Finally, the Answers to Cold Weather Mysteries

If you live in any sort of winter climate, you have, at one time or another, wrestled with the two great mysteries of cold weather life:

1. Why does 50°F in the fall make you want to bundle up while 50°F in the spring makes you want to go for a walk in short sleeves?

2. Why the hell do kids wear shorts during the winter or go without coats when it’s literally freezing out? Like seriously, what the hell?

This short video answers both questions with one magical substance: brown fat.

55 degrees in the summer feels colder than 55 degrees in the winter. And 55 degrees as an adult likely feels colder than 55 degrees as a kid. But it’s not just a feeling. It all has to do with how our bodies use fat - specifically brown fat, a lesser-known type of fat that can produce roughly 300 times more heat than any other tissue in the body.

Brown fat isn’t the type of fat that adds to our weight (that’s white fat). Brown fat has the sole purpose of being burnt for heating the body, and it’s extremely effective at that. It only appears in specific parts of the body: around the neck, spine, heart, and kidneys. (It clumps around major blood vessels, in order to warm the blood as it passes through the body.)

In brief: 1. We have more brown fat in the spring, and 2. Kids have more brown fat in their bodies than adults. Cool! (har har)

Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. ❤️

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on kottke.org, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site!

kottke.org. home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔