Shorts in the cold?

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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
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Canada
Seems there's been a shift in the wisdom. Here’s a link to one of a dozen or more articles arguing the old saw that says "If you have cold feet then put on a hat" is nonsense.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/dec/17/medicalresearch-humanbehaviour

There is a quote in there: “If as much as 45 percent of body heat were lost through your head, going out without a hat would feel like going out without trousers.”

Last winter I saw a really typical scene for round here. A kid came out of his house, there’s a few inches of snow around and its was about -4C. He’s wearing boots, a jacket, a scarf, a toque, gloves … and basketball shorts :lol:. See it all the time.

Me too! I can, very often do, go out in weather like that, and quite a bit colder, happily wearing shorts – if I have a jacket and a hat on. If I am digging out the drive, then the coat is likely optional ... but not the hat. :) I am starting to wonder if I am just deluded and have been conning myself into thinking I am warm, or if the scientists (factually correct, or not) have simply misjudged the experience of being out in the cold.

Might need to find out more about this :) I think we need a survey
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If the air temperature is warm enough not to give you a frost bite, the body’s internal heat will warm you. The more you move, the better.

Yes you can only have shorts on and be decently ok. As long as you move. And it is nit too cold, or the wind is strong

Do not try that in Scandinavia or other areas with properly cold winters.

Edited!
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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No clue what a togue is, and basketball is indeed played in Britain. And the rest of Europe. No, rest of the World!
It is one of the better US exports! If not the best!

I would love to see how these two people conducted the research. I need to find the article!

Could not find it, the last unlocked article in BMJ by them is from 2008
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Review your human anatomy. You will find that the vascular bed in your scalp is enormous.
Scalp injuries always look far worse for bleeding that the trauma really is.

I have lived most of my life where the winters can be -30C cold or colder and windy.
Exposure and hypothermia are genuine threats, especially to children.
Their surface area to body volume ratio means they lose body heat far faster than an adult.

Cover your head. You waste valuable calories. Cover your head with something more insulating than a cricket cap.
Cover your ears, they are absolute radiators for body heat. (Imagine elephant).
Knitted hats with long ear flaps and long enough in the back to cover part of your neck.

I've got several. One is a down-filled hood, about as cozy as it can get.
One is a very fancy mountain hat, knitted in Equador (Alpaca?).

Favorite is knitted wool with the best ear covers.
It's best as it's warmer even when damp.
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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You as a Canadian, you must wear a proper, PETA non approved fur hat!


Children do not care about cold as much as adults. I remember swimming in lake Vättern when I was young and had a brilliant future ahead of me.
Today, with the brilliant future is well in the mists of history, I would not even dip my toe in such cold water.

When I worked in the Arctic, wintertime, when I did hard fysical work, I only has a cotton shirt on, usually with a cotton brynja underlayer on.
But always, always, a hat, and gloves. Hat and silk balaclava if it was very cold.
Your body could be glowing from the internal heat, but you could get frost damage on fingers, ears, cheeks, nose at the same time.
 

Toddy

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Did you know that one of the defining changes in apes that made our ancestors homo, was the way the skull and brain altered to avoid heatstroke when they walked upright all the time ? It's postulated that it's also why we lost most of our body hair.

"Anthropologist Dean Falk has hypothesized that the heat generated by the extremely enlarged human brain became a significant physiological factor in evolution. In her "radiator brain hypothesis" she proposed that the pattern of venous blood drainage in the head became reorganized to cool the brain. Many small holes known as emissary foramina pierce the skull and serve for the passage of veins from the surface skin to the large venous sinuses inside the skull. Blood cooled by heat exchange from evaporating sweat on the scalp moves into the venous sinuses. Falk discovered that emissary foramina are much more common in large-brained Homo species than in small-brained australopithecines. The deduction then is that cool scalp blood flows back through the skull bone, where it cools the brain and keeps it at optimum temperature."

Now if you take that supercooled brain, and you shove it out the door into an Arctic winter, do you really think it's going to be happy ?

Find a hat, it's very practical, and from someone who worked outdoors in all weathers I can attest that without a hat on in the wet and windy, I can chill through pdq, and it can take hours to raise core temperature back to unshaky comfort.

M
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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That theory is fine here the outside temp is below the body temp, but what about when the outside temp is sugnificantly higher than the body temp?

Like in Africa, possibly the cradle of humanity?

Sweating lowers the body temp, evaporation. Cooler blood must flow rapidly to the brain, and the Carotid and Vertebral do just that.

I do not know huw much scalp sweating can cool the scalp. Small area.

If anybody finds a link to that medical article please post it, the link in The Guardian is brokrn?
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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toque. pronounced 'toooque'. Some sort of a knitted cap. The ones from Peru and Ecuador are blinding colors!
For really stupid people, we call them "block heaters."
A joke reference to the electric engine heaters in the cooling systems to reduce
oil viscosity for cold (-20C & colder) engine starts.

Any good toque has to come down over your ears.
Must be 101 different designs for "ear-muffs." Just one more thing to fall off.

I don't wear fur because it loses all its loft when wet.
Wool holds its loft even when wet and the individual hairs are hollow.
Inuit people are smart enough to stay dry and wear the fur inside for insulation.
(Try that: turn a real fur coat inside-out and put it on.)

My winter trousers are windproof cotton with a soft inner flannel cloth inner layer.
I dress to be warm and comfortable but the dummies still ask: " Are you cold?"
Snowmobile gloves and boots (with spare liners).


.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Seems to be a rule in Canada that you never, every have to do anything
essentially important until the absolute coldest day of the whole dang winter.

Mittens are fine if you need no manual dexterity.
Canadian made snowmobile equipment is what we wear.
Safety first, particularly up top.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
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Did you know that one of the defining changes in apes that made our ancestors homo, was the way the skull and brain altered to avoid heatstroke when they walked upright all the time ? It's postulated that it's also why we lost most of our body hair.

"Anthropologist Dean Falk has hypothesized that the heat generated by the extremely enlarged human brain became a significant physiological factor in evolution. In her "radiator brain hypothesis" she proposed that the pattern of venous blood drainage in the head became reorganized to cool the brain. Many small holes known as emissary foramina pierce the skull and serve for the passage of veins from the surface skin to the large venous sinuses inside the skull. Blood cooled by heat exchange from evaporating sweat on the scalp moves into the venous sinuses. Falk discovered that emissary foramina are much more common in large-brained Homo species than in small-brained australopithecines. The deduction then is that cool scalp blood flows back through the skull bone, where it cools the brain and keeps it at optimum temperature."

Now if you take that supercooled brain, and you shove it out the door into an Arctic winter, do you really think it's going to be happy ?

Find a hat, it's very practical, and from someone who worked outdoors in all weathers I can attest that without a hat on in the wet and windy, I can chill through pdq, and it can take hours to raise core temperature back to unshaky comfort.

M
Faskinatin.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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As animals get bigger and bigger, the surface area to body volume ratio goes down so they need mechanisms to get rid of excess body heat.
Watch elephants flap their ears.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
As animals get bigger and bigger, the surface area to body volume ratio goes down so they need mechanisms to get rid of excess body heat.
Watch elephants flap their ears.
There is a reason the traditional African male dress did not include trousers but a loose piece of semi covering hide, leaf of fibre fabric.

The Germans did a huge amount of research on the human fysiology in cold during WW2.
I wonder if this (debunked?) ’wisdom’ comes from that research?
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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More than likely it does.

The German war research into exposure and hypothermia, as brutal as it was, formed some of the foundation for
the research done by Dr John Hayward at the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia.
Every last piece of civilian and military exposure suiting with the Mustang label is a product of his work.
Surviving the UVic exposure dunk-tank gave students the ultimate bragging rights.
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
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436
Canada
My theory is that it used to work, you know, putting a hat on, because we used to be cleverer than we are now and so, for that, required more blood in the head than we do in the present. Your phone heats up your head enough now, likely with all them little microwaves.

So, for summer temperatures, we should soon develop cooling fins in the ridges of the scalp, looking initially rather like Klingons, and then, ultimately, Stegosauruses. End of Days is working out weirder than we could guess. We'll all come back for judgement, but as giant lizards (and, therefore, perhaps with a fighting chance :lol: ... as well as an intuitive understanding of differential heat treatment).
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Or grow larger ears and develop proper muscles to flap them, like RV's elephants?

Already some well endowned people have those muscles and can move their ears!

Does a cold head slow down the brain activity?
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Brush up on your understanding of the symptoms of hypothermia. Might be a life-saver some day. Everybody.
Verbal confusion, as a display of mental confusion, is a very big symptom of cooling blood.

However, it's also fact that you can enhance your manual dexterity in the cold by deliberately going bare handed.
As in naked bird feet, the biochemistry changes with the seasons and people can do the same.

There was a small tribe of hard-core ice climbers as students at Simon Fraser University when I was a Post Doc there.
Burnaby Mountain, with SFU on top, regularly got dramatic falls of wet snow.
This crew wore T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops all winter, between lectures.

Lots of animals have all sorts of weird strategies to cope with excess body heat.
Beaver (Castor canadensis), out of water, always sit with their tail in the water.
That's their radiator for excess body heat.