Robot or Not? #263 June 26, 2023


This time we’re throwing shade. But do sunglasses?

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John, listener Andy wrote in to You know, I say listener, maybe Andy doesn’t listen to the podcast at all, but for some reason submitted a question. I don’t want to assume, but probably a listener. Andy says, “As we head into the sunnier months of the year, I wonder what you define as shade. I think most people agree that trees and umbrellas provide shade, but do clouds provide shade? Does clothing provide shade? Does it matter if the clothing is loose like a dress or tight like pants?” Oh, Andy. “Is shade synonymous with shadows? Can something cast a shadow but not provide shade? Some people call sunglasses shades, but do they really cast a shadow?” Whoa, Andy, you blew my mind there. John, what is shade? Throw shade on Andy if you want to, by the way.

So I think all of those things do provide shade, even things like clothes, no matter how tight they are, because they block some portion of the sun from things that are underneath them. It’s just not really useful to talk about because it’s so localized and not really available for any other use. You know, setting aside sunglasses as shades, glasses on your face of any kind, but especially sunglasses, do provide some small amount of shade to your face. If you don’t believe this, fall asleep while wearing them in the sun, and you’ll wake up with a weird sunburn, and some part of your face will have been shaded by the shades.

I’ve had that happen with a hat. And hat is clothing, and would I say that the brim of my baseball cap provided shade for my face, the upper portion of my face? Absolutely it did.

Yeah. And clouds do it too, right? You’ll notice this especially, again, the distinction is not really important until you have some particularly dense and small cloud, and it’s moving in the upper atmosphere, and you could see the shade provided by it moving. This distinction may seem silly, even if that’s not really shade, until you’re trying to sit outdoors and watch a concert, and somebody has the seat that’s three feet away from you, it’s in the shade of a cloud, and you don’t have it, and you’re roasting in there better, and you’ll say, “You know what? I agree now, that is shade.”

That is shade. Also, if it’s a sunny day, and you sit in the shade of a tree, and then a cloud passes over, guess what? Your shade is gone because your shade is everywhere now.

It depends on how much is the tree blocking a little extra. There are degrees of shade. How many shades might there be?

It’s just adding shade. It’s just adding shade collectively, and then it makes your shade less special.

There’s probably at least 50 shades.

Wow, that was shady.

Sorry, what can you do?