military intelligence

Jim Nantz jnantz2 at GETNET.NET
Sun May 18 01:11:22 MDT 2003

Someone once said that military intelligence is a contradiction in
terms.  The following is an example of one case where this may be true.

I got the following from


Another scorcher today. Temperatures soared over 105F/40C.

At these temperatures, preventing heat stress becomes a major concern.

But it's not enought for one person to just say, "Hey, it's really hot out
here--let's take off our helmets." No, in the military we have to use
technology and stuff. We have devised a "heat index" based on wet, dry, and
globe thermometers to determine how much our troops can relax their
uniforms. It's all very scientific, you see.

So it's 0900 in the morning, and the temperature outside is already in the
triple digits. And what is the corresponding heat index reported by our
well-trained medical experts?

74. This falls in the "green" area of the scale, indicating only minor risk
of heat stress.

Now, that just doesn't seem right, does it?

Well, I certainly wasn't satisfied with that answer, so I went to see our
medical representative, lounging in his nicely air-conditioned tent.

"Oh. Can I help you, sir?'

"You sure can. I just saw the heat index, and I'm a little skeptical."

"Well, you can check my log, right here, sir." He hands me a log book.

That's strange--the dry bulb and globe thermometers are reading over 100
degrees, but the wet bulb is only at 71.

"Hmm... let's try this again, step-by-step, and by-the-book."

"OK, sure thing, sir." He gets out his instrument, consisting of the three
thermometers mounted on a tripod. We take it outside and set it up.

"I've just got to refill the reservoir on this wet bulb, sir." He pulls out
a water bottle.

"Where do you keep that water?" I inquire politely.

"In the tent, sir." He's pointing back to his nice cool tent.

"Can I see it?" He hands me the bottle. It is cool to the touch. "I think
we've found the problem."

"What's that, sir?" He still doesn't get it.

"This water is cold. Might tend to give you artificially low readings on
that wet bulb."


I recommend he keeps the bottle outside, in the shade, with the top off--so
that the water can reach ambient temperature, and not chill the thermometer.

"Do you think that will work, sir?"


Sure enough, the next reading puts the heat index in the black.

Don't forget to study your physics, kids--it might come in useful someday.

<>1444Z |

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