Wintry weather, especially the wave of extreme cold we experienced in Central Europe recently made me reflect on flexibility, adaptability of our race. Humans live everywhere from sweltering heat of equatorial jungles and deserts to bitterly cold sub-arctic Canada and Siberia.

The span of temperatures we are capable of living in seems indeed impressive until you realize that in reality our bodies are quite frail and function best in a rather narrow range of conditions. It’s our ability to create bubbles of hospitable – or at least endurable – conditions around them that allowed us to go almost everywhere on this planet.

The smallest bubble around us is clothing protecting us from cold or sunlight, we have large stationary bubbles called houses, we have bubbles on wheels in which we can move around and bubbles with wings if we need to get over a distance fast. Those bubbles are heated or cooled as needed, some are very modern and some have a long history. We even created bubbles that allow us to venture out of our planet’s atmosphere. We are so accustomed to them, going from one into another day after day that we hardly notice their role of separating us from hostile environment thus ensuring survival of most of us.

But as with any bubbles they sometimes do burst. Just like one of them did a few days ago in Chorzow Poland, where an exposition hall collapsed killing almost 70 people. Some of them died of extreme cold – during the night after the disaster temperature dropped to -4F/-20C.

It made me realize once more how dependent we are on those artificial conditions we created everywhere around us.