21 March 2016

"Giant metaphor crashes through the ice"

Not "meteor."  Metaphor.

Cantech Letter explains:
An 80-thousand pound metaphor crashed through the ice in the Northwest Territories Saturday in the form of an off-white Western Star fuel tanker.

The CBC reports that the tanker was carrying heating fuel to Deline, a town of about 500 near the Great Bear Lake. The accident happened just three days after the territory’s transportation department raised the allowable weight on the Great Bear Ice Crossing from 10,000 kilograms to 40,000.

The truck is currently semi-submerged in the top portion of the ice, which one official estimates to be between 100 and 120 centimetres thick. No one was injured in the incident.

The symbolism of a fuel truck trapped in the ice in Canada’s north will not be lost on anyone who follows news from the scientific community about climate change...

Canada has 5400 kilometres of ice roads, and they have provided a vital link not only for the approximately 43,000 resident of the Northwest Territories, but also for the important diamond mining industry. But researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles say that just 13 per cent of these routes may be accessible by 2050.


  1. Wait, what? They raise the weight limit by a factor of 4, a truck falls through the ice, and climate change is at fault? I am not denying climate change is occurring, but why raise the weight limit if the belief is that the ice is thinning?

    This a metaphor alright, but not for climate change.

  2. Also just a side note about the diamond mining - the Ekati mine is one of my clients and I was seconded there for a year. It's actually not as profitable or as important as people first thought or hoped. While the first few ore bodies (pipes) were very high in diamond content, it turns out they were the only ones - the rest are nowhere near what they thought and so the large mining companies have all (or are trying to) sell off any assets they had there.

  3. Also appropriate since the origin of metaphor is the Greek word for 'to transport, move from one place to another' (cf. this van with μεταφορές 'transportations', 'movings' written on it.)

    1. Excellent, Drabkikker! I didn't know that.

    2. :) Credit to whom credit is due: I took that example from the excellent book The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher (Chapter 4, A Reef of Dead Metaphors).

    3. Requested from our library. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. I'd call it a symbol. It represents the consequences of global warming by being a consequence of global warming, not by being something that is similar to global warming. A frog in boiling water, now there's a metaphor for global warming.


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