Friday, August 31, 2007

Warming Trend: White Jeans Year Round

The seems to have caught the holiday mood with this topical piece from yesterday. Here are a couple exerpts:

...The move toward seasonless dressing is largely an effect of climate change. In most places in the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is getting warmer, and winters are shorter and less extreme, according to the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University in New York. Radley Horton, a climatologist at the center says 11 of the Earth's 12 warmest years since 1890 occurred after 1996*. But in recent years, he says, "there are less extreme differentials between seasons," he says. The result: Spring is starting earlier by a week to 10 days, and fall is starting about a week later.

*(Climateer edit-As you are probably aware, there is some debate about this factoid, see this from the very same the day before "NASA now says six of the 10 warmest years were in the 1930s and 1940s." Whether the fact that Mr. Horton hangs his hat at the same institution as James E. Hansen has influenced his comment [there is also consternation that Mr. Hansen's NASA keeps records when NOAA is the official keeper of the score], I don't know).

Crazy weather and global warming are growing concerns to apparel makers as they must market fashions across the U.S. and abroad where climates are varied. Last month, Liz Claiborne Inc. invited Mr. Horton, the climatologist, to an informal discussion with 30 executives, where the talk ranged from fabrics to the timing of seasonal markdowns and retail deliveries.

Since we're on the fashion beat, Tobias Meyer, Birkenstock Home, may have committed a fashion faux pas by naming the color of the strap on these Birkie sandals "Ballistic Anthracite", coal and Birkenstock wearers not often being found in the same room.

Finally NPR weighs in with a guy who's no slave to fashion:

Did Climate Inspire the Birth of a Monster?

If you ask people about weather and Frankenstein, they usually think of one thing: the scenes from the classic horror films, which show Victor Frankenstein in a storm, using lightning bolts to jumpstart his creation as he cries "It's alive! It's alive!"

You won't find that dramatic scene in Mary Shelley's book, according to Bill Phillips, who teaches literature at the University of Barcelona in Spain.

Although Shelley wrote that the scientist infused the lifeless being with a spark of being," Phillips says that "there's no lightning or anything. It's not as spectacular as it is in the films."

Still, Phillips thinks that the movies do get the right idea in a larger sense.

Science in Fiction

He and other scholars think that extreme weather was involved in the birth of the creature — just not in the way we usually think. That's because Shelley wrote her book during a period of extremely freaky weather in Europe and North America....