Not Just for Kids

 Vol. 10, No. 4
January 24 - 30, 2002 
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Brrrrrrrrr! It’s Cold Out There
by Junior Reporter Ariel Brumbaugh

But just how cold is cold? Is cold the goose bumps on your arms on a cold day? Is it chattering teeth and blue lips or putting on an extra layer? Is it snow or freezing rain? Is it wind on a cloudy day?

Absolute zero …
is the coldest it can ever possibly get. At Absolute zero, the molecules in the air possess no kinetic energy, meaning they can’t move at all.

Scientists say Absolute zero is impossible to reach. Why?

Let’s pretend you were a scientist trying to reach Absolute zero. You have a special box and chemicals that allow you to make the air temperature very cold. The temperature in this box is only a few point-degrees away from Absolute zero, but it can’t quite reach it. Why?

Because the box is on a table, which is in a room, which is in a building, which is on the earth and in the very center of the earth is hot magna, the kind of stuff that flows out of erupting volcano as molten lava. This heat radiates up through the dirt, under the building, into the room, up the table and right into your box, preventing it from ever actually reaching Absolute zero.

Bay Weekly plungers Chris Heagy and Alex Knoll look very c-c-c-old in the 2000 Polar Plunge.
How Cold is a Polar Plunger?
If you want to know how cold cold really is, short of Absolute zero, ask the Polar Bears who take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.

On the last Saturday of January every year, a herd of 2,000 Polar Plungers rush into the cold Bay and get themselves wet from head to toe.

Here’s how cold cold felt to Christopher Heagy, when he took his first plunge in 2000:

I bound into the water and let out a whimper. Then I grab a breath and flop in. The moment I hit the water, my body goes numb. It doesn’t happen slowly. It happens instantaneously. Coming up, I feel some of the sharpest pains I have ever known.

When your foot falls asleep, it feels like it’s being poked with pins and needles. This feels like knives pushed through the bones. The longer I stay in the water, the farther the knives reach — into my calves, knees and thighs.

If you want to find out just how cold cold is, take the plunge this Saturday, January 26 at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

Registration starts at Noon for plunging at 2pm. To get in, you’ve got to raise (and bring) at least $50 from friends and supporters. The more money you raise, the warmer your prizes get. And if you’re under 18, your parents must come with you (or sign a form) to give their permission. Learn more at 410/290-7611 x 3010.

Where cold is really cold

In the United States:
Prospect Creek, Alaska:
-80&Mac251; F on Jan. 23 1971

In North America:
Snagg Yukon, Canada
-81.4&Mac251; F on Feb. 3, 1947

In the World:
Vostok, Antarctica:
-129&Mac251; F on July 21, 1983

Cool Stuff to Do:

Thursday, January 24
Hodge-Podge Collage
Create terrific works of art with paper, textures and photos. Bring scraps of material, postcards or bits of strings and ribbon. Happens again Jan. 31. 4:30-6:30pm @ Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold. $32; rsvp: 410/777-2243.

Friday, January 25
Music w/Charley
Tap your toes to music, stories & fun stuff w/Charley Montroll. 10am @ Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.

Snowman Day
Register by today for Snowman Day on Jan. 28, a day of arts & crafts, snacks and games. Ages 4-5. 1pm @ Northeast Community Ctr., Chesapeake Beach. $3; rsvp: 410/257-2554.

Saturday, January 26
Help Find My Dog!
Take a bus trek around Annapolis, following clues from Ezra Jack Keats’ books. Sponsored by Chesapeake Children’s Museum. Ages 4-7 w/parent. 9am-noon @ Annapolis Library, West St. Free; rsvp: 410/990-1993.

Winter Detectives
Hike Jug Bay Wetlands and find out where winter animals and plants are hiding. Dress warmly. 1-3pm @ the Wetlands, Lothian. $2.50 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/741-9330.

Star Light, Star Bright
Discover the mysteries of the stars plus make a planetarium to take home. Ages 6-9. 2-3:30pm @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Nature Center, Prince Frederick. $3; rsvp: 410/535-5327.

Sunday, January 27
Open House for New Families
New to the neighborhood? The Tidewater School is holding an open house for prekindergarten, kindergarten and grades 1 & 2. 1pm @ the School, Huntingtown: 410/257-0533.

Buds, Branches and Bark
Help Ranger Brian use the clues of bark, fruit, buds and twigs to identify trees during the wintertime. Also, look among the leaf litter for insects brave enough to show themselves. 1pm @ Kinder Farm Park, Millersville. Free; rsvp: 410/222-6115.

Beeswax Candles
Learn about bees plus make a small candle to take home. 2-3:30pm @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Nature Center, Prince Frederick. $4; rsvp: 410/535-5327.

Tuesday, January 29
Babies Don’t Have Hair?
Giggle and guffaw to the hilarious story My Sister’s Hair at Barnes & Noble. 10am @ Bookstore, Annapolis Harbour Ctr.: 410/573-1115.

Snowy Day Stories
Even if it’s wet and cold outside, stay warm and dry as Ms. Terry shares stories about the wonders of snow. 10:30am @ Borders, Bowie: 301/352-5560.

Thursday, January 31
Teen Scrapbook Workshop
Learn how to crop and safely store photos plus other scrapbook skills at the Teen Scrapbook Workshop. Bring 2-3 rolls of photos. 4-7pm @ North Beach Community Center. $57 includes materials; rsvp: 410/257-2554.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly