Weather wimps (5×8 – 1/10/14)

The Associated Press today confirms what many people have suspected based on the anecdotal evidence: We’re kind of wimpy when it comes to the weather. Its analysis shows that there are fewer cold snaps than there were years ago and, if the logic holds, more whining about them now.

“These types of events have actually become more infrequent than they were in the past,” said Greg Carbin, who works at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. “This is why there was such a big buzz because people have such short memories.”

Monday morning’s breathtaking — and much ballyhooed — temperatures didn’t break any records, and ranked 55th on the coldest-day list for the Lower 48, pretty much a case of “weather meh.”

Nine of 11 outside climate scientists and meteorologists who reviewed the data for the AP said it showed that as the world warms from heat-trapping gas spewed by the burning of fossil fuels, winters are becoming milder. The world is getting more warm extremes and fewer cold extremes, they said.

“We expect to see a lengthening of time between cold air outbreaks due to a warming climate, but 17 years between outbreaks is probably partially due to an unusual amount of natural variability,” or luck, Masters said in an email. “I expect we’ll go far fewer than 17 years before seeing the next cold air outbreak of this intensity.

And the scientists dismiss global warming skeptics who claim one or two cold days somehow disproves climate change.

“When your hands are freezing off trying to scrape the ice off your car, it can be all too tempting to say, ‘Where’s global warming now? I could use a little of that!’ But you know what? It’s not as cold as it used to be anymore,” Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said in an email.

Another scientist says we whine about cold weather more now because we’re not as use to it as the species once was.

Related weather:
Stacking ice on Lake Superior.


When my Twitter notifications were overflowing this morning, I knew a big story probably had broken overnight. Indeed, it had. Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to Minnesota, Northland News Center reports.

Of course, we’ve been down this road of heartbreak before, so a word of caution is in order. The news is only that Dunkin’ wants to expand to the region — having put a shop on every other zip code in the world. It doesn’t say anyone has stepped forward with the $250,000 (per store) franchise fee or the $500,000 walking-around money the company demands of its franchisees. There’s no indication that anyone with deep pockets has stepped forward.

Still, America runs on Dunkin’. But Minnesota runs on hope.

Related: Want Dunkin’ Donuts in Minnesota? Prove it. With money (Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal).


AP Photo/Tony Dejak/File.

Twitter fired up a report this week that the Cleveland Indians were in the process of retiring its racist logo — Chief Wahoo. The report, in a Cleveland alt-weekly, noted the Indians were moving to a simple “C” block letter.

Armed with the opportunity to take a meaningful step forward in racist mascots, however, the Indians demurred yesterday (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

“The fact of the matter is there’s no change to our approach at all,” Danburg stated. “We have three logos. We have script Indians, we have block-C and we have Chief Wahoo. You will see the same logos in the same place on the uniforms this year. There’s no process to eliminate Chief Wahoo.”

“It’s a nature of changing the, maybe the designation that you might see that Major League Baseball uses in their style guide, which is a more of a discretionary change. It’s nothing to do with the approach in locally how we use it or anything to read into.”

When asked if there were any long-term plans in phasing out Chief Wahoo, Danburg said, “It’s not even being talked about at the present time. It’s certainly a hot issue, especially with what’s going on in D.C. with the Redskins and we are certainly monitoring that. There are no immediate need or thoughts to change our approach.”


Whatever happened to the bullying issue? It’s disappeared from public attention since other issues came along, it just hasn’t disappeared from people’s lives. The Fargo Forum today follows up on the story of Emily Kjonaas, of Moorhead, who revealed her school bullying in 2012.

Here’s the description of the children some of you are raising:

She knows what it’s like to be mistreated. Growing up in Moorhead, she was constantly bullied in middle school for her appearance. Classmates called her “Godzilla” and spit on her locker. Some threw garbage, rocks, ice and snow at her. The bullying was so severe that as a teenager, Emily spent time in psychiatric units and contemplated suicide.

She’s an adult now and says she still hears occasional bullying.

“Every now and then, I fear that something will pop up, but I know better now how to work through all of that,” she says. “I haven’t been truly clinically depressed since early high school. I haven’t had anything major happen, so I think that period of my life is over.”


“The bloody mission to wrest Falluja from insurgents in November 2004 meant more to the Marines than almost any other battle in the 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the New York Times writes today. “Many consider it the corps’ biggest and most iconic fight since Vietnam, with nearly 100 Marines and soldiers killed in action and hundreds more wounded.”

And, like Vietnam, it was all for nothing.

“There is a rising drumbeat of anxiety/angst among our Marines concerning the state of Falluja/Ramadi today,” one senior active duty officer wrote as part of an email chain circulating among Marine officers discussing how to respond to the inquiries they were receiving from Marines and their families about Falluja.

The officer cited what he called the Marines’ success in helping foster the Awakening movement — where local tribesmen turned against jihadists and partnered with American forces — and said that “without these victories, we might still be there today.”

The officer added: “What the Iraqi forces lost in the last month, four years after transition, is not a reflection of Marine efforts. If it is a reflection of anything, it is the nature of the Iraqi social fabric and long-suppressed civil discord.”

Bonus I: Target: Stolen information in data breach involved up to 70 million individuals.

Bonus II:Souhan: Add Rubio to the list of Wolves draft mistakes (Star Tribune).


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The Daily Circuit Friday Roundtable will look at the environmental movement. What is its future and where does it go? Who makes it up?

Second hour: A Wall Street Journal investigation unearthed records that show that the US government lobotomized roughly 2,000 World War II veterans. These men suffered from diseases ranging from schizophrenia to depression to psychosis. Some men who identified as homosexual were also lobotomized.

Roman Tritz, who describes himself as “mentally injured, not mentally ill,” received his lobotomy on July 1, 1953. He’s now 90 and lives in La Crosse, Wis. Why did the US government lobotomize him and so many of his fellow veterans? And why is it only coming to light now?

Third hour: Recent data indicates there are fewer teens getting drivers licenses and fewer teens on the road. We look at why and what the implications are for families, towns and transportation policy.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – The new national ambassador for young people’s literature, Minnesota writer Kate DiCamillo .

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – A look at how colder temperatures might be help kill off bugs that are eating away at forests. Plus, think Ernest Shackleton never lost a man? Its not quite true. Photos frozen in ice offer a peek into an Antarctic expedition gone wrong.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Biographer Seth Davis has the highest praise for his subject, UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. He calls Wooden the best coach in the history of American sports. But some of the Wooden legend is just that. NPR will profile the new John Wooden, biography.