Monday, July 11, 2011

The air over there

Sometimes you hear news items that are so unbelievable you think you’re hearing things. For instance, last week’s newsbite that the United States is spending $20 billion a year on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, 20 billion with a ‘b’. Apparently it’s more than NASA's entire annual budget. Of course there are untold tents and buildings over there that need to be heated in winter and cooled in summer, many of them no doubt containing temperamental computers that need a stable, dust-free environment in which to work. It’s easy to scoff over this. The troops who sweated through desert warfare in World War II got by without air con, after all. But we’re all getting soft when it comes to climate control. Once you’ve had a car with air con you never want to go back. Shopping malls are popular right now not for what’s on sale but because they’re warm and dry. But $20 billion for air? No wonder America’s giving all the appearance of going broke.

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