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Hot Day? Why do Bedouin wear black in the Desert heat?

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    • Hot Day? Why do Bedouin wear black in the Desert heat?

      Why do Bedouins wear black in the desert?
      The question so intrigued four scientists – all non-Bedouins – that they ran an experiment.
      "It seems likely," the scientists wrote, "that the present inhabitants of the Sinai, the Bedouins, would have optimised their solutions for desert survival during their long tenure in this desert. Yet one may have doubts on first encountering Bedouins wearing black robes and herding black goats. We have therefore investigated whether black robes help the Bedouins to minimise solar heat loads in a hot desert."
      The research team – C Richard Taylor and Virginia Finch of Harvard University and Amiram Shkolnik and Arieh Borut of Tel Aviv University – quickly discovered that, as you might suspect, a black robe does convey more heat inward than a white robe does. But they doubted that this was the whole story.
      Taylor, Finch, Shkolnik, and Borut measured the overall heat gain and loss suffered by a brave volunteer. They described the volunteer as "a man standing facing the sun in the desert at midday while he wore: 1) a black Bedouin robe; 2) a similar robe that was white; 3) a tan army uniform; and 4) shorts (that is, he was semi‑nude)".
      Each of the test sessions (black-robed, white-robed, uniformed and half-naked) lasted 30 minutes. They took place in the Negev desert at the bottom of the rift valley between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Eilat. The volunteer stood in temperatures that ranged from a just-semi-sultry 35C (95F) to a character-building 46C (115F). Though he is now nameless, this was his day in the sun.
      The results were clear. As the report puts it: "The amount of heat gained by a Bedouin exposed to the hot desert is the same whether he wears a black or a white robe. The additional heat absorbed by the black robe was lost before it reached the skin."
      Bedouins' robes, the scientists noted, are worn loose. Inside, the cooling happens by convection – either through a bellows action, as the robes flow in the wind, or by a chimney sort of effect, as air rises between robe and skin. Thus it was conclusively demonstrated that, at least for Bedouin robes, black is as cool as any other color!r.
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • Interesting. I have often wondered why wrapping yourself up so much can keep you cool in desert heat. Another example is the Telpek, the traditional hat of Turkmenistan. It's basically like wearing a dead sheep on your head. Turkmenistan is basically one very big desert. Why putting a thick coat of wool on your head would help keep you cool in such conditions is beyond me. I one of the few Americans to own a Telpek, but I rarely find an opportunity to wear it. Here's a selfie.
    • odd man out wrote:

      Interesting. I have often wondered why wrapping yourself up so much can keep you cool in desert heat. Another example is the Telpek, the traditional hat of Turkmenistan. It's basically like wearing a dead sheep on your head. Turkmenistan is basically one very big desert. Why putting a thick coat of wool on your head would help keep you cool in such conditions is beyond me. I one of the few Americans to own a Telpek, but I rarely find an opportunity to wear it. Here's a selfie.

      Just curious why you bought one? Or was it given to you?
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • odd man out wrote:

      Interesting. I have often wondered why wrapping yourself up so much can keep you cool in desert heat. Another example is the Telpek, the traditional hat of Turkmenistan. It's basically like wearing a dead sheep on your head. Turkmenistan is basically one very big desert. Why putting a thick coat of wool on your head would help keep you cool in such conditions is beyond me. I one of the few Americans to own a Telpek, but I rarely find an opportunity to wear it. Here's a selfie.

      it's kin to the sheep covers I see Harley riders put on their seats in the summer.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • Astro wrote:

      odd man out wrote:

      Interesting. I have often wondered why wrapping yourself up so much can keep you cool in desert heat. Another example is the Telpek, the traditional hat of Turkmenistan. It's basically like wearing a dead sheep on your head. Turkmenistan is basically one very big desert. Why putting a thick coat of wool on your head would help keep you cool in such conditions is beyond me. I one of the few Americans to own a Telpek, but I rarely find an opportunity to wear it. Here's a selfie.

      Just curious why you bought one? Or was it given to you?
      Gift from my Turkmen friend. She also gave me a robe worn by elders, magistrates, and wise men. As I see it, I have no official title or claim to be especially wise. But I could be considered a "wise guy" and elderly so I guess I qualify. I also have a Turkmen scarf which is quite nice and I wear all the time in the winter. I also have some very nice slipper-socks (good for winter- very thick and warm). You can see that textiles are a central part of the Turkmen culture. An interesting thing about products from Turkmenistan, they tend to be hand made and sold at street markets. You can tell as the construction looks a bit unprofessional, the stitching is not perfect, and there are no labels as there would be on commercially made products. I had another friend buy me a small carpet from the State Carpet Shop in Ashgabad. While hand knotted carpets are made all across Asia from China to Turkey, the Turkmen rugs are renowned for being the best. The flag of Turkmenistan even has on it the five geometric patterns used to decorate the carpets from the five regions that make up the country. Mine is a Yomut.