The link between climate change and bad weather, who’s more popular than Aaron Rodgers, the drinking water debate, a Social Security tale of one Minnesota county, and everyday should be National Unfriend Day.
1) CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS ALREADY HERE, STUDY SAYS
You know those proclamations over the years that climate and weather aren’t the same thing? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today released a report that it says establishes a link between climate change and severe weather events on the planet. Seventy-five percent of the disasters are climate-related — floods, hurricanes, drought, tornadoes etc.
“Where we have good data on the observations of the climate, you can show that there is an increased frequency of high-precipitation events — even in areas where the amount of rainfall is … getting less per year for reasons of climate change,” Gordon McBean, a professor of geography and political science at the University of Western Ontario, tells the CBC.
It’s more than just increased temperatures. “The fact is, a small change in average temperature can have a big impact on extremes,” Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, tells the Washington Post. “It’s pretty straightforward: As average temperatures go up, it’s fairly obvious that heat extremes go up and [the number of] low extremes go down.”
The report says there’s a 66-percent chance that the situation is caused by humans.
Another report today says the polar bear population in Ontario is doomed.
By the way, have you noticed the drought we’re having?
In any event, there’s only five years left to do anything about any of this, a recent report said, which means — given the way we don’t do things — it’s probably too late to do anything but watch, head for higher ground, and adapt.
That’s what researchers in Japan are considering in the wake of the tsunami.
2) YOU LOVE YOU. YOU REALLY LOVE YOU.
Who’s more popular than Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers in Wisconsin? With the exception of Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ, nobody, a new poll suggests. Public Policy Polling, which found Rodgers with an 89 percent favorability rating in the state, decided to poll the most popular people in the country. Lincoln and Jesus were 1-2 nationwide (7 percent “weren’t sure” of an answer on Jesus, which raises all sorts of other possible polling questions). Santa Claus was viewed more favorably than Nelson Mandela or Gandhi. And, it says, Steve Jobs is the only person who was equally admired by both Democrats and Republicans. Here’s the whole poll.
What person did the respondents name as the most favorable? Themselves.
Did someone say Packers?
3) WHAT ARE YOU IN FOR? LYING ABOUT DRINKING WATER
True or false: Drinking water prevents dehydration. False, a group of German academics have determined, and now the European Union is cracking down on anyone who says different. The Mail Online says advertising that bottle water prevents dehydration can get someone thrown in prison for two years.
“This is stupidity writ large,” Tory MEP Roger Helmer said. “The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are worrying about the obvious qualities of water. If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project, then this is it.”
4) A SOCIAL SECURITY TALE OF ONE MINNESOTA COUNTY
If there weren’t Social Security, 10 percent of all the money in Otter Tail County would disappear, the Fergus Falls Journal reports. The paper analyzed the program in the county and found it constitutes a much larger percentage of the local economy of rural counties than urban areas.
In 1970, for example, Social Security payments of one form or another accounted for a little over 6 percent of the local economy. Today, it’s 9.2 percent.
Judith Stallmann, an economist at the University of Missouri, explained that Social Security payments help generate the sales that keep a rural business afloat.
“We find that Social Security income can be the difference between success and failure for some local businesses,” Stallmann said. “If you took away, say, 10 percent of the demand, would that local business be able to remain open? Often it’s that 10 percent that keeps them going. Social Security is providing that margin.”
5) EVERY DAY SHOULD BE NATIONAL UNFRIEND DAY
National Unfriend Day is over — how was it for you?
Bonus: A pilot of a flight into New York got stuck in the lavatory on Wednesday, prompting fears something sinister was up. The recording of the co-pilot’s messages to authorities shows one problem was the passenger trying to tell him the pilot was stuck in the loo had “a thick foreign accent.”
A news story on MPR today describes a young artist who stopped doing graffiti after repeated run-ins with the law. Now he uses yarn to create a different kind of street art that is less likely to be regarded as vandalism. Today’s Question: When is street art art, and when is it vandalism?
What does Rottlund’s end say about the housing market?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Why does college cost so much?
Second hour: Patty Larkin. (rebroadcast)
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Rep. Tim Walz on Afghanistan.
Second hour: A new America Abroad documentary narrated by Ray Suarez: “Election 2012: Voters and Foreign Policy.”
Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: What’s better: cheap imported solar panels that drive down the cost of clean energy? Or keeping solar jobs here in America?
Second hour: Building a better toilet.