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October 25, 2006

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GreenmanTim

Ah, my poetic friend, how pleased I am to have inspired your muse!

Dan Trabue

An Honest Cool...

You may keep your mechanized ice wind
and your chilled illusions of comfort.
Keep your indoor, in car, in sidious summer "life"
and rest easy in your climate-controlled hell.
But
give me the quiet honest cool
of a sweet night breeze
at the end of a hard warm summer day.
I'll gladly take respite from the sun's rays
in the smooth gray shade
of a gracious oak.
I will celebrate the splash of a spring fed creek
and the sprinkle of children at play
and the sudden summer shower
at the end of a long august day
and I will rest my head
soft and easy
on my pillow and sleep.

GreenmanTim

That was the joy of crafting the provocative, tongue in cheek title for this post. It is most assuredly a complex trade off, and far be it from me to declare the air conditioner the greatest evil to plague our land since reality-based television. Setting parody aside, however, it is fascinating to consider the far reaching impacts of this one invention and its associated benefits and costs. Remember, the British garrison at Philadelphia received tropical pay during its occupation in 1778.

Charlottesvillain

Interesting post. I cannot imagine living in one of those cookie cutter porchless boxes on some sunbaked, treeless lot under any circumstances, but they would be downright uninhabitable without AC, that is for sure. The picture, like most is complex, however. You are correct in that much of the economic activity of the south is dependent upon air conditioning, and therefore you can say that without AC we would not have the sprawl and habitat devestation. No argument here. Fifty years ago, however, it was perceived that one of the biggest problems facing the country was the economic stagnation of the American South, which that same airconditioning helped to rectify. It was almost impossible to have a productive factory in the south before air conditioning, and the changes that occurred post AC raised the standard of living of millions, many of whom were impoverished black Americans. Certainly at a cost as you point out, but one many would consider worthwhile.

Of course one cannot help speculating exactly what would happen if, for whatever reason, we lost AC for good some summer. The thesis of a horrifying Keanu Reeves movie, no doubt.

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