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Here's one - oldbloke's mutterings
January 22nd, 2012
10:56 am
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Here's one
According to Isaac Asimov's Book Of Facts:

Eskimos use refigerators to keep food from freezing.


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From:drdoug
Date:January 22nd, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
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I can sort-of believe that. Or rather, I believe sort-of that.

I'm pretty confident that Inuit and other natives of jolly chilly places use fridges in their homes. Their houses are pretty warm. Even an igloo can warm up nicely, and most of them don't live in those any more. If they have an electricity supply then it'll be a wooden hut at worst.

One might imagine that they don't have much use for freezers, since they could simply leave the stuff lying around outside (for those months of the year when the temperature is reliably sub-zero ... but let's forget summer when temperatures can locally get to 30C). So they put their perishables in the fridge in order to stop it freezing outside.

(Also, leaving food outside is as simple as just leaving it lying on the ground - you really, really don't want to go attracting polar bears. And next door might pinch that juicy steak you were saving for Friday night if you just leave it lying there.)

Nobody runs a fridge - at least, not ordinary fridges you can buy in shops, as opposed to more sophisticated temperature stabilisers - when the external temperature is sub-zero. They stop working. I could give you the argument for why this is working (to do with the heat pump in the fridge and how it's structured - there isn't any way for the fridge to do work to move heat from the outside in, rather than vice versa), but the shortcut proof is (a) the instructions on fridges and freezers have dire warnings about just this, and (b) I know plenty of people who have had their food spoil after they left it in a fridge or freezer in an unheated garage during a cold snap that then thawed.

For a short period of time - like, say a day or so - you could probably use a fridge to keep things around 2-5 degrees Celsius when it was freezing outside, simply by sticking them in an unplugged fridge and shutting the door. They're usually quite well insulated, and if it's only just freezing the temperature gradient is quite low so the heat loss inside will be correspondingly slow. Though if it's minus 40 or something, all bets are off and it'll get cold pretty quick.
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From:oldbloke
Date:January 22nd, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
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It's the "to keep food from freezing" bit, though - sort of rules out the normal use we all make of a fridge indoors.
And then, if not indoors, and in sub-zero temps (to keep food from freezing, rememebr), as you rightly say, fridges don't work, their thermostat switches them off, and they become merely an insulated box, no more or less useful than any other box you might insulate any way you like.
It's my understanding that igloos are pretty much purely a hunting-party-away-from-home-with-no-other-shelter kind of gig, too.
...and let's not get into the whole eskimo/inuit thing.
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