Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Search for New Worlds We'll Probably Need One after We Burn Up Our Own

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Search for New Worlds We'll Probably Need One after We Burn Up Our Own

Article excerpt

Last month tied September 2005 for the hottest September on record. The previous record holder was September 2003, according to records that go back 132 years.

For the record, the average global temperature was 60.2 degrees, 1.2 degrees above normal, which doesn't sound too bad. We can live with that, even if to achieve that average some areas had to have temperatures in the three figures, but these are places that overdramatize -- attention, Florida newspapers -- blizzards in the Northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast. So just swelter and shut up about it.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this is the 16th time since 2000 the world has set a hot temperature record. And over the summer the United States kept setting heat records. For those keeping score at home, September was the 331st consecutive month with above-average temperatures.

There are various explanations for the unusual heat: long-term climate cycles, manmade global warming, oscillations far out in the Pacific by El Nino and La Nina, sharia and gay marriage, among them.

Some Republican congressman who believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old and snakes were able to talk, at least to Adam and Eve, will solve the problem by introducing a bill to abolish NOAA. After all, there wouldn't be unseasonable weather -- hurricanes, droughts, floods, freak windstorms -- if only that fool agency didn't tell us about it. The same congressman will probably also try to pass a bill resetting the calendar to 1916, our last cold record for the planet.

The paranoids among us will quickly sense that we, meaning mankind, are being set up for something.

Perhaps it was no accident that for millennia astronomers assumed Earth was alone in the universe. But just about the time we began experiencing extremes of heat, scientists began discovering planets around stars far beyond our Solar System, at first only a handful and now we're up to something like 842, with a potential of millions more. …

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