Gore blames high altitude for Obama’s poor performance
This short clip of Al Gore defending Obama is pretty funny.LA replies:
Contrary to what everyone is saying on the conservative Web, I (and I am a former Coloradan) do not think Gore’s statement is silly or nuts. To go to high-altitude Colorado for an extremely important and highly stressful public appearance in which one needed to be at one’s best, and not give oneself at least a day to adjust to the thin air beforehand, was a mistake.
Alexis Zarkov writes:
I disagree. A place like Breckenridge at 9,600 feet would qualify as “high-altitude Colorado, not Denver at 5,100 feet. The latter is simply too low for any kind of hypoxia in a normal person. The typical cruising cabin pressure on a commercial airliner is 6,900 feet, well above Denver. Pilots have to fly their aircraft with a clear head, so I doubt 5,000 or even 7,000 feet impairs one’s mental ability. I used to make trips every few months to Albuquerque, New Mexico (5,300 feet) from my home (480 feet) to attend technical meetings, and I never noticed any altitude-induced problem with my mental functioning. This website has an online altitude air-pressure calculator. At 5,100 feet, we have 84% of the oxygen concentration available at sea level. At this companion webpage, you can calculate the effect of altitude on blood oxygenation. Choose “feet” for the units, enter “5100” in the altitude box, and hit the “calculate” button at the bottom of the page and get 10 kPa for PaO2, which is the oxygen partial pressure. As one can see in the the graph, at 10 kPa the blood oxygenation is about 98 percent of that at sea level. At 9,300 feet the oxygenation drops to 90 percent. So yes at Breckenridge Obama might have sufferer a little, but not in Denver. I’m not sure how long it takes to adjust to high elevations, but I strongly suspect it’s more than a day, because your body has to make more red blood cells.LA replies:
You’re right. I was thinking in terms of a place outside Aspen where I used to live, which was at over 9,000 feet, and when I went there I needed time for adjustment. But Denver’s 5,280 feet, as you point out, is a different matter.John K. writes:
I was born and grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, altitude 7,700 feet. Being a top level competitive swimmer I felt the effects of altitude differences at as little as 2,200 feet, the approximate drop from Los Alamos to Albuquerque. Some swimmers felt these effects to a lesser extent.Buck writes:
So, Romney snatched his victory out of thin air?Howard Sutherland writes:
I’m in the unusual position of having to say that an Al Gore utterance is not utter nonsense! While I don’t believe that Obama’s unimpressive performance in Denver can be excused by his failure to acclimate to Denver’s elevation of 5,280 feet (exactly one statute mile up, as it happens), elevation changes can make a significant difference, even to very fit people. And there is no way to tell beforehand who will be severely affected and who will not. I agree completely with Buck that if Obama declined to give himself at least a day in Colorado to acclimate before the debate, he was negligent in an important aspect of his preparation. The White House—not that BHO spends all that much time there—sits at 62 feet.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 04, 2012 09:45 PM | Send