Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sun Reads Vault-Co

It realized it was overdue to set its own thermostat.

Most people admit Maunder Minimum by now.

The problem is that depending on how you interpret the data on a graph, it looks like we are expecting a Grand Minimum. That's just short of "Snowball Earth" by a pinch.

How come I'm not afraid?

I don't know about your ancestors but there is fossil proof set in stone that my ancestors survived "Snowball Earth" so a Grand Minimum is like a really brisk fall day, refreshing and stimulating at the same time. Neanderthals can't go around in tee-shirts until it is a comfortable 80 degrees below.

Twenty-six years ago, a New York rookie was telling me I had to get in the back of a van to go to the city shelter. The law is the law, he said. You're no exception. His partner walked over to me and introduced me. "We got a lot of elderly people who need to get into heated rooms tonight a lot more than this sonofabitch. Trust me, I know this kid." He stuck his hand out until it was about 6 inches away and extended his fingers. "I swear to God this kid is like a portable space heater. Come over here and stick your hand out, you can feel the heat coming off him. I heard the eskimos are like that. There is no point in forcing him to get in the van when he is going to be just fine and we can use that space for somebody who really needs it. Whatever planet this kid came from I guarantee you it is as cold as hell there. This is like looking for an umbrella to protect a duck from water. They don't need it. It rolls right off their feathers." They closed the back of the van and drove away. I sat down in the freezing wind with subthermal gusts down to 120 degrees below zero and finishing reading Hunter S. Thompson's FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. Every time I touch the cover of that paperback, it brings this memory back so sharp it is like I am watching it on HD cable with perfect color with odors and ambient sounds. I had been using the lapel of my coat as a napkin a couple of times and it was starting to smell like tomato sauce. Need to hit that laundromat tomorrow and do a wash, I remember thinking. I was the only human being left under the dark 59th street bridge in New York at 2 AM in the morning and the wind howled so long and so hard it sounded like a woman screaming. The only light came from a small flashlight I had inside the coat tilting out of the pocket so it hit the page in front of me.

P.S. I remember thinking, these memories are important because of how surreal they are. Someday I will look back and want to recall this moment right now, because it so eerie and it is like I am the only person left alive in the entire city. Never forget this moment. The book cover of the old '70's version makes it pop right back to me when I see it or touch it. I also remember thinking that this might seem like a horror story if you related it to someone else and yet I can remember being so happy sitting there in Antarctica in the deserted city and just finishing that enthralling book by Thompson. Every page I would laugh or giggle at how over the top this madman Thompson was. I barely even noticed the outside world, it was just that little circle of pale illumination coming from the flashlight on the page. Later when the sun came up, I went and had $1.99 breakfast at this skid row cafe and between the meal and the rising sun I felt nearly euphoric. What a wonderful writer and how original. It made you feel more alive to read Hunter S. Thompson. The Sapiens began to emerge shivering from their little nests as the Sun came out and I thought how lucky I am to need so little to be truly content. If there is a God there can be little doubt he has conferred on me a very special blessing. Therefore I pledge to never blame him on those days that are not as good as this one. If he exists, it is obvious he has only done good by me since the day I was born.


Your Friendly Neighbourhood 'Thal said...

Reads like something from a Charles Bukowski story.

Bain Dewitt said...

Top link is to something about fat women.

Henry Fonda said...

Wrong link, Tex :)

John said...

It's good to know where you come from. You can pity those who don't, but then, would they actually want to know? Better for them to think that they share the same lineage as the ones who create.

I happened across a small biography of Linus Pauling the other day, skimmed through it a little. I started to get chills as I read about him as a young man, blue-eyed with thick, wavy auburn hair. A voracious reader, quietly rebellious yet inordinately shy around women. Spent his entire life improving humanity's lot. I can't imagine how frustrating it must at been for him at times. What incredible patience and generosity.

There's a great picture of him protesting nuke tests in front of the White House. Big smile, just radiating good will. I can't help but think he always knew that, ultimately, there was nothing he could do to prevent man from destroying the earth. A true hero, not the kind of person you'd see or even hear about these days.

Ryan David G said...

Good reading, but I think Eskimos and others who are adapted to extreme cold are those whose bodies do not radiate heat out like that. If your body is adapted to cold it keeps heat where it is essential (internal organs) and not near the skin where it is lost.

two miles said...

Tex, I just watched a 1963 documentary called "dead birds". I could only see the battle scenes, as well as the childrens' games and surgery, through the lense of your theories on engineered spear-throwers vs. Neanderthals.

two miles said...

Tex, I just finished viewing a 1963 documentary called "dead birds", about two warring tribes in the New Guinea highlands. The battle scenes, childrens' games, and surgery were illuminating, considered within the context of WMD Spear-Throwers vs. Neanderthals. Have you seen it?

Grognard said...

Ryan, the body of some people adapted to cold climates generates way more heat on a cellular level. This is also linked to higher IQ because each cell in the brain is more active.

You actually have to have heat to the extremities more than other locations or you get frostbite. Also, eskimos are not very adapted to the cold they are newcomers to that realm.

mike said...

You're comfortable at 80-120 degrees below zero? I call bullshit.

Texas Arcane said...


I figure the Eskimo is a not a good parallel. Eskimos have only been cold adapted for a few tens of thousands of years, not millions of years.

I reckon Neanderthals were not just designed to keep themselves warm - they were an intimate family animal almost always devoted to group survival. I bet that Neanderthals were designed to keep others around them warm as well as themselves.

Eskimos sometimes turn pink instead of pale in the cold. If you see a European who turns pink in the cold instead of going pale I reckon you are seeing Neanderthal gene expression.

Texas Arcane said...


It is not like a line I used to impress girls or anything. Who the hell cares about something like that?

The story I told you was as close to the literal truth as I can remember. The New York police knew about me, they used to talk to me for a while under the bridge when it was really cold but they could only take a few minutes at a time. They'd dash back to their cars and I would continue standing in a vast amphitheatre under the bridge often with no more than a tee-shirt on with temps well, well below zero.

I have already seen New York post-apocalypse when the streets were cleared at night by court order and I had them all to myself. All the Saps inside trying to get warm, left block after block empty with only me out in that weather. Never sick, never got the flu. All that only started when I started to sleep indoors again and work in an office all day for decades.

Your Friendly Neighbourhood 'Thal said...

I am a Neanderthal by almost every identifiable 'thal characteristic, but never were very resistant to cold. I guess it wouldn't take too long for me to get accustomed to lower temperatures, but that's not something I can brag about at the moment.

Prof. Vault said...

Tibetan monks, whose cold and high-altitude adaptations come from Neanderthal forebearers (as Tex recently pointed out), are known to be able to raise their body temperatures at will. Perhaps this is actually a Neanderthal trait instead of a spiritual feat?

And, I think that there may be something to subjecting yourself to the outdoors change of seasons in order to adapt to the cold. I've heard stories of Tongans in Prudhoe Bay who wear shorts year-'round in order to show the local Eskimos how tough they are.

On a side note, Tex, have you ever considered having a small RC drone base (optical connection, Faraday cage, infrared camera, etc.) in order to have a bird's-eye-view of your vault's surroundings post-ITZ?

Texas Arcane said...


Initially after a lifetime of living in climate controlled surroundings, your body's immune system will drop sharply when the temperature drops.

After a couple months of this, temperature changes will scarcely affect you anymore because your body learns how to regulate its own core according to changes.

Same with illness. Everybody in New York city knows taxi drivers never get sick. Why would they? They are exposed to thousands of people each week and incredible amounts of germs. They have cast-iron immune systems.

mike said...

It's not about 'caring.' It's about you making an absolutely ridiculous claim about your physical abilities. And since most of this blog is about how much better you (an alleged Neanderthal) are so much better, harder, and smarter than those 'Saps, it's interesting when the evidence that you use to back your claims up are complete nonsense.

You're a smart dude, but I think you've gotten full of yourself. You're just another man. Understand that and you'll be ok.

bicebicebice said...

Texas Arcane said...


I told you the truth. I think it is you who has a strange burning desire for human equality that is just not there.

I saw someone the other day who could apparently hold their breath for 13 minutes with a bit of preparation. I don't think I could hold my breath for five minutes. Does that mean that the other person doesn't exist? If I can't hold my breath for 13 minutes, they must be some kind of hoax?

I was watching Usain Bolt run last night. I guess people like yourself would claim Bolt is cutting the course somehow since you and I will never run 100 meters that fast. Usain is lying or cheating somewhere. If I can't do it then it must mean the other person is lying about it.

What I told you about took me as much effort as passing gas. It was perfectly normal for me to walk around barely even clothed in subzero temperatures all the time in my New York days. You have not considered the possibility I am crazy for not getting in out of the cold like everybody else.

I did start to get sick later from decades of cubicle work in an office but at that time I never ever got ill no matter what the climate.

Grognard said...

The wind chill facor doesn't mean much when you have a jacket. I always get a laugh that no matter what minor, idiotic claim you make someone on the internet will doubt it. As soon as the internet became mainstream it was absolutely full of these idiots.

mike said...

"Subzero" temperatures is a little different than 80-120 degrees below (it doesn't even get that cold in New York; not even close).

I myself have walked in a T-shirt and jeans in 10 degree temperatures, so your last claim is somewhat believable.

And equality? Get out of here. I'm simply calling you on your claim about being fine in 80-120 degrees below (which you have since modified).

Texas Arcane said...


New York issued an emergency edict on the night I told you about requiring all people to assist police and accept transportation to community shelters because with wind chill the temperature was dropping to 120 degree below zero. Water froze in mid-air. The streets were covered with an inch of ice and roads were nearly impassable.

I sat down all night in this weather with a coat on and finished reading Thompson's book.

I told the truth the first time but I guess you think you can somehow find a loophole in me telling you the simple truth.

Mex Arcane said...


How dare you question Tex's magical Thal powers.

You unimaginable bastard.

HalibetLector said...

Is it possible you're remembering the temperature wrong?

I grew up in NNY, 300 miles north of NYC. The coldest winter we ever saw was -40 degrees with wind chill gusts up to -80. NYC, however, has never seen that kind of weather. The lowest temperature record I can find[1] for NYC in the past 30 years is -15 with a wind chill of around -30. It's still damned cold, but nowhere near -100.

Then again, -30 is more than cold enough to kill somebody. I have no doubt the events unfolded just as you said and it's still damned impressive at -5 with a severe wind chill. The rest I just chalk up to hyperbole, something I myself am prone to from time to time.


Texas Arcane said...


The exact source for the 120 degrees below figure came from Ed Koch on television and radio telling people that with wind chill that city officials had been measuring gusts of up to 120 degrees below in Times Square and saying something to the effect of "This is no joke, you can freeze solid in 30 seconds in this kind of weather. We have never seen anything like it in New York before."

Everybody was encouraged to get indoors that night with emergency conditions in effect and police authorised to use force to remove people to shelters for their own safety.

I also remember eating at Poppy's restaurant on 57th street and Poppy himself saying when I came in out of the cold at 7:30 to eat some rice and beans that I was going to freeze, he said he had never seen New York that cold.

Texas Arcane said...

@Halibet Lector

Wait, I realised with a shock what you are saying. Are you hinting the great Mayor Koch might have exaggerated to get people to do what he wanted? I can't believe you would even suggest this. :)

It is possible Koch threw 40 degrees on to scare people off the streets, I don't know. So I may have only been out in balmy -80 weather. It is the humidity that gets you.

PrairieSage07 said...

When we lived in the mountains of Montana we had a week of -65. The people in the nearby cabins all stayed inside. I was outside shoveling snow, moving firewood for everyone. At times getting down into a light long sleeve shirt. One thing about temps... Once it gets above 75 degrees I start to feel sluggish, get headaches, want to sleep a lot (10+ hours)... in cool weather... I get by on around 5 hours at night with an hour nap in the early afternoon.