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Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:58 am
by Ken Greenwald
In spite of the very well-argued contributions above, I’m sticking to my theory. It was my assumption that your average 1837 bear wouldn’t be using bone china (I assume a fairly heavy duty piece of earthenware); the porridge was put in all bowls at the same time; mama bear martyred herself by taking the smallest portion; and baby bear enjoyed sucking the food out of the bowl on his own. And, without getting into the thermodynamics of the porridge-bowl-environment system, brings me to some useful empirical evidence.

Every chance I get, I stroll over to a wonderful coffee shop (La Dolce Vita), which is just a few minutes walk from my house to sit in a cushy chair by their beautiful floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, slowly sipping tea and eating my bagel (made by Gibb’s Bagels – the world’s greatest bagel maker), in a wonderfully uncrowded environment (I’m not sure how they stay in business) and read for an hour or two. With me I bring my non-magazine reading which currently includes The Known World (2003) by Edward P. Jones [I’m liking it], The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (2004) [I’m loving it], Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) by J. M. Coetzee [magnificent – my book group made me read it and I was all ready for a downer on the order of Cormack McCarthy’s The Road], Quick Silver (2003) by Neal Stephenson [a 926-page doorstop which is just excellent and filled with the kind of historical detail I love]. And why 4? The change of pace of switching from one book to another is refreshing. When I hike, I usually take two, a light and a not so light. But I digress!

Well, what does this all have to do with the temperature of porridge? The tea (and coffee) cups at La Dolce Vita come in three sizes: normal, large, and humongous. The normal size is a fairly standard coffee cup, but the large, and humongous are huge bowl-like structures (I have never before seen cups of this size) and are made of very heavy duty ceramic, and when full, actually hurt my wrist to hold them.

Anyway, for several years I ordered the large cup and had the displeasure of it becoming lukewarm warm to cold as I read – I drink slowly and about a gallon of tea takes quite a while to drink in any case. Recently they have begun to offer pots of tea, which is a great idea, and I get the pot that holds the equivalent of the large size cup. However, when they started doing this, they gave me the pot along with the large cup. But this was a mistake because as I poured my tea out in small quantities, the large cup immediately absorbed the heat and was cold within a few of my slow-paced sips (I probably sip about once every 5 minutes).

It seems pretty clear to me, without actually doing a calculation, that the effect of the heat loss to the cup far outweighs any loss to the atmosphere. When I switched to the smaller cup, the effect was dramatic and the same quantity of tea poured remained hot significantly longer.

Q.E.D. Goldilockswise (based on eminently anecdotal evidence that bears attention)

Ken – October 29, 2008

Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:13 am
by Erik_Kowal
Cups of tea --> Q.E.D. --> O.M.G.! --> Gotta pee!

Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:04 pm
by trolley
Wow! This one is still bruin?

Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:28 pm
by Erik_Kowal
Seems like it, for better or ursa.

BTW, Ken, you can substantially reduce the evaporative cooling of your drink by placing a plastic lid on your cup when you are not actively sipping from it. I use the lid from an olive spread container for this purpose.

Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:31 pm
by Ken Greenwald
Erik_Kowal wrote:Cups of tea --> Q.E.D. --> O.M.G.! --> Gotta pee!
You've hit upon one of the basic hazards of the large (don't think I have the wherewithal to handle the humongous) – as they say in the current vernacular, there's a liquidity problem!

And as far as the lid goes, I have a set of wooden coasters in the house that have a lip on them and a few years back I realized that if I plopped one on a hot cup of tea or coffee it fit perfectly and made a very nice seal. I do that all the time around the house, but somehow, popping one into my pocket when I go over to La Dolca Vita hadn't crossed my mind. Why didn't I think of that? – I must have a problem generalizing. Thanks for the tip and that should work out just dandy.

Ken – October 30, 2008

Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:32 am
by Wizard of Oz
.. I have my porridge with salt and brown sugar .. a close friend has hers with jam .. hers is always eaten much hotter then mine .. mine must be cool or I can't enjoy it .. hate having my mouth burnt .. now is it simply a matter that Mummy & Daddy Bear purely from personal taste arranged to have their porridge served at a different temperature and Mummy Bear, being on a diet, had a smaller serve and Daddy Bear bulking up for the Forest Games had a larger serve ??? .. to my mind the eternal mystery is why did they bother to serve their mouth watering breakfast of personal preference temperature porridge and then simply walk out of the house ??? .. what happened to make them leave ?? .. or was it all a porridge set-up to catch the housebreaking resident blonde bimbo who had been doing the rounds of the hood breaking into cottages when fat-fearing, fitness freak families were out for their morning power walk ?? .. porridge in 3 temps, chairs and beds in 3 different sizes .. had to get it right .. and they did .. they need to write the sequel about the celebrated court case ..

WoZ in the Woods

Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:25 pm
by Bobinwales
Could this actually be what happened on that fateful morning?

Baby bear went downstairs and sat in his small chair at the table.

He looked into his small bowl. Empty! 'Who's been eating my porridge?' he squeaked.

Daddy Bear arrived at the big table and sat in his big chair. He looked into his big bowl. Empty! 'Who's been eating my porridge?' he roared.

Mummy Bear put her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yelled, 'For God's sake, how many times do I have to go through this with you idiots?

It was Mummy Bear who got up first. It was Mummy Bear who woke everyone in the house. It was Mummy Bear who made the tea. It was Mummy Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away. It was Mummy Bear who swept the floor in the kitchen. It was Mummy Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper and croissants. It was Mummy Bear who set the damn table. It was Mummy Bear who walked the bloody dog, cleaned the cats' litter tray, gave them their food, and refilled their water.

And now that you've decided to drag your sorry bear-arses downstairs and grace Mummy Bear with your grumpy presence, listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once....


Re: Goldilocks and the thermal characteristics of porridge

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:11 pm
by trolley
I stumbled upon this thread while searching some unrelated topic. I figured I'd bump it to the top...some things deserve to be reread. I'm still smiling.