Category: WA

Thermometer calibration over time: Are the data correct?

A Jell-O thermometer.

A Jell-O thermometer. (Wikimedia Commons)

Whenever I read a story about temperature changes since the 19th century, I wonder about the source of those decades of data. Did the thermometers of 1900 have the fidelity of those of today? Were they calibrated the same? Because we’re talking about a 1-degree difference, sometimes less — and that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 percent in the range of possible temperature readings. Add to that changing placement of instruments over the years and increasing ambient heat from built environments. In the end, can we trust the data?

I am not a climate-change skeptic, but I do wonder if the data of the past is truly comparable to that of the present.

Another media titan sells the dirt underfoot

When South Lake Union is too expensive for the top TV station in town, that’s a sign — of the demise of local TV, which is the next medium to begin a rapid economic descent, after radio and newspapers.

TV stations used to be all about visibility and ostentation — the tower with Christmas lights, the unique building, the talent, the helicopter, the branding, the logo-laden vehicles, the live shot, the reporter or anchor sent to a faraway disaster for no good reason but to preen. (Remember the KIRO news jet?)

But now cable and the Internet are killing them, too. Viewership of local TV news is flat or down. Meanwhile, the population increases steadily.

As it was with newspapers, the first thing to go is the valuable real estate. In five or 10 years, we’ll probably have one station doing news and perhaps sharing that. KING and KOMO already are sharing a helicopter. KOMO’s former parent sold Fisher Plaza. KCPQ and KIRO will be next to sell their dirt in the former media gulch.

It’s the end of an era.