Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A cartoon about American’s greatest fear

Today’s F Minus cartoon by Tony Carrillo claims that it once again what topped the list was:
“being the slightest bit inconvenienced in any way.”

My version was adapted from a 1937 WPA poster at the Library of Congress.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The mystery novel Twelve Angry Librarians features a keynote speaker dying at the lectern

I just finished reading the 2017 novel Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James (who really is Dean). This book is the eighth in his series of a dozen Cat in the Stacks mysteries. On page 82 Dr. Gavin Fong, the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Southern Academic Libraries Association, takes a drink from a poisoned bottle of water, collapses, and dies right at the lectern.

The problem for both Chief Deputy Kanesha Berry and Athena College interim library director (and amateur sleuth) Charlie Harris is that job-hopping Gavin previously made so many enemies that a dozen people have excellent motives for killing him. After another 177 pages we finally find out who done it.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Something new in my neighborhood

On February 28, 2014 I blogged about Speech topics from near your neighborhood.

Hayden Homes is working on a housing development with the Basque name of Baserri south of Lake Hazel Road and west of Cole Road. There were trenches dug for underground installation of water supply and sewer piping. Early this week I saw the water company flushing a main via a hydrant, as shown above. That ‘rooster tail’ is twenty or thirty feet high. Flushing removes sediment located at the bottom of pipes.

I have previously seen a gigantic “rooster tail” at the Lucky Peak Dam north of Boise, as shown in an April 16, 2017 IdahoNews article titled ‘Rooster tail’ display to happen next weekend at Lucky Peak.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Hey! Look at me! I am somebody!

Not long ago I received an email from an organization I had never heard of (VDGOOD Professional Association) that informed me I somehow was going to receive recognition at their 4th International Scientist Awards on Engineering, Science, and Medicine to be held in Chennai, India in February 2020.

That email is shown above. Of course, I will not be attending what presumably was an annual event. But when I looked on their Research Awards web page, I found they had listed four other sets of awards in September and November of 2019, and both January and April of 2020. They seem to be handing them out almost as fast as an Indian restaurant can cook up dosas.

I don’t know how they came up with VDGOOD for their organization name. VD is the older English acronym for a venereal disease. More recently it is called a sexually transmitted disease or STD, but either an STD or VD is not good – it is terrible.

About four decades ago I got a letter from a royally-named book publisher inviting me to apply for inclusion in a hardback book of biographies of notable people in the region, titled something like You Are Who in the Midwest. I sent them my bio, and they told me I would be included. Then they sold me a copy of the book. Later on, at a coffee break where I worked, I asked others if they were invited too. We deduced the book publisher must have acquired a copy of the directory for TMS (currently The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society) - and sent an invitation to every member.  

It turned out there were other regional editions of You are Who for the Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. Then they told me I could be in a more expensive book titled You Are Who in the United States (which I did not buy). If I had, I suppose I also would have been told that I could be in an even more expensive book, You are Who in the World.

An image by Carol Highsmith of Felix de Weldon’s Waving Girl statue came from the Library of Congress.

Monday, December 23, 2019

There’s a song for everything in country music

As shown above, Maren Morris sings about how There’s A Song For Everything. I found that song on her second country album, Girl. But I first heard her crossed over onto Adult Contemporary Radio singing The Bones. She also belts out the lyrics on the Zedd song The Middle.

Back on April 4, 2011 I blogged about Stories in words and music: country edition. In that post I mentioned (among others) Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. More recently Rosanne Cash sang A Feather’s Not a Bird and Modern Blue. Rodney Crowell sang It Ain’t Over Yet and Deep in the Heart of Uncertain Texas. Mary Chapin Carpenter sang Sometimes Just the Sky and Our Man Walter Cronkite. Almost two decades ago Steve Earle sang both When I Fall and The Galway Girl.

Another recent country music voice is Kasey Musgraves, who sang Follow Your Arrow and Slow Burn.

Here in Boise there is Eilen Jewell who sang Rain Roll In and Half-Broke Horse. There also are Tylor and the Train Robbers who sang about a Storyteller and Fumblin’ for Rhymes.

Also, there are hilarious videos, like the Pistol Annies singing Got My Name Changed Back.

The Tiny Desk Concert series from National Public Radio (NPR) has excellent live performances (typically a set of three songs) from Maren Morris, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Brandi Carlisle, John Prine, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, and Taylor Swift.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Halloween is long over, but the ‘horror movie’ of an impeachment will continue into the new year

Donald Trump just got one of his wishes. He will definitely go down in history. But it will be as the first U.S. president to have been impeached in the 21st century. Previously there was just one each in the 19th (Johnson) and the 20th (Clinton).

On October 12, 2019 I blogged about Are we headed for a parody inversion or a caricature convergence? We have achieved a caricature convergence – I can no longer tell if headlines about the impeachment are coming from a satire site like The Onion or real news sites like CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC. There was an article on October 28, 2019 in the Washington Post titled ‘It feels like a horror movie’: Republicans feel anxious and adrift in defending Trump.


As Paul Brandus said in a USA Today article on December 19, 2019 Impeachment: President Trump only has himself to blame. We got here via a long series of his terrible decisions. One of the worst was to turn loose his private attorney to prematurely dig up dirt on Joe Biden, months before he could win the primary and actually become Trump’s opponent in the upcoming election. Then there was that infamous phone call with Ukraine. The context made clear it was a shakedown (an attempt at bribery, which is impeachable). President Trump’s description of it as “a perfect call” or even a “totally perfect call” is laughable – it truly was awful. That call led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to finally turn the tables and reluctantly unleash an impeachment inquiry. And then it became a “which hunt” rather than a “witch hunt”– which things go in Articles of Impeachment.

Trump likely will not be voted against in his trial by the Republican-controlled Senate, and get to remain in office to run for reelection. But large questions about his family business finances remain, given his income tax returns are still hidden. Presumably they could explain his actions.

The country will have to survive this prolonged media circus, but there will be more colossal distractions and a waste of time and money before it ends. Meanwhile over in Moscow, Beijing, Damascus, and Teheran they are laughing at us.

The image of a Frankenstein monster was adapted from a drawing at Wikimedia Commons.   

Friday, December 20, 2019

The joy of safety interlocks

Interlocks are safety features designed to keep something dangerous from happening accidentally. As is shown above, they chain together two or more operations.


For example, if you were busy talking on a cell phone (as shown above) you might forget to put a foot on the brake pedal before trying to shift the automatic transmission from park into reverse or drive. Cars made after 2006 have a mechanism called a Brake-Transmission-Shift-Interlock-(BTSI) which keeps you from moving the shift lever until you have depressed the brake pedal.

There is an interlock in the natural gas control valve on our water heater. An adjustable thermostat turns the gas supply for a main burner on and off to keep the water at a set temperature. There is a standing pilot light (a small flame) to light the main burner. The pilot light has a safety interlock that prevents the main gas flame from trying to go on, unless the pilot has been previously lit.

A thermocouple exposed to the pilot flame holds a solenoid valve for its gas supply open. As shown above, this results in complicated Lighting Instructions. Step 8 calls for holding down the gas control knob for a minute after the pilot is lit (so the thermocouple can heat up).

During servicing or maintenance of equipment it may be possible to defeat interlocks, and create hazardous conditions. This can be avoided using safety procedures known as Lock Out Tag Out. Back on February 18, 2011 I blogged about More on mistake-proofing: lock out what you don’t want to happen. An article by John A. Palmer and David A. Danaher at EC&M on November 1, 2004 titled A series of preventable events leading to a power plant explosion described a horrible example with $500 million in damages.

Software also need interlocks. An article in Shark Tank at Computerworld on December 6, 2019 titled Shell Game described debugging of a shell script which ran a chain of nine programs (as shown above). Each was to have produced an output file for use as input in the following program. The debugger tried working backwards, and eventually found all the output files were missing, but the programs didn’t check before trying to run!

A cartoon of a driver talking on his cell phone was adapted from one at Wikimedia Commons.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

What is a dais, and how should you pronounce that word?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says a dais simply is:
“A raised platform (as in a hall or large room)”

The Cambridge Dictionary has a longer definition:
“a raised surface at one end of a meeting room that someone can stand on when speaking to a group”

Dais actually is a ‘walking dead’ noun – it died before 1600 and then was revived after 1800. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) begins with two different main definitions 1.a and 2.a, and then it continues with three more:

“1. a.A raised table in a hall, at which distinguished persons sat at feasts, etc.; the high table. (Often including the platform on which it was raised: see 2).  Obsolete since 1600.   

 1. b. to begin the dais: to take the chief seat, or preside at a feast: see BEGIN. Also to hold the dais in the same sense. Obsolete.

2. a. The raised platform at one end of a hall for the high table, or for seats of honour, a throne, or the like; often surmounted by a canopy. Obsolete since 1600, until revived c1800 in historical and subsequently in current use. 

2. b. By extension: The platform of a lecture hall; the raised floor on which the pulpit and communion table stand in some places of worship.

2.c. In Freemasonry (1866 quote) the platform or raised floor in the East, on which the presiding officer is seated.

3. In some early examples (chiefly northern) it appears to have the sense ‘seat, bench’; so in Scottish (a) ‘a long board, seat or bench, erected against a wall’, a settle; also ‘a seat on the outer side of a country house or cottage’; (b) a seat or bench, or pew in a church (Jamieson); chamber of dais;

4. transferred (from 2) A raised platform or terrace of any kind; e.g. in the open air.

5. [after modern French – not an English sense.] The canopy over a throne or chair of state.

Under 2.a. the OED gives an example sentence from Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1386 The Merchant’s Tale (with the Middle English spelling):
“And atte fest sittith he and sche With other worthy folk upon the deys.”

As shown above, the Old Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol had a dais for the Vice President with an ornate canopy.

How should you pronounce the word dais?
The Cambridge Dictionary gives two different pronunciations – an American one with two syllables (day-iss) and a British one with just one (dace or deys – pronounced to match how Chaucer once had spelled it).

An article by Nancy Keates in The Wall Street Journal on November 23, 2016 titled You’re saying it wrong: design words that will trip you up claimed: 

“Dais (a low platform or stage) is pronounced DAY-is, not DIE-is.”

A brief article at The Grammarist says:
“It is pronounced /dā-əs/ (day-iss) or /ˈdī-əs/ (die-us). Dais is commonly misspelled as dias. Its plural form is daises and is pronounced either (day iss iz) or (die us iz). Side note: Daises is commonly found as a misspelling of daisies (the white flower).”

Presumably a misreading of dais as dias (dyslexic?) gave rise to some pronouncing it as die-us.

Four other books I found in a search at Google Books discuss pronunciation. Page 95 in Santo J. Aurelio’s 2004 book How to Say It and Write It Correctly Now: The Ultimate Reference Book says:

“Dais (DAI-is, DY-is)”

Conversely page 124 in Charles Harrington Elster’s 2006 book The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations – The Complete Opinionated Guide claims you should use (DAY-is):

“…never say die.”

But he also begins his entry by noting:

“Burchfield (1996) points out that dais was pronounced in one syllable (rhyming with lace) until the beginning of the 20 th century but in two syllables since then.”

Page 45 of Ross and Kathryn Petras’s 2016 book You’re Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words – and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse also says to never say die. But they also note that in American English dais went from one syllable to two. And page 184 of Elster’s 2018 book How to Tell Fate From Destiny: And Other Skillful Word Distinctions repeats that ‘never say die’ in an entry titled lectern, podium, dais, rostrum. It seems to have been styled after an article in a 1985 book he quoted in his 2006 one. That nasty article on page 153 of William and Mary Morris’s Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage, 2nd edition (1985) says:  

“Dais / podium / lectern  The three terms involve furniture in a meeting hall, lecture hall, or concert hall, and are frequently confused and misused.

A dais is a raised platform on which a speaker, along with officers of the club or organization, sits or stands.

A podium is a special kind of dais in that it is intended to accommodate only one person, such as an orchestra conductor. The small stand on which a speaker rests his notes is a lectern, not a podium. It would be very unusual for a speaker to ‘grasp the podium’ as one writer reported. The only speaker likely to ‘grasp the podium’ would be one who has fallen flat on his face. The most common error, however, is in the pronunciation of dais. It is pronounced just as it is spelled: DAY-iss. An astonishing number of otherwise educated people say DY-iss, which is incorrect.”

I found it hilarious that they incorrectly claimed a dais just was furniture. The image I show above has one built into the room and covered in wall to wall carpet.

There are times when pronouncing dais as (die-us) is appropriate. Three decades ago in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? there was the following dialogue:  
Eddie Valiant: You mean, you could’ve taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?

Roger Rabbit: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.
A comedian is entitled to say (die-us) when his jokes are not working, since he is ‘dying’ on that platform.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

How not to congratulate someone after they have won an award

At the Grammarly blog on April 2, 2019 Kelly Konya posted about How to congratulate someone in every stage of life. She said to start strong, be personal, and end with a heartfelt closing.

Recently TIME magazine published their year-end double issue for December 23 and 30, with a cover just showing their pick for Person of the Year. They chose the sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. But starting on page 74 there was an article titled PORTRAITS OF INFLUENCE – Six leaders who shaped the world in 2019. They were Xi Jinping, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Narendra Modi, Jacinda Ardern, and Emmanuel Macron.  

President Trump’s reaction to this year’s award was to ungraciously tweet:
“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill, Greta, Chill!

Media reaction was appropriately caustic. Headlines of articles at CNN, The Guardian, and Business Insider  were: We should all be appalled by Donald Trump’s tweet about Greta Thunberg, Why is the president of the United States cyberbullying a 16-year-old girl?, and White House says Trump’s attacks on 16-year-old Greta Thunberg are fair game because she’s an ‘activist,’ while mention of the first couple’s 13-year-old son should be off-limits.

TIME has picked a Person [originally Man of the Year] since 1927. Almost all the U.S. Presidents have been picked at least once, except Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Gerald Ford. Donald Trump won in 2016. But the last three before him, Obama, Bush, and Clinton won twice.

Apparently Trump felt entitled to a second win. Perhaps he didn’t get it because he previously had messed with TIME’s brand. On June 27, 2017 there was an article in the Washington Post titled A Time magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs around the world. It’s fake.

The caricature of Donald Trump was modified from this one by DonkeyHotey at Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Are you missing an unexpected ingredient (a visual aid) that could significantly improve your presentation?

There always is more than one way to present information - many types of visual aids. On December 8, 2019 I blogged about how Toastmasters press releases confuse a fear of public speaking with a social phobia. In that post I quoted the detailed diagnostic criteria for social phobia from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That quote is way too detailed for an oral presentation. I could have created a PowerPoint slide with a list of three bullet points, as shown above. Instead, in the blog post I began by showing a Venn diagram, as also is shown above.  

A flip chart is another unexpected ingredient. On February 28, 2015 I blogged about Don’t make things any more complicated than necessary, and discussed how in his Start with why – how great leaders inspire action TEDx talk Simon Sinek drew concentric circles, as is shown above. For a larger audience you could instead build a PowerPoint slide (or even better a set of three PowerPoint slides), as also is shown above.

Another unexpected ingredient is a simple prop. On March 8, 2009 I blogged about “Show and Tell” with a simple model of a product feature. As shown above, I used an oatmeal container to represent the water outlet from a fire sprinkler head - and show two possible types of seals.

This post was inspired by thinking about an appetizer. Hummus usually is made from garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) flavored with tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and salt. Years ago I saw a hummus recipe from Sunset magazine which got the sesame flavor from a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil - instead of a quarter or half cup of tahini.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Making up words from existing ones: flossophobia and zitsfleisch

I dislike the word glossophobia as being a pseudo-technical word for fear of public speaking meant to amaze rather than inform. The venerable, plain English phrase “speech fright” does a better job. Way back on July 8, 2009 I blogged about how Glossophobia might as well mean the fear of waxing your car to a high gloss.

But glossophobia can be the starting point for another brand new fear word. When we back the g up one letter to f, we get flossophobia – the fear of flossing your teeth.

My father sometimes used the German compound word sitzfleisch. It literally means sitting flesh, but describes the ability to sit down and finish a task. At BBC Worklife on September 3, 2018 there was an article by Emily Schultheis titled Sitzfleisch: the German concept to get more work done.

If we swap the initial s in sitzfleisch with the z, we get zitsfleisch – a new word which describes the heartbreak of having acne.

At her Maniactive blog on December 2, 2019 Laura Bergells posted about Zhooshing up your business language with made-up or unusual words. She mentioned plussing. Jimmy Larche wrote an article about Walt Disney’s obsession with excellence: plussing.

The cartoon of a flossing reptile was recolored from one at Wikimedia Commons by Torill Kove for a book by Henrik Hovland. A 1905 photo of acne also came from Wikimedia Commons.  

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Toastmasters press releases confuse a fear of public speaking with a social phobia

On October 15, 2019 Toastmasters International put out a press release titled Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts Top List of Celebrities Who Found Success Despite a Fear of Public Speaking. It begins as follows:

“From Abraham Lincoln to Winston Churchill and Mahatma Ghandi (sic), some of the world's most important historical figures have overcome their fear of speaking in public to achieve great success. Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is a common social phobia, with an estimated 75 percent of the population experiencing some form of anxiety before giving a speech. For the last 95 years, millions of people have joined Toastmasters to help with their fear of public speaking.”

The second sentence previously had appeared as the first in another October 21, 2015 press release titled Five Public Speaking Myths Debunked. Regrettably that sentence misuses existing terminology. It confuses a fear with a phobia, a mental condition which has a well-established meaning for psychiatrists. That confusion was spread by Henry DeVries in a Forbes article on October 27, 2019 titled Overcome speaking fear like Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts and Samuel L. Jackson.

The Venn diagram shown above succinctly describes the differences between a social fear and a social phobia - a phobia additionally is intense, persistent and interfering. The -phobia suffix in the word glossophobia incorrectly suggests a it refers to a phobia rather than a fear, although the dictionary definition for glossophobia just is of a fear of public speaking. Public speaking phobia would describe a performance type of social phobia.

Back in 1980 the American Psychiatric Association published the third edition of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as DSM-III. The chapter on Anxiety Disorders included a new one, 300.23, called Social Phobia. The 1994 fourth edition (DSM-IV) also says 300.23 Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder), and the 2013 fifth edition (DSM 5) for 300.23 says Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia). On October 11, 2011 I blogged about What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia? and quoted part of the definition from DSM-IV. Also, on December 11, 2013 I blogged about Spouting Nonsense: July 2013 Toastmaster magazine article fumbles fears and phobias.

There is a web page at the National Library of Medicine with a detailed table that compares diagnostic criteria for social phobia from the fourth and fifth editions of DSM. A detailed description of the diagnostic features for social anxiety disorder (social phobia) starting from page 203 of the fifth DSM edition is:

“The essential feature of social anxiety disorder is a marked, or intense, fear or anxiety of social situations in which the individual may be scrutinized by others. In children, the fear or anxiety must occur in peer settings and not just during interactions with adults. (Criterion A). When exposed to such social situations, the individual fears that he or she will be negatively evaluated. The individual is concerned that he or she will be judged as anxious, weak, crazy, stupid, boring, intimidating, dirty, or unlikable. The individual fears that he or she will act or appear in a certain way or show anxiety symptoms, such as blushing, trembling, sweating, stumbling over one’s words, or staring, that will be negatively evaluated by others (Criterion B). Some individuals fear offending others or being rejected as a result. Fear of offending others – for example, by a gaze or showing anxiety symptoms – may be the predominant fear in individuals from cultures with strong collectivistic orientations. An individual with fear of trembling of the hands may avoid drinking, eating, writing, or pointing in public; an individual with a fear of sweating may avoid shaking hands or eating spicy foods; and an individual with fear of blushing may avoid public performance, bright lights, or discussion about intimate topics. Some individuals avoid urinating in public restrooms when other individuals are present (i.e., paruresis, or ‘shy bladder syndrome’).

The social situations almost always provoke fear or anxiety (Criterion C). Thus, an individual who becomes anxious only occasionally in the social situation(s) would not be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. However, the degree and type of fear and anxiety may vary (e.g. anticipatory anxiety, a panic attack) across different occasions. The anticipatory anxiety may occur sometimes far in advance of upcoming situations (e.g. worrying every day for weeks before attending a social event, repeating a speech for days in advance). In children, the fear or anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, clinging, or shrinking in social situations. The individual will often avoid the feared social situations. Alternatively, the situations are endured with intense fear or anxiety (Criterion D). Avoidance can be extensive (e.g., not going to parties, refusing school) or subtle (e.g., overpreparing the text of a speech, diverting attention to others, limiting eye contact).

The fear or anxiety is judged to be out of proportion to the actual risk of being negatively evaluated or to the consequences of such negative evaluation (Criterion E). Sometimes the anxiety may not be judged to be excessive, because it is related to an actual danger (e.g., being bullied or tormented by others). However, individuals with social anxiety disorder often overestimate the negative consequences of social situations, and thus the judgment of being out of proportion is made by the clinician. The individual’s sociocultural context needs to be taken into account when this judgment is being made. For example, in certain cultures, behavior that might otherwise appear socially anxious may be considered appropriate in social situations (e.g., might be seen as a sign of respect).

The duration of the disturbance is typically at least 6 months (Criterion F). This duration threshold helps distinguish the disorder from transient social fears that are common, particularly among children and in the community. However, the duration criterion should be used as a general guide, with allowance for some degree of flexibility. The fear, anxiety, and avoidance must interfere significantly with the individual’s normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, or social activities or relationships, or must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (Criterion G). For example, an individual who is afraid to speak in public would not receive a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder if this activity is not routinely encountered on the job or in classroom work, and if the individual is not significantly distressed about it. However, if the individual avoids, or is passed over for, the job or education he or she really wants because of social anxiety symptoms, Criterion G is met.”     

The Our Mission web page at the Toastmasters International web site says the organization’s Envisioned Future is:
“To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value experiential communication and leadership skills development.”

In order to accomplish that mission Toastmasters needs to finally get their terminology about fear of public speaking straight.

Friday, December 6, 2019

A striking materials science lab demonstration

On November 26, 2019 I blogged about Avoid falling on your face during a new product demonstration. That post got me thinking about a great metallurgy lab demonstration I had seen almost five decades ago at Carnegie Mellon University. We were shown a Charpy impact test machine and how much the energy to break a V-notched steel specimen varied with temperature. As shown above, the machine has a weighted pendulum which can be released to hit the 1 cm (0.394”) square specimen opposite the notch and measure absorbed energy via rebound height.

At a low temperature there just was a quiet click, the sample broke in two in a brittle fashion, and pieces flew across the room. The pendulum rose to almost the same height as it had started at (less than 10 J). At a high temperature the sample instead bent in a ductile manner. It did not even break completely and it absorbed lots of energy (over 100 J). Examples of intact and broken specimens are shown above.   

Let’s look at an example set of data for a conventional pressure vessel steel plate in the (L-T) orientation (from the ASM Metals Handbook Volume 8, Mechanical Testing, Ninth Edition, 1985 - Figure 3 on page 262). At – 78 C (-108 F), using dry ice and ethanol for cooling, it took just 5 J to break. At ice water temperature, 0 C (32 F), it took 97 J. At room temperature, 20 C (68 F), it took 143 J. At boiling water temperature 100 C (212  F) it took 200 Joules (J). The S-shaped curve has a transition from ductile behavior and high absorbed energy at high temperatures to brittle behavior and low absorbed energy at low temperatures. It is typical for steels.  

Back during World War II this transition was not well understood, and some spectacular brittle failures occurred in welded structures. As shown above, The T2 tanker SS Schenectady broke almost in two on a cold January 1943 day while it just was sitting at a dock in Portland, Oregon. Then in October 1944 a cylindrical tank in Cleveland, Ohio used for storing liquified natural gas broke and the resulting explosion killed 130 people and destroyed a square mile area.  

You can read more about the test in a web page from TWI (The Welding Institute) titled What is Charpy testing? You also can watch a five-minute YouTube video from Materials Science 2000.

Images of the Charpy test (from Laurens vanLieshout), test specimens (from Dumontierc), and the SS Schenectady all came from Wikimedia Commons.