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Worst Ever

One of the recurring themes in my climate video "What is Normal?" is that despite the fact that we have only observed climate for about 100 years, and have only studied it with modern tools like satellites for about 30 years, we want to insist on calling some condition "unusual."  My favorite example of late was when a number of news sources claimed "Arctic Ice at All-Time Low."  Really?  The lowest in the 6 billion year history of Earth?  Well, no, "all-time" means since satellite measurement began ... 28 years ago.  (By the way, the simultaneous story that Antarctic ice hit an "all-time" high on the exact same date failed to be mentioned in the press for some reason).

has a great post (mercifully unrelated to climate, for all of you with climate fatigue):


As the price of crude oil approaches $100 a barrel, New Englanders are bracing for their most expensive winter ever.

May I suggest that the average family expended more hours of labor to procure their firewood in 1650, and more hours of labor to procure their coal in 1750, and more hours to procure their gas in 1850 than they are spending, today, to heat their (much larger, much better furnished) homes today?

I swear, whenever a journalist says the word “ever” I hear “since I was in high school, or since 1990, whichever was more recent…and I was drunk at the time, so I honestly can’t tell you which one that was”.


Posted on November 1, 2007 at 09:38 PM | Permalink


Those silly New Englanders should just suck it up and invest in alternative energy sources. The politicians have all of the answers, so let them suggest what types of energy can be utilized NOW to heat a New England home in the dead of winter, this year, 2007. If it's not oil, then what is it?

Posted by: Doug | Nov 2, 2007 10:27:35 AM

"...whenever a journalist says..." anything, I stop reading. "Journalists" now rank way behind politicians in credibility.

I read pamphleteers^Wbloggers if I want information or informed opinion. (Not the least because I can usually tell which is which.)

Posted by: Larry Sheldon | Nov 2, 2007 10:59:52 AM

Whenever there is an article or poll on "The Greatest ______ Ever" in sports, you can be certain that the greatest ______ will turn out to be somebody who played within the past twenty years.

The really amusing thing is the number of polls I've seen that say that JFK was America's greatest president.

Posted by: BobH | Nov 2, 2007 3:04:26 PM

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