While much of the northern and eastern U.S. shivered in frigid weather, parts of England experienced severe storms. Recent research suggests that these record-setting events were due to warming of the Arctic.
An earthquake in South Dakota two weeks ago. Another in South Carolina last week. It would be tempting to come up with scary headlines now.
The earthquake occurring 17 miles outside of Chamberlain, S.D.. on Feb. 7 didn't receive major news coverage. At 2.9 on the magnitude scale, it wasn't anywhere near the level of quakes that have destroyed entire cities in the past.
The winter storm that dropped 2.6 inches on the Atlanta area Jan. 28 will remain in many commuters' memories for years. Stories of children stranded in school buses and people taking up to 25 hours to get home made the national news, among the gridlock that paralyzed the roadways.
During these cold weeks, a hot fire is nice. But it needs to be in a fireplace. Destructive house fires are common right now, and the reason often reported is "faulty wiring."
If you had a festive Christmas dinner a few weeks ago, you probably didn't toss the leftovers. They made for another nice meal later. It doesn't make sense to spend money when lots of resources are already on hand. Recycling serves the same purpose.
During the frigid spell of early January, news media were filled with articles about the "polar vortex." Some sounded like this is some new, dangerous phenomenon, apparently just discovered, and it's coming to get all of us.
Soon it will seem like a bad dream that cars used to contaminate the air with harmful emissions, making people sick and causing developmental problems in children.
Energy is expensive, and yet it gets wasted all the time. For example, observe drivers on our mountainous roads. Many use their brakes going uphill, when it would have been sufficient to just step off the gas pedal and let gravity slow the car to the desired speed.
For most of us in North Georgia, the holiday season is a time of abundance. Rich meals, cookies, candy and chocolate fill the tables.
Pretty Christmas cards with snow-laden New England landscapes are arriving. The desert town of Bethlehem, birthplace of Christ 2,000 years ago, is located 6 miles south of Jerusalem in today's West Bank in the Palestinian Territory. It probably didn't look like Bangor, Maine, back then, and it doesn't now.
A week ago, a winter storm brought record low temperatures to the Western states. Cold outbreaks aren't uncommon there in early December, but the severity of the chill amazed forecasters and the general population alike.
When Germany's Elbe River flooded in May this year, Hamburg and other communities along the waterway felt reminded of the catastrophic storm flood of February 1962. I remember TV images of people clinging to rooftops that were the only portions of houses still above the water.
Back in the 1950s, most hospitals were eerie places: Tiled walls, dimly lit hallways, gruff personnel. It would be tough to find such an old-style, stark facility in this country today.
The Pacific "Ring of Fire" is living up to its name again. After some rumblings in October, Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra (Indonesia) erupted with ash falls and lava flows last week. Five-thousand people were forced to flee the surrounding areas.
Conditions like the record-breaking blasts of cold air during much of February make us dream of warmer weather.
Complaining about nature's quirks, and the disasters that come with them, is a popular pastime. But in spite of some of the troubles North Georgia has experienced in the past, it's realistic to say that we live in a very sheltered part of the world.
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