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1. It is winter. More specifically, it is January.The person to whom you are speaking may have noticed over the course of his life that it always gets colder during the winter, at least for those of us unlucky enough to live far from the Equator. Average temperatures in New York City for January range in the low 30s. Right now it is colder than that, but warmer than the all-time low for the date: 2 degrees, set in 1976.This happens, you should remind the person, because the Earth doesn’t rotate straight up and down. The Earth’s axis is tilted. So for part of the year as the Earth rotates around the Sun, the Southern Hemisphere is farther from the Sun than the Northern Hemisphere. When that happens, the Southern Hemisphere has shorter days and less sunshine, affecting the average temperature. Now, the opposite is true.Now give them a little pat on the head by suggesting that if it were this cold in, say, July, they’d be right to find it suspicious. But thinking it’s weird that it’s very (but not exceptionally) cold in January is like being puzzled when water they put in the freezer turns to ice. Then ask them if they know how to make ice in a freezer. If they say no, just drop the whole thing.
True Graham It's funny how all those officials succeed in sounding so pompously 'right' at all times. Especially considering how fast they change opinions?