Tag Archive for 'ruining Earth'

Climate change opinion change?

There is a BBC article today, noting how a recent poll shows an increase in the number of people who don’t believe in climate change (what we used to call global warming). Apparently three months ago, 15% of people in the UK didn’t think climate change was taking place, now 25% think so. The conclusion is that recent events, a “series of high profile climate-related stories, some of which made grim reading for climate scientists and policymakers” has caused the change. However, 73% of folk aware of said news hadn’t let it change their minds, apparently “people tend to make judgements over time based on a whole range of different sources.”

So people can be swayed by news and change their minds on the existence or otherwise of global warming or otherwise in three months, yet at the same time get a feeling for what’s happening over longer timescales. Somewhat contradictory conclusions? Yet the results are obviously “very disturbing” and “action is urgently needed.” Action to educate that global warming is real that is.

Indeed, I agree more education would be great, and with that how about some education about critical thinking? While the surveyors note that it’s “very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” they still take the results at face value, rather than wondering if perhaps the differences between the two surveys are an indication of their error due to some systematic effect. While there may have been some real change in the number of (landline owning) people (try running it monthly and looking at the scatter), I find this blind faith in the results being representative of the real world a bit hard to swallow.

Journey to the End of Coal

Here’s an engrossing multimedia piece on coal mining in China.


Thinking ahead

“It is clear, however, that there are a lot of open questions but we believe that we have disclosed a thinkable strategy how to survive the Red Giant catastrophe of our Sun without violating known laws of Nature. To our best knowledge this is the first time that somebody speculated about such a kind of Planetary Engineering.”-  Taube & Seifritz (2008)

Now that’s thinking ahead… though given the mess we’ve made in 150 years of industrialisation, perhaps ensuring our planet is habitable in 100 years would be more of a priority, rather than problems that will arise in 1,000,000,000 years.

James Nachtwey

Amazing photos of things wrong with the world..


Aardman saves the planet

So if you loved the creature comforts animal interviews, then you’ll probably like these new animations where animals educate us on ways to save the planet before we wipe them out…


Global warming caused by sunspot cycles: what?

So I thought it was pretty bad when I got junk email about global warming being caused by sunspots. However, that pales in comparison when I hear that someone managed to get an article in the Melbourne Age. The sun is at the end of one of it’s 11 year sunspot cycles, true, but the effect of changes in the insolation due to changes in this cycle are miniscule, about 0.07% according to these guys. At least this guy has a sense of humour… and sums things up pretty well.

Anyway, if the sunspot cycle is 11 years, why haven’t I had an ice age in my lifetime?

Global warming

The junk I get… So apparently global warming is caused by the Solar sunspot cycle. For the last 20 years, oceans have been warming as atmospheric CO2 levels have increased. The end of the current Solar cycle means we’ll be experiencing the end of global warming soon. Yay!

Hang on though, how did global warming never get noticed before? The sunspot cycle has been going as long as we’ve been on Earth (the actual variation on irradiance is about 0.1, way too little to do anything anyway). Also, though the sunspot cycle is 22 years long, the sunspot activity goes on a 11 year cycle. Thus the ocean temperatures shouldn’t have increased continuously for the last 20 years…

Moonrise at sunset

I like this image. A smokestack belches steam or smoke into the hazy sunset, while a tv antenna and the moon look on.

moonrise at suset

Light air rises

Normally hot air rises, but light air does also, in the way that it escapes from the atmosphere more easily than things like nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. If we’re not more careful to conserve helium when we get it out of the ground in the future, our kids might miss out on the fun it brings when the party’s over and it’s time to talk funny. As a side effect, science will also suffer