Smithsonian Article: Hot Enough For You?

  1. Hot Enough For You?

    There is a good article on human reactions to climate change in the May, 2014 issue of Smithsonian (, pp. 52-59).

    In it, Jerry Adler uses Phoenix, Arizona as a model to describe people’s reactions to warmer environments like the “heat island” effects of the city center and lower income areas, compared to the undeveloped desert surrounding it and the less harsh (cooling) effects near its parks, golf courses and where “wealthy neighborhoods receive the ‘microclimate ecosystem services’ of trees and shrubs.”

    In just a few pages he reviews wide-ranging findings of researchers studying everything from the “crankiness” effect of horn-honking drivers at stoplights and baseball pitchers tossing bean-balls at batters; to social [upheaval] issues like increases in property and personal crime, and domestic and police violence associated with [warm] weather extremes. According to researcher Craig Anderson, each additional degree of warming increases the rate of violent crime by 4.19 cases per 100,000 and “Being uncomfortable colors the way people see things…Minor insults may be perceived as major ones, inviting, even demanding, retaliation.”


    It's good reading.

    Coincidentally, there is a short article following it about how Americans view new technology entitled “Science Friction” (pp. 60-61).  Sadly, in a survey of “What inventions would be welcome?”… new energy source/environmental betterment ranked ninth after obvious desires such as improved health/cure for disease - and the less practical -  time machine, flying car, personal robot, self-driving car, teleportation.

  3. Obviously, we still have a long way to go spreading the word about climate issues and our impacts on the planet.


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