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August 30, 2007

What In The World…?

Filed under: Bill Bickel, CIDU, comic strips, comics, Earth, global warming, humor — Cidu Bill @ 12:39 am


Have we driven Planet Earth to drink, or is this a global warming reference? I’m inclined to think the latter, since one of the reported results of global warming is the loss of polar icecaps.

But the more interesting question is this:

Earlier this week, referring to a few days of unusually cool weather, a radio newsman said “So much for global warming, huh?” Which once again made me wonder: When people say this sort of thing, are they really so astoundingly stupid that they think “global warming” means that everybody’s weather, every day, is getting warmer across the board? Are they making a joke hoping everybody else is astoundingly stupid? Is this simply their way of mocking the concept of global warming (while not realizing that they’re doing it in such a way that they’ll sound astoundingly stupid)? Or is there another option I haven’t considered?


  1. Yes, people are that stupid. It is, however, not entirely their fault, because superficial reporting rarely explains that the heating doesn’t have to happen world-wide to have a world-wide effect. It should be called “global heat-caused weather changes”.

    Comment by Keera — August 30, 2007 @ 1:29 am

  2. Well, that’s why they’re trying to refer to it as “Global Climate Change” now. It’s a bit more accurate, and a bit less prone to these kind of idiotic misunderstandings. In answer to your question, I think it’s a combination of people being so astoundingly stupid that they think “global warming” means that everybody’s weather, every day, is getting warmer across the board, and this simply being their way of mocking the concept of global warming (while not realizing that they’re doing it in such a way that they’ll sound astoundingly stupid).

    It’s a rather unpleasant side effect of the current administration’s anti-intellectualism. Them damn scientists and East Coast Ivy League Elites don’t know any more than anyone else, and they’re no more qualified to comment on this sort of thing than someone who’s just heard the name “Global Warming” on the news a few times and dislikes Al Gore. Their opinion is just as valid as any scientist’s, and therefore Global Warming is silly and made up. I mean, we all know the climate has changed before, right? Therefore, nothing bad can happen if it changes again, and it must be a natural change also. Plus it still got cold last winter, so it’s not real anyway.

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — August 30, 2007 @ 4:23 am

  3. On the other hand, those of us who are concerned about Global Climate Change, and who understand the difference between weather and climate, are still inclined, in weak moments, to take unusually warm weather — or unusually dramatic weather — or unusual weather of any kind — as a sign that we’re right. We know we shouldn’t, but who can’t think “Boy, I wonder what kind of weather we’ll have in another decade or two” every time the weather is, essentially, weird.

    That said, it’s probably fair for people who aren’t convinced about Global Warming to occasionally take a particularly cool day – or even a particularly nice, normal day as proof that this Warming business is not everything it’s cracked up to be.

    In other words, it’s perhaps not at all correct, but it’s all too human to be considered outright stupid.

    Comment by Ron Obvious — August 30, 2007 @ 5:30 am

  4. The newsman in question is no more stupid than activists freaking over “unusual” heat, hurricanes, melting ice, etc.

    What seems missed in all this “global warming” rhetoric is: the average temperature has changed by less than one degree C over a century. There’s way too much hype on both sides.

    Stuff changes. Humans seem unable to cope with that.

    Comment by ctdonath — August 30, 2007 @ 6:03 am

  5. ctdonath, I think you’ve just made yourself out to be more stupid than the guy on the radio.

    Comment by Blurgle — August 30, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  6. FACT: Polar bears are drowning in record numbers in the tundra because they fall through more ice.

    Can’t say this is caused by man-made “global warming” conditions, or a natural occurence similar to the conditions that allowed people to walk from Asia to Alaska. But drowning bears are sad.

    Comment by Rasheed — August 30, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  7. ctdonath: that’s considered a very big change for a global average. That’s part of the problem: to you and me it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s actually indicative of big changes in the environment.

    Comment by Powers — August 30, 2007 @ 7:04 am

  8. Good comment ctdonath. What is the normal temperature for the Earth? Is the warming moving towards the average or away from it? Will all affects from the warming be bad? Maybe we’re just rebounding/recovering from the Little Ice Age.

    Comment by DSkinner — August 30, 2007 @ 8:31 am

  9. The big problem isn’t that we’re moving the temperature away from some “normal” or “ideal” temperature for the Earth; the problem is that we’re moving the temperature away from what we’ve designed all our civilizations to work with. For example, a global average increase of 1C means that agricultural zones will move and possibly shrink. Coastal cities will be at greater risk of flooding. Water supplies from glacial run-off (which accounts for a lot in the Western US) will shrink.

    The problem with global climate change isn’t that it’s going to hurt the Earth — it isn’t. It’s gong to hurt us.

    Comment by James — August 30, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  10. I think that the comic is indeed a global warming gag.

    As far as weatherman saying “so much for global warming”, it’s just an innocuous little throw-away joke. Perhaps not funny, especially the 27th time you hear someone say it, but hardly worth anyone’s scorn. Anybody that reads it as a real repudiation of global warming or a mockery of concern for global warming is being hypersensitive.

    Comment by M. Dabney — August 30, 2007 @ 10:38 am

  11. ctdonath,

    Alaska and talk to the Natives up there about climate change. Talk to anyone from New Orleans about how bad the weather is getting. Climate change is real, but unfortunately many people share your mindset. You won’t believe it until your house is washed away in a flood or you lose everything to a wildfire caused by extreme drought.

    Comment by Chris — August 30, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  12. Blurgle,
    Care to give some facts beyond an ad-hominem? Fact is, there has only been less than a 1*C change over the last century – which is far from a big deal when contrasted with average temperatures over human history. Additionally, the human-contributed part of that 1*C is miniscule compared to the natural fluxuations, which are very predictable when compared with historical data.

    Polar bears can swim – really really well. It’s a significant part of being a polar bear. Worrying about polar bears drowning is like worrying about birds falling.

    Powers & DSkinner,
    If you look at the temperature graph of the last century, the full-range swing has been significantly greater than the trend for that period. Nothing bad happened because of it. There was an almost identical heat peak around 1938, followed by a several degree drop about halfway between then and now. Looking at a longer period and contrasting previous periods of natural temperature cycles, we’re actually not far from a major coolilng period. Yeah it’s a little warmer – actually, what little man is contributing is helping hold off the next ice age.

    That’s probably the most intelligent insight in the whole subject I’ve seen. …even then, consider that such change is, on the whole, perfectly natural – and that humans have been coping with such change so long as humans have existed. The Middle East was once full of lush vegitation; much of North America was under ice not all that long ago; that waterfront property changes dimensions is a given. Yes, weather changes, and that affects human existence. This notion of “we’ve built something, now nature better not do anything different and thus harm what we’ve done” is downright narcissitic. Yes, global climate change can and will hurt those who will not adapt; fact is, global climate changes – cope or die.

    Comment by ctdonath — August 30, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  13. Chris,
    Yes I know climate change is real. It’s been changing a lot for a long time – without our help. The problem I have is not with believing in climate change, but with those people who think we’re responsible for it. Yes, we have an impact, but that impact is miniscule compared to what is natural.

    New Orleans? They’re only paying attention to weather variations now that they’ve suffered what was loudly predicted for decades. Do something foolish like build a house below sea level, and expect relatively tiny walls & pumps to hold back seas and hurricanes, and reap the consequences. National Geographic, Popular Science, and other periodicals periodically had articles very clearly stating “hey, this place is going to be under water in a few years”; only took a hurricane (not uncommon) and a single crack in a long wall.

    Alaska? Press those natives for long-term historical details, and they’ll tell of comparable variations. Heck, they’re there precisely because at one point climate changed so people could walk from Sibera to Alaska, then changed again so they couldn’t walk back – that’s pretty significant, and was survived.

    I do believe in climate change. Duh. Stuff changes, and most of it without our help.
    Funny thing is: it’s the people trumpeting “global climate change! oh no!” who seem to think it shouldn’t be.

    Methinks I’ll join the Earth in the comic and ask for a Jack on the rocks.

    Comment by ctdonath — August 30, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

  14. I found a site that helps the environment by reducing the amount of postal junk mail you have. It saves a lot of trees too! It only costs $2.95 a month for this service. You can cut down on the number of credit card offers, catalogs, flyers, sales promotions, and inserts. They will even plant a tree on your behalf when you sign up! Let’s all do our part to help the environment. Here’s the URL.

    Comment by Justin — August 30, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  15. M. Dabney, I’ve seen it both as a meaningless throwaway joke, and as a joke intended as a real repudiation of global warming. For example, I’ve seen it in political cartoons, where the cartoonist is presumably intending to make a real point, rather than just being silly.

    Comment by Autumn Harvest — August 30, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  16. Birds have to land and polar bears can’t swim forever.

    Think of global weather cycles as a hula hoop. You need the right amounts of gyration, angle of intersection, and stability of the system (ie your feet staying put). Monkey around with these, and sure, people can still hula. In fact, becoming TOO rigid will stop the hula immediately. But any and all changes also carry the ability to cause the hula hoop to fall down. There’s a difference to being stable and being stagnant.

    Comment by Rasheed — August 30, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

  17. Okay, getting away from the debate and back to the comic:

    If that’s the Earth sitting in a bar, then that bar can’t possibly be ON Earth, can it? And how big IS that bar (and those people) if an entire planet can fit inside it?

    Comment by eeyore19 — August 30, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

  18. And similarly, where exactly does Atlas stand?

    Comment by Cidu Bill — August 30, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  19. Atlas? Dude, everybody knows that it’s turtles all the way down!

    Comment by solarrhino — August 30, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  20. The Great A’Tuin!

    Terry Pratchett and virtually every fantasy writer EVER should sue the crap out of that Rowling hack.

    Comment by Rasheed — August 31, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  21. I think “so much for global warming” is the equivalent of saying “nice weather we’re having” when it’s pouring rain. Of course then you get into the whole issue of newscasters trying to entertain an audience rather than inform a public.

    Comment by Tracy — September 2, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

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