Never was a scene more desolate. The trees in these regions were incredibly large and stood in scattered clumps over the white wilderness. The vast expanse of snow was checkered only by these gigantic pines and the poles that marked our road.

An exploration of some of the effects caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, and a reflection on how humans respond to disasters.

This is something of a sequel to Tim Harford’s earlier episode on the unplayable piano.