Saturday, August 25, 2007
A KITCHEN WITH NO EXIT
As a bare foot lad growing up in Tampa, it seemed like all the houses had these wonderful cooling devices called attic fans. Not only was their cooling of baking houses and sweaty bodies effective, there was the added feature, for the kid I was anyway, of vigorously slamming all the doors leading to the room or hall whose ceiling had the fan. Big fun. Pulling air from outside through all the open windows created breezes throughout the rooms whose doors were propped open and pushing it through the stuffy attic to the vent at the other end did double duty as summer heat relief.
At some point after WWII German jeeps began dripping oil on US highways. I remember that along with air cooling and minimal annual change in design there was the added feature of an airtightness that required an open window to slam the doors.
Okay, based on my experiential, empirical examples of the behavior whose academic study is fluid dynamics, I would like, just as plainly, to talk about the cooling device of choice throughout western civilization and how its advances parallel the situation in which we find the planet due to heedless advances in industrial/military corporate technology.
In modern homes and cars designed for air conditioning the airtightness of the early Volkswagen is a virtue, ostensibly to keep the cold air in. So okay, you turn on your air conditioner and for a little while it begins compressing the air into the airtight space until it meets its match and sounds like it changes gears to hunker down and settle for working against the pressure of the air filled room content to only cool the air allowed to pass through due to leaks in the house. Sounds pretty bad, eh? There is something that still passes unheeded and unfiltered into the room until its concentration far exceeds out doors — particulate matter pollution far too small for the strainers air conditioner filters are. The isolation chambers we have designed for habitation and transportation on this planet whose water we can no longer drink and whose air we can no longer breath are actually little force fed pollution pits due to the cooled, incompressible particulate matter that falls straight down with the coldest air to our wall to wall luxury pile carpet for stirring up at any occasion in the future. Carrier never mentions what they carry.
And all this without mentioning the ozone depletion caused by photodissociation of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds, commonly called freons, without which our cool little pollution packers couldn’t even cool the air.
In an earlier post I refer to the same sort of blithe ignorance by the head of the UN’s global warming task force, committee, procrastination. If my mixed bag of experience and education has lead me astray in the foregoing, I would be only too happy to be disabused of such. But if the oven’s too hot, learn to love sushi, ceviché and salads, but whatever you do, don’t air condition the kitchen.