The central and eastern parts of the United States are currently suffering through one of the coldest winters on record, with the so-called polar vortex returning yet again this week to the Midwest and Northeast. Here are The Onion’s answers to readers’ most common questions about this year’s unusual and bitterly cold winter:
Does the inclement weather have anything to do with global warming?
No one’s looked into it yet.
How many people totally ate it while walking on a slick sidewalk this winter?
Only you, and everyone saw.
This harsh winter has been caused by the North Enchanter holding dominion over the winds of the ether plane. So to defeat him, we just need to summon a hearth witch, right?
Who are you?
I am Professor Snowflake.
What is the best way to deal with this world’s cold?
You just have to keep carrying the flame inside you. No matter how hard it gets to be, you carry that goddamn fire. It’s a hard world. Life is hard. But no matter what, you carry that fire, and you don’t let go.
These are only my favorites. You should read the whole thing.
I appreciate informal writing styles as a means of increasing accessibility. However, the informality here seems to decrease accessibility – partly because of the assumed knowledge of the reader for concepts and terms, and also for its wandering style. Many concepts are introduced without explanation and are not clearly and decisively linked in developing a narrative argument. I think the prose and argumentation would be much stronger if ideas were introduced and developed more deliberately and not assuming insider knowledge of the reader.
Good point. I have an informal writing style and that often works well, even for technical papers. But sometimes an informal paper is harder to follow for readers without the background knowledge. Paradoxically, a more stilted style with lots of notation and many stops to make precise definitions, can be more readable for the less-than-expert audience.
This email went out on the university listserv today (we're very excited):
Date: Monday, March 3, 2014 Time: 7:00 – 8:00 pm Location: Raley Hall -- Room 1020 Admission: Free, open to the public
Yoram Bauman is an environmental economist and a carbon tax Fellow at Sightline Institute. He performs regularly at colleges and corporate events, sharing the stage with everyone from Robin Williams to Paul Krugman. He has appeared in TIME Magazine and on PBS and NPR, and is the co-author of the forthcoming Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change and the two-volume Cartoon Introduction to Economics, which is now available in Chinese, German, Italian, etc. Speaking of foreign languages, he is also the organizer of the humor session at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Washington and works in Washington State and elsewhere on climate change economics and policy, especially carbon pricing.
This show is sponsored by the Economics Club, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis, Walker College of Business, Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics and Sustain Appalachian. Please contact John Whitehead (email@example.com) for more information.
Shortly after learning he had been granted tenure Tuesday, Northwestern University mathematics professor Hugh Botkin told reporters that the promotion has motivated him to work harder than ever before in his chosen field. “I was able to get this far in my career by publishing as many papers as possible and carefully negotiating departmental politics, but now the real work begins,” said Botkin, 43, whose tenured faculty position ensures his employment until he voluntarily exits the job or dies. “I’m going to start teaching a lot more classes, advise as many Ph.D. candidates as possible, and voluntarily extend my office hours so I can provide students with as much one-on-one time as they need. Tenure is a huge honor, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. From now on, anyone who enrolls in one of my classes can be certain my top priority will be how I can best serve them as a professor.” Sources later confirmed Botkin was up half the night poring over teacher evaluations from his students and thinking about ways he could improve his lecturing style.
In a swift and unexpected departure from their present business model, officials from Netflix revealed Wednesday that the company is currently considering adding a good movie to their online streaming service. “With the growing success of the streaming platform, we thought the time was right to think about possibly offering, just for the sake of variety, one film that wasn’t a total critical and commercial flop forgotten immediately after its initial theatrical release,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sandaros, adding that the company is exploring various options for licensing a single high-quality movie that people would in fact enjoy watching and wouldn’t turn off after the first 25 minutes. “We feel the addition of a popular, above-average, well-made film would provide a nice counterbalance to our existing library of poorly received sequels, totally unknown indie dramas from four or five years ago that you’ve never heard of, and horrendous direct-to-DVD horror features.” At press time, Netflix had reportedly abandoned the plan and added Something’s Gotta Give to its streaming library.
Usually when Snuffy Smith makes a joke about “th’ economy” they at least take a stab at putting “haw haw our community is very far outside the economic mainstream” at the center of the joke. This one mostly seems like an “old hillbillies say the darndest things when they misconstrue extremely common English-language idioms” gag which is pretty weak. It’s not helping that Lukey is shouting the punchline at us at the top of his lungs for no reason in panel two. “I said, I never heard it leave!! Get it? Get it? Eh? I’m being deliberately obtuse, for laughs?”
With the implementation of tighter carbon emissions caps and more responsible household energy use, it is not too late to reverse the dire course of global warming, a panel of scientists who know full well that it is far too late and we are all doomed told reporters today. “If we all do our part right now to design and enforce more responsible business and environmental practices, there’s still a good chance we can avoid the calamitous consequences of worldwide climate change,” said climatologist Dr. Kevin Little, a man who, deep in his heart, knows all too acutely that it’s over, there’s not a damned thing we can do, and so we might as well just start preparing now for what is certain to be the unprecedented destruction of human civilization at the hands of a ravaged ecosystem. “It will take massive investment and cooperation on a global scale, but I’m optimistic we can be in good shape by around 2030 or so.” The researchers who awake each morning with the grim realization that they are bearing witness to mankind’s sad, inevitable endgame also suggested there is still very much a chance of stabilizing the rapid loss of Arctic sea ice.
Deep in my heart, I know that we are doomed too. But I'd still like to see some sort of incentive-based climate policy. It would make an awesome teaching example:
Student: Professor Whitehead, remember that time you lectured on cap-and-trade and you provided a real world example ... the U.S. cap-and-trade act of 2014?
Highlighting the severity of China’s pollution crisis, NASA published satellite photos showing a thick haze of smog and air pollution spanning 750 miles from Shanghai to Beijing, or about the distance between Boston and Raleigh, NC. What do you think?
“Someone really needs to stop buying so many Chinese-manufactured goods.”
Helen Choi – Waitress
“We’re still better at polluting the Gulf of Mexico, though.”
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... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
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