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October 13, 2008

Localism, Bad, Good, and Foodie

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Burkeman1 has been having a nightmarish wrestle with his local government.

* Local authorities are often bunglers, god knows. But sometimes they commit just the right bungle.

* Food writer and localism buff Michael Pollan has some ideas for the next Prez.



posted by Michael at October 13, 2008


I tried to read Pollan's recent NY Times Magazine piece with an open mind, but the number of marketing jargon words really turned me off. "Sun food" is good! "petro-ag products" are bad!

Yes, I get it. But in my experience, speaking as someone who was sent to Cal for his sins, journalism professors in Berkeley don't get it, not really.

Even when they have good ideas, like some of Pollan's stuff, it's so laden with "all we have to do is..." talk you'd think the answer to all of our problems is just to get smart and submit to rule by professors of journalism at elite public universities.

Still, I've known there was something wrong with our food the second I arrived in France for the first time in my life and promptly bit into an apple and some bread. "So," I remember thinking, "THIS is what food is supposed to taste like!"

So, yes, I agree it's time to change. I just don't think the change we need--or anything we need for that matter--comes from Berkeley.

Posted by: Jourdan on October 14, 2008 1:19 AM

Looks like you're missing the link to the Pollan article in the NYT magazine, assuming that's what you intended. Great article...

Posted by: Steve on October 14, 2008 2:39 AM

Consider those posh people who sell carbon-indulgences to their own companies so they can go on travelling and consuming as usual. One wonders how localism might be similarly exploited by its promoters. Perhaps a Manhattanite gourmet could consume a bottle of Richebourg, with some Gascon foie gras, for a few thousand dollars, get the sommelier and waiter to declare a substantial part of the enormous price to be "localist credit"...and actually get a tax-break on the purchase! (The bill, of course, will itemise very ethically the exact distance to the producers in Burgundy and Gascony.) It gets better. If our gourmet is also CEO of, say, "Manhattan Ethical Localism", he could then re-trouser most of the money.

I'm sure they'll think of something. That's why they're the posh people.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 14, 2008 4:42 AM

Burkeman link appears to have a problem.

Posted by: tvoh on October 14, 2008 9:09 AM

Your first link doesn't work.

Posted by: Will S. on October 14, 2008 9:23 AM

Apologies. Copying and pasting has evidently become more than I can handle ... Links now fixed.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 14, 2008 10:01 AM

Peak oil vapours, the global warming hoax, superstitions of sustainability, it's all an attempt by elites--the "posh people" as Robert called them--to get the masses, we proles, to lower our standard of living, to accept less from life than we've uppitily (is that a word?) and bourgeoisificationalistically (that's definitely a word) demanded so far.

High energy use is key to high standards of living. I want our energy use to increase, and massively, since that will be needed for, and a sign of, a world of basic material human decency, and more: the kind of prosperity that allows a civilization to flourish.

Check out spiked! magazine for some deliciously contrarian points of view about all of this. Have you seen spiked! Michael? I can't remember. I think you'd like a lot of it, be appalled by some. But you'd like it more than you'd be appalled is my guess.

Oh, I remain a Michael Pollan groupie. It's just that his prescriptions are precisely the kind of things only those with lots of disposable income (and time) can afford to implement.

I want to live in the kind of world where everybody is wealthy enough that we can put Slow Living and Pollanesque prescriptions into effect, not as a mandated requirement to keep the proles from becoming nouveau riche arrivistes, but as a luxury that wealthy people of leisure can afford. And everybody's wealthy!

I'm all for the traditional good stuff. It's just that you need a MASSIVELY DENSE ENERGY GRID to make it happen. 'S'all I'm sayin'.

Posted by: PatrickH on October 14, 2008 12:15 PM

Seems like the main criticism of Pollan's ideas here is that they come from a posh Berkeley academic gourmet type. Don't we know that no good ideas can come from those who are not card-carrying ... Libertarians? Paleo-cons? Whatever? How dare he offer concrete and logical suggestions for improving the quality, security and safety of our food supply system while lessening our reliance on fossil fuels, decreasing pollution, retaining more rural agricultural landscapes and creating jobs that do not require advanced degrees? The guy is obviously one of them ... Hippie? Leftist? Elitist? Tree hugging kook?

Given that government policies, including massive subsidies, have gotten us into this mess, much as we might wish it were otherwise it will take changes in those policies before we can fully find out way out. That said we could each do much to begin creating and supporting the new food system paradigm Pollan advocates. There are plenty of elements already there to be supported such as farmers' markets, community supported agriculture, buying the local items in the supermarket and encouraging those supermarkets to offer more and better labeling, eating with the season (no strawberries in January).

Posted by: Chris White on October 14, 2008 12:25 PM

PatrickH, our flourishing civilization may have quite a lot of time on its hands very soon. Go plant a garden. Oh, and the cost? Chickenfeed.

Posted by: NextCity on October 14, 2008 4:12 PM

Thanks for the advice NextCity. But all the people jumping on the Green bandwagon (not implying you are), especially those making investment decisions based on Green eco-armageddonizing, are going to take a major bath. A garden will be all they have. And the chickenfeed to go with it. All they'll be able to buy when their false prophecy bubble goes POP yet again.

The rest of humanity will still have a chance to live civilized lives by banking on a future that's going to come to pass, not a disaster that never does.

Posted by: PatrickH on October 14, 2008 5:17 PM

Patrick – While there are certainly those who might be accused of "eco-armageddonizing" the vast majority of folks interested in "green" thinking and technologies are anything but doom and gloomers. Many see it as part of a larger picture in which excessive centralization, globalization, and over reliance on monoculture in agriculture and essentially a single fuel source for the planet has proven to be, at best, a mixed blessing. Now that the negatives and unintended consequences are becoming more pronounced while the advantages are becoming less clear and more costly isn't it time to look for alternatives? Presuming that ever expanding use of energy is the only way to higher standards of living is a neat bit of circular reasoning based on a definition of "higher standard of living" that equates itself with greater consumption.

And frankly I am getting tired, especially as we've been watching the global financial crisis unfold, of digs at the "posh people" and "elite" regularly directed toward the likes of Pollan and folks talking about sustainability or how we need to be transitioning away from fossil fuels. What about the masters of the universe whose nifty massively complex financial instruments made it possible to run the world on credit and consumption? Aren't they "posh"? And don't most of us just love the gifts they've given us?

Posted by: Chris White on October 14, 2008 11:28 PM

Chris W: "While there are certainly those who might be accused of "eco-armageddonizing..."

Don't dissemble, Chris. There aren't only some who might be accused, I'm accusing them. Al Gore, j'accuse!

And they might not just be accused, they might actually be guilty! That's two layers of dissembling. What's next, Chris? "Mistakes were made"?

Peak Oil people talk about depopulated cities and 'burbs, huge amounts of global warming hysteria has been whipped up (I don't think it's really taken hold, mind you--people are getting wise to this stuff) by Mr. Peace Prize Winner himself and many, many, many others...not just "some".

You might remember NextCity only a few comments back, who made remarks indicating our civilization was going to be undergoing substantial devolution soon...remember?

Eco-armageddonizing, all of it. Your mealy-mouthed evasion with that political hack crap about "some might be accused" (Chris! Chris! Read what you wrote--that's classic BS manoeuvring! How could you have used such a cliched way of evading responsibility and think I and others wouldn't notice?) underscores the fact that the armageddonizers are getting apocalyptic egg all over their faces again. The GW hoax is collapsing around you, Peak Oil is going to join it soon, and sustainable agriculture is going to join them on the ash heap soon after that.

Chris, you're just a classic New England Puritan, with all of your bizarre "moral obligation to atone for past crimes" pseudo-questions about immigration, and it's the same old old thing going on here. Pull in your belts, people! Away with the gaudy excesses! Plain eating, high thinking, and an ever-present recognition of the sinful nature of other people.

You've got it bad, Chris. And you're not going to get better. Puritanism isn't something you get over. It's not something anybody ever used to have.

Posted by: PatrickH on October 15, 2008 8:09 AM

Just so I have it straight:

Populism that advocates unfettered access to resources and consumption, even if that means more reliance on entities that are often quite centralized and and far removed from the areas they are impacting = good.

Populism that advocates more direct interactions with the entities that we rely on so that those entities may be held more accountable to the areas they impact, although that might mean scaling back on consumption = bad.

Is that right? I'm wondering how the first definition is even populism at all.

Posted by: JV on October 15, 2008 2:32 PM

Patrick - Actually what you are terming "Puritanism" is the common sense that the vast majority of folks always lived by. Only in this extremely recent world of global capitalism has it been set aside. Can you imagine at any point in our history other than now the President addressing the nation immediately following an attack on the nation's soil and urging Americans, not to tighten our belts and contribute to a war effort, not reminding us we'll all need to sacrifice for our common good, but instead telling us our patriotic duty is to grab our credit cards and go shopping? The past few weeks in the financial markets have shown just how great an idea that was.

Perhaps you're saying it isn't part of your history up in the north. Speaking of the north, since global warming is a complete hoax I guess the scramble going on among Canada, Russia, and the USA (along with, to a lesser extent, various smaller countries) over the increasingly available sea route through what used to be pack ice is an illusion conjured by Al "I invented the internet" Gore. The Arctic ice cap hasn't melted, that's just eco-armageddonizing propaganda. Although it does have the upside of making exploitation of the Arctic seabed easier ... that must make you so happy.

I'm sorry if my innate predilection for avoiding the hyperbolic blanket condemnation of various sides in these debates doesn't please you. Actually, I don't care if it pleases you or not. I try not to fall into the trap of demonizing or dismissing those who hold various other POVs, I try to follow what they're saying and sometimes revise my own views in light of new evidence. Sometimes, however, I do succumb to the temptation.

Those who ignore scientific consensus and economic realities because they are so comfortable as elites are in for a rude shock as (a) the rest of the planet decides they've had enough and (b) their own faith based ideologies fail to deliver as promised. {For the record, I consider " global free market capitalism" a faith based ideology.]

Although, like the rest of you, I always put the border between the elite and the rest of us higher up the food chain, frankly, I suspect anyone who surveyed the balance sheets, net worth, employment level, etc. of those who comment on 2BH would conclude all of us are elite in the global sense. Although I also strongly suspect my position bouncing on the poverty line like it was a trampoline for most of my life puts me well below the elite status most of the rest of you enjoy. Unapologetic celebration of consuming beyond need or reason is either a sin or a disease, not a triumph of clear thinking. And being of the elite make the constant attacks on "them" around here slightly absurd.

Posted by: Chris White on October 15, 2008 3:00 PM

"Unapologetic celebration of consuming beyond need or reason is either a sin or a disease, not a triumph of clear thinking."

As I said Chris, you're a Puritan, and you don't get better from that. Consuming beyond need? Beyond reason? Reason according to whom? Is your microbrew-imbibing consumption of that sort? How about the little pinner joints off of which you like to take a sustainable puff or two? How about your tasteful tasty little meals? How much of industrial civilization, including its energy excesses, is required for you to have enjoyed even the pleasures you did when you were "bouncing off the poverty line"?

There was an essay written many years ago called "I am a pencil". (Not to be confused with my autobiography, "I am a pencil neck", not available in stores near you.) The pencil told the story of its coming into pencil-being...which gradually ecompassed pretty well the ENTIRE SPAN OF INDUSTRIAL CIVILIZATION.

Does your poverty line-bouncing lifestyle include using pencils? That's not sustainable, Chris. It's consumption beyond need or reason. IT IS A SIN. A SIN. A SIN THAT ONLY SINNING SINNERS WHO SIN IN SINNER-Y SINFUL SIN-SOAKED SINNESS would even think of doing.

Use a pencil and you will GO TO HELL.

Your puritanism is so deeply ingrained in you, you can't even drop it for a second, can you? Your entire brief against consumption (SIN!!!) is based on cherry-picked (at best) "data", and is entirely subservient to your desire to fulfill that dream of the Puritan's...

Remember Macaulay, Chris? He was the guy who said that the Puritan is the person haunted by the fear that somewhere someone is enjoying himself.

That's you. That's the eco-armageddonizers. Religious fanatics pursuing their Savonarola-esque agendas under the rubric of "science".

Pah! You're full of it! The whole bunch of you! Go do your sackcloth-and-ashes dance with the like-minded and let everybody else get on with their lives!

Posted by: PatrickH on October 15, 2008 4:15 PM


I used to share your ideas... 35 years ago. I've heard them repeated so often in Woodstock.

Pardon me for suggesting that you are arguing for your ideas in the wrong way.

First, I have been astounded to discover over the years that the road to Utopia is not through social consciousness or political action. No, technology is leading us toward Utopia in ways that ideologues could never imagine.

The West has become astoundingly wealthy in the past 30 years, and ecological awareness has grown out of that. Why not assume that a continued expansion of wealth will lead to ever more people developing that ecological awareness?

Finally, I'd suggest that you cease arguing for a sort of redistributionist philosophy by arguing for diminishing people's standard of living. Certainly, there's something to be said for keeping one's greed in check. But, that doesn't appeal to very many people.

As a practical political tactic, I think that the left should amend its argument along these lines, using healthcare as an example:

"We are so astonishingly wealthy and this is a great thing. God bless the people who worked hard and created the innovations that led us to achieving this wealth and power. We've done so well we can afford to be generous and offer everybody first rate medical care and it won't hurt anybody much financially to do this."

The constant appeals to people's consciences that you use is, I think, a very negative and ineffective political tactic. Try appealing to the goodwill of Americans and, I think, you'll be much more successful.

We are, now, astoundingly rich. Acknowledge that. Praise our society for creating this enormous wealth. Suggest ways that this wealth can be expanded. It may be counter-intuitive to you, but if the left could rephrase its ideology in a way that acknowledged the basic decency of most upper middle class and upper class people, those people would be far more receptive to the idea of sharing things a little more equally.

From years of living in far left communities, I can say with some certainty that the left continues to cut its throat by resorting to this constant nagging and preaching at other people. It's not effective. In fact, it's counter-productive.

Look for a moment at how angry you are making people with your preachy sermons. That's not a politically effective tactic to get where you want to go. Even people who might want to go to the same place often angrily reject those sermons.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 15, 2008 5:00 PM

Anyone remember the gentleman who intended to kayak his way to the north pole this summer?
He stopped 600 miles short of the pole. Because of ice. Naturally.
He'd already said, before starting, that "failure would equal success".
This, Patrick, is why I avoid long discussions with leftists.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 15, 2008 5:20 PM

Are you kidding me, Robert Townshend?


I mean, come on.

Posted by: JV on October 15, 2008 6:07 PM

ST offers some very lucid and valid points that I will certainly consider and try to learn from, while Patrick seems to be straining mightily to come up to his usual witty way of making a point but is instead sounding more and more like a middle school bully boy trying to bait the dorky geek. One would almost think that Patrick and Shouting have swapped psyches.

While it may at first seem a disconnected tangent, I'm reminded of a long running debate I've had with a friend over the notion of hedonism. We each think of ourselves are hedonists, yet how we act on that has often, especially in the past, differed dramatically. Over the years he has come much closer to my way of thinking on the topic. Out for dinner I'd order the soup, some bread, a grilled chicken breast with rice and a microbrew. My friend would have the soup, bread, a lobster and grilled scallops with baked potato and sour cream, half a bottle of wine, a couple of vodka martinis and the chocolate cake with an espresso for dessert. Three guesses who honors his gods of hedonism bowing before the porcelain throne half the night and complaining of stomach problems and headaches all the next day. That is not pleasurable! It's all about balance and getting as much enjoyment from eating an appropriate amount of what is healthy as you might from overindulging ... with none of the negative side effects.

It is not that I am arguing for mandated simplicity or voluntary poverty, just that I believe we can do better than continue to dig ourselves a deeper hole

Robert Townshend - Here is a link to a recent National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) report on the ice melt and refreeze of 2008. A couple of quick quotes; "The 2008 season strongly reinforces the thirty-year downward trend in Arctic ice extent. The 2008 September low was 34% below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000 and only 9% greater than the 2007 record ..."

"In August 2008, the Arctic Ocean lost more ice than any previous August in the satellite record."

But then again, even though no one has said the ice cap is going to entirely melt every summer in the immediate future, a guy in a kayak unable to reach the Pole is a better sound bite than the NSIDC researchers who have been studying the data for decades. This is why it is unwise to have long discussions with right wingers unable to accept science that doesn't confirm their own biased views.

Posted by: Chris White on October 15, 2008 6:58 PM

Chris, did that post sound anything like ST? I dunno, I'm actually kind of worried about him. You live near him right? Could you go check up on him? See if he's okay?

ST, you're scaring me, man. Stop it! Not funny any more! Not funny!

Posted by: PatrickH on October 15, 2008 8:27 PM

Chris, you're not a dorky geek. You're not a geek at all. Or a dork. Not even a geeky dork.

Don't be so hard on yourself. You're wrong about global warming, and the next ten years will see a mad scramble as scientists who destroyed their credibility jumping on that technocrat/totalitarian bandwagon try to salvage what's left of their careers, claiming to have always been in La Resistance.

But just because you're badly wrong, completely and utterly wrong, doesn't mean you're a dorky geek. I wasn't trying to make you feel like one. I was trying to point out that your position is a not so thinly disguised Puritanism masquerading as a political and ecological viewpoint.

You're a puritan Chris. And puritans aren't geeks. They're worse.

Posted by: PatrickH on October 15, 2008 8:33 PM

I'm clearly wrong. This from the Washington Times:

"The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds."

And the article is dated November 2. Mate, that's the middle of autumn!

And the year is...


The year is 1922?

Stupid cycles! Stupid Pacific Decadal Oscillation!

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 15, 2008 9:17 PM

I still like you Chris, but man, you piss me off sometimes. That "some might be accused of" honked off me so bad, my Irish got up and took over.

You are a puritan, Chris. But you're right that puritanism has much to offer about a variety of issues. I myself don't drive, and when I did, I used something called VrtuCar, a pool of low gas mileage compacts available for quick rent use in the downtown core. I buy organic humanely raised meat only, I patronize a store called the Herb and Spice, I voted NDP in our election (he won), I'm a member of a leftist granola crunching downtown anti-development landlord org that's kept downtown Ottawa liveable and safe from over-development.

So maybe I'm a puritan too. :-) But...I can live this way because I earn enough money and live in an industrially advanced civilization that has given me the money and the leisure time to engage in these activities. Even Pollan has conceded how time-consuming many of his recommendations are going to be on people. Kunstler's sincere but he's just plain wrong about the future, Gore is an actual fraud and con artist.

The sky ain't falling. And puritanism's virtues are best practiced locally, voluntarily, as something the wealthy can give back to the world that helped them become that way.

Any future that says 3rd world people don't get their chance to grab at the laurels of civilized life (in their OWN countries, not ours) is evil and selfish in a way that far transcends my mere libertarian egoism.

Posted by: PatrickH on October 15, 2008 11:23 PM

Robert, it's pretty clear the passage described in the links provided by Chris and I hasn't been available since way before your quaint article from 1922. Anyway, you're a bit behind on the denial trend. Denying the ice is melting at all went out of style around 2004. Now you're supposed to acknowledge that, but deny man has anything to do with it.

Posted by: JV on October 16, 2008 2:15 AM

I'm a firm believer in global warming, and a firm believer in ice-loss over the last few decades. I'm also a firm believer in global cooling, mid-twentieth century, and, very possibly, for the next few decades:
Of course, these guys are probably in the pay of Big Fish-Oil.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 16, 2008 5:36 AM

To give Robert his proper due JV, that's what he was doing by referencing the Washington Times piece with his last line about Pacific Decadal Oscillation. That he chooses another "guy in a boat" anecdote, this one from the newspaper created and still funded by the Unification Church and intended by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to "become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world." ... not to mention an outlet for the Cato Institute ... brings up the question, however, of whether this is as good a source for information about global warming as the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Only in a world so far gone into Postmodernist thinking that one is expected to accept without question that there can never be objective facts and reality, only opinions and framing devices, would an anecdote from the WashTimes be expected to trump NSIDC data.

Let me attempt, however vainly, to return this thread to the topic; localism should appeal to a broad cross section of –isms, -ists, and –ians. Why wouldn't conservatives, progressives and libertarians all find much to support and admire in the rising interest in localism? Isn't it another way of saying "grass roots"? (In Pollan's case very literally ... grass fed beef is as grass roots as it gets.)

Unfortunately for the past few decades very few citizens, especially in the suburbs, have taken much interest in local affairs. Oh, there are always those who get active over this school board race or that issue, but local politics remain strong mostly in large cities and small rural towns. When Dad commutes into "The City" from the 'burbs it is likely he's going to care and know more about what the Mayor of The City is doing than what his own town council just decided. The more our food, our media, and all the other stuff of our existence is delivered from far flung places scattered across the globe, the less we care and connect with our own local communities. And the more we are able to ignore the negatives that certain systems have built in because we are not as aware of or directly affected by them. If our hamburger's beef came from a massive processing facility and the cow was raised on a feedlot, fed antibiotic laced, genetically engineered corn grown industrially on some huge factory farm ... we never personally see the negative impacts and hidden costs, but as members of a whole society they still hurt us. At the risk of setting off another tangent, every step of the globalized industrial hamburger is likely to use undocumented immigrants for labor. Isn't that reason enough for many who comment here to get on board with Pollan's call for a return to local, sustainable agriculture?

Posted by: Chris White on October 16, 2008 8:06 AM

Did I say Washington Times? I'm a silly rube from the Aussie bush. I meant Washington Post. My error was Palinesque. Please don't tell Katie.

I don't think Chris will give treat us to any loooong and discrediting descriptions of the Post of 1922, so I'll move right along. The article was indeed written in 1922, sixty years before the foundation of the Times, and its source was the Monthly Weather Review of 1922.

Japan Aerospace are good for sea-ice data:
Like the Northwest Fisheries guys, they're just a bunch of scientists doing their jobs. (Yes, NASA, that's a hint!)

Knowledge of PDO, and the experience of a cool-phase PDO, could change things dramatically and soon. One wonders if the promoters of AGW will leave on tippy-toe like the orchestra in Haydn's Farewell Symphony, or whether they will march forthrightly like the children singing "Goodnight" in the Sound of Music. I'm tipping the sneak-off.

Returning to the localism topic, I think that opposition to Genetic Engineering is the ultimate in Posh. Posh does not get any Posher than that. (I admit I just love saying that word on Blowhards. It's a bit like saying Trig and Track to a bunch of angry Sisters who are about to drive their Dashiells and Djangos to soccer-practice.)

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 16, 2008 4:47 PM

This is interesting from your link, Robert:

"Warm and cold phases can persist for decades. For example, a warm phase continued from 1925 to 1946 (red bars in Figure 2), and a cool phase from 1947 to 1976 (blue bars). From 1977 to 1998, another 21‑year warm phase occurred. Recently, however, these decadal cycles have broken down: in late 1998, the PDO entered a cold phase that lasted only four years followed by a warm phase of three years from 2002 to 2005. The PDO has remained in positive (warm) phase through at least July 2006."

AS with the other links about the new northern route, it highlights the uniqueness of the current situation. This is not to say it's unprecedented in all of history, but it does break from recorded patterns.

Posted by: JV on October 16, 2008 6:41 PM

JV, every period is unique and cycles will never be highly predictable. The point is that the cycles exist. Check out those red bars before WW2. What about that sharp and brief reversal in the late fifties? (I remember that heat and the accompanying drought.)

The mid-century was a moist and productive period for NSW. However, winter and spring after the late seventies (following global cooling scare) became drier and were dominated by inland westerly winds. Flooding occurred, but fire was the greater enemy. Summer storms - and the famous afternoon "southerly busters" - were far less regular, until the popular expression actually disappeared.

In these last two years, however, the moister northerly and southerly winds have dominated, even through the very cold winters. So when I saw this placid and non-political web-site, it caught my attention:

In a world where the craziest extrapolations and speculations by the likes of Monbiot, Flannery, Gore, Hansen etc can be MSM headlines, you would think the PDO research would at least rate as news. Since a cool-phase PDO isn't necesarily good news for eg California, and a general global cooling (Dalton, Maunder, other minima) has invariably been bad news for Europe, you'd think that curiosity might be piqued.

By the way, something else I don't deny is a general warming trend over-riding the ups and downs of the last century. Since we are always moving toward or away from an ice-age (little or big) I assume that a trend that began more than a century ago should not enter into debate.

JV, I'm glad you've drawn attention to the irregularities. And I'm glad I've drawn attention to the PDO.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on October 16, 2008 9:15 PM

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