Asides: A sampling of this week's top headlines

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THE BIG STORY in the region last week stood out like a forlorn snowman — the days of bitter cold experienced before the mercury rose. Two long-standing records were broken: On Tuesday morning, the temperature fell to minus 9, breaking a mark of minus 5 set for the date in 1884; on Monday it was minus 7, beating the minus 5 set on the same date in 1942. The cold air here and across the nation set off a hot but pointless debate about the reality of global warming. But extremes in weather — winter and summer — are predicted by climate change theorists. Weather is not climate, and a warming world is measured in the aggregate. On the other side of the globe the seasons are reversed and, as Pittsburgh shivered, Australia was recovering from a record-breaking heat wave. All that can be said authoritatively about the latest cold spell is brrrr.

THE INAUGURATION Monday of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was all about warm feelings, and never mind the weather. While the ceremony had to be held indoors because of the cold, a large crowd of several thousand filled Heinz Hall to see the new mayor take the oath of office, hundreds lined up to greet him afterward inside the Wintergarden at PPG Place and later thousands of constituents went to the Heinz History Center for another reception. The next day Mr. Peduto, who is the city’s 60th mayor, lost no time in getting down to the real work of running a city hungry for change.

THIS YEAR’S Super Bowl, to be played in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2, will be the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl — raising fear (maybe hope) that this one will be a Snow Bowl or Ice Bowl. Whatever the weather, the Steelers will stay home, having secured a snow day with a blizzard of misplays during the regular season. But those watching on TV will see one Pittsburgh icon, the H.J. Heinz Co. Heinz announced Tuesday that it will show a 30-second commercial on the Super Bowl’s costly airtime — the first in 16 years and only the second time ever. As Heinz has trimmed 350 jobs in the Pittsburgh area since being sold in June, not everybody here may warm to the sight.

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