Watercooler Ammo: Hot Hot Heat
Now that you've had your 1,354th conversation about the weather, you're probably running a little low on things to say about it -- so let us drop some trivia like it's, er, hot:
* The highest temperature ever recorded on Earth most likely occurred in Death Valley, California in high summer, 1913. During that time, the national weather service recorded 56.7Â°C (134Â°F). Other sources report an even toastier day of 136Â°F or 58Â°C in Al Aziziyah, Libya, in September 1922.
* The surface of the sun, also called the photosphere, averages about 6,000Â°C (11,000Â°F), which doesn't even begin to compare to the temp at the core (15,000,000Â°C; 27,000,000Â°F).
* The universe as a whole is actually pretty cool -- it averages 2.725 +/- 0.002 degrees Kelvin (think Celsius but starting at absolute zero, or -273Â°C/-459Â°F). The Milky Way is about 0.0001Â°K warmer on average, which is one of the many reasons you're not wearing mittens right now.
* Apparently, "a freak heat wave hit the central coast of Portugal on July 6, 1949, sending the temperature up to 158Â°F for a period of about two minutes. Moments later the mercury slid back down to the mid-120s. No explanation for this bizarre heat wave has ever been offered." (Caveat: We're not sure we believe this. Anyone here from Portugal?)
* In August 1995, farmers in Missouri reported that fresh bales of hay were spontaneously combusting due to the high temperature -- the methane emitted inside was catching fire.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to share one of my all-time favorite (and surprisingly easy) tips from Lifehacker: how to make your own $30 air conditioner.