Record -50°F confirmed for Maine; is this inconsistent with global warming?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:41 PM GMT on February 13, 2009

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The lowest temperature ever recorded in the state of Maine, a -50°F reading taken on January 16, has been confirmed as real, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Weather Service this week. The new record occurred at 7:15 a.m. Jan. 16 at a remote river gauge in Big Black River (see USGS image at right), about four miles from the Canadian border. It ties the record set in 1933 for New England's lowest temperature, set at Bloomfield, Vermont. The old Maine record was -48°F, set in 1925 at Van Buren. All-time state records are difficult to break. The last time a state record low was set occurred January 5, 1999, when Congerville, Illinois recorded -36°F. Only one state record high temperature has been set in the past the decade--the 120°F temperature measured in Usta, South Dakota on July 15, 2006.

All-time record lows are inconsistent with global warming, right?
An impressive cold wave hit the northern and eastern portions of the U.S. January 11-18, with 17 states reporting record daily lows. In addition to the coldest temperature ever measured in Maine, one station, Waterloo, Iowa, tied its 1962 record for all-time coldest temperature, when the mercury hit -34°F on January 16. If global warming is occurring, we should not expect to see very many all-time city or state records being set. The nation's January-December average temperature has increased at a rate of 0.12°F per decade since 1895, and at a faster rate of 0.41°F per decade during the last 50 years. This 2°F rise in temperature has undoubtedly allowed more high temperature than low temperature records to be broken. However, this is a low enough amount of warming that there should still be a few cold temperature records being set, since the weather is so highly variable.

The statistics support this position. The Waterloo, Iowa mark was only the second time this decade that an all-time record cold temperature has been set at a major U.S. city. The cities I consider are the 303 cities author Chris Burt tracks in his excellent Extreme Weather book. The cites chosen were selected based primarily on their length of weather records (all the records go back to at least 1948, with most going back to the 1800s), and include all the largest cities in the U.S. The only other all-time coldest temperature record set at these cities this decade was the -44°F recorded in Grand Forks, North Dakota on 1/30/2004. By contrast, 49 all-time high temperature marks have been set this decade (Figure 1).

Perhaps a better judge of the impact of global warming on extreme temperatures, though, is to look at record warmest and coldest months. Month-long records are more reflective of the climate than an extreme event lasting just a few days. No all-time coldest month records were at any U.S. cities during January 2009, and it was not even close. Despite the cold blast of Jan. 11-18, the month of January finished out above average in temperature for the lower 48 states. So far this decade, no U.S. major city has set an all-time coldest month record. The last time a coldest month record was set occurred in January, 1994 when Caribou Maine and Bayfield, Wisconsin recorded their coldest month. By contrast, there have been 61 all-time warmest month records set in those same 303 cities between 2000 and 2008 (Figure 1). The summer of 2007 alone saw 42 all-time high (or warmest month ever) records. Just one record was set in the summer of 2008.


Figure 1. Minimum and maximum temperatures records for the U.S. for 303 major stations. The image has been updated through January 2009 to include the one record low set that month. The original version of this image was for 2007, and I modified it to update it for four changes made in the 2008 data. The numbers for the decade of the 2000s are correct, but there are four (out of 606) records that need to be subtracted off some of the earlier decades. Note the the 1930s were the most extreme decade for total number of records set, but the 1920s were the least extreme. U.S. weather has a high degree of variability from decade to decade. Image credit: Chris Burt, Extreme Weather.

Are the pattern of U.S. temperature records due to the Urban Heat Island effect?
There have been 110 all-time high temperature or all-time warmest month records set at the 303 major U.S. cities this decade, and only two such low temperature records set. Is this disparity due to global warming, or the Urban Heat Island effect? The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect occurs when development of former natural areas into pavement and buildings allows more heat to be trapped in cities, particularly at night. During the day, the UHI effect often leads to a slight cooling, since it can increase the amount of turbulence, allowing cooler air to get mixed down to the surface. For example, Moreno-Garcia (1994) found that Barcelona, Spain was 0.2°C cooler for daily maxima and 2.9°C warmer for minima than a nearby rural station.

However, temperature records are typically taken in parks and airports removed from the main heat-trapping areas of cities, and are not as strongly affected as one might expect. There are several reasons for this. One is that when tall buildings are present, they tend to block the view to the sky, meaning that not as much heat can escape upwards. In addition, the presence of moist vegetation keeps the atmosphere moister in park-like areas (which include the grassy fields near airports where temperature measurements are taken). This extra moisture helps cool the atmosphere on a local scale of tens of meters, due to latent heat effects (the energy required to convert liquid water to water vapor). Peterson (2003) found that "Contrary to generally accepted wisdom, no statistically significant impact of urbanization could be found in annual temperatures." The study used satellite-based night-light detection to identify urban areas. Recent research by Spronken-Smith and Oke (1998) concluded that there was a marked park cool island effect within the Urban Heat Island. They found that parks in typical cities in the U.S. have temperatures 1 - 2°C cooler than the surrounding city--and sometimes more than 5°C cooler. While the Urban Heat Island effect probably has contributed to some of the reduction in record low temperatures in the U.S. in the past decade, research by Parker (2004, 2006) and Peterson (2003) theorizes that Urban Heat Island effect is a factor ten or more less important than rising temperatures due to global warming.

Is the Urban Heat Island effect partially responsible for global warming?
Global warming is affecting the entire Earth, including rural areas far from cities, and the 70% of the world covered by ocean. Thus, the Urban Heat Island effect--if not corrected for--can cause only a small impact on the global temperature figures. Since the Urban Heat Island is corrected for, the impact on the observed global warming signal should be negligible. For instance, NASA uses satellite-derived night light observations to classify stations as rural and urban and corrects the urban stations so that they match the trends from the rural stations before gridding the data. Other techniques (such as correcting for population growth) have also been used. Despite these corrections, and the fact that the Urban Heat Island effect impacts only a relatively small portion of the globe, global warming skeptics have persistently used the Urban Heat Island effect to attack the validity of global warming. There are no published peer-reviewed scientific studies that support these attacks.

References
Parker, D.E., 2004, "Large-Scale Warming is not Urban", Nature 432, 290, doi:10.1038/432290a, 2004.

Parker, D.E., 2006, "A Demonstration that Large-Scale Warming is not Urban", J. Climate 19, pp2882-2986, 2006.

Peterson, T.C., "Assessment of urban versus rural in situ surface temperatures in the contiguous United States: No difference found", Journal of Climate, 16, 2941-2959, 2003.

Spronken-Smith, R. A., and T. R. Oke, 1998: "The thermal regime of urban parks in two cities with different summer climates. Int. J. Remote Sens., 19, 20852104.

The surface temperature record and the urban heat island, realclimate.org post, 2004.

My next post will be sometime Tue-Thu.

Jeff Masters

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"Not BIASED LEFT WING information."

Yes, citing Nature and other refereed journals, that is such biased left wing information.

Dr. Masters cites actual scientific journals. You cite a webpage called "gorerrors". Who's being partisan here?

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And...by the way...

it's Jeff Masters' blog...

he can post his dead grandma's obituary if he wants....
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Oh and, Cotillion...

We can say good-bye to those successful centre-right and right wing politics. Our new president will be absoultely SURE to tear this beautiful country to shreds under his left-wing administration.
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OK...I'm having a hard time here....Can't decide who I agree with more....tkeith....or cottillion.....

it's a tight race....they are both ssssoooo spot on....
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Quoting Cotillion:
"As for you, Cotillion, that's Rush's JOB. His actual OCCUPATION is to be partistain. Jeff's however is to inform us with weather updates. Not BIASED LEFT WING information."

May that be; previous comment of 'educate yourself' with the Limbaugh link from someone you later say to be partisan doesn't lend you much legitimacy, does it?

And while I respect your opinion Ron; I'm European. Trust me, America does not have left wing politics. In any sense.







Oh, accuse me for providing this blog with a summarized persepective! : ) In reality, a political debate can not be presented in a manner free from partistain elements. However, it is NOT Jeff's place to present this partsitain arguement. Again, I have to repeat myself. But I get it, how dare I present this blog with a counter partistain argument to another partistian argument.
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783. Skyepony (Mod)
The Jauary global recaps are now out..



The sea ice graph I was ranting about yesterday didn't get updated today..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37443
I've read alot of very good arguments from both perspectives, supported with science, on the topic of GW on this blog.

Dr. Masters is kind enough to give us his views, which I for one appeiciate. Whether I agree with him or not.

But useing Dr. Masters name in the same context as Rush L. and MSM or Dem or Rep. is a little more than a stretch of the imagination.

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"As for you, Cotillion, that's Rush's JOB. His actual OCCUPATION is to be partistain. Jeff's however is to inform us with weather updates. Not BIASED LEFT WING information."

May that be; previous comment of 'educate yourself' with the Limbaugh link from someone you later say to be partisan doesn't lend you much legitimacy, does it?

And while I respect your opinion Ron; I'm European. Trust me, America does not have left wing politics. In any sense.

You have right wing, and centre-right. Perhaps you consider that a good thing. We have left wingers... even to the full bloodied commies... and they aren't just hiding under our beds either... ;)




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http://mc-computing.com/qs/Global_Warming/index.html

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/goreerrors.html
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Quoting rwdobson:
"There are highly scientific arguments against Global Warming."

Which you apparently eschew in favor of right wing bloviations.


Well, my friend. We all can favor each argument in favor of right or left. However, this is NOT the source for biased left information. It is not Jeff's job to corrupt the innocent minds of people flocking here simply for concrete and factual weather updates. If Jeff wants to continuing to do so, he should just create himself a nice political blog.

You know, I really wish this blog turned anit-GW just for a few minutes. I'd laugh to see you arguging with extremly biased left wing politics, and I'd laugh even harder at how you would completly change your stance on whether or not this is Jeff's time and place to compose such a BS article.

As for you, Cotillion, that's Rush's JOB. His actual OCCUPATION is to be partistain. Jeff's however is to inform us with weather updates. Not BIASED LEFT WING information.
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Sorry Ron if a offended you or misinterpreted you and thanks everyone, I don't think the blog has been this unanimous since the discuss of retirement over Gustav
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Again, one must take a sharp inhale of breath and deal with the hard facts...

'Alternative version

It is 103 days, 2 hours, 54 minutes and 23 seconds until Monday, June 1, 2009 at 12:00:01 AM (Praia time)'

Countdown

(If that doesn't work, then try this: Link for your own countdown, perhaps to where you are rather than my set Cape Verde island point.)
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I guess the editorial boards of Nature, Journal of Climate and Journal of Remote Sensing are filled with the "uniformed" who just don't understand all the "highly scientific arguments" put forth by true scientists like Rush Limbuagh.
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"There are highly scientific arguments against Global Warming."

Which you apparently eschew in favor of right wing bloviations.
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Quoting Ron5244:


Um, no one said that conservation makes no sense. If you actually read what I said, it should be obvious that my comments were aimed at alarmist Democratic political figures, alarmist democrats, and Jeff as well. Even to the naked eye, it sickeningly obvious that Master's is trying to keep this alleged "crisis" burning. There are highly scientific arguments against Global Warming. I will NOT honor Jeff's views as if he is some kind of weather God. Sure, he is a very reputable meteorologist. However, his views on Global Warming are completly partistian and he shouldn't be drilling these ideas in to the heads of the misinformed. For that BS, one can flock to MSNBC (Biased Liberal Media).
Is agreeing with Doc on this Issue mandatory to participating in his blog discussion?

Whew, good. I didn't think it was.



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Interesting surface low in Gulf....Sunday Feb 22

06Z GFS




12Z GFS

Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
"However, his views on Global Warming are completly partistian and he shouldn't be drilling these ideas in to the heads of the misinformed."

And Rush Limbaugh isn't partisan?

That might be the most hilarious thing I've heard all year.

Sure, Jeff does perhaps have some particular views which may be questionable to some. I myself disagree with both his content and phrasing on more than one occasion. But, it's his own blog; he's entitled to say what he wants. Just as I am entitled to not read it and not comment. Freedom is duly a wonderful thing.

And a reputed meteorologist... against a talk show host.

Hmm, I know who I'd rather believe.




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Quoting Cotillion:



I third this notion.


Um, no one said that conservation makes no sense. If you actually read what I said, it should be obvious that my comments were aimed at alarmist democratic political figures, biased/alarmist democrat citizens, and Jeff as well. Even to the naked eye, it sickeningly obvious that Master's is trying to keep this alleged "crisis" burning. There are highly scientific arguments against Global Warming. I will NOT honor Jeff's views as if he is some kind of weather God. Sure, he is a very reputable meteorologist. However, his views on Global Warming are completly partistian and he shouldn't be drilling these ideas in to the heads of the misinformed. For that BS, one can flock to MSNBC (Biased Liberal Media).

And again, I will stress that I DID NOT claim in any way that a little conservation is not logical. However, these alarmed politicians, and the "Global Warming Crisis" is just one gigantic JOKE.
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770. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44854
"It reminds me of the Global Cooling, or the Nuclear Winter, scare 50 years ago."

Maybe you need to go back and read some of these papers you claim to be summarizing. Nuclear winter was a prediction based on the aftermath of a global nuclear war. Which, in case you didn't know, hasn't happened.

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Quoting all4hurricanes:
I really don't care if GW exists people are trashing the world and we're not doing nearly enough to stop it *coughRoncough*
conservation makes sense no matter what side of the debate your on...

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767. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory Number EIGHT
TROPICAL CYCLONE INNIS CATEGORY ONE
6:00 AM FST February 18 2009
============================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Innis, Category One (995 hPa) located at 24.8S 160.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots close to the center. The cyclone is reported as moving southwest at 15 knots. Position POOR based on multispectral/enhanced infrared radar imagery and recent microwave pass.

Gale force winds
=================
150 NM of the center in the southern semi-circle and within 120 NM of the center in the northern semi-circle

The low level circulation center is sheared less than 3/4 degree from deep convection. The system remains under a diffluent region and 25 knot shear. Cyclone INNIS is located just north of a weak jet entrance region.

Dvorak analysis based on shear yields DT=2.5, MET=PT=2.5, FT based on MET.

T2.5/3.0/D0.5/ 24HRS

CIMMS indicated decreasing shear to the south. Sea surface temperature is around 27C. TC INNIS is being steered southwest by low to mid level northeasterlies. Global models agree on a gradual turn to a southerly track with little intensification.

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS: 28.8S 158.8E - 35 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 33.4S 158.5E - 35 knots (CAT 1)
48 HRS: 41.4S 161.4E - 35 knots (CAT 1)

  • THIS IS THE FINAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE ADVISORY ON TC INNIS AS IT IS MOVING OUT OF NADI'S AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY.

  • Refer to Tropical Cyclone Bulletins from Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Brisbane for the next advisory.
  • Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44854
    Quoting all4hurricanes:
    I really don't care if GW exists people are trashing the world and we're not doing nearly enough to stop it *coughRoncough*

    Quoting KoritheMan:


    I second this notion.


    I third this notion.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting all4hurricanes:
    I really don't care if GW exists people are trashing the world and we're not doing nearly enough to stop it *coughRoncough*


    I second this notion.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    I really don't care if GW exists people are trashing the world and we're not doing nearly enough to stop it *coughRoncough*
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:

    Quoting Ron5244:
    Jeff, stop being so democrat and face it. "Global Warming" will no longer get the vulnerable public tp scamper around in fear. You, the biased liberal media, Al Gore, and other senseless democratic politicians can try covering up your alleged "crisis". However, you & the democrats will only continue looking even more ridiculous than ever.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmsqJvRrs9I
    ^ Watch Rush, be informed.




    Tell us how you really feel...


    Is that some "Seinfeld" spin-off or something?

    Does this Rush show have a Emmy?

    Your fly is open too...

    ....geeesh

    Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127647
    I can end global warming. Permafrost the entire globe! Haha!

    Oh yeah btw, you people deviated from the topic lol
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    NEW OUTLOOK POSTED:
    South Florida StormWatch
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    Jeff, stop being so democrat and face it. "Global Warming" will no longer get the vulnerable public tp scamper around in fear. You, the biased liberal media, Al Gore, and other senseless democratic politicians can try covering up your alleged "crisis". However, you & the democrats will only continue looking even more ridiculous than ever.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmsqJvRrs9I
    ^ Watch Rush, be informed.
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    deep storm passing off se newfoundland
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    Quoting MissNadia:
    754
    I have more than my fair share of them... about the only good thing I have now!!


    I only have a highschool education -- 3 years ago I saw this crap coming -- it was like waiting for a stack of blocks to tumble -- it was just a matter of time for the block in the middle to get pulled, taking the rest of the "blocks" down with it. Suggested those shiny bars to boss/spouse.............I think more to appease me he listened..... I'm sitting pretty now..... and I know he wishes he had more....don't we all!!! 'cause the rest of the stuff -- kinda evaporated ok -----swoosh I'm out.
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    Buy crappy farmland....20 - 30 miles inland...sea level rise from GW will make it ocenfront property...it's a sure bet....
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    754
    I have more than my fair share of them... about the only good thing I have now!!
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    well, the temps. have warmed, dinner is prepped, domestics completed -- boss is out -- I'm hitting the road for a run in the sun -- back in several hours.... I got a rabbit to catch
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    Quoting MissNadia:
    750
    It don't help me..got a bunch of oil..i'm looking for inflation!


    that's why this pryate loves those little gold bars
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    Quoting presslord:
    well then...let's jump....

    I prefer to follow the white rabbit
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    well then...let's jump....
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    750
    It don't help me..got a bunch of oil..i'm looking for inflation!
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Arguably a silver lining...

    Oil slips below $35 as global markets slump
    Oil slips below $35 with demand expectations bleak and global markets falling
    John Porretto, AP Energy Writer
    Tuesday February 17, 2009, 11:34 am EST

    HOUSTON (AP) -- A new batch of lousy economic news dragged oil prices down nearly 8 percent Tuesday, as signs from across the globe pointed to a prolonged and painful recession.
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting surfmom:


    Please, Please boys........ surely you could think of something else to ease the misery....sounds like you grounded sailors need to get the boats out and unfurl your sails



    It's too darned cold!!!! I think I prefer to just sit here in the warmth of my office and wallow in my misery.....
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    Quoting presslord:
    Absolutely Nadia!!!!!!!!!!! Misery loves company!!!!!!


    Please, Please boys........ surely you could think of something else to ease the misery....sounds like you grounded sailors need to get the boats out and unfurl your sails
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    I have been know to be a whiney.... but right now I'm a pastie -- so I'll endure the cold to get some radiant heat and color
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    Pat....now you need to find a pic of a rock falling off the same cliff....labeled "DJIA"
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:
    shheeeesh page preferences -- how the heck would I know that????? Been staring at that for two days now ----I so belong in the kitchen with the critters or the youngin's. Much easier for me to navigate a 3 year old through a tantrum then wander through computer land. I'm going to try this w/out Youngbuck -- hope I don't blow myself out of cyberspace.....

    MissNadia -- good thing I don't fly a plane eh???
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
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    Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127647
    740
    See my post #733 above LOL
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    Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127647
    Applying for a Visa? Someone Is Reading Your Facebook Page

    Posted by Liliana Segura, AlterNet at 8:45 AM on February 5, 2009.

    Clinton to visa applicants: "You should know that the State Department is on the watch here for Facebook."


    Look out, social networkers abroad: if you're trying to get a visa to enter our fine country, you may want to get rid of your Facebook account.

    In a town hall meeting at the State Department yesterday featuring the affable Hillary Clinton, an "Information Management Officer" at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City cited Facebook, MySpace, and "other web 2.0 social networking tecnologies" as "significantly enhanc(ing) the Department's diplomacy efforts and business goals," which apparently include weeding out potential immigrants.

    "For example," the comically Orwellian IMO boasted:

    An astute consular officer in Hermosillo recently used Facebook to determine a visa applicant's ineligibility based on information contained on the applicant's Facebook page -- (applause) -- proving its value as an anti-fraud tool. (Laughter.)


    Lol!! Silly visa-seekers. Don't they know Big Brother is, like, totally plugged into the internets? Now that we have a president who actually knows how to turn on a computer, like the kids, his Secretary of State fully intends to exploit such popular border-transcendent technology to -- what else? -- enforce the border.

    When asked whether she plans "to work with the Department's security stakeholders in order to navigate or mitigate the vulnerabilities of these technologies so that we may leverage their business benefits," Hillary Clinton didn't have to ask the moderator to repeat the question before responding enthusiastically:

    "Yes, absolutely."

    (Applause.)

    … We've got to figure out how we're going to be smarter about using technology. So I think that's a great example, the Facebook example. And you know, we might want to follow up on that example, checking out Facebook. For everybody who is applying for a visa, you just should know that the State Department is on the watch here for Facebook.


    You heard it here, amigos: Time to update your status. Next up on the live feed:

    Big Brother is Watching You.
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    Quoting pottery:
    Where did the " set timezone" button go to. I have been stuck on "GMT" and want to change it,.....
    ME TOO!!! it's making me nuts
    Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
    Absolutely Nadia!!!!!!!!!!! Misery loves company!!!!!!
    Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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