Friday, August 15, 2003

FRANKISH FACTOID OF THE DAY: From one of those reports of "3000 deaths" in France that I'm sure you've seen:

The widespread absence of air conditioning in France also played a role. Elderly people suffering from heat stroke were often taken to sweatbox hospitals that, like many public buildings in France, do not have cooling systems. An ingrained aversion to chilly drafts, an apparent tolerance for perspiration and an unwillingness to spend money to modernize have prevailed for years, although purchases of air conditioners have shot up during this brutal summer.

Many restaurants, subways, stores and other public places still rely on little more than open windows and ancient fans to beat the heat. This forces younger, healthier people to contend with acute discomfort and unpleasant odours. But, for older people, there can be grave risks, as well.

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