Eli brings you the Skeptical Science widget to calculate the number of Hiroshima bomb worth of heat that have accumulated in the atmosphere since 1970. To Eli, the clever thing about the concept is that it is very hard for
people to picture the size of a small effect spread over a large area or
a long time. This does it in a very forceful way.
But, of course, this has loosed the pearl clutchers upon the wailing wall known as Discover Magazine.
In reply, a friend of the blog has observed that
It's a frigging metaphor. Of course some scientists don't like it. That's why they're lousy communicators to those who aren't literal minded, which are 99% of the population.and somebunny else wondered what the equivalent would be terms of the energy content of Mars bars, but the bunnies get the point.
The ankle-biters would've complained that there wasn't actually an Iron Curtain around the countries that the Soviet Union dominated, or that there was no particular reason why a house divided against itself couldn't stand (it could've been a duplex townhouse for instance).