The common cricket is a complete mobile weather station, and it is a very easy thing to read the temperature by counting the insect’s chirps. Follow this simple formula, and you will be the life of any party that is otherwise so sedate that you can hear the crickets chirping.

1. Count the number of chirps in one minute, and enter that number on the first line (let us call it “Line 1”) of a fresh page in your pocket memorandum book.

2. Enter your latitude on Line 2. Be sure to express degrees south of the equator as negative numbers.

3. Multiply the number on Line 1 by 23 and one third per cent (0.23333), and enter the result on Line 3. This is your adjusted gross chirp rate.

4. Add 40 to the number on Line 3 and enter the result on line 4.

5. Were any of your chirps subject to withholding? If so, enter the number withheld on Line 5. (If not, enter 0, which is the numeral zero and not the letter O, which would just be silly.)

6. Subtract Line 5 from Line 4, and enter the difference on Line 6. This is your estimated annualized chirp liability.

7. Subtract 32 from Line 6, and enter the difference on Line 7. This is your estimated annualized chirp liability minus thirty-two.

8. Divide the number on Line 7 by 1.8. This is the temperature in degrees Celsius.

9. Announce the temperature and receive merited applause.

10. After you have announced the temperature, you may also read off the latitude you entered on Line 2. Nothing stimulates intelligent conversation at parties like a good latitude.