Ice Caps

This article was originally published on Humorality, on September 3, 2008.

I’ll believe it when Boulder freezes over

With the presidential campaign in full swing, you’re probably wondering the same thing I am: What will happen to the battery industry once the polar ice caps melt?

I hadn’t thought much about this until I began reading reports of arctic ice shrinkage from The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), a quasi-governmental organization that has been “supporting cryospheric research since 1976” from its headquarters at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It’s shocking news, really. Not only is there an organization that has been freezing dead people for more than three decades, it’s all being done at taxpayer expense. This certainly lends credence to the incessant rumors of well-to-do near-death citizens being frozen for later revival—people like Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, and vice presidential hopeful Joe Biden—once medical science has advanced to the point where it can defrost something in a microwave oven without half cooking it.

The NSIDC issued a chilling press release on August 26, 2008, bemoaning the shrinking of arctic sea ice to nearly half of its 1980 levels. Although the extent of the Arctic Ocean ice coverage is still over two million square miles, an extrapolation of the data leads to an inescapable and frightening conclusion: the Arctic Ocean has ice in it. It’s essential government-issued news like this that could have saved both the Titanic and Leonardo DiCaprio from certain destruction and overacting.

The press release included colorful charts and downward-trending graphs all based on such dubious sources as “actual readings” and “satellite monitoring” solely to drum up a mainstream-media-driven Global Warming Frenzy, which would be a great name for a Starbucks blended ice drink. The problem I have with such reports is that they always extrapolate forward in time, never back, as if there is something extra special about forward. Sure the data says that there won’t be any summer-time ice at the North Pole by the end of the century. But their refusal to only extend the data halfway hides a shocking truth from the general public: 12,000 years ago, ice completely covered The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

I think the NSIDC—which can be ominously rearranged to spell “DC Sin”—has some explaining to do. What has it been doing with all that snow and ice that used to cover its campus? What type of maniacal evil was it cooking up before it began its expertise in “cryospheric research” three decades ago? When is it going to start regular monthly financial deposits into my PayPal account to keep me quiet?

While the backward-looking outlook for arctic ice is excellent, I do share some of the government’s concern for future reduced ice coverage. It was only a week ago that, in a foreshadowing of the coming collapse of the North American Free Trade Agreement, my local Taco Bell’s soda refill station ran out of ice. And I once stayed in a hotel where a sign on the ice dispenser warned, “Do not fill ice chests.” If even two-star hotels are starting to hoard ice, what hope do we have?

And what about batteries, which I suddenly remembered was the point of this article? If the predictions of ice loss at the North Pole are as dire as I’ve been reading, Jolly Old Saint Nick will soon be bobbing in the Arctic Ocean like one of those red and white fishing bobbers that bobs in oceans like the Arctic Ocean. Without Santa Claus to build and deliver his patent-pending batteries-not-included toys, the market for AA, AAA, and even Eveready brand 9-volt “lightening cat” batteries with its Nine Long Lives for One Low Price will surely plummet.

Looking to the government for solutions isn’t going to work this time. All three branches of the federal government—the legislative, the judicial, and that other one—are in cahoots with NSIDC. Barack Obama, despite his outward show of environmental concern, continues to claim that ice cubes are “above my pay grade.” And don’t get me started with John McCain’s VP selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her ties to “Big Ice.”

It’s time for the citizens of this great nation to rise up, to escape the chains that have bound them to unreasonable ice policies of the past. It’s time for each of us to do something that will make a difference, something that will bring us to a time when we no longer need to worry about things like shrinking arctic ice and Boulder, Colorado.

I hope they’ll be able to thaw me out safely by then.

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and life in Japan. Find his latest books at

Add comment

Cognizeit by Email

Get the latest Cognizeit content delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below to subscribe.