oh no.
December 29, 2002 12:00 PM   Subscribe

The sky is a color of television, tuned to a dead channel, and there's a hole in the sky above Chile. The widening gash in the ozone layer is now over Punta Arenas, Chile, the southern most city in the world.
posted by four panels (23 comments total)
oh great. guess who's going there with his parents when they come to visit in two weeks? and i didn't know about the rising incidence of skin cancer here in santiago (much further north). just when i'm getting the first decent tan of my life...

people here are aware of the ozone hole, but i didn't realise they were so paranoid down south. i wonder if the quotes are representative - i'll ask around (we've got relations there; also, it's not that hot, even in summer, down there, afaik, so long sleeves isn't that odd).

[what's the dead channel tv quote from (or is it a cliche by now)? i'm torn between gibson and delillo.]
posted by andrew cooke at 12:12 PM on December 29, 2002

Gibson, first line of Neuromancer... The sky outside the port was the color of television tuned to a dead channel....

And I thought that hole had split?
posted by acute at 12:26 PM on December 29, 2002

i love gibson.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:28 PM on December 29, 2002

Question: are scientists sure the hole never manifested itself before it was officially discovered? Is it possible this is a natural phenomenon? Correlatively, how to explain that the hole expands, contracts, and, I believe, disappears, while terrestrial emissions have not dropped or risen precipitously in the last 20 years?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:31 PM on December 29, 2002

i love holes in the sky.
posted by quonsar at 12:33 PM on December 29, 2002

i thought the hole was closing?
posted by reverendX at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2002

I love that opening line from Neuromancer, too. But for anyone under 20 I fear it makes no sense. My TV turns a nice pleasing uniform blue now when it's tuned to a dead channel, not the staticy darkness Gibson was evoking. A soothing blue sky colour, not at all like the colour of a summer midnight in Houston.
posted by Nelson at 3:04 PM on December 29, 2002

that blue is most likely coming from your VCR, nelson.
[haaaa haaaaa]
posted by quonsar at 3:41 PM on December 29, 2002

Very calming. Very tranquil. I think the word for that particular shade is cerulean, actually. Cerulean blue.
posted by poopy at 3:41 PM on December 29, 2002

The Ozone Hole fluctuates naturally over the seasons {massive animated gif of 2002}, and to some extent from year to year. It has split before, which is no indication either of expansion or reduction, but does mean a node may travel farther north than in other years.

Ozone in Antarctica has been monitored much more carefully in the last 20 years than in the period before the hole's discovery -- but data are available, and suggest that there was no hole as early as 1956, long before its apparent appearance in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The hole is not caused by particulate emissions or generaly environmental pollution, but is thought to be mainly due to CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which were used industrially and in household products (such as the familiar aerosol spray can) until they were banned worldwide, a ban which has been largely successful {allowing for phase-ins of replacement products}, and which was already well into the implementation stage in many countries when the hole was discovered (the US banned CFC aerosol cans in 1979).

Concentration on the hole itself, while it is a serious concern for those in affected areas (Punta Arenas, Cape Town, Tasmania), ultimately misses the point that ozone depletion continues at mild latitudes, albeit at much slower rates.

Further action on issues such as CFC refrigerant recovery is needed, especially in the developing world. There is a lag in the CFC ban and the assumed recovery of the ozone layer; scientific consensus suggests 50 years or more before the hole will disappear completely, although we really can't be sure. We may have done all we can, to date, and yet the CFCs already released into the atmosphere will continue to deplete ozone for some time to come. The peak is expected sometime, perhaps, toward the end of the present decade.
posted by dhartung at 4:07 PM on December 29, 2002

Um, Okay, Off Topic, I'm a pedant. And Gibson owns. So (from memory):

The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.

"It's not like I'm using", Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat.
"It's like my body's developed this massive drug deficiency."

It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke...

Etc. I could go on. Really. I'm that bad. But if you haven't read William Gibson's 'Neuromancer', do so. It's cool. Also, (On Topic) his new book, Pattern Recognition, contains some lovely insights into online forums. It's out in Febraury, but ARCs are available on eBay and Amazon's Marketplace. It also mentions meme-spreaders, who casually advertise products in non-advertising spaces.

posted by armoured-ant at 4:42 PM on December 29, 2002

Thanks, and bravo, dhartung.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:43 PM on December 29, 2002

Where I live (New Zealand), the ozone layer becomes a real issue at this time of year. Of course, it's turning into summer, and we (used to) start having "burn time" warnings as part of the weather forecast.

On a "bad" day (i.e. a sunny one), you're looking at sunburn after spending 15 minutes in the sun during the hottest hours (12 - 4pm). Factor in any sort of exposure during the day, and basically you're foolish to spend any time outside without SPF 15+ applied liberally.

Of course, YMMV -- I'm "blessed" with pale skin, so I burn faster and harder. Yay.

(The burn times have stopped being issued for some reason -- people were misunderstanding them or something.)
posted by John Shaft at 6:36 PM on December 29, 2002

Damn, I knew that quote looked familiar.

Anyone got a link to pictures of this sky?

for those of us only motivated by nice perty pictures
posted by shadow45 at 7:24 PM on December 29, 2002

shadow...I don't think the sky actually changed color; it was imply part of the Gibson quote. I assume the sky would simply look like an average Patagonian day, whatever that happens to be.
posted by Kevs at 7:51 PM on December 29, 2002

I suppose the country being called Chile is a bit ironic now.

posted by KettleBlack at 8:35 PM on December 29, 2002

ever heard gibson narrate that himself? very strange sounding. he's hard to listen to.
posted by tomplus2 at 9:04 PM on December 29, 2002

tomplus2: I have that edition going in my car right now - the author-narrated Simon and Shuster(sp?) version. I listen to audiobooks constantly on my way to/from work, and started it last weekend. I really like that version. It sounds like it has that particular attitude that is in his print editions, as opposed to the "books on tape" version (bored sounding speaker). This particular one has been played TOO many times over the years, but still a favorite...
posted by Woney at 10:30 PM on December 29, 2002

(raising hand) Count me in the Gibson group. The phrase got my attention right away. Ultimately Virtual Light became my favorite, but they're all on the shelf.
posted by swerve at 12:38 AM on December 30, 2002

thank you armoured-ant for getting the quote right, thanks four panels for the post and dhartung for the additional links.
posted by yonderboy at 1:25 AM on December 30, 2002

thank you yonderboy, for having a Gibson-based name :P

tomplus: Yes, I've heard that too. Really *really* strong accent that's kinda off putting. Fun to imitate though... I believe you can find the eight-part audio book that we're on about on Kazaa. Because I'm sharing it there :)
posted by armoured-ant at 3:59 AM on December 30, 2002

I got his "No Maps for these Territories" documentary for Christmas!!! First five minutes was exceedingly boring, but on the bright side, Gibson summed up all the nano, bio, post-humanity coming thing IN ONE SENTANCE and used every buzz word imaginable in said sentance.

It was both cool, and corny... Now I'll have to watch the next 75 minutes soon...

Right, right .. "above the port" not outside! Now why is that?
posted by acutetype at 9:52 AM on December 30, 2002

I suppose the country being called Chile is a bit ironic now.

Unless you pronounce it correctly, KB.
posted by signal at 11:15 AM on December 30, 2002

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