My wife Char and I moved to Colorado from California a few years ago and were immediately enchanted with the change of seasons; so much so that we've developed the habit of trying to guess the outdoor temperatures during the winter. Every night before going to bed we step outside for a few minutes and then we see who can come closest to guessing the temperature to the nearest degree. I lived in Colorado as a teenager and I can usually sense the ballpark temperature by the way my breath condenses and the feelings in my nose and lungs when I breathe. So I usually guess first. Then Char steps out to the front walkway, comes back in, touches the cold door knob, contemplates for a few seconds and makes her guess. Then we both go look at the indoor/outdoor thermometer.
I've begun to realize over the years that Char gets the right answer about half the time which is a little embarrassing . Why would Char and I have about the same probability of getting the better answer?
Last year we had a particularly prolonged cold spell and Char, comfortable in front of the fireplace reading a book, didn't want to go outside. So I stepped outside, did my usual breath tests, felt the door knob, and looked at the clear Colorado night sky until my nose began to go numb. Coming back in I made my guess, 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
To my surprise, she offers to make a guess also. She puts down her book, closes hers eyes for a moment and says "10 degrees." We both go check the thermometer. And…she's right on! It reads exactly 10 degrees!
The cold spell lasted about a week and each night Char chose to stay inside. But she still guessed the temperature and continued beat me five out of seven days! I asked if she had looked at the thermometer and she laughed and said no.
Finally she told me how she did it and I realized that even if I was a trained meteorologist my odds of beating her wouldn't have been better.
What was her secret?