--but keeping your house at 70 is much more expensive than keeping it at 80, and that's what Sofa King is getting at.

Sofa King is talking about power and you are talking about energy. In a way you are both right, but talking about different things.

Milwaukee said...

Ann Althouse said...

I sure do. I have to be supportive and pleasant to students. I can kick your ass here.

Gag.

What? The reason that the aristocracy all "sit a good horse" is that they have teachers who won't lie to them.
Ann, do you think for a minute the judge or opposing attorneys are going to be "supportive and kind"? Ask them if they want a tissue, and then throw the box at them.

Milwaukee said...

William and Traditionalguy: Do you know my ex? Once on a road trip we stopped at a Walmart to use the restroom. My son said "Dad, I want my bedroom to be like this." I said "What, small?"
"No", says he, "Warm."

One year the lie told at the liars contest was that if the man's wife entered the bed after the heating blanket was turned on, the lights in the house would dim. Yup. Dementors like the house cold. Helps them to suck all the joy out of the room.

MathMom said...

@Gabriel Hanna -

Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.

Be said...

@Penny:

"But I dare anyone to tell Americans to turn off their AC and stop driving their cars."

What is your knowledge of (the blanket term) "Americans" in general?

Gabriel Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

Heat pumps in KY are not very efficient.
Then rinse it off.

A hundred years ago, screened sleeping porches were used year round (probably for fear of TB). My grandmother said she'd wake up with snow on her face.

Regular exercise has reduced my popsicle feet, but my normal body temp is still 96.5 deg.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@MathMom:

Thanks for the clarification.

The theoretical "efficiency" (coefficient of performace) of a refrigerator / air conditioner is

T(cold) / (T(hot) - T(cold))

Naturally the temperatures need to be with respect to absolute zero for this to work.

When I first learned this as a student I thought it was hilarious, and still do. A refrigerator is infinitely efficient provided that it has nothing to do...

LarryD said...

The Decadal Oscillations have switched to cooling mode in the Northern hemisphere, so yes, ~30 year cooling trend, already in progress.

But that's without solar activity levels taken into account. We could be in for something like the Dalton Minimum, or worse, like the Maunder Minimum.

Britain needs to ramp up nuclear power. Now.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

JAL wrote:

"My mother is 93 heading towards 94 and her internal thermostat is set differently. She likes to be warm when it's cold and she likes to be cool when it's hot."

OK, I didn't understand this comment when I read it in isolation over at Instapundit, and I still don't understand it now that I've read this whole thread so I could see it in context.

In what way is her internal thermostat "set differently"? What you've described -- wants to be cool when hot, and hot when cool -- makes her exactly like the vast majority of human beings on earth. For that matter, it makes her like every other mammal on earth.

I must be misreading something about your post, because surely you do not actually think your grandmother's preferences in this matter are in fact different.

Rich said...

My dad who retired to upstate NY always felt the cold but as he got older he was cold during the summer. Winters he would be dressed in thermals and a sweater and the heat turned up. I would go there and sit around in shorts and a tee-shirt. Now as I am in my 60's I am noticing that I also am feeling the cold more.

JAL said...

Registering --

In my attempt to be brief in a quick response what I didn't make clear is that in the winter she gets cold easily. And she feels cold when the rest of us are comfortable. It seems harder for her to feel warm.

In the summer she can get overheated easily without any noticeable activity and she suffers (is uncomfortable) as she actually feels hot when the rest of us may be aware that it's hot out, but we don't necessarily feel hot. She wants to be cool (comfortable).

Penny said...

"@Penny:

"But I dare anyone to tell Americans to turn off their AC and stop driving their cars."

What is your knowledge of (the blanket term) "Americans" in general?"

Point well made, Be, at least if I am reading you correctly...between the lines. You know, of course, that I was referring to those Americans who had both cars and AC.

You reminded me that there is another group of Americans who have neither cars nor AC, who have gotten unusually attached to their government subsidies.

I suspect it will be equally as difficult to pry one group from their cars and AC as it is to pry the other group from public assistance.

In the absence of unlimited resources, any shift to current thinking in either group could be seen as progress. Wouldn't you agree?

Jennifer said...

@Big Mike

No sweat, I did no calculating whatsoever. :) I know 20°C = 68°F offhand because that's my "indulgent temp" that I set the thermostat to on occasion. To convert 25°C, I let the Internet do my calculating. And we all know it is never wrong...

rosi said...

I keep my thermostat on 65 and thought I was tough. An electric throw is good when just watching TV. Heat pumps in KY are not very efficient.

-----

You may want to google 'KY' if you're not aware of what most people are going to assume you're referring to.

Hint: it's not Kentucky ;-)