Book Your Mongolian Vacation Now

By Richard Morin
Friday, August 18, 2006

Vancouver and Bangor are unlikely to replace Vera Cruz or the Bahamas as sun-and-fun destinations for international tourists.

But they just might -- thanks to global warming.

An international team of economists predicts that by the end of the century, the expected rise in temperature will make many current tourist hot spots a bit too toasty, while making some currently chilly places warm enough to entice fair-weather travelers.

The United States is predicted to be one of the tourism winners, with international tourism increasing an estimated 13.7 percent over what it would be if the atmosphere weren't warming up, said researchers Andrea Bigano of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Milan, Jacqueline M. Hamilton of Hamburg University, and Richard S.J. Tol of the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin.

"Climate change would shift patterns of tourism towards higher altitudes and latitudes," they wrote. "Tourism may double in colder countries and fall by 20 percent in warmer countries. . . . For some countries international tourism may treble whereas for others it may be cut in half."

The biggest winners: Canada, which they predict will experience a 220 percent increase in international arrivals by 2100; Russia (174 percent); and Mongolia (122 percent). The biggest losers: Mauritania, where they say international arrivals will drop by 60 percent; Mali (-59 percent); and Bahrain (-58 percent). "Currently popular destinations that are high up there include Macau (-48 percent), Aruba (-42 percent) and Jamaica (-39 percent)," Tol said in an e-mail.

These researchers used a mathematical simulation model developed by Hamburg University researchers that predicts tourist flows to and from 207 countries based on characteristics known to affect leisure travel. The factors included population growth, the economy and temperature. Then they plugged in estimates that global warming will cause the world's temperature to rise about three degrees Celsius by 2100, or about five degrees Fahrenheit, to see its effect on tourism.

Just five degrees? Could such a relatively modest rise in the world's thermostat really produce such big changes?

Absolutely, Tol said. "Three degrees centigrade is not as little as it seems. You would need to travel 1,000 miles south to experience the same warming."

Embedded Reporters, Slanted Perspective?

The use of embedded reporters by major newspapers during the invasion of Iraq produced more personal and human-interest stories about the lives of U.S. soldiers while "downplaying the effects of the invasion on the Iraqi people," according to a Penn State University researcher.

Andrew M. Lindner examined 742 newspaper articles written by 156 journalists from the beginning of the war on March 19, 2003, until President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, 2003.

Lindner found that reporters assigned to military units as part of its "embedded journalists" program were responsible for 71 percent of the articles on the front pages of major newspapers and 69 percent of articles inside the main news sections. Far less prominent were articles written by journalists from those same papers who were based in Baghdad or not part of the embedding program.

Only 12 percent of the stories by embedded journalists reported civilian fatalities, compared with half of those written by reporters stationed in Baghdad, reported Lindner, a sociology graduate student who presented his findings last week at the American Sociological Association meeting in Montreal.

Nap Time

Want to lose weight? Turn off the TV and take a nap.

That's what University of Michigan's Michael Sivak found when he studied the relationship between sleeping, eating and obesity.

Sivak said a person who sleeps seven hours a night and consumes 2,500 calories during the rest of the day can trim 147 calories simply by replacing an hour of "inactive wakefulness" with an hour more of sleep -- or about 14 pounds a year.

Sivak found that people tend to chow down during these periods of wakeful inactivity. Each additional hour of sack time reduces caloric intake by about 6 percent, he reported in the latest issue of Obesity Reviews.

Who Would Have Thought?Lonely People and French Names

· "Alone but Feeling No Pain: Effects of Social Exclusion on Physical Pain Tolerance and Pain Threshold, Affective Forecasting and Interpersonal Empathy" by C. Nathan DeWall and Roy F. Baumeister, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 91, No. 1. Florida State University psychologists administered a personality test to students, and those who were falsely told the results predict "they will most likely end up alone in life" were subsequently able to withstand higher levels of physical pain and were less sympathetic to others than students who were told nothing or informed their results suggested they were accident-prone.

· "Exposure to Foreign Media and Changes in Cultural Traits: Evidence From Naming Patterns in France" by Anne-Célia Disdier, Keith Head and Thierry Mayer. Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milan, Working Paper No. 213. French and Canadian researchers find that French parents increasingly are naming their children after French and international celebrities, which is why Kevin was the top name for French boys in 1990, the same year as Kevin Costner's "Dances With Wolves" was an international hit and why the names Brandon, Brenda and Dylan soared in popularity in the mid-1990s after the television show "Beverly Hills 90210" was introduced in France.

Richard Morin is a senior editor at the Pew Research Center. Versions of this column appear on and the Pew Research Center Web site.

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