India just set a new all-time record high temperature — 123.8 degrees (Washington Post | May 19, 2016)

A small city in northwest India climbed to a searing 51 degrees Celsius — or 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit — on Thursday afternoon, and broke the country’s record for all-time hottest temperature. The previous record, 50.6 degrees Celsius, was set in 1886.

The record was broken in Phalodi, which is just 125 miles away from the city that, up until this afternoon, claimed fame as the hottest location in India — Pachpadra.

April and May tend to be the hottest months in northwest India, and this year has been exceptionally so.

Europe to America: Your love of air-conditioning is stupid (Washington Post | July 22, 2015)

The U.S. has been the world’s leader in air-conditioning ever since, and it’s not a leadership Americans should necessarily be proud of. According to Stan Cox, a researcher who has spent years studying indoor climate controlling, the United States consumes more energy for air conditioning than any other country. In many parts of the world, a lack in economic development might be to blame for a widespread absence of air-conditioning at the moment. However, that doesn’t explain why even most Europeans ridicule Americans for their love of cooling and lack of heat tolerance.

Of course, Northern Europe is still colder than most regions within the United States and some countries, such as Italy or Spain, have recently seen an increase in air-conditioning. “The U.S. is somewhat unusual in being a wealthy nation much of whose population lives in very warm, humid regions,” Cox told The Washington Post in an e-mail. However, the differences in average temperatures are unlikely to be the only reason for Europeans’ reluctance to buy cooling systems. It’s also about cultural differences.

Whereas Americans prefer an average temperature of 70 degrees, Europeans would consider such temperatures as too cold, Michael Sivak from the University of Michigan says. “Americans tend to keep their thermostats at the same temperature all year around. In contrast, Europeans tend to set their thermostats higher in summer and lower in winter. Consequently, while indoors, Europeans wear sweaters in winter, while American wear sweaters in summer,” Sivak told The Washington Post.

Furthermore, Europeans are generally more used to warmer room temperatures because most of them grew up without any air-conditioning.

France heat wave death toll set at 14,802 (Associated Press | September 25, 2003)

PARIS (AP) — The death toll in France from August’s blistering heat wave has reached nearly 15,000, according to a government-commissioned report released Thursday, surpassing a prior tally by more than 3,000.

Scientists at INSERM, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, deduced the toll by determining that France had experienced 14,802 more deaths than expected for the month of August.

The toll exceeds the prior government count of 11,435, a figure that was based only on deaths in the first two weeks of the month.

The new estimate includes deaths from the second half of August, after the record-breaking temperatures of the first half of the month had abated.

The bulk of the victims — many of them elderly — died during the height of the heat wave, which brought suffocating temperatures of up to 104 degrees in a country where air conditioning is rare. Others apparently were greatly weakened during the peak temperatures but did not die until days later.

Photo by ToddMorris


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5 Responses to Modern Marvel

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    You can have my heat pump when you…

    No, you can’t have my heat pump. If you try to kill me for it, I’ll scorched earth the thing.

  2. fillyjonk says:

    I will once again simply remark that Europeans complaining about Americans’ love of airconditioning should consult a globe and compare latitudes. (My own latitude is similar to that of Casablanca). And my thermostat is set at 76, not 70. (in the winter I set it between 68 and 70). And I’ve never worn a sweater in the summer, at least not in my own home. (Some large buildings are too cold, but I blame difficulties in adequately cooling all of a large space)

    Also Americans don’t get to take midday siestas to escape the heat. And we don’t take six weeks or whatever it is of summer vacation, at least not once we’re done being schoolkids.

  3. Murali says:

    Also look at per capita. On a per capita basis, I wouldn’t be surprised if Singapore has you guys beat. Without air conditioning, Singapore would barely be habitable. To be fair, I’ve gotten used to the English climate. I was back in Singapore a few days ago and I needed fan and airconditioner to feel comfortable. And right now I can tolerate a Melbourne winter with just a fake-tweed jacket.

  4. Peter says:

    More people freeze to death each year in India than in any other country despite its mainly subtropical or even tropical climate. Millions upon millions of people sleep outdoors and rarely if ever have warm clothing. In such circumstances nighttime temperatures well above freezing can cause a fatal loss of body heat.

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