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Bill Streever: Why Do We Love Hot Places?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
6:30 p.m.
ASU Art Museum, Tempe campus [map]

We’re worried about global warming, yet no one in the Northeast complains when it’s 70 degrees in February—and people are still moving to Arizona for the dry heat. But even as we take our Christmas vacations in the Caribbean and buy second homes in the desert, we don’t really know what it is we’re chasing after. What, exactly, is heat? Technically, it’s a transfer of thermal energy created by accelerated molecules—but few of us think of it that way. Heat, for most of us, is a thing we feel, not a process that can be understood. No wonder, then, that it keeps confounding us—whether by erupting from volcanoes or by raising the temperature of Antarctica or by radiating out of outmoded light bulbs. Can we live a little better and more wisely if we better grasp the danger and miracles of this enigmatic phenomenon, and why and how we experience it? Biologist and nature writer Bill Streever, author of Heat: Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places, thinks so. Streever visits Zócalo to recount his encounters with extremes of heat (from candle flames to nuclear reactors) and explain its power, danger and meaning—and why we were drawn to places like Phoenix in the first place.

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