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August 15, 2003 10:42 PM   Subscribe

washington post editorial mocks european heat wave via the newly reskinned dangerousmeta.com
and vis a vis the thousand of deaths (primarily the elderly) and fires attributed to the heat wave. is there an especially warm place in hell reserved for the author? and who might it be?
posted by specialk420 (80 comments total)

 
I'm surprised it hasn't got hot enough in Chicago this year for the stories of old people dying from the heat. Those guys are a bunch of whiners... And then every winter old people die from the cold. I see it on the national news and wonder why it is news.

[sorry chicago]
posted by birdherder at 10:50 PM on August 15, 2003


Uh, I think perhaps "speical warm place in hell" might be overkill. I mean, it's just an editorial. I've seen worse editorials this week, let alone ever.
posted by jonson at 10:51 PM on August 15, 2003


Those guys are a bunch of whiners...

your post is as repulsive as the juvenile editorial - 3,000 americans died on september 11 - the french were very gracious on sept 12. what an ugly lot we (birdherder and jonson leading the pack in their shiny new hummers with bush/cheney bumperstickers prouldly displayed) americans have become.
posted by specialk420 at 11:06 PM on August 15, 2003


specialk420, I have never seen any indication on this site that jonson would have either an SUV or a Bush/Cheney bumpersticker.
posted by interrobang at 11:14 PM on August 15, 2003


SUV or a Bush/Cheney bumpersticker.

..uh ... and you are defending his defense/trivialization of the incredibly in poor taste editorial link in the original post? disgusting.
posted by specialk420 at 11:25 PM on August 15, 2003


All sympathy to the French for the deaths, which are terrible. But to put this in as non-mocking a light as I possibly can, and maybe take a little nugget of truth from the editorial, what is up with thousands of people dying from temps in the 90s? Someone else here must have found this a little bizarre. DC in the summer is typically in the 90s with 89 percent humidity for two months straight, and I don't recall many (or any, for that matter) deaths from it. Does anyone have a good explanation? Is air conditioning really keeping vast swathes of the American populace alive?
posted by rusty at 11:28 PM on August 15, 2003


specialk420: I am not defending what jonson said. I am objecting to your attack on him.

I am merely saying that from what I know of the types of statements that jonson makes, and the totality of his stance as represented by his user page, the likelihood that he drives an SUV or votes republican is extremely low.
posted by interrobang at 11:32 PM on August 15, 2003


Yeah, the bumpersticker remark seems a pretty gratuitous and mean-spirited troll. More so than the editorial itself, which did not seem to me to be particularly nasty in tone. Its author could - should - have stopped for a second to consider that it the story isn't just a matter of people sweating and moaning about being hot; people DIED from the heat. But it didn't read to me like the author was making a mockery of that.
posted by John Smallberries at 11:34 PM on August 15, 2003


I would like to add that the article is indeed snide. BUT! I have read articles before that were both over 150 words and also far more vitriolically anti-European.

Maybe the writer's an asshole. Maybe he's never lived in France and doesn't know that 100-degree weather is really fucking weird for France.

Probably, he was leaning back with his feet up on his desk the other day, dreaming about a job in Print - or maybe about the novel he's "currently writing" - and some editor came in and told him to write something mildly controversial about the European Heat Wave.

The author knew that Americans didn't give a shit at all about the European Heat Wave, so he tossed off this little piece of shit in about fifteen minutes.

It's stupid, and it's ignorant, but I don't think it's that big of a deal. Lots of jackasses have access to keyboards. And some of them get paid for it.
posted by interrobang at 11:43 PM on August 15, 2003


I was talking about Chicagoans being whiners. I find it fascinating that every summer the heat is blamed for deaths in Chicago.

I said nothing of the situation in France so don't include me in the 'ugly lot'. My mocking of Americans in the Windy City should not be taken that I'm an ugly American that is unconcerned by the death rate in Paris being 50% higher than it was this time last year.

I'm repulsed by SUVs almost as much as I am about the Bush/Cheney administration.

Thanks for jumping to conclusions about jonson and me based on our not lining up behind you and condemning the stupid op-ed piece from the WaPo.
posted by birdherder at 11:48 PM on August 15, 2003


rusty, over 700 died in the 1995 Chicago heatwave, so the 3000 number doesn't sound implausible. Something like this could of (and has) happened in the U.S. Though I am interested why it seems like France is has had so many deaths compared to other countries in Europe.
posted by bobo123 at 11:52 PM on August 15, 2003


Man, Specialk420, what are you TALKING about? I'm a left leaning strongly anti-BUSH, anti SUV, pro French (spent years of my life there) kind of guy. What in my comments made you make such a horrendous generalization about me? All I said was that condeming an anonymous editorial writer to hell for exercising their freedom of speech seemed a little over the top. But now I see that "a little over the top" is just perhaps the way you are. Go about your business...
posted by jonson at 12:05 AM on August 16, 2003


I am interested why it seems like France is has had so many deaths compared to other countries in Europe.

France is simply not used to this kind of heat. They are not prepared for it because they do not expect it. It really does not usually get this hot in France.

It's entirely possible that lots of them don't even own air-conditioners. France is pretty high up from the equator, and it's also surrounded by an ocean on most sides, which makes the weather generally pretty mild.

Next time you're looking at a globe, trace your finger horizontally from Paris across to North America. You may be surprised how high up on the planet it is.
posted by interrobang at 12:12 AM on August 16, 2003


PUI?
posted by Space Coyote at 12:19 AM on August 16, 2003


Indeed, interrobang, lots of them don't own air conditioners.

Room air conditioner equipment rate is low in the European residential sector. It varies between 0.25% (United kingdom) and 4.8% (Spain). It should be compared to the USA and Japan (65% of the American households 85% of the Japanese households have at least one room air conditioner).
posted by F Mackenzie at 12:21 AM on August 16, 2003


Man, Specialk420, what are you TALKING about? I'm a left leaning strongly anti-BUSH, anti SUV, pro French (spent years of my life there) kind of guy. What in my comments made you make such a horrendous generalization about me?

Yeah, Specialk420, what's wrong with you? You never see jonson generalizing people based on single comments, do you? ;)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:30 AM on August 16, 2003


Not incorrectly, you don't!
posted by jonson at 12:34 AM on August 16, 2003


Heat waves kill more folks than hurricanes, lightening. plaque, volcanoes etc... The high temps in Paris and London are not something they are accustomed to (as has been pointed out). The dying include the very young and the very old. I have a real problem making light of that.

Here in New Mexico, we've had a similar heat wave. July was the hottest on record. I'm sure there were folks who died due to this (they didn't have air conditioning either). I don't give a flying fuck whether you drive an SUV, whether you're Republican or Democrat, you live in DC or think jonson is an asshat. People are dying.

PS - www.dangerousmeta.com newly skinned.
posted by jabo at 12:54 AM on August 16, 2003


pps - correct spellinggg newly learnt.
posted by jabo at 1:03 AM on August 16, 2003


Yeah, this is a strange little toss-off essay; more like a blog entry when the blogger can't think of anything to say. I can't actually tell if the author is being the least bit serious.

If he/she is, or if this even seems to make some sense to anybody, it should be noted that it's relatively easy for Americans to deal with high temperatures when they are going from their air conditioned homes to their air conditioned cars, to their air conditioned offices and back again.
posted by taz at 1:11 AM on August 16, 2003


I can safely say that, moving from New Orleans to England, air conditioners are a rarity in Europe. Being that it only gets really hot a few weeks out of a year, it's too much money and effort to own.

Unfortunately, this means that, when it does get hot, it gets hot. A lot of these deaths in France were caused not just by the heat, but by the inability to cool down. Instead of it being in the 90s during the day and then in the 60s at night (giving the body a chance to rest and sleep and prepare for the heat the next day), it was in ths 90s all the time. There was no chance to sleep or rest or anything, and the two weeks of the unrelentless heat caused the problems. Add in a limited medical staff due to the custom of taking holiday in August, and you're in serious trouble.

Here's the BBC on the deaths. They also had a story on how it's a custom in Italy to equate cold air with sickliness, but I can't find it. But that also has something to do with the lack of A.C.

I've been dying to say something about this since I was reading Yahoo News about the blackout and it kept on talking about how people were dealing with having no A.C. Suck it up! 3000 people died in France from the heat and you're whining about one day?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:16 AM on August 16, 2003


Airconditioning is not allowed by law here in Zürich, and I think many other places in Switzerland due to environmental concerns. To call us whiners from a nice airconditioned room in an office in Washington seems a bit like trolling to me. 35C isn't a really nice and cool temperature to work in a high rise office building with lots of pc's around you.
posted by sebas at 1:18 AM on August 16, 2003


Katemonkey, if the Italian/illness thing is anything like it is here in Greece (and it probably is), there is an idea that "the draft" (any cool air blowing on your hot skin, especially at the back of the neck) will cause you to get ill in various ways, the most extreme of which is supposed to be some kind of permanent "freezing" of muscles as far as I can make out.

For this reason, many people here are very, very resistant even to fan-cooled air. The absolute worst, though, is ending up in the back seat of an un-airconditioned taxi, when the driver won't let you roll down your window because the air will blow on the back of his neck.
posted by taz at 1:49 AM on August 16, 2003


Read all about it: Hypersensitive Autophobes on Community 'Blog Uncover Non-Kumbayah Editorial in Major Newspaper!
posted by shoos at 1:51 AM on August 16, 2003


birdheader: In 1995 Chicago experienced an unprecedented heat wave. With temperatures soaring above 105 and humidity at 100%, more than 700 people died.

700 People in a week.

The city was unable to handle the huge influx of bodies. Meatpacking companies with refrigerated trucks were enlisted, their 18 wheelers lining the streets as they served as temporary morgues.

Concern about heat related deaths, therefore, is not - as you put it with such profound ignorance - whining. What happened in Chicago that year was an utter tragedy. That the culprit was heat rather than violence is inconsequential.

That it's happening again on a larger scale in Europe is not something to be made light of. Both you, and the Washington Post, need to educate yourselves before spouting platitudes about a subject you know nothing about.
posted by aladfar at 4:58 AM on August 16, 2003


rusty -- I live in the DC area too, but I can definitely remember reading about heat related deaths of the elderly because they couldn't afford air conditioning.

I was in London the weekend of 9th/10th when it apparently hit 100F. I thought I was used to hot temperatures from living through unbearably humid and hot DC summers, but I never realised what a difference A/C makes. My cousins' houses in England had no A/C, and nor did many of the shops. Same for the Underground, which was the worst -- I fantasized about the nice cool Metro while jammed, in the Tube for 10 stops, sweat dripping down my neck. I have never sweated so continuously in my life.

Here in America (well, DC at least) it seems we spend our summers jumping from one air conditioned spot to the next. Well, that or the pool. So I have complete sympathy for France and all parts of Europe experiencing the heatwave.
posted by puffin at 5:22 AM on August 16, 2003


Is air conditioning really keeping vast swathes of the American populace alive?

yes
posted by puffin at 5:27 AM on August 16, 2003


It may be warm over here, but at least our lights work.
posted by Hogshead at 5:36 AM on August 16, 2003


*basks in the already arctic blast of the a/c duct, dials thermostat down another five degrees*

yeah, i really don't care how many frenchies fry, or even how many new yorkers asphyxiate in stuck elevators this weekend. just keep them kilowatts a-comin', baby. put my little bitch ken lay on a treadmill if you have to.
posted by quonsar at 5:56 AM on August 16, 2003


So I have complete sympathy for France and all parts of Europe experiencing the heatwave

Sure. But one hopes that Europeans might also realize that they've just experienced a normal-to-slightly-warm North American summer and do less marveling at and harping on how stoopid we are over here for running air conditioners.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:06 AM on August 16, 2003


If you can't take the heat....

air conditioners are a rarity in Europe. Being that it only gets really hot a few weeks out of a year, it's too much money and effort to own.

I've never understood this reasoning. I spent the summer in Portland, OR a few years ago, in a house with no AC (which was typical, I guess). It reached 100 degrees F every day for over a week--utterly miserable. I've been on Long Island this year, where many homes don't have AC (this one does, thank goodness). There have been some hot and miserable days.

Let's see...be miserable for a few weeks every year, or spend $150 to buy at least a window unit...hmm.

Some people are weird. (That said, I feel for people in Zurich and similar locales. Greeks, well, it sounds like they're just nuts.)
posted by rushmc at 6:35 AM on August 16, 2003


as a european (in exile), i don't take offence at this article. ok, it's boorish and ignorant, but that's america for you - i don't think this is news to any european. i guess i'm most surprised that any americans have noticed at all - did it actually get time in your newstainment?
posted by andrew cooke at 6:38 AM on August 16, 2003


It got a lot of airtime, but as a curiosity more than as a serious tragedy, andrew...some shots of old people being fanned in hospital corridors in Paris, but more shots of people playing in fountains in London, or sunbathing in parks there.

Next time you're looking at a globe, trace your finger horizontally from Paris across to North America. You may be surprised how high up on the planet it is.
so true...i've heard that Madrid is on the same latitude(?) as us here in NY, which would make DC on the same level as Costa Del Sol or Morocco or Egypt...I think we assume we're further north than that, maybe because our winters are harsher?
posted by amberglow at 7:07 AM on August 16, 2003


Related: EU regulators issued a draft law on Tuesday to ban the chemical used to cool cars as it is a highly potent greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. The bill would force car makers by 2009 to develop alternatives for the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) used in air conditioners. (CNN/Reuters)
posted by Ljubljana at 7:25 AM on August 16, 2003


I can second what taz and Katemonkey said. Italians have a weird anti-fetish for air conditioning.

I grew up in Dallas, so I'm no stranger to heat, but the humidity is downright annoying. I went for a walk last night at midnight and everything the street lamps shone on had a hazy cast to it.

The anti-fetish I can sort of understand; during my classical ballet years, we would rehearse for hours without AC in the dead heat of a Dallas August. Come winter time, exiting the studio after hours of practicing I could feel my muscles tightening up from the shock of temperature change.

I'm less perplexed about the anti-AC sentiment than I am about the fact that Italians don't sweat. Or at least don't seem to.
posted by romakimmy at 7:47 AM on August 16, 2003


the editorial that somehow slipped through the cracks and slithered into print at the Wapo is indefensible perhaps jonson is longhaired tree-hugger and if so ... i applaud him for that ... never the less his laughing off of this ugly little creatin of an editorial gets him lumped in with french hating - bush/cheney "ugly lot" if only for a minute.

apologies for the outrage - i think the Wapo piece and anyone who thinks this kind of trivialization of the tragedies caused by the heatwave in europe is ok ... are entering the fray, come what may.

unless garret pullled the link ... the source actually was alterman (i think) never the less dangerousmeta is worth daily if not hourly visits
posted by specialk420 at 8:05 AM on August 16, 2003


Hey, I didn't mean to laugh it off, I just meant "it's an editorial," which is like crank-central for the newspaper. That's where such drek usually lies. And frankly, given the number of things someone should be condemned to hell over, writing an insensitive essay seems like a lesser sin.
posted by jonson at 8:14 AM on August 16, 2003


the editorial does do a fine job of mirroring the sentiments of most americans - who couldnt give a sh*t about tragedies outside our borders, yet expect the world to light candles and say prayers if anything happens within them or to one of our citizens. perhaps the senior editors let it through for just that reason....?

i suspect goldberg penned the wretched litttle thing - fits right in with the rest of his awful collection.

i apologize for jumping to conclusions about you jonson - im suprised you wouldn't express outrage about the thing ... it's one thing to snicker and express ones "freedom of speech" in private - another entirely to pen something like this, have it printed in a paper read by much of the world, and to have it read and approved by whatever editorial control was going on at the wapo that night.
posted by specialk420 at 8:29 AM on August 16, 2003


Hey, could you turn up the passive-aggressivity a little more?
posted by darukaru at 8:33 AM on August 16, 2003


Both you, and the Washington Post, need to educate yourselves before spouting platitudes about a subject you know nothing about.

Point taken. I've lived in the heat all my life. I've also had air conditioning and knew the dangers of not keeping cool since I was a kid growing up in the Arizona desert. When you live in places where the temperature is almost always above 100f during the summer you begin to think everyone has AC [or can go to a public place with it] and has the heart to look in on the elderly/housebound in their neighborhoods. I've lived in cities that had programs for helping those in need deal with the heat. It is a matter of public policy. It has to be.

The heat-related deaths in Chicago were tragic and it is good to know the city has learned to mobilize both during the heat and the cold.

It is getting hotter everywhere and first world countries such as France and the US have to deal with that fact. People in places where it usually doesn't get 'that hot' need to be taught of the dangers of the heat.
posted by birdherder at 8:34 AM on August 16, 2003


i was going to suggest to specialk420 to write a letter to the editor at the post complaining about the shitty editorial. in today's issue there are already a few letters.
posted by birdherder at 8:42 AM on August 16, 2003


First off, tracing your finger across the Atlantic on a latitude line is a meaningless activity, because the primary engine of local climate in the North Atlantic is ocean currents. The Gulf Stream carries warm water up the North American coast as far as Cape Hatteras, at 35°, then diverges from the continent and crosses over to Europe. North of that, we get the cold Labrador current instead. [More info on ocean temps here]

So while Europe is further north than people in the US think it is, the climate there is more like the mid-Atlantic coast of N.A. Tracing a finger across would lead you to believe that the climate in Paris is equivalent to that of the northern Hudson Bay, which is completely untrue.

But more relevant to this story, several articles I've read have suggested that the extraordinarily high death rate in France is due at least in part to the fact that the French hospital system (and government) was on vacation for August. The New York Times:
The director of the big St.-Louis hospital, in the 10th Arrondissement of Paris, Jean-Patrick Lajonchère, was quoted by the daily Le Monde as saying that the capacity of the hospital had been cut by 35 percent because of the summer break.

The city's entire medical system appeared overwhelmed. The Lariboisière hospital, one of the capital's largest, reported about 220 admissions a day through the week. On Wednesday, as part of an emergency plan, the government began calling back hospital workers and government employees despite a national holiday on Friday.
It looks like the reason for the high rate in France may be as much political as meteorological. The Grauniad:
France's political climate still simmered with accusations the government didn't do enough to prevent the crisis.

Despite warnings from emergency room doctors, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin waited until Wednesday to order Paris hospitals to prepare more beds and call health care workers back from vacation.
And with those two small nuggets of information, I now return you to your regularly scheduled bickering. :-)
posted by rusty at 8:46 AM on August 16, 2003


It does seem that the date on the editorial is August 14, but the date of publication (inferred by the URL) was August 13, which was one day before the August 14 wire stories that 3000 deaths may be attributed to the heat wave. On that basis one can merely fault the WaPo for not anticipating. In any case, Washington is a notoriously oppressively hot and humid capital for its latitude (one famous remark was that nothing ever got done there until air-conditioning was invented, and that was a big mistake), and this is pretty typical you think it's hot? try hot one-upmanship that us Yankees (meaning Northerners) get from Southerners all the time.

specialk, project much? I mean, SUVs, Cheney, and everything else? Maybe you should try responding to what people actually say instead of bashing their imagined agendas, which puts you at risk of becoming a crank.
posted by dhartung at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2003


When you live in places where the temperature is almost always above 100f during the summer you begin to think everyone has AC [or can go to a public place with it] and has the heart to look in on the elderly/housebound in their neighborhoods. I've lived in cities that had programs for helping those in need deal with the heat. It is a matter of public policy. It has to be.

Yeah, I remember when I used to do soem volunteer work in the Robert Taylor Homes (a notoriously shitty Chicago housing project) a few years back. The old people would sometimes die on their way to the one air-conditioned "community" room that four high-rises shared. They would actually wait outside to sit in the cool air in shifts.

I can't wait for the wave of deregulation that we all know is somehow going to follow the blackout. I bet the market will do a great job of keeping old people from dying.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:04 AM on August 16, 2003


Also, a large majority of the victims are elderly. My grandmother, in Massachusetts, has been repeatedly hospitalized this summer from our normal summer temperatures. I'd say it's entirely likely she'd be dead right now if there the hospital was too overwhelmed to provide her with necessary relief.
posted by TurkishGolds at 9:17 AM on August 16, 2003


rusty. on the subject of ocean currents and global warming ... ive posted this link before, but for those who haven't seen it and are interested it's required reading on global temperature change from the above the fray woods hole institute.
posted by specialk420 at 9:22 AM on August 16, 2003


Okay folks. How about data?

First, historically, Paris averages 24C for highs, 14C for lows. That's 75F for highs, 57F for lows.

Now, graphs for August, 2003. Note that the temp exceeded 100F for at least 10 days (maybe 12 -- the first and last days might have been right at 100F, or 99F, given the scale of the graph.) Note that the very highest temp was 109F

So, you have well over a week of heat that's 25-30 degrees above normal. When your normal high is 75F, you don't have many air conditioners around. When you have dewpoints bouncing from 50F to 75F, that makes things even worse.

Now, let's compare this to the Chicago heat wave that killed about 700. Note that Chicago has many public places that are air conditioned. What do we see?

Paris, days above 100F: 10
Chicago, same: 2

Paris, days at 95F or above: 12
Chicago, same: 4

Now, the big thing that made Chicago's snap so bad was those low temps -- 81F and 84F at the peak. Paris did drop into the mid 70s, but mid 70s with mid 70s dewpoints is a hot, sticky mess that you aren't going to sleep well in, esp. if you are used to (and your house is built for) nightly lows in the lower 60s/upper 50s.

Worse, this heat wave has been going for well over a month. The big news in the Tour de France was the heat -- they were hitting 101F in July, as well. After a month of abnormally high heat, getting hit by that 10 day 100+ heat was devastating.

I'm not surprised that 3000 people died, looking at the data. I'm surprised more haven't.

As to the Washington Post, I hope that asshole has to spend 10 days in 100+ heat, with *no* air conditioning, and in a house that's built for typical highs of 75F, and no office or mall with A/C to run to. Wonder what his health will be like?
posted by eriko at 9:24 AM on August 16, 2003


also, please realize that 100 degrees farenheit in arizona and 100 degrees farenheit in chicago are going to feel like two very different things, because the southwest is so damn dry. i grew up in new mexico, and it regularly got to be 100 and above during the summer, but because the air was so dry it felt nothing like the oppressive heat here in chicago, even at fifteen degrees less. in NM, if worse came to worst, you could always dump some water down your back and go outside to cool off a bit, but here i don't even want to step outside for most of the day. i think it's completely feasible that people would have died here from the heat, and i would assume that the weather in france is closer to chicago's weather than albuquerque's.
posted by sugarfish at 9:31 AM on August 16, 2003


Americans are fucking cool.
posted by johnnyboy at 9:42 AM on August 16, 2003


You know, when I compare this Mefi thread (particularly the great and informative posts by eriko, rusty and dhartung, et al) to the WaPo editorial in question, I can't believe that one of them came from a professional who is being paid to write, while the others simply did it for... well, I don't know why they did it, but they did a damn fine job doing it.
posted by Ljubljana at 9:54 AM on August 16, 2003


"...it's boorish and ignorant, but that's america for you..."

North, or South?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:10 AM on August 16, 2003


rushmc, you wonder why people wouldn't just "spend $150 to buy at least a window unit". I'm sure they would, but we don't have those sorts of prices. After I became very ill during an intense heat wave here in Greece (over 110 - and this, I think is the closest I ever came to thinking I might actually die), we bought a small air conditioner, but since at that time we couldn't afford the $500 it cost (just a few years ago), we had to borrow money to buy it...

Here's an International Herald Tribune article that talks about the recent European rise in air conditioning sales, and now it looks like some less expensive units are being marketed. However, as the article points out, there is a clear down-side, environmentally, and the European ambivalence toward air conditioning is probably a good thing if it means that people will be limiting their use to extreme weather days.
posted by taz at 10:48 AM on August 16, 2003


What's also unfortunate is that I'd venture most of these folks have no idea how to recognize the signs of heatstroke, how serious it is, and how to treat/prevent it. And that's just as bad, if not worse, than no AC. Growing up in FL, it's fairly common knowledge in my circles, just like knowing how to deal with an undertow while swimming at the beach. (And don't you know, we get tourists every year who drown because they don't know how to deal with the current.)

Watching kids do marching band drills in summer camps, you can pick out the transplants, because they're the ones who think it's ok to skip their water break ("I'm not thirsty.") and think they can "tough it out." Then they suffer for it. I'd imagine that ignorance from lack of experience is just as prevelant in France.
posted by Sangre Azul at 10:52 AM on August 16, 2003


For more on the issue, see over here. Perhaps the UN should send in observers to make sure the human rights of the French aren't trampled by their government not doing anything to help in this emergency?
posted by swerdloff at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2003


specialk420: it's required reading on global temperature change from the above the fray woods hole institute [emphasis mine]

Ha! If you believe that I've got a nice bridge in New York to sell you. I went to high school just down the road from WHOI, and many of our teachers were spouses of researchers there. They do good science, but they all have a pretty big stake in supporting the global warming theory. Global warming is bread and butter for grants in tight economic times.

This is not to say that Gagosian's theory is wrong, merely that the way he presents it is tailor-made to keep the grant money flowing into WHOI. Science is not divorced from politics ever, but science which requires money especially.

Incidentally, Gagosian was my high school graduation speaker, and it was by far the most painfully boring speech I've ever suffered through. He seems to have gotten hold of some good PR advice lately. I wish I was graduating now instead of 1994.
posted by rusty at 11:10 AM on August 16, 2003


So while Europe is further north than people in the US think it is, the climate there is more like the mid-Atlantic coast of N.A.

Actually, as evidenced by the deaths in Europe and lack of air conditioned homes and office buildings, the climate is not at all as hot as we get here in the mid-Atlantic, nor is it as cold in the winter...

I'm wondering if anyone in the UK knows whether all the new office buildings in London (Canary Wharf, and Docklands, etc) are climate-controlled or not? I fear that these temps might become an annual occurrence...
posted by amberglow at 11:29 AM on August 16, 2003


amberglow: Northern mid-Atlantic, sorry. I was thinking Delaware/South Jerseyish. The smaller swing from one extreme to the other probably has something to do with having more water around, as well, as opposed to the US where there's nothing but land mass to the north, south, and west.
posted by rusty at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2003


...was by far the most painfully boring speech

its a shame you obviously weren't paying much attention.
posted by specialk420 at 12:08 PM on August 16, 2003


As an American living in Europe (Italy), I have to say that the air-conditioning here is medieval. There's about three buildings in this whole country that have A/C. The Italians think air conditioning is bad for you - and so did the French, until last week. I'm praying that they'll change their minds if I'm still living here next summer.

I love Italy, but with the weather like this, I'm looking forward to going home and setting the A/C as cold as it will go. I'm looking forward to doing this in Fahrenheit. Then I'm going to head to In-N-Out for an Animal Style and a Coke with as much ice as they can fit in the cup.

I don't care if there's so much ice in the cup that they can't fit any Coke in it. I don't care if my lips get frostbitten. I want the staff to go out back, hack up a glacier, and put the entire thing in the cup. Without me having to ask for it.

Call me crazy, but in the country that produces the most luxurious clothing and some of the best food in the world, it is simply perverse to not spend a few Euros on air conditioning.

God Bless America.
posted by charlesv at 12:16 PM on August 16, 2003


I live i Tours during the summer, a town south of paris, where 46 degrees is NOT fun and definitely effing weird.

Plus, i can assure you all, working in a shop without AC is not funny.

Definitely not funny. The journalist should trade his job with my sumemr job and see if he's writing the same bs after.
posted by Sijeka at 12:49 PM on August 16, 2003


let's blame muslims and invade something.
posted by quonsar at 1:52 PM on August 16, 2003


buauauauauahahahahaha!

(not) funny!
posted by Sijeka at 1:58 PM on August 16, 2003


something tells me the poor and elderly won't be getting air conditioners in paris or chicago anytime soon ... last man/first man.

...write a letter

obudsman@washpost.com got an earfull sometime shortly before 12:42 CST last night.
posted by specialk420 at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2003


A bunch of poor and elderly people dying is a small price to pay for the best wine harvest since 1990. I say rock on, Heat Wave, I've tasted the fruits of an oppressive climate massacre, and dare I say it's delicious.

[/troll]
posted by Stan Chin at 2:19 PM on August 16, 2003


"i suspect goldberg penned the wretched litttle thing - fits right in with the rest of his awful collection."

"i apologize for jumping to conclusions about you jonso...."

And maybe about goldberg too. Lots of jumping specialk420.
posted by semmi at 3:22 PM on August 16, 2003


the pitiful editorial fits right in the goldbergs collection of screeds - see this beauty.
posted by specialk420 at 3:35 PM on August 16, 2003


one hopes that Europeans might also realize that they've just experienced a normal-to-slightly-warm North American summer and do less marveling at and harping on how stoopid we are over here for running air conditioners.

Yeah. One also hopes that North Americans might realise that Europeans are experiencing 300-year highs in temperature, and might kindly suggest to their leaders that appointing 'scientists' who think climate change is phooey to the commission on climate change might not be the smartest idea. Especially since air conditioners contribute a shitload to carbon emissions. I wonder how much air-conditioner manufacturers stuff in politicians' pockets, though?

(This isn't to say that Raffarin fucked up in grand style. He did. He's proving himself singularly unqualified for the job. Bring Jospin out of retirement.)

I'm wondering if anyone in the UK knows whether all the new office buildings in London (Canary Wharf, and Docklands, etc) are climate-controlled or not? I fear that these temps might become an annual occurrence..

Yeah, they do. It generally means that cold viruses spread like herpes at a student party, though.
posted by riviera at 4:34 PM on August 16, 2003


The thought just occured to me that, (assuming they even learn about it) a considerable number of people in America will see this heat-wave, which has so far killed a number of French comparable to the number of Americans who died during the trade center attacks, as France's divine punishment for not doing their part to stop terrorism. Not to mention disobeying a direct order from Bush. I hate to be pre-emptively disgusted with my countrymen, but fuck.
posted by Hildago at 4:53 PM on August 16, 2003


There have been some very angry letters to the editor on this particularly meanspirited editorial... you can contact them at letters@washpost.com, btw.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:04 PM on August 16, 2003


"This isn't to say that Raffarin fucked up in grand style. He did. He's proving himself singularly unqualified for the job. Bring Jospin out of retirement."

fuck yes. Bring Jospin back.


NOW.
posted by Sijeka at 5:13 PM on August 16, 2003


specialk420: So, what did he say, if I wasn't paying attention and you obviously were?

While you're thinking about it, you might want to print out this thread and file it away somewhere, so you can look back in a few years and marvel at what a total cunt you used to be.
posted by rusty at 8:38 PM on August 16, 2003


rusty - if i'm outraged it's for the world my bright new nephew will inherit and those of his generation - who i fear will look back at those of us who selfishly altered the climate of our little blue planet for trips to the mall ...

if you want to take any further discussions outside bro. contact me .
posted by specialk420 at 10:28 PM on August 16, 2003


Riviera: I wonder how much air-conditioner manufacturers stuff in politicians' pockets, though?

Are you trolling?

The vast majority of refrigeration manufacturers are headquartered overseas. Furthermore, their factories are overseas. I challenge you to find a major candidate that has received (comparatively) substantial money from the refrigeration industry. If you can find three or four, I will stand humbly corrected.
posted by trharlan at 11:04 PM on August 16, 2003


if you want to take any further discussions outside bro. contact me .

Ah, tough talk on the web.... Don't make me type at you!
posted by Espoo2 at 2:28 AM on August 17, 2003


Of course (many) London office buildings have climate control. This isn't the dark ages. We just don't tend to have it in our homes.
posted by Lleyam at 6:09 AM on August 17, 2003


I live in North Carolina; my first year here I had no air conditioning (and lived on a boat; you can be damn sure it was humid). The August before that I lived in Florida, again with no AC, and I worked outdoors. This was after having spent my entire life up until that point in Connecticut and upstate New York. Sure, it sucked. I dealt. Nobody wrote sob stories in the international media about it.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:58 AM on August 17, 2003


Er, you seem to be missing the point a bit IshmaelGraves.
posted by ginz at 9:35 AM on August 17, 2003


Nobody wrote sob stories i the international media about it.

- Glad to see your not dead IshmaelGraves.
posted by johnnyboy at 3:47 AM on August 18, 2003


I'll remember the next time America freaks out and declares State of Emergency over a coupla inches of snow :).
posted by freakystyley at 9:53 AM on August 18, 2003


I'll remember the next time America freaks out and declares State of Emergency over a coupla inches of snow :).

Hey now, that only happens in the south! Us northerners can handle our snow!
posted by delmoi at 6:41 PM on August 19, 2003


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