David Randall: Hot air kills, not least in CVs or when banging on about a free press

Four corners of the world

Related Topics

During the summer of 2003, there was a torrid heatwave in Europe. Record temperatures were set, and tens of thousands of deaths were attributed to the stifling heat. But the impact was not equally shared. In Paris, the number killed was put at 4,867; in London, where the temperatures were not much lower, about 600 died. Why the difference? Researchers at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center may have come up with the answer after studying the "heat island effect", whereby temperatures are often a few degrees higher in cities than in surrounding rural areas. It appears that fewer Londoners died because our capital is a greener city than Paris. The more densely populated the city, the bigger the heat island effect, and vegetation can help cut temperatures considerably.

Two other things emerge from the research. The first – not surprising, if you think about it for a second – is that air-conditioning adds to the ambient outdoor temperature, because cooling systems release heat into the air. As one of the team explained: "It's a vicious circle. Increased temperatures due to air-conditioning will lead to an increasing demand for air-cooling." What is less obvious is that high night-time temperatures during a heatwave are the real killers. One of the researchers, Benedicte Dousset, told a news conference: "Exposure to high temperature during several nights, especially consecutive nights, can double the risk of death for the most vulnerable – people over 65 years of age or young infants, and also people with chronic health problems."

* Now for some really depressing news, courtesy of a study of 85 million profiles on LinkedIn, the network for careerists and self-promoters. The 10 most frequently used words and phrases chosen by people to describe themselves and their array of talents are: "extensive experience", "innovative", "motivated", "results-orientated", "dynamic", "proven track-record", "team player", "fast-paced", "problem-solver" and "entrepreneurial". Karen Emanuelson has taken this and compiled the following all-purpose pitch: "Problem Solver with Extensive Experience as a Results-Oriented, Innovative, Motivated Team Player. Proven Track Record in a Dynamic, Fast-Paced Entrepreneurial Environment." All in all, it's evidence for Randall's First Law of Staff Hiring: never employ someone whose CV includes a personal self-assessment, however free of clichés it is.

* The battle for Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest of the Second World War, claiming a total of 28,391 lives, 21,570 of them Japanese. To the Americans, who took the Pacific island, 700 miles south of Tokyo, after five weeks of fighting, it is a by-word for courage, with a third of all the Medals of Honour won by US Marines in the entire war going to the attackers. To the defeated Japanese, it was for long a taboo subject, but now a series of excavations is being carried out to find remains of the estimated 12,000 Japanese soldiers still missing. Hundreds have already been found, but the task is very hard. Many defenders, dug deep into caves, were blown to pieces, and few Japanese troops wore dog tags. And the island for which so much blood was spilt? Save for a few hundred at a military outpost, no one lives there.

* Finally, from the delicious irony department, comes news of a shindig next May to be hosted by the US State Department, those wonderful people who want WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, arrested, waterboarded, put on the rack, tried, convicted, refused an appeal, and boiled in oil. The event? World Press Freedom Day. As is the way with these awful things, it comes complete with a ceremony at which the Unesco Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be awarded. Is it too late to nominate an Australian former hacker?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living