A Security Blanket For Wayward Skeptics


Unless you are hypothermic, putting a blanket on will not raise your core temperature. It will however raise your skin temperature by creating a smaller thermal gradient between your core and the blanket.

The blanket can not raise your core temperature¹, but it can raise the temperature of everything in between itself and your body’s core². Some skeptics are fixated on ¹ – but can’t comprehend ².

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45 Responses to A Security Blanket For Wayward Skeptics

  1. Gail Combs says:

    A blanket?

    I don’t want a blanket I want CHOOOCOLATE!!! A nice big chocolate ice cream soda (full of CO2) with hot fudge and cherries… Being on a diet for years is a royal B….ch!

  2. just a thought says:

    Aww, that’s so anti-climatic. Love it!

  3. Olaf Koenders says:

    I dare say thickness and density of the blanket will influence the response of ².

  4. Ed Bo says:

    Because the human body has significant capability to adjust itself to maintain core body temperature, what you say is true for a significant range of “blanket covering” — a core body temperature of about 37.5C and a skin surface temperature (torso at least) up and down around 35C.

    But of course this capability is limited – there is a minimum metabolic power rate needed to keep the body alive, probably about 75W for a typical adult human. So the body must reject power at this rate to keep core temperature from rising too high.

    So with a heavy enough blanket that restricts the heat loss to ambient enough, core body temperature can be raised. You can cause a person to die of heat stroke (hyperthermia) with a heavy enough blanket.

    • Gail Combs says:

      That is a major problem for pigs. They do not sweat efficiently, they pass sweat through passive diffusion, so they have to wallow in mud to cool off.

      Horses, another plains animal, are the only other animal aside from humans and other primates that sweat** that I can think of.

      ** Eccrine sweat glands are found all over the body and produce watery droplets for cooling. Apocrine sweat glands or scent glands secrete an oily, opaque and colorless liquid that is not as effective for cooling. They are found in localized areas only.

  5. Colorado Wellington says:

    Gail, what is this thing?

  6. Bad Andrew says:

    “but it can raise the temperature of everything in between itself and your body’s core”

    But it’s not the blanket that raises the temperature. It prevents what’s between it and the body from cooling as quickly. It’s still the heat source that raises the temperature.

    If you are going to use words, you have to use them correctly. This is science, after all.


    • tonyheller says:

      I’m not in the least interested in hearing your BS

    • Jason Calley says:

      Hey Bad Andrew! “If you are going to use words, you have to use them correctly.”

      You are using the word “have” incorrectly. You should have said, “If you are going to use words, you ought to use them correctly.”

    • Ed Bo says:


      No blanket, skin temperature of T.

      Add blanket, skin temperature increases.

      Why is it not valid to say that the blanket “raise[s] the temperature” of the skin?

      It is not a statement that it is the ultimate source of the energy for the skin, but the addition of the blanket does cause the skin temperature to increase in this situation.

  7. Bad Andrew says:

    “Why is it not valid to say that the blanket “raise[s] the temperature” of the skin?”

    Because it doesn’t. The heat source is still the thing that raises the temperature. The blanket doesn’t have any heating properties. Put a blanket on a cold concrete floor for verification.

    The blanket alters the cooling system when put on the body. It provides no heating from itself.


  8. Bad Andrew says:

    Look at it this way: Define boundries for the heat source that actually has heating properties, anything outside of that is cooling system.


    • Ed Bo says:

      I’m well aware of the overall direction of heat flow and the source of energy in the system.

      You seem not to be able to grasp the fact that adding a blanket to the body with this source of energy results in a higher temperature of the body. Therefore, it is logically completely valid to say that the addition of the blanket raises the temperature of the body.

      Scientifically, you also seem completely unaware of the two-way nature of both conductive and radiative heat transfer, something that has been understood since Clausius’ time. At a deep level, what adding the blanket does is to increase what Clausius called the “ascending heat transfer” from the cooler ambient to the body in the body’s energy exchange with ambient.

      Pedants often do no more than expose their own limitations of understanding…

      • richard says:

        Now this is interesting, you are saying if i lag my pipes for my heating i can get more heat out than what the thermostat is set for, coz at the moment the thermostat kicks in and out as the room hits the required temp. If i lag the pipes looks like the thermostat will never have to kick in.

        • Ed Bo says:


          Many people confuse different classes of problems of this type, particularly with regard to the specification of the input to the system. Heat transfer professors love to throw these different classes at students on exams to see who really understands the material and who does not.

          The most common three input specifications for this type of problem are:

          1. Constant power input
          2. Input regulated to maintain a specified temperature
          3. No input

          In Case 1, increasing the insulation (lagging) of the system with respect to a cold ambient results in a higher temperature of the system.

          In Case 2, increasing the insulation of the system with respect to a cold ambient results in a lower power input to maintain the specified system. This is why people insulate their houses and their hot water pipes – to reduce their power requirements and therefore their heating bills. This is the case you cite.

          In Case 3, increasing the insulation of the system with respect to a cold ambient reduces the rate at which the temperature of the system converges with that of ambient.

  9. mkelly says:

    q = k A dT / s This must be satisfied.

  10. geran says:

    Another hilarious post. Ice cream before science. I love the humor.

    Tony believes, with all his little heart, that the atmosphere is a microwave oven covered with a blanket!

    He knows his pseudoscience.

    We need a new acronym–SINO–Sceptic In Name Only.

    Tony is to “real science” what McCain is to “real America”.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Ice cream ALWAYS come first!

      Brevis ipsa vita est primus comedit secunda mensa.

    • Ed Bo says:


      I asked you in a previous thread: “Do you work at being an ignorant a**hole, or do you come by it naturally?”

      I repeat the question. Elementary schoolchildren understand analogies and metaphors. They seem to be completely beyond your intellectual capabilities.

  11. Sleepalot says:

    All I know is, if I want to defrost a chicken, I wrap it in a blanket. (sarc, obv.)

    • Ed Bo says:

      If you wanted to defrost a chicken quickly and you had a heat source, do you think wrapping a blanket around it would help it defrost faster?

      (no sarc)

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