226. Celsius

Teachers were told, quite a while ago, that we ought to teach children to use Celsius, because we’d be switching to it soon. I thought it would be a difficult transition, but I didn’t know how steadfastly our country would cling to our way of measuring temperature, even as the rest of the world left Fahrenheit behind.
The Celsius system of measuring temperature makes a lot more sense than the Fahrenheit system we still use. What we educators did wrong, in my opinion, was try to teach people how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius. That’s unnecessary work; if we really convert to Celsius, all the Fahrenheit numbers will quickly become useless. And we don’t have to make too many
changes to switch to Celsius; weather reports, cookbooks, thermometers, thermostats, oven dials, and maybe a few other things will have to change.
Let’s look at the weather, for example. At 0o, water freezes, and it’s cold outside. If the temperature gets below zero, it’s even colder. We’re used to that, anyway. When it gets to 10o, it’s still cold, in my opinion, but some people like that temperature. My favorite is 20o. That’s comfortable, but not hot. I don’t need a jacket, but I don’t need an air conditioner, either. My apartment is already the right temperature, so my electric bill is manageable. When it gets to 30o, I start complaining, and when it gets near 40o, I stay inside and turn on the air conditioner.
Your normal body temperature is about 37o. When it heads up towards 38o, it’s time to get concerned. Water boils at 100o, but I simply wait until I see bubbles. Most things are baked at 175o, but pizza requires 200o.
If there are any other temperatures that are important to you, subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit number, divide by nine, and multiply by five. There’s also a way to convert back, but I’m not going to tell you. If you want to convert back, you’re on your own.
I know we’re used to thinking in Fahrenheit. I’ll probably have just as much difficulty making the transition as you will. But the more we communicate with the rest of the world, the more we go to other countries, and the more people from other countries come here, the more it makes sense to use the Celsius system when we talk about temperature.
Freezing is cold enough for me. When the temperature outside is below freezing, it might as well be below zero.
At first, I thought we’d make the change in schools. I thought children would learn to think in Celsius degrees, as I thought they’d learn the metric system. But that can only work if we think that way, too. Children want to learn ways that will work in the adult world. So I guess it’s up to us.

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