wind chill

As you brace yourself for the brutal winter tumult tomorrow — or at least for what passes for “brutal winter tumult” in Texas — comfort yourself with one little reminder: it’s not as cold as it used to be. I’m not talking global warming; the National Weather Service has changed the way it calculates the wind chill factor. The original calculations were, kid you not, “based on measurements of heat flowing through a beaker of water in experiments in Antarctica in the 1940’s.” (Like so much in today’s society.) The new calculations take into account things like the heat-generation abilities of humans. The result is that things will look warmer than they used to. (AccuWeather has been pushing something called the RealFeel Temperature as a repaired wind chill for some time, despite its slightly pornographic name.)
(The other way to look at it is that our ancestors were a bunch of reverse braggarts who exaggerated how tough they had it. Those old stories about walking uphill both ways to school through a blinding blizzard can now be neatly answered: “But Grandpa, wasn’t it actually about ten degrees warmer than you claimed at the time?”)
This is retroactive. For Cowboys fans, the infamous Ice Bowl game against Green Bay wasn’t played in 46-below wind chill, as was reported at the time. Now, it’s just a downright balmy minus-35.