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Fish or Cut Bait

Goofing Off
By Bob Ciminel


May 28, 2007

It has been over a month since my last article appeared in Sitnews. I know many of you probably appreciate that, but there are one or two readers who actually look forward to my articles. I offer the lame excuse that I've been living out of a suitcase since mid-April. The wife and I took a long awaited vacation to Switzerland in April, and I came back to spend two weeks in Kansas on business. The trip to Kansas did have fringe benefits as I was able to spend a weekend with our newest grandchild in Council Bluffs, IA.

A lot has happened in the month-and-a-half I've been out of touch. It now costs a small fortune to fill the gas tank on the SUV. Both "USA Today "and CNN have gotten on board with the global warming hysteria. Empress Pelosi and King Reid finally allowed a military funding bill that President Bush won't veto to move forward in the House and Senate; however, as usual it is filled to the brim with pork that will not be used to "feed" our troops. Enough cynicism, though, let me tell you about Switzerland.

jpg global warming

More Evidence of Global Warming
Photo by Bob Ciminel

To say we rode a few trains would be an understatement; we rode trains everywhere we went. And when we weren't on a train, we were either on a bus or a lake steamer on our way to or from a train station. In short, we circumnavigated Switzerland, starting in Zurich and working our way clockwise around the country, with brief sorties into Germany via Lake Constance and Italy via Lake Locarno. We rode the Bernina Express, the Glacier Express, and the Golden Pass; slow speed cog railways up and down the mountainsides, and high speed trains that blasted through the tunnels burrowing beneath the Alps. I never thought I would say I was tired of riding trains, but by the time our trip was over I was tired of riding trains and actually looking forward to the nine-and-a-half-hour flight back to Atlanta. Oh, and it is true; you can set your watch by the departure times of the trains that ply Switzerland's rail systems.

One of the things our guide kept pointing out as we rode into the Alps was how much the glaciers have retreated since he first visited Switzerland twenty years ago. Of course he was making an off-handed reference to the effects of global warming. Naturally, I had to refute that. Glaciers form from snow packs. Snow is condensed and frozen rain. Rain comes from moisture in the atmosphere. Moisture in the atmosphere comes from evaporation in the lakes and seas. If the Earth is warming, that would cause more evaporation, which would lead to more moisture in the atmosphere, and more rain, more snow, and bigger glaciers.

Of course the Earth is warming! We live on the lithosphere, the thin skin (relatively speaking - it's 50 to 150 kilometers thick) that surrounds the mantel and core. The mantel is liquid magma, which is about 3,000 kilometers thick and constitutes 70% of the Earth's volume. The average temperature of the mantel is between 900 and 1600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why those deep gold mines in South Africa have to be air conditioned. Up in space we have the sun, a huge fusion reactor 93 million miles away that generates enough heat on the Earth's surface to fry eggs. Between the magma below and the sun above, we should expect the Earth to get a little toasty every few million years. Now, when you consider the relative impact of those two mega-heat sources, do you really think your "carbon footprint" has any effect on global warming? Sure, about as much as that butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rain forest does. However, if you feel good by doing something to combat global warming, no matter how miniscule its effects might be, thank you.


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Fish or Cut Bait by Bob Ciminel

Bob Ciminel's articles may include satire and parody, and mix fact with fiction.
He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference. Bob lives in Roswell, Georgia, and works for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.  He is also a conductor on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
Contact Bob at

Bob Ciminel ©2001 - 2007
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