On temperature control
Here is a quote from Steve Baer's book, _Sunspots_:
What is it like to live in houses where the temperature changes
during the day? What is it like to do without a thermostat to
control the temperature within a degree or two? It is only very
recently that there have been thermostats for controlling the
temperature in houses, and still today almost everyone alive in the
USA has spent some time in buildings without automatic thermostats.
I believe that it is perfectly satisfactory to have the temperature
change during the course of each day, from a high in the afternoon
to a low in the morning, and to have the temperature change from
week to week according to how cloudy or sunny it is. The variations
in temperature keep your blood circulating.
What extremes of temperature within a house are comfortable? In a
dry climate like Albuquerque, I believe yearly lows and highs of 55 F
and 85 F are perfectly easy to live with inside a house--especially
if you have warm spots such as fireplaces or stoves to stand next to
when it is chilly. But what is the advantage of having temperature
variation within the house? The advantage of _not_ going to great
lengths--as most present day heating and colling systems do--to
achieve something that you don't really need or enjoy that much. Now
that all of us are plagued with the pollution resulting from the
overabundance of devices we have purchased, perhaps government or
church groups should sponsor a series of "you don't need it" commercials.
Instead of the bright uniformed "service personnel" of the Ace Air-
Conditioning Company briskly delivering and installing the latest gadgets,
the commercials would show the expensive equipment misused: a bored
housewife growing geraniums in her new dishwashing machine; a small child
casually dismantling a TV-stereo combo with a claw hammer...
Reptiles need mammal houses. The reptile is at a disadvantage because
he cannot regulate his body temperature, but, instead, equilibrates
near to the temperature of his surroundings. If it is cold he cannot
move fast. The regulatory function of the mammal is a great advantage,
since he can keep his body temperature constant.
Does this apply to houses and temperature regulation? Is it the same
kind of improvement when a thermostat and gas heating system are
installed? If the temperature outside one's body--the temperature of
the house--is regulated to within 1/2 degree F, of what use is the
sophisticated temperature regulating metabolism of the mammal?
Obsession with temperature control seems more like Reptile Technology
than Mammal Technology. The reptile badly needs it--the mammal does not.
This leads to the general question of what view one should take of
equipment manufactured to do for you what your body is equipped and
prepared to do for itself. Certainly we are all grateful for the
discovery of fire, but the thermostat--I don't know. A person's body
has already incorporated the muscles, organs, etc., to steer him
through dangers and difficulties. Yet we cleverly make them
unnecessary by an entirely new level of design and invention. What
is the result of this? The now unnecessary organs are not removed
from the body; instead they are simply unemployed--hanging around,
so to speak, in one's body, talking to the brain, being fed by the
heart and bloodstream.
For the utmost in design I can imagine the equipment manufacturers'
surgical teams removing now unnecessary organs with the installation
of their automatic control systems. Perhaps the now outdated glands
and organs could be sold to reptiles on another planet.