I have been on the road for several days visiting various southwestern universities with research programs in energy and nanotechnology similar to my work at the University of North Texas. On my way from Las Vegas, NV to Irvine, CA, I passed through the town of Baker, CA on Highway 15. Over 900 hearty souls call this desert town, the self proclaimed “Gateway to Death Valley”, their home. Interestingly, while there is no sign of civilization for at least 50 miles in any direction, Baker sits on the main thoroughfare between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Thus, it may hold the distinction of being among the most isolated yet most visited towns in California.
In addition to being the Gateway to Death Valley, Baker boasts a unique landmark: the world’s tallest thermometer. At 134 feet, this towering structure’s height represents the highest temperature ever recorded in the United States: 134 ºF in Death Valley, CA. Given the lively discussions several Design News bloggers have hosted concerning global climate change (see “Global warming is just a media scam, right Chuck?”, “Readers React Angrily to Global Warming Column”, and “Global Warming is Too Hot to Handle”), I felt compelled to pull off the road to take image of me posing with this important temperature landmark.
Interestingly, despite recent apparent increases in global average temperature, the 134 ºF record was set in the midst of a heat wave on July 10, 1913; almost 95 years ago. The record has never been matched. Global warming seems to not have manifested in Death Valley.
A clever article on Baker, CA is posted on the Big Waste of Space Photologue, “The World’s Tallest Thermometer: Baker, CA The Middle of Freakin’ Nowhere”.