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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #16

Posted on 23 April 2012 by John Hartz

Happy Earth Day!

SkS recommends an interview with James Powell by Big Think - James Lawrence Powell: Grandpa, What Did You Do on Earth Day, 2012?

SkS Highlights

By design, Rob Honeycutt's  Why Are We Sure We're Right? #1 generated a considerable amount of intense discussion between SkS readers and authors. In this first part of a two-part post, three SkS authors (Dikran Marsupial, Glenn Tamblyn, and Ari Jokimäki) answered the following questions posed by Honeycutt:

  1. Why am I sure I'm right?
  2. How does anyone reading my words differentiate between what I'm saying and what someone else denying climate change is saying?

Toon of the Week


Inconclusive Data

Source: Code Green, a weekly editorial cartoon focused on the environmental emergency, by Stephanie McMillan.

Quote of the week

 "Yes. I think it is part of our responsibility as scientists to help people understand the research we’ve done. But we have to do that carefully with integrity so that we don’t lose the public’s trust. Parts of this research are enormously complex and in some cases uncertain. We need to do a better job of communicating that uncertainty—and we need to do a better job of communicating our certainty about what is happening because of greenhouse gases.

"We need real leadership on solving this problem—both in terms of adaptation (things like infrastructure to decrease our vulnerability) and mitigation (reducing our emissions by investment in alternative sources of energy). That takes a serious commitment.

"I strongly believe that scientists have a moral responsibility to help people understand what we are facing."

Dr Heidi Cullen's repsonse to the question, Should scientists be involved in the public conversation about climate change? posed to her by Dominique Browning, author of the article, "Earth Day: Discussing the Coming Climate Crisis With Heidi Cullen" posted on the Daily Beast on Apr 22, 202.

Issue of the Week

Many of us have adopted a memorable quote (or quotes) as our personal words to live by. Mine is the Olgala Sioux proverb:

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

What are your "words to live by"?

Word of the Week:

Apophenia is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness", but it has come to represent the human tendency to seek patterns in random nature in general, as with gambling, paranormal phenomena, religion, and even attempts at scientific observation.

Source: Wikipedia

The Week in Review

A complete listing of the articles posted on SkS during the past week.

Coming Soon

A list of articles that are in the SkS pipeline. Most of these articles, but not necessarily all, will be posted during the week.

  • Levitus et al. Find Global Warming Continues to Heat the Oceans (Dana)
  • New research from last week 16/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Global Warming Causing Heat Fatalities (Dana)
  • Two Centuries of Climate Science: part one - Fourier to Arrhenius, 1820-1930 (John Mason)
  • Lessons from Past Predictions: Vinnikov on Arctic Sea Ice (Dana)
  • Two Centuries of Climate Science: part two - Hulbert to Keeling, 1931-65 (John Mason)
  • Why Are We Sure We're Right? #2 (Rob Honeycutt et al.)
  • Two Centuries of Climate Science: part three - Manabe to the present day, 1966-2012 (John Mason)

Simple Myth Debunking of the Week

It's the sun can be debunked with one simple graphic.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

SkS Spotlights: Earth Day Network

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

But Earth Day Network does not stop there.

All of EDN’s activities, whether greening schools or promoting green economic policies at home and abroad, inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children. With its partner organizations, EDN provides civic engagement opportunities at the local, state, national and global levels. At every turn, EDN works to broaden the definition of "environment" to include all issues that affect our health, our communities and our environment, such as greening deteriorated schools, creating green jobs and investment, and promoting activism to stop air and water pollution.

Over the last 40 years, EDN has executed successful environmental campaigns on issues ranging from climate change and drinking water to voter registration and saving the whale. EDN is a recognized leader in creating civically–oriented innovative programs with partners outside of the environmental movement to tackle new challenges.  

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Comments 1 to 8:

  1. Happy Earth Day? Earth Day means nothing if We Don’t Limit Carbon Emissions.
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  2. Hapy Earth Day!? It should not have been written happy Earth Day?
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  3. "Take one risk per day" becomes with our global carbon management "Take every day the biggest risk"
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  4. You ask what quotes we live by. I particularly like the work entitled 'Desiderata'. I know that there is a dispute about who wrote it, but I couldn't care less. I resolve that issue by turning to one of the main tenets of logic: The veracity of a statement is independent of the person who states it. If I had to single out only part of Desiderata, it would be: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” Seeing as we are in poetic mode, I will pass on some advice that someone once gave me about how to deal with anyone in a senior position who was behaving as a 'Little Hitler': "Imagine them sitting on the toilet." He did also advise that it is essential to only laugh inwardly. Somewhat circuitously, that brings me back to another saying to live by, this time from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
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  5. Words I (try to) live by:
    • Nil illegitimi carborundum
    • Know thyself
    • As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.(Proverbs 3:27)
    • Do no harm
    • A closed mouth gathers no foot
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  6. Words to live by... Don't ask little of me, you might get it.
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  7. Quotes & principles I have lived my life by, First and foremost: "There are moments in Life when keeping silent becomes a fault, and speaking an obligation. A civic duty, a moral challenge, a categorical imperative from which we cannot escape." ~ Oriana Fallaci On our belonging to the brotherhood of mankind: "One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship and compassion." ~ Simone de Beauvoir On dealing with those whose ideology keeps them in denial: "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." ~ Voltaire and: "Prejudices are what fools use for reason." ~ Voltaire (Yes, I have a soft spot for Voltaire) What to remember about those who espouse delay: "The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake." ~ Meister Eckhart On personal resolve: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr How to handle those dark times when despair strikes: "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." ~ Albert Camus On the perils of ignoring the lessons of the paleo record: "History does not always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells, "Can't you remember anything I told you?" and lets fly with a club." ~ John W. Campbell The philosophy to hold when having to buck the trend, and to take an unpopular stand: "People laugh at me because I am different. I laugh at you all because you are all the same." ~ Jonathan Davis And, lastly, from the Great Philosopher: "If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past." ~ Master Po
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  8. Quote: "The world is warming. Man is to blame." This is what I came up with when I wanted to summarize the issue of climate change for my electronic signature where characters count. It often has the desired effect - people comment and react. Which I think is necessary so that the issue never fades out of discussion.
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