Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Thermocline Adventure Vacation

The perfect temperature, as innumerable scientific studies have established*, is 65 degrees. What if you decided to take a vacation where it was always 65 degrees outside?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Thermocline Adventure Vacation, Interstate 5 Version.

Last year, I wrote a simple PHP script to scrape a NOAA web page and extract percent-of-normal rainfall data for various California cities. I created a database to store the information and figured out how to chart it. The result, for San Diego, was this.

This year, I'm going to create a table of cities along Interstate 5 from the Mexican border to Canada and use their zip codes to scrape hourly temperature data from the Wunderground weather site. From there, I'll pick the southernmost location (I'm a SoCal boy, after all) whose temperature is 65 degrees for each hour of the day and then plot those locations on a Google map. As an added bonus, I'll include the speed at which you'd have to drive to get from one destination to the next.

The vacation would be designed for nerdy, unmarried guys with no social life, the types who prefer clipboards and charts to girls. You could feel free to modify it if you wish and perhaps choose to visit a series of nightclubs or beer breweries at each location instead. My participants will be listening to science podcasts and discussing color-change mechanisms of Octopus cyanea.

Or something like that.

In any case, the only difficulty I've found in getting started is that it looks like I"ll need to create the table of locations along I-5 by hand. I'm still scouring the web for a ready-made table, but I haven't had much luck with Google. God help me, but my next stop is the Department of Transportation website to see if they've got anything. Blech.

Anyway, onwards and upwards! Or, onwards and downwards if that's where the thermocline leads us.

* - Actually, I can't point to one. Still, the science is settled and if you disagree, I'll just scream at you that you are a denier over and over until you give up and go away.


tim eisele said...

Well, NIST says that standard temperature is 20C (68F), which is close enough to 65F to suit me.

Are you going to base this on yesterday's weather, or on the upcoming forecast for tomorrow?

K T Cat said...

I was thinking on setting my cron job to run right at the turn of the day and see if I could grab that day's temperature then so you could plan that day's Adventure at 0001.