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Science

2005 Will Probably be Warmest on Record 698

Posted by Zonk
from the steamy-in-here dept.
Nilmat writes "A Washington Post Article notes that 2005 will probably have the highest mean global temperature of any year since the advent of systematic temperature records. At the moment, the mean temperature is about 0.75 degrees C above the global mean from 1950 to 1990, approximately .04 degrees higher than 1998, the year of the previous record. Only something dramatic, such as a major volcanic eruption, could cause enough cooling to miss setting a new record."
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2005 Will Probably be Warmest on Record

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:29PM (#13786066)
    Seeing as how I live 30 miles North of Yellowstone, I'm not rooting for that option.
  • Correlation is not causation.
    • Correlation is not causation.

      But it's the main requisite.
      • by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @11:17PM (#13787813) Homepage Journal
        But it's the main requisite.

        Sometimes it is. But quite often, it is the main thing leading you down the wrong path.

        In this case, the "I know what's happening crowd" is looking at some very tiny variations from a very abbreviated data set and drawing some very large conclusions from them, and then clamoring for some very profound and difficult reactions on the part of, well, just about everyone.

        It is well to keep in mind that that the .04 degree quoted in the article is not .04% (it is much less) and that the highest recorded temperature means that we've got a number which should be evaluated as one sample out of 1x10^6 if we want to understand what this year's temperature stats mean in terms of human history.

        Yet... it can only be evaluated as one sample out of 2x10^3, which can be fairly characterized as what it means to my grandfather and not a lot more.

        That's not to say that global warming is, or isn't, happening. Just that these temperature measurements are woefully lacking as good quality signposts. We can add to that a few core measurements and some general knowledge, which doesn't significantly improve the quality of the data for our current situation.

        We should keep in mind that the earth sees huge temperature swings without the aid of man's actions. At one time, North America was tropical here in Montana. I live not even 15 miles from where you can dig T. Rex skeletons from the ground as well as tropical vegetation. At another time, this area was covered by glaciers. Neither circumstance required or depended upon man's intervention or activity.

        Yes, the world changes without our approval. Yes, we'll have to adapt if it does. Yes, we'll have to be clever about it when the changes are major. No, this year's temperature isn't a certain sign of any such change. Yes, we should continue to pay attention. No, we shouldn't start running around like chickens.

        We now return you to your usual sensationalist ravings. :-)

    • by ghoul (157158) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:36PM (#13786142)
      On a non related note real estate valuations in Siberia and Canada are rising to new highs.
    • Why, because an empty logical truism is all you've got as you desperately attempt to deny manmade climate change? Try arguing with the causation in Workweek Causes Climate Change" [sciam.com]. It's just correlation, right?
      • How about This Site [friendsofscience.org]?

        Some excerpts:

        Myth 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate.
        Fact: Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures.

        Average ground station readings do show a mild warming over the last 100 years, but well within the natural variations recorded in the last millenium. The ground station network suffers from an uneven distribution a

        • Sure there are lots of Greenhouse deniers, and no shortage of oil-business newspapers, like the Calgary Alberta Sun, that will print them. Because there's no shortage of oil and coal money to buy their hot air the press that keeps them in business.

          But enough of dignifying your industry FUD propaganda with exposure. How about you just explain how the human workweek doesn't change the weather, in light of that Scientific American article to which I linked?

          Then again, if you think people who want us to survive
        • by ManufacturedMirth (920685) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:26PM (#13786572)
          Myth 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate.
          Fact: Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures.


          No, that's not true at all. All terrestrial measurements have shown a steady increase - the satellite measurements were the exceptions, and showed a much slower increase in temperature.

          Until last year, fossil fuel advocates pointed to the satellite measurements as refutation of the warming trend. Then, a bunch of clever guys realised that the problem was that the satellite measurements were taking an average of a rapidly heating troposphere (where we live) and a cooler upper section of the atmosphere.

          There's a great discussion of this in the rather frightening book The Weather Makers by Australian scientist Tim Flannery, which is due for release in the US about now.
        • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:35PM (#13786629) Homepage Journal
          I'd rather listen to a scientist than to a "friend" of science.

          It seems very suspicious than an organization could be dedicated EXCLUSIVELY to deny claims about global warming.

          Plus, why is it called with such an emotionally moving name like "friends of science"?

          I searched google, and the only references to friendsofscience.org were forums inside that same site. Plus, I checked the hosting company, and it's "reveal.ca", a BUSINESS SEARCH company.

          Can you spell "Astroturfing"?

          Look, it's MORE THAN OBVIOUS that companies will lose A LOT OF MONEY if the U.S. abides by the Kyoto Protocol. Don't you think that they will start creating phantom organisations to dismiss the idea of global warming?

          Look, we all know what companies like Microsoft are capable of. You think companies that produce huge emissions of CO2 and other pollutants wouldn't do ANYTHING to keep earning money?

          I'm sorry but you seem to naive to believe the "friends of science".
        • by Stephan Schulz (948) <schulz@informatik.tu-muenchen.de> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @08:07PM (#13786859) Homepage
          If they are "friends of science", they maybe should read some current papers - and maybe not quote old ones out of context. As far as "Myth 1" is concerned, it is true that there has been (and to a small degree still is) a discrepancy between surface temperature and climate models on the one side, and balloon and satellite data on the other hand. However, recent publications have very nearly closed that gap. It turned out that the satellite data suffered from undetected orbital drift (i.e. the satellites reported night time temperatures as day time temperatures) and the balloons suffer from a number of sensor and calibration problems. If the data is corrected for these errors, there is a rather good fit with current climate models.

          "Myth 4" is another mixture of truth and falsehood. Yes, water vapour is a greenhouse gas. However, relative humidity is more or less a constant in the atmosphere. Thus, the amount of water vapour (absolute humidity) is driven by the temperature. In this way water vapour increases the effect of any other heating - its an amplifier, but not a cause of global warming.

          If you look over the site, you find more gems. "Myth 6", for example, not-cites the 1996 IPCC report, totally ignoring the current (2001) and upcoming reports.

          Wikipedia has a reasonable good set of articles on global warming [wikipedia.org].

        • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @08:52PM (#13787112)
          What an utter load of lies and deception. These issues are known about, and have been carefully tackled many, many times. To state these goes beyond mere ignorance, to deliberate attempts to mislead the public.

          Myth 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate.

          That's because the satellites were taking an average of several layers, the weather balloons weren't accounting for improvements in radiation shielding technology and so on. Adjusted, they now fully match the results we have.

          Myth 3: Human produced carbon dioxide has increased over the last 100 years, adding to the Greenhouse effect, thus warming the earth.

          Not according to the actual data. The proportional increase in carbon dioxide is huge, by all available data. And yes, ALL of that increase is due to human activity, because for example measurements of carbon dioxide concentration in the sea shows that the sea is actively absorbing CO2. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87 [realclimate.org]

          Myth 4: CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas.

          This is a strawman. Hell, the most common greenhouse gas is probably Nitrogen. Anything has a greenhouse effect. The issue is whether the gas is a cause of climate change or not. Water, despite it's significance, isn't. Changes in water concentration in the atmosphere is rapidly evened out - we call it rain. But it never rains carbon dioxide. The action of water is as a positive multiplier for global warming - warming increases the level of equilibrium of water in the atmosphere, which makes CO2 a more significant effect, not less.

          Don't listen to these 'friends of science'. They are lying to you.
    • Science is hard (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jfengel (409917) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:44PM (#13786223) Homepage Journal
      No, correlation is not causation. But when you have correlation and the most accurate models imply causation, you definitely have to think hard about what you're doing. The fact that global warming was predicted by the models before the data could be taken further suggest that it's not simply alarmist readings of the data.

      Science is hard; in many fields it's impossible to prove causation completely. But when you have a theory, and the theory holds up to all the available data, you act as if the theory were true and make decisions based on that. You don't over-react as long as there are competing theories that imply otherwise, but this is one more piece of data to suggest that global warming is very real and quite possibly man-made.

      The "quite possibly" means that we shouldn't over-react; as you say, the correlation need not imply causation. But as the burden of evidence falls on the side of man-made global warming, it becomes increasingly dangerous to rely on "Yeah, but are you really, utterly, totally, completely sure?" arguments against action.
      • Re:Science is hard (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jnaujok (804613) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:13PM (#13786467) Homepage Journal
        Those models do not "predict" global warming. They show a trend towards warming with an increase in atmospheric CO2. However to call these models "the most accurate" is quite a stretch. I ask you to look into the quality of these models and ask simple questions, such as, "do you accurately model the largest heat sink on the planet, or are your oceans just a thin slab of water that is basically a rigidly driven model that doesn't adjust to changes realistically." Ask if they solve their fluid model for all variables, or do they just solve for two of the three (pressure and temperature, but not volume). I can go on for hours about how completely inaccurate these models are.

        But I don't have to. The models show that CO2 causes an increase because the modelers set up the model so that CO2 holds more heat in the model. Good golly, what a shock.

        On the other hand, we have data that all of the inner planets are now heating up. The Twin MER rover teams were shocked at how warm the Martian winter was this year on Mars. They never expected their rovers to make it through the winter, yet both survived without a problem. In just the 30 years since the Viking missions, the temperature of Mars has increased substantially. In fact, it's done so by very nearly the exact same percentage as the temperatures seen on Earth. Similar remote measurements of Venus have shown the same increase.

        Now, unless you want to claim that Dick Cheney is secretly driving his SUV's on Mars, that means the cause of the rise in temperature must be mainly external. And, oh look, here's a study that's found just that. [livescience.com]

        Science is hard, Climatology is very hard. We have no hard evidence to support anthropogenic global warming theories. We have computer models. The same people on this list who would scoff at the idea of a computer predicting the weather one week in advance, will accept, without the slightest hesitation, the prediction of a computer 100 years into the future. And, no, don't give me the "it's climate, the little changes disappear into climate" because that's bullshit. It's been disproven time and time again. The "best model" in 1995 mispredicted the temperature in 2000 by 300%. That's not a minor mistake, that's not within one standard deviation, that's a wild-ass guess that was totally wrong.

        Trillions of dollars and Millions of lives will be lost if the "we should take action just in case" crowd wins. Some of the best estimates say that cutting CO2 by 50% will cost 1.5 BILLION LIVES by 2100. Are you so eager to pull the trigger?
        • Re:Science is hard (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nihilogos (87025)
          Now, unless you want to claim that Dick Cheney is secretly driving his SUV's on Mars, that means the cause of the rise in temperature must be mainly external. And, oh look, here's a study that's found just that. [livescience.com]

          From the article "Increased output from the Sun might be to blame for 10 to 30 percent of global warming that has been measured in the past 20 years, according to a new report."

          The "best model" in 1995 mispredicted the temperature in 2000 by 300%

          What the hell does this ridiculous st
        • Re:Science is hard (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:59PM (#13786815) Journal
          I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

          Despite doubts about whether or not human activity is contributing to gloabl warming, we still have the responsibility to minimize our impact.

          As you point out, Climatology is hard. There are several known unknowns, and even more unknown unkowns. Until we can be CERTAIN that we are not taking the risk of causing dramatic climate change, particularly given the haunting specter of a threshhold after which climate changes accelerates, we need to proceed with caution.

          If there is ANY believable evidence that our actions are causing global warming, we need to take action to lessen those actions.

          Period.

          • by brulman (183184) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @10:21PM (#13787541)
            Do you always spell your punctuation?

            Question mark?

        • Re:Science is hard (Score:5, Informative)

          by syphax (189065) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @11:05PM (#13787746) Journal

          Oh man, you were talking a good game until you came out with the The "best model" in 1995 mispredicted the temperature in 2000 by 300% LIE.

          How many times must this lie be debunked [columbia.edu]?

          Apparently, very many times. Key points: It wasn't 1995, it was 1988, and Hansen wasn't off by 300%, he was frickin' on the money.

          Also, remember that Arrhenius predicted [columbia.edu] anthropogenic CO2 global warming over 100 years ago. The basic premise- more atmospheric CO2 means more trapped heat- is well-understood and not controversial. The open question is the strength of the climate's negative feedback cycles.

        • Re:Science is hard (Score:3, Informative)

          by SETIGuy (33768)
          The "best model" in 1995 mispredicted the temperature in 2000 by 300%.

          Let's see... The earth's average temperature surface temperature is about 288K (15C,59F). That would mean that the "best model" either predicted an average surface temperature of 96K (-177C, -287F) or it predicted a temperature of 864K (591C,1095F).

          Either that one sucky model, or you're a lying sack of sh*t.

  • by waynemcdougall (631415) <slashdot@codeworks.gen.nz> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:30PM (#13786076) Homepage
    Only something dramatic, such as a major volcanic eruption, could cause enough cooling to miss setting a new record.
    Nothing can possibly go wrong now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:30PM (#13786077)
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:30PM (#13786081) Journal

    With each damning new report and every shred if indicting evidence that indeed the earth is entering into massive warming because of human activity it scares me a little more. As an average citizen, I am trying to help by:

    • keeping my hot tub set at 101 degrees or less
    • never setting the thermostat higher than 78 in the winter, or less than 72 in the summer
    • avoiding jack rabbit accelerations in my HumVee during my 60 mile commute to and from work
    • never, never using acclerants to start fires when clearing the trees from my property
    • always making sure my tv, stereo, and five computers are turned off when I leave the house
    • being careful to stay mostly on the trails when I'm riding my off-rode motorcycle (hmmmm, same goes for the HumVee)
    • filling the bathtub only 3/4 full when taking a bath each day

    I only wish others would wake up and smell the coffee and be diligent too.

    • by bcat24 (914105) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:32PM (#13786106) Homepage Journal
      I only wish others would wake up and smell the coffee and be diligent too.

      Nooooo! Making coffee only worsens global warming!
    • Heck yeah, I've got a 20-amp coffee maker that starts brewing a batch every morning at 4:00 whether I'm home or not! How's that for diligence?
    • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:49PM (#13786270)
      As an average citizen, I don't even care. I'll be dead before it ever impacts me. That's not a very nice thing to say - I know - but it's practical.

      How many hundreds of people will have to nit-pick their entire lives over every purchase they make, every item they reuse, every thing they throw away, every little thing they consume, washing out tin cans to reuse them for... whatever... -- just to compensate for one illegally dumped barrel or government legitimized "waste disposal"?

      Anyway, I figure I've already done my part. I don't drive or own a car and I don't intend to have any kids.

      Frankly, I'm not sold on "man is killing the planet and causing it to heat up!". I'm open to it, but not sold on it. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt for people, businesses and governments to take precautions anyway. Just because we may not be directly responsible for any global warming or cooling wouldn't mean that we shouldn't try to keep our planet clean and habitable for all on it anyway.

      If this trend continues though, I'll just start wearing whatever the appropriate colored ribbon is that shows I care about the environment. Look at all the people with aids that red ribbons have helped. It's almost like fricking prayer beads! Ooh!
      • Anyway, I figure I've already done my part. I don't drive or own a car and I don't intend to have any kids.

        Translation: "I'm lazy, poor and can't get laid."

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:31PM (#13786088) Journal
    It's all lies, I tell you, all lies! It's a conspiracy by the atheistic climatological establishment to make us all buy small cars and turn off our lights. It's every American's God-given right to puke greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But thank God that George W. Bush, His faithful servant, is making sure that these foul secularist reports are altered, so that we can continue our God-sanctioned practice of driving large vehicles, burning fossil fuels for electricity and all those other things that a proper Christian country ought to do.
  • volcano! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:31PM (#13786090)
    Don't count out a huge volcanic eruption. With all the natural disasters so far this year, a nice big poof out of a volcano would round things out nicely.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:31PM (#13786096)
    I'm sure the Republicans are behind this.
  • by DoctorPhish (626559) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:33PM (#13786110) Homepage
    How long until my House in the Canadian Rockies becomes tropical beachfront?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let me be the first to say that running out of oil will cause global catastrope long before global warming will. I do believe we will see ice caps melting, seas rising, and coastal flooding in the next 100 years, but by then the world's population will be down to about 50-100 million, and we can all just move to higher ground.
  • by penguin_asylum (822967) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:34PM (#13786120)
    It's nice and cool in my new Hummer v2.
  • Only something dramatic, such as a major volcanic eruption, could cause enough cooling to miss setting a new record.

    Come on Mount St. Helens, you can pull us out of this mess!

    / starts staring at the web cam, waiting....
    http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/ [fs.fed.us]

    Seriously, I suppose a drastic event now would make winter even harder for some part of the world, possibly killing many people and probably driving heating costs even higher than they are expected to be. Are there any good volcanoes in the southern
    • > > Only something dramatic, such as a major volcanic eruption, could cause enough cooling to miss setting a new record.
      >
      > Come on Mount St. Helens, you can pull us out of this mess!

      But since we haven't developed the technology to trigger large volcanoes, we'll have to go with the next best thing!

      SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?

      ("Oh, it sounds like it misses him!")
      ("Yeah, weird, isn't it?")

      > How about Global Thermonuclear War?
      WOULDN'T YOU PREFER A GOOD GAME OF CHESS?

      > No, let's play Glo

  • by toetagger1 (795806) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:35PM (#13786136)
    How many other 2005s do they have records of? If this is the only one, it will be the warmest, coldest, shortest, and longest 2005 on record forever!
    • There was 2005 BC. And if the history Republicans told me about is correct, that would have been about the time that Moses was smiting homosexuals and Jesus was driving his SUV. Of course, it was a whole lot warmer then, too, because friendly industrialists had not yet filled the air with pollution to cleanse the sun's energy.

    • Lots of cultures have (or had) their own calendars, many of them started long before 2005 years ago.
  • Grapes in Sweden (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Henriok (6762) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:42PM (#13786206)
    Wild grapes were groing in Sweden during the neolithic age, about 6000 years ago. We'd be lucky to even grow them in green houses now.
    • Re:Grapes in Sweden (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Misagon (1135) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:11PM (#13786457)
      Wine is grown on Gotland [gutevin.se] today and there is information on that site which you can use to compare the growing conditions to other parts of Sweden.

      You should also consider that many of our cultivated species are not as resilient to weather conditions as the older variations they originate from. It is quite possible that the grape found in Sweden in the neolithic area could survive the present-day climate.
      Humans have also wiped out entire species in prehistoric times. Grapes are tasty. :)
  • I'll help (Score:3, Funny)

    by No2Gates (239823) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:46PM (#13786237)
    My wife always complains that I stand there with the refrigerator door open looking for something to eat. Now I won't take her crap, and I'll look around the fridge longer with the damn door open and I can help global warming at the same time. Maybe people will start looking up to me as some kind of hero...
  • Global Dimming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crabpeople (720852) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:47PM (#13786251) Journal


    I saw a program, i believe from the BBC on Global Dimming [wikipedia.org] a few months ago. The idea being that at the same that we have been upping the greenhouse gasses we put into the atmosphere, we have also been blocking out the sun with the various soots and particulate matter that goes with it. This drove us into a net cooling period during those years, as the sunlight was reflected back into space. The researcher explained that this may be why global warming hasnt been as evident as it should have been in the past 30 years.

    Now that we burn cleaner gas, and try and be more environmentally friendly, this reflective layer of the atmosphere is getting thinner. this then compounds the global warming aeffect already in motion. perhaps that is what we are seeing today.

     

  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:51PM (#13786288)
    Those irresposible Republicans! They're screwing things up across the entire galaxy.

    Article [nasa.gov]

    And for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress.


  • Blame the volcanoes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:52PM (#13786297) Homepage Journal
    The author must realize that having record low eruptions in 1998 and 2005 is the cause of the temperature hike.

    See what happened in 1816 [nasa.gov].
  • The Weather Makers (Score:4, Informative)

    by tarvo (557992) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @06:58PM (#13786355)

    Read this book The Weather Makers [amazon.com] by Tim Flannery [wikipedia.org], if you are genuinely interested in doing something about climate chnage.

    It is brilliant and timely call to action for everyone to reconsider their energy use as it applies to C02 emmissions.

  • Arr... (Score:3, Funny)

    by HunterZ (20035) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @07:05PM (#13786406) Journal
    It's not too late to help lower the global average temperature. Become a swashbuckling disciple of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    http://www.venganza.org/ [venganza.org]
  • by Chocolate Teapot (639869) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @08:09PM (#13786877) Journal
    First of all, let me state that I am no expert in this, so please don't take me too seriously. A while ago I was in the Natural History Museum in London, and a particular display caught my attention. It basically represented the history of the Earth (as far as scientists think they know) since, well, the beginning. Beneath it was a chart showing average global temperatures through the ages. I tried to find something similar on the web, and the best I could come up with in a few minutes was this [ohio-state.edu] (from this [ohio-state.edu] site). Like I said, I'm no expert, but one thing that struck me, at least from the museum display, is that we are not even out of the last Ice Age yet. Furthermore, compared with previous ice ages, the Earth seems to be warming at a slower rate than quite a few occasions in it's history.

    I'm not suggesting that the crap we pour into the atmosphere has no effect on our climate, but rather that, as the article sort of states, temperatures are only approaching record levels since the advent of systematic temperature records. If we look back over several major climatic cycles in the Earth's history however, what we are experiencing is actually nothing special.

    That said, I'm off to buy some factor 50 sunblock.

  • by supabeast! (84658) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @09:10PM (#13787215)
    Well, at this rate in another ten years Republicans will acknowledge global warming. Of course, they'll just write it off as another sign that the rapture is imminent, and push us all to accept intelligent design before it's too late.
  • Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @10:49PM (#13787670)
    0.04, huh? What's the data uncertainty? What's the sigma of the data noise?

    And the global mean from 1950 to 1990? Why those years? Did they happen to give the result the author wanted?

    They are playing a numbers racket with you, people. As geeks you should see right through this stufff. For shame.

  • Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeriqo (530691) <jeriqoNO@SPAMunisson.org> on Friday October 14, 2005 @02:27AM (#13788512)
    We're talking about a BIG problem, and all I can see is +5 funny posts.
    Thank you America.

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