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November 27, 2008


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Bear in mind that relatively few people in Canada live further north than Winnipeg. The majority of our population live close to the US-Canada border.


I was in London for several days a few Januarys ago and and couldn't get over how early it became dark. Living with that must take quite an adjustment.


I live in Montreal now, but I've lived a few hours north of Vancouver and also in Seattle in the last 5 years...I grew up in the US south. For me I think it's less the light and more that November is just a rotten month weather-wise (true in much of the northern hemisphere). Once we get to mid-December things start looking up as everything is coated with a pretty layer of white. In January here, the weather becomes quite sunny (albeit remarkably cold) and my mood is much improved.

Are you familiar with the Tom Waits song "November"?


The lack of light is the hardest part of living here for me, though we're getting sunrise about 45 minutes earlier than you. I remember winter being sunny but cold when I was a kid, which made it okay. Now it seems much grayer to me, and that's a problem. The cold isn't--you just put on another layer of clothes, or turn up the heat. It has been pointed out that there are several months in Houston that you really can't be outside comfortably either, just for the opposite reason.

Richard Gadsden

I'm at almost exactly 53.5 degrees North, and I can certainly appreciate your attitude to spending so much time in the dark.

Summer evenings are worth it. Sitting out in the back garden with a bottle of wine, family, and Radio 4 until nine or ten pm, and still in that lovely Summer evening light - the sun stays at a very low angle for a very long time. Oh glorious! I'm smiling just thinking about it.

There is a reason for the food and the drink; warm food, a full belly and a glass of something alcoholic, in a well-heated house helps you shake your fist at the cold, dark night.

James Bodi

I've lived in Toronto, at about 43 degrees north and Bermuda at, I think, 32 degrees north. So today sunrise is 6:58 and sunset 5:14. The extra daylight in winter is a real benefit, I've discovered. The weird thing is that my conscious mind loves dark clouds, rain, wind, snow and so on. My subconscious, though, has other ideas.

I was in London a couple of weeks ago and was surprised at how dark it was getting even before 4. No wonder the pubs were full.

The other thing is how, looking at a certain type of sky, or slanting autumn light, I am still surprised when I go outside and it's over 70F out.

Noel Maurer

On December 17, 2008, the sun will rise at 7:08am and set at 4:13pm. It won't technically be the shortest day, but sunset will start moving later after then.

And I hate it. Crazy stuff. The sun never sets before 5:30 in Miami, or 6:00 (well, 5:57) in Mexico City. That's civilized.

Noel Maurer

James, I'd fight to stay in Bermuda, I think.

James Bodi

Noel: Yeah. Sadly, the six year work permit limit may do for me sooner than I'd like.

Charlie Stross

Greetings from Edinburgh, Scotland!

Latitude 55.951, fifty miles north of Moscow. (North of every city in North America except Anchorage, IIRC.)

On December 24th, sunrise is due at 8:44, sunset at 15:42, for a whisker under 7 hours of daylight in theory. In practice, here on the north side of a city characterised by high stone buildings and narrow streets, it's not really light until 9:00am and it begins to get dark from 3pm onwards.

(I am currently awaiting the arrival of some made-to-measure blackout curtains for the bedroom. Why? Because in midsummer we never reach full darkness -- the sun is below the horizon by 11:30pm, but scattered light from the north keeps visibility good until the sun begins to rise around 3:30am, and it's fully light by 4am.)

Bernard Guerrero



James Bodi

Hey Bernard - how's things?

Yep, Bermuda. Been back for four years now - was here from 99 to 02 before.

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