Seemingly random human creations are interesting to consider; from Scrabble Rules (Proper nouns? Really? ) to scout uniforms to tattoos, humans do lots of interesting things with the cultural and physical resources at hand.
On the subject of random human creations, consider Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga, or slime yoga as I am tempted to call it when my daughter returns from a session with a bag full of sweat-saturated clothing and towels, is a system of yoga created by Bikram Choudhury from elements of traditional yoga. One of the key characteristics of this style of yoga is that Mr. Bikram dictates that it should be done in a room kept at 105 degrees. How did Mr. Bikram come up with this 105 degrees requirement? Why not 104?
To be honest, I really enjoy yoga but there is nothing I want to do at 105 degrees. One summer during law school, I worked in Bishop, California (referred to as an “Outdoor Mecca” by National Geographic Magazine) doing legal services. I lived in a tiny garage apartment with no air conditioning. It regularly got to be 103 and there was not much you wanted to do in that heat. Sleep, maybe, but even that was challenging. And that was dry heat. Yoga at 105 degrees is definitely out of the question.
But Hot Yoga seems to be pretty popular and a thriving economy of its own. So if this 105 degree thing works for yoga, why not other human activities? Obviously it doesn’t apply to things like hockey or lugeing, but what about Hot Bridge, or Hot Mah Jong or Hot Bowling? If people like doing yoga at 105 degrees, and it’s supposedly very beneficial to human health, why not do other activities at that temperature? There could be some downsides, of course; bridge could start looking more like strip poker and the bowling alley, while it would sell a lot more beer, could lose any increased profit to paying for the destruction caused when bowlers afflicted with intense and pervasive sweating lose control of bowling balls in inopportune times and places.
And then there is the way Hot Yoga may conflict with certain green principles (and old-fashioned New England frugality). You don’t want to do yoga in a cold room, but 105 degrees? That’s a pretty steep fuel bill (and perhaps a not-too dainty-carbon footprint).