Whirling hydrometer and the pink gun bathroom raiders.


If that doesn’t get your attention nothing will.  Sounds like a great movie name.

Last evening I was teaching a class on Psychometrics and the use of the psychometric chart.   If you don’t know what that is your not alone.  One of my students thought that it was some kind of crazy metric system.  It’s the study of the properties of air and moisture.  Thrilling stuff, I know. 

One of the tools that we use is a whirling hydrometer, or to be technical a sling psychrometer.  Either way it is a simple device that is intended to make a grown man look foolish.  It’s plastic, brightly colored, and you whirl it round and round like some kind of party favor for at least thirty seconds before you can get an accurate reading. It is used to measure the air temperature and relative humidity (wet bulb).  Plus it makes a stupid plastic clack click sound with each revolution.  The instructions say you should spin it around twice to three times a second for up to a minute depending upon the relative humidity.  So my entire class is doing their best to not look stupid while clacking and clicking them to an accurate reading of the classrooms ambient air.  Then we plot the points on the psychometric chart.  After a while we decided to move on to get a radically different reading by moving outside.  So we move our clacking clicking whirling doofus selves outside to display our ridiculous behavior to the other classes. 

 It was then that we discovered that we were beaten to the punch.  The students training to be police officers beat us to the grand doofus award.  They were practicing entry and defense drills with pink plastic handguns. I guess pink pistols are somehow less threatening than black ones.  It was the guys in the black shirts, black pants, and gun belts that were freaking people out. They were way serious, grim in fact. One group raided the men’s restroom while we were whirling away with our orange toy party favors.  They guy in the bathroom was not enthusiastic about this exercise.  Yes he was in my class. He went into the men’s rest room to put some more water on his whirling hydrometer.  You see it has a wick that needs to be wet to work right.

He came back to class a little shaken up, and said:  “Man, I am going to have nightmares about that tonight”

Of course that got me to thinking of the whole ridiculous evening.

I said, “Whatever you do don’t go to a psychiatrist and tell him that you’re having nightmares about being ambushed by strange men with pink plastic pistols in the restroom while you were getting your whirling hydrometers wick wet”

Someone in the back of the room said, “Yea that happens to me all the time when I am trying to get my wick wet” 

Another, “I dream of purple pistols”

All order was lost in the class for the evening.  But that’s ok, we were nearly done anyway. 

Thank goodness next week is spring break.


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4 thoughts on “Whirling hydrometer and the pink gun bathroom raiders.

  1. S. Le says:

    Sounds like a very entertaining class! Where do I sign up?

  2. Archvillain says:

    Pretty sure technology can handle the wet bulb reading without using whirligigs. Is a WBGT reading not precise enough?

  3. planetross says:

    truth is stranger than fiction. hee hee!

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