What’s with the warm weather? (5×8 – 11/10/10)

Is there now a link between climate change and weather, when people do good, words to adimpleate your life, studying cricket testicles, and the law of unintended consequences for airline passengers.


1) OUR ARCTIC PARADISE

It’s warm. Unseasonably warm. The kind of warm that makes you simultaneously enjoy it and worry that something is going on that’s not quite right. This morning, Mike Augustyniak, the outstanding meteorologist at WCCO, made the connection for us: it’s warm because of the lack of Arctic ice. The lack of Arctic ice is the poster child for scientists who sound the alarm over climate change. Let the debate begin! There’s now a connection between weather and climate change.

There actually is a National Snow and Ice Data Center, which tracks Arctic ice. Here’s the latest report:

Even with the rapid ice growth at the beginning of the month, October 2010 had the third-lowest ice extent for the month in the satellite record. The linear trend for October steepened slightly from -5.9% per decade to -6.2% per decade.

Ruh roh.

Is this a trend? Check the graph:

20101102_Figure3.png

NASA released a report this week that the melting of “old” ice is due to wind pushing it out of the area.

But, wait, there’s a fly in the simple ointment. NOAA says the Arctic melt may actually result in more severe winters.

While we figure it out, here’s your moment of it’s-not-winter-yet zen:

2) WHEN PEOPLE DO GOOD (CONT’D)

Sun Newspapers has the compelling story of Lisa and Rich Ava of Brooklyn Center, who have added a chapter to Project Sweet Peas. It was formed in July 2007 by three mothers who had experienced the pain of having a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Minnesota. Lisa founded Ava’s Angels, which donates to the University of Minnesota Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House, among others.


“It was extremely hard, because people would see that I’m obviously pregnant and come up and congratulate me,” Lisa told the paper. “No one expects to hear, ‘Actually, I’m not. My baby is going to die.’ The last month or so, I was just trying to prepare myself about how I was going to say goodbye to her.”

3) WORDS TO ADIMPLEATE YOUR LIFE

Have you adopted your word yet? All Things Considered profiles the website, savethewords.org, which calculates that 90 percent of the things we communicate use only 7,000 words, leaving thousands of words on the ash heap of history. Won’t you help little mulomedic, cecograph, and vectarious? It’s actually the project of an advertising agency. The office of Young and Rubicam in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, was hired to promote the print version of the Oxford English Dictionary.

4) PLAYING CRICKET

So you’re heading to work today, perhaps wondering whether it means anything. Are you contributing to the world? Is there meaning to what you’re doing? Remember, it could be worse. You could be heading to the lab for another day of studying cricket testicles.

5) THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

Would you rather be stranded for a few hours on an airport tarmac but eventually get to your destination? Or would you rather just have the flight canceled and try again another day. The Transportation Department has issued statistics showing that in September the number of delayed/stranded flights dropped significantly. That’s what a new law barring delays of more than three hours was intended to do. But it also did what the rule’s critics said it would do: It prompted airline officials to cancel flights rather than risk fines because of delays.

For Minnesota travelers, SkyWest’s San Diego to Minneapolis flight was listed as the ninth-most-delayed flight in the nation. Ninety flights were canceled at MSP in September. The average amount of time they were delayed before being canceled was two hours.

Bonus: A very impressive memorial site has been set up for memories of the Bucklin family, killed a few weeks ago in a plane crash in Wyoming.

Another day in America: Rounding up bison in South Dakota. (BBC)

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Cleveland responds to LeBron James’ hurt-feelings Nike video:

TODAY’S QUESTION

As members of the baby boom age, an increasing percentage of American drivers are turning 65 or older. Should older drivers have to take extra tests or exams?

(Bob notes: People over 65% are 16 percent of the Minnesota driving population, but are involved in just 7 percent of the crashes)

WHAT WE’RE DOING

I’m out sick today and will not be posting.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The polarization between religious conservatives and secular liberals has been a hallmark of politics since the 1990s. Yet the authors of a new book on religion in America note that despite this tension, a surprising interfaith tolerance exists.

Second hour: From Don Draper to Lisbeth Salander, deeply flawed and un-heroic characters abound in TV, film, and literature. Why do we love anti-heroes, and what does it say about the times we live in?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Losing IP gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner is in studio to talk about his campaign for governor.

Second hour: A documentary about World War I, narrated by Walter Cronkite.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin.

Second hour: The precipitous decline of manufacturing transformed cities like Cleveland, into what’s now known, as the rust belt. But some companies found a way ahead, by manufacturing for the new century.