GLOBAL WARMING: THE GOOD NEWS. I wrote earlier this week about the clever name change that persuaded lots of people to open farms on the Great American Desert Plains. The greatest climate-nomenclature scam of all time, however, was run by Erik the Red, who named the ice-bound island he discovered "Greenland." At the time, the world climate was warmer than it is today, and Greenland, though very cold, did actually support some marginal agricultural production and dairy farming. Consequently, he got a bunch of Vikings to move out there and build a settlement. A few hundred years later, it got colder and all the Norse settlers wound up dead.

Nowadays, though, thanks to the munificence of fossil fuel consumption, the world is heating up again. And, according to Der Spiegel, it's getting warm enough to farm Greenland once again. Sadly, way more people live in the destined-for-devastation portions of the world than in the looking-forward-to-less-permafrost portions of the world. It's also my understanding that, weather aside, Greenland doesn't have very promising soil for long-term farming, thanks to the lack of trees and the associated topsoil-retention issues.

--Matthew Yglesias

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