Re: your mail

R Britt (
Mon, 31 Jan 1994 17:51:55 -0800 (PST)

On Mon, 31 Jan 1994, Glenn Rankin wrote:

> Many may consider what I am about to write a nit, but as a physicist,
> I couldn't let the above pass without comment. Heat comes out as light
> (visible and invisible -- electromagnetic energy if you wish) _and_ as
> thermal motion (kinetic energy) of the surrounding matter. That's why
> fans can help cool things down by moving hot air away and cool air
> towards the source of heat. The fan generally doesn't affect light
> much. It is true that if matter and the electromagnetic fields in a
> volume are in equilibrium, then their energy spectra can be
> characterized by the same temperature.
> Glenn

But Glenn to further nit! That is of course the small scale picture,
but on the big scale of things...the way big scale of things,
matter and EM radiation (2.9 K stuff) are pretty much completely
decoupled, and the heat capacity of the universe is completely
dominated by the latter. I think everyone should keep this
in mind when designing their carnivorous plant enclosures!