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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Thursday, November14, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

loe Michigan 43allm

Why we feel cold

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the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Interdisciplinary innovation
One-credit mini-courses give students exposure to real-world issues
The College of LSA, in partnership with student organization opti-
Mize, has proposed a new model to boost student-driven creative
innovation called the LSA Social Innovation Alliance. The pro-
gram proposes to support one-credit developmental mini-courses, an
annual Social Innovation Challenge, Summer Innovation Grants and the
creation of a 15-month SIA fellowship. Currently, LSA is seeking finan-
cial support of $4 million to endow the SIA program and about $200,000
annually. Given the positive response and demand from both the admin-
istration and the student population, the University should make this
program a priority and reach out to donors.

round this time of the year, a
single question preoccupies
the minds of many people:
Why is it so cold?
while many
people ask this
question out of
either pragmatic
concern or faux
existential grief,
many also fail
to see how pro- BARRY
found just such a BELMONT
question is. This
is due in part, I
imagine, to their misunderstanding
of how the whole process of "feeling
cold" works.
When pressed for an answer for
"why winters are cold," many people
often hem and haw about the earth
being farther away from the sun in
the "winter," thus receiving less light
and becoming colder. This is wrong.
This line of thinking exposes a bit
of northern hemisphere bias, since
the southern hemisphere experi-
ences summer while we have win-
ter. If we consider that the variation
in the orbital distance between the
earth and the sun is approximately
3,110,000 miles-whichisnearly800
times greater than the radius of the'
earth - we can see that all regions of
the earth are affected pretty much
equally by this variation. Therefore,
it's notthe cause of seasonal changes.
However, that seasons are hemi-
sphere dependent suggests an
answer, namely that the tilt of the
earth is the reason for the seasons.
And this is true as far as it goes. Since
the tilt of the earth remains constant
during the northern hemisphere's
winter, the northern hemisphere
points away from the sun. This angle
causes the sun to be lower in the
sky, heats the ground less efficiently
and shortens the days to bring on
the cold. But the "tilt of the earth"
answer always seemed a bit shallow

to me, as it fails to answer the more
interesting question: Why do we feel
cold? And as with most "why"-based
questions, there are both proximate
and ultimate answers.
The proximate, or most direct,
answer is that we don't feel cold. In
fact, human beings and other ani-
mals do not feel temperature at all.
What we actually sense is the flow of
heat caused by temperature differ-
ences. We feel "heat transfer." This is
not a trivial distinction. Everything
in a heated oven is at the same tem-
perature, but a cake pan will hurt
more to touch than the surrounding
air because the heat transfer from
the pan is rapid and intense, while
that from the air is slow and inef-
ficient. Heat transfer is the answer
to more questions than many could
have hoped to ask, and it tells us why
we feel cold.
In general, there are three main
types of heat transfer. The first, and
most intuitive, is known as conduc-
tion. Conductiveheat transfer occurs
when two objects of different tem-
peratures physically contact one
another. Heat energy from the object
with the higher temperature will
flow into the colder object until the
two are at equilibrium. This happens
when two people hold hands or when
a significant other asks to have their
cold feet warmed up.
The second type of heat transfer
is known as convection and is essen-
tially the same process as conduc-
tion, except instead of two solids
interfacing, one solid interfaces with
a fluid - either a liquid or a gas. Fans
feel good in the summerbecause they
push air across our skin and wick
away heat - in conjunction with
evaporation, another type of heat
transfer - and why they would feel
so bad to us in the winter.
Conduction and convection are
the primary causes of the answer to
why we feel cold. These are the two
modes that have shaped our physiol-

ogy and guided our evolution. They
are why the ears of rabbits are long,
why noses getcold to insure that the
rest of the body remains warm, and
why the genitalia of human males
are kept outside of their torsos. The
forces of evolution are mindful of
thermodynamics, if for no other
reason than that it is the law. We
feel warmth and coldness because
there is a higher evolutionary pres-
sure to determine differences in
temperature rather than absolute
temperatures to ensure survival.
Perhaps the least intuitive but
most important of the three modes
ofheattransfer is radiation, the pro-
cess by which energy is transferred
in the form of electromagnetic
waves. While conduction and con-
vection require a physical medium
to move heat about, all things, at
all times, are taking in and giving
off this radiative energy, with "hot-
ter" objects giving off more radia-
tion than they take in and "colder"
objects taking in more radiation
than they give off. This is the reason
we can feel the sun's warmth at all.
If we consider this fact, we can
come to our revelation: we feel
cold because space is cold. When
you step outside in the morning on
those winter days, you are feeling
outer space suck away your heat.
Every chill, every shiver, every
breath hanging in the air is directly
attributable to the cosmos's cold,
unfeeling nature. With an aver-
age temperature of approximately
-450 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly
-270 Celsius), space does not seem
particularly suited for the lives we
enjoy. Coldness is the rule, not the
In fact, instead of asking our-
selves why it gets so cold, maybe
we should ask, "why does it ever get
- Barry Belmont can be reached
at belmont@umich.edu.


The main opportunity SIA presents is.
the creation of new one-credit mini-courses
that will focus on critical, real-world issues,
like education. A one-credit mini-course
launched this academic year by LSA. With
a low-barrier to entry, the courses are an
appealing option for students with all types
of course loads. This new section filled up
extremely fast with a waitlist of seven people
and attracted a diverse group of students.
The demographics of the optiMize Social
Innovation Challenge last year included 50
percent LSA students, 28 percent Business
School students and 22 percent of students
distributed between other colleges.
The courses push students to devise prac-
tical, real-world solutions. The "Critical
Issues in Education" mini-course description
states that it aims to expose students to sev-
eral of the most pressing facets of a particular
social issue through presentations by guest
speakers. The speakers end their presenta-

tions with a challenge for the students to
design creative solutions to these problems.
Students will also have to work with oth-
ers within different majors and skill sets, as
well as apply their own experiences to create
innovative interdisciplinary solutions.
Aside from allowing students to network
with other similar-minded, passionate stu-
dents of different majors, the course also
provides students with business networking
opportunities with the speakers, who come
from various walks of life. However, the
program will need to draw on more outside
resources - like local non-profits - to fur-
ther expand and develop.
As social innovation increases by the hour,
this is a program that requires further develop-
ment and expansion. In a campus where words
like "pitches," "entrepreneurship" and "start-
ups" are thrown around in the air frequently,
it's necessary to also focus on the passion, drive,
and motivation behind entrepreneurship.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Eric
Ferguson, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Adrienne Roberts,
Paul Sherman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe

Focus on men's mental
health in 'Movember'
This month of November, we in
Counseling and Psychological Ser-
vices are promoting "Movember" - a
month focused on, and dedicated to,
men's mental health, and health and
wellness in general, as a complement
to our work with students the other
11 months of the year.
Men have a higher likelihood of
dying by suicide and engaging in sub-
stance abuse. One in six are survivors
of childhood sexual abuse. Simul-
taneously, men underutilize mental
health services, gravitate toward
"toughing" it out in private, and find

it easier to not ask for help.
Men's health affects all of us
regardless of our gender. We all have
men in our lives that we care about.
The stigma around accessing services
has impacted many of us personally
and professionally, and it's time to cre-
I urge all of us to create a caring
community and to do something to
helpsupportthis focusonmen'shealth
and to make it easier for men to ask for
help. Attend one of Movember events,
take time to educate ourselves, create
tifying ways to be healthy, and more
importantly, to lay the foundation for
thefuture - ourfuture.
Most of all, I invite and urge us to
make men's mental health real in a
meaningful and personal way. I know

it's hard - I've been there - it's easy to
think these things won'thappento me
ortoanyone Icare about. But,thereal-
ity is that a health issue can happen to
all of us and/or to someone we care
about - I've beenthere, too. Thinking
back personally, I wish someone had
talked about men's health when I was
in college. That's how I make this real
for me and Iinvite allofus ta-ake this
real and personal.
Join us on the Diag on Nov. 14
from 12-2 p.m. to learn more. And,
join us in this effort as we collectively
try to make an impact with action,
with knowledge, with voice and
with support.
Todd Sevig
Director of Counseling and
Psychological Services



Here's what we're going to do in this arti-
cle. I'm going to pretend that I know a thing
or two about changing behavior, and you're
going to pretend to follow my advice.
Let me tell you about changing anything in
your life. First, you cannot expect a change in
results ifyou don't change the inputs.Whenyou
want your life to go in another direction, the
priority is in how you do it. The way to change
that "how" part is by realizing the difference
between the subconscious and conscious mind,
and observing the way they affect behavior.
Now if you haven't read Shakespeare's
Hamlet, go read it now. It will prompt you to
ask yourself whether you should live or die.
Make a list - assets and liabilities, pros and
cons, or just to live and to die - and assign
numeric points to the items on your list. Cal-
culate the points, and you will have seen
your choice.
If you've come back to read this article -
welcome back - I have started change in you.
Those who haven't followed the. instructions
will undergo no change as they haven't changed
any inputs in their equations - reading Hamlet
is not mandatory; just make the list.
What we've accomplished by compiling a
list of to live or to die was turning a subcon-
scious process into a conscious one. This is
the first step toward changing an outcome -
realizing what the heck is going on.
Going through the effort of seeing why
you choose to live is essential. While it seems
rather like a trivial task, it might in the end
reveal a couple of things about yourself. Also,
it's useful in the sense that it pushes you to
look at how you value "things" in life.
The second accomplishment of the test was
making a decision based on a conscious pro-
cess rather than a subconscious one. In this
case it was choosing to live and coming back
to finish the article. The first part was identi-

fication, and the second is deciding whether
your behavior makes sense or not.
Basically, just go repeat the process for
your addictions or whatever that is you want
to change. As a result of these two steps it will
be evident to you whether you should try to
get rid of a habit, or try to change it. Some-
thing is part of your subconscious because
at some point in your life you thought you
didn't need to question it. Since you now want
change, you have to question it.
The simple example is asking yourself why
you should quit smoking. It won't work if you
don't see the flaw in your own reasoning, and if
you don't see a problem in your conscious rea-
soning then you don't want to quit your habit.
Figuring out the flaw doesn't solve the
problem, right? You're convinced and you're
aware, but you lack initiative. Remember
what I said about assigning points? You lack
initiative because the values that add up to
your habit outweigh your desire for change.
Now, I can't dig into changing values
because that's a completely different psycho-
logical ball game, but what I can say is that
the more you question yourself the better it
is. So, my very narrow value add to your day is
this: don't take it for granted, go through the
process one more time, because somewhere
along the way you will see what matters more
to you, and that may become the initial spark
to change.
You have to review how you look at things
in order to get a new sense of evaluating
where you're at in life, and then you can begin
changing yourself.
TL;DR: To change behavioral outputs,
change input approaches and assumptions
first. To do this, make the effort to turn some
subconscious processes into conscious ones.
Kaan Avdan is an LSA junior.

Choosing English over Engineering

A recent article in The New York
Times stated a fact most of us know:
The number of humanities majors
is declining. Harvard University's
humanity programs rake in 20 per-
cent fewer students than a decade ago,
and Stanford University's humanities
staff makes up 45 percent of the fac-
ulty population but only 15 percent of
students study humanities. This trend
stems from the focus on science, tech-
nology, engineering and mathematics
fields. This generation's college stu-
dents are especially concerned about
getting a job after college, and, there-
fore, students may choose science
over humanity majors, as they can be
seen as more attractive to employers.
However, students miss great oppor-
tunities in humanities departments.
As an English major, I can attest to the
value of my classes. The knowledge
that I learn isn't irrelevant, unimport-
antoruselessinthe job field.WhatI've
learned has been extraordinary and
beneficial in ways that STEM majors
can't offer.
I don't learn about derivatives,
programming or cells in English - I
learn about life. To study a novel or
essay is to study the complexities of
being human, which directly impacts
my opinions of humanity. I have
walked out of a 90-minute English
recitation genuinely feeling more
knowledgeable about life.
Take, for instance, the English
class I'm taking this semester. We're
currently learning about Virginia
Woolf, a novelist known for breaking
the rules of what defines a novel. In
Jacob's Room, she avoids develop-
ing plot and characters. By avoiding
vivid character descriptions, she illu-
minates her point on how little we

actually "know" someone.
In most novels, we know as
much as the writer can detail. In
real life, though, we don't know
people this well. We see them for
only a tiny fraction of their life, and
even at these points we are further
restricted by not having access to
their personal thoughts.
Prior to this class, I had never pro-
cessed how hard it is to actually know
someone. This idea, though, enhanced
myexperienceofthe world. It changed
how I thought about life. This type of
knowledge about humans rarely, if at
allcomesfromSTEM classes.
English not only helps me know
more about life - it also helps me to
express my thoughts. Through the
hours of discussions and papers, my
professors have honed my ability to
communicate effectively. When I'm
having an argument with a friend,
I know exactly how to express my
thoughts. By clarifying what I'm say-
ing, it can either diffuse a situation
or allow the person to better under-
stand why I feel the way I do. When
I open my iPhone to tweet a funny
story, after a few moments of revis-
ing, I've effectively used the right
words in the right places to convey
the story. When I'm e-mailing a pro-
fessor about a class question, I know
how to write professionally while
also specifically addressing my ques-
tion. This skill, honed by my English.
class, has helped me immensely.
But English isn't all about devel-
oping life skills. Contrary to popular
belief, the major has a strong basis in
preparing for career fields. It's abso-
lutelytrue that English does not desig-
nate you to a specific field, but it does
prepare you for a variety of fields. The

life and communication skills learned
from an English degree are invaluable
for a wide range of careers. An English
degree prepares students for careers
in journalism, sales, marketing, law,
publishing, editing, reporting, social
work, politics and teaching. That's not
the end of the list, though.
With such a wide range of skills,
some English majors find careers
in unexpected fields, including
accounting, banking, digital copy-
writing, public relations, blogging,
researching, sales, lobbying and
event planning. With these opportu-
nities and manymore, choosingEng-
lish does not also mean sacrificing a
career. In fact, with unending oppor-
tunities, English arguably provides
more opportunities for work than a
major that's bound to a specific job.
Now, I'm not devaluing choosing
a major in the STEM field. Everyone
has different interests, and sciences
and technology are vital. I'm thank-
ful for the medicine, technology
and infrastructure that come from
STEM majors. They're incredible,
and the people that major in these
fields enhance the world. However,
the value in these fields should not
minimize the value in English. I may
not have the skills to design a road,
diagnose a cold or create cardiovas-
cular tissue; however, I can express
myself and analyze literature better
than a good portion of people, and
that's what I find useful. Knowing
more about the human condition has
enhanced my personal life in a way
STEM classes can't. For me, my edu-
cation isn't just about finding a job.
Michael Schramm is
anS LSA sophomore.


We don't comment on
rumors and speculation!"'
- Facebook spokesperson Denise Horn said in response to reports that Snapchat
declined a $3 billion offer from Facebook.

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