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There Must Be Some Torros in the At-mos-phere

By Margaret Lyons in News on Aug 12, 2004 12:34PM

2004_08_12.therm.jpgChicagoist loves first-day-of-school weather. We love the first sweatshirt day of autumn, the first day you can't wear flip flops, the first morning you step out of your house and aren't worried about getting sweaty. In case you didn't notice your nipples cutting glass yesterday, attention: it's way too cold for August. In fact, yesterday's high of 61 degrees made it the coldest August 11 since 1903, and Tuesday's high 67 degrees made it the coldest August 10 since 1882, which the Ask Tom column reminds us is "over a century ago." Whatevs, we totally love Tom's team of meteorologists.

But how cold is cold? Meteorologists are pulling out all the stops by telling us that it's colder here than it is in Alaska. Tuesday, record highs swept south and central Alaska, topping out at 77 degrees in King Salmon, 84 in Juneau, and 78 in Anchorage. Yesterday was more of the same with temps in Juneau reaching 64 degrees. This gets Chicagoist wondering: are there other ways in which Alaska is hotter than Illinois?

State Motto
Illinois: Land of Lincoln. "The slogan was adopted by the General Assembly in 1955. The State of Illinois has a copyright for the exclusive use of the slogan."
Alaska: North to the Future. "Our motto was chosen in 1967 during the Alaska Purchase Centennial and was created by Juneau newsman Richard Peter. The motto is meant to represent Alaska as a land of promise."
winner: Alaska. It's not just that the motto is better, which it is, but that Alaska isn't making a veiled threat to sue us in the explanation.

State Mineral
Illinois: Flourite. "Illinois is the largest producer of fluorite in the United States. Fluorite is used in making steel, enamels, aluminum, glass, and many chemicals."
Alaska: Gold. "Gold has played a major role in Alaska’s history."
winner: Alaska. Although Chicagoist would like a fluorite engagement ring, please.

State Fish
Illinois: The bluegill. "Although the bluegill grows to only about 9 inches in length and weighs less than a pound, it has a reputation as one of the best fighting game fish."
Alaska: The giant king salmon. "The giant king salmon, which weighs up to 100 pounds, is the state fish."
winner: Aw, for fucks sake.

State Fossil
Illinois: The Tully monster. "The Tully monster was a soft-bodied, invertebrate, marine animal—an animal that has no shell and no backbone, and lived in the ocean." From what we can gather, the Tully monster is pretty small.
Alaska: The wooly mammoth.
winner: We think it's about time to start looking for an editor for Juneauist.