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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Lupine Humor: A Challenge
Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 02:08:57 -0500

Blattid wrote:

>> "Do you know, I read just today that open fires don't actually heat a
>> building? It seems they draw in more cold air than they warm; just think
>> of all those ignorant people who froze themselves to death, and never
>> realized it, for thousands of years."
>Huh. And I took it as more of a dig at Lisa -- because she's right as
>far as she goes, but Wolfe is enough of an engineer to know that "they
>draw in more cold air than they warm" is actually true for a house with
>any kind of central heating ... having an open fire in one room of the
>house can actually way raise your heating bill.

That reminds me of the professor who, about thirty years ago, _proved_
mathematically that the Apollo moon landings were a physical impossibility.

Ann Schindler was cold and wet. As she and Wrangler drove to the "rambling
fieldstone building" where Lisa and the girls stayed, she imagined a
"red-hot pot-bellied stove in a bunkhouse". When she entered the house, what
she found instead was "a wide rustic room, one wall of which was mostly
fireplace; it held a bigger, redder, hotter fire than Ann could ever have
imagined". Ann said she wanted to sit by the fireplace, which is when Lisa
made her comment.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Wolfe was ridiculing the author of the
assertion Lisa read about. I doubt seriously that that ranch house had any
sort of central heating; and I know for a fact that all those "ignorant
people who froze themselves to death, and never realized it, for thousands
of years" didn't. For uncounted generations all that kept people from
freezing to death in the winter _were_ the "open fires" in the hearths of
their homes. I am even more certain of that than I am of Neil Armstrong.



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