Hot enough for ya, mate?

Marble Bar, way back when This is a hot one. On October 31 the town of Marble Bar, Australia started a record streak never surpassed, of 160 straight days of temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. (I know we’re supposed to use metric and say 37.8 degrees Centigrade but it doesn’t sound as significant or scary and this is Halloween.) That people could have withstood it, even a fairly small number, is a tribute to the odd ruggedness of mankind in general and Australiankind in particular especially as it was before residential air conditioning.

Eh? Before air conditioning? The streak lasted from October 31 1923 to April 7 1924? How can this be? Isn’t global warming the ominous everybody-knows-but-idiots crisis of our times, in which every year is hotter than the hottest year in recorded history and mankind are great sinners needing salvation from government?

Well, no. Not really. Especially as “recorded history” when it comes to temperature dates back only to the mid-19th-century end stages of the “Little Ice Age” that began around 1300 and was not, surely, caused by man. I stress that point because if we did not cause it to start, it is a bit presumptuous, and contrary to sound scientific method, to insist that we caused it to end. (One of the fundamental laws of science, as opposed to politics, is that the nature of causation does not change over time; if it did, there would be no fundamental laws.)

I’m no fan of pollution or of arrogance. It is arrogant to think we can do whatever we like to the planet and nothing bad will happen. But it is also arrogant to think the entire universe including the climate revolves around us.

If it did, Marble Bar would have set that record recently.