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BaerbelW

Bärbel Winkler lives and works in Germany. She has always had a lot of interest in environmental issues and has been active as a volunteer at the local zoo and a conservation group for many years. Over time and while learning more and more about it, Bärbel became increasingly aware and concerned about climate change and what it will mean for generations to come. As a means to turn her concerns regarding climate change into something productive, Bärbel joined the Skeptical Science team in 2010 and started translating selected content into German. Since 2013 she has been coordinating the translation efforts for all languages and also contributes a blog-post every once in a while

Follow Bärbel on Twitter: @BaerbelW

Publications

Skuce, A. G., Cook, J., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Rice, K., Green, S. A., ... & Nuccitelli, D. (2017). Does It Matter if the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming Is 97% or 99.99%? Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 0270467617702781.

Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., Carlton, J. S., Lewandowsky, S., Skuce, A. G., Green, S. A., ... & Nuccitelli, D. (2016). Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 048002.

Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., Way, R., Jacobs, P., & Skuce, A. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 024024+

Jacobs, P. H., Jokimäki, A., Rice, K., Green, S. A., & Winkler, B. (2016). Polluted Discourse: Communication and Myths in a Climate of Denial. In Communicating Climate-Change and Natural Hazard Risk and Cultivating Resilience (pp. 37-54). Springer International Publishing. Link to abstract

 

Recent blog posts


It's Skeptical Science's 10th Birthday!

Posted on 22 August 2017 by BaerbelW &

Ten years ago, when Skeptical Science (SkS) first went live, John Cook had no inkling of what he had set in motion with the push of the proverbial button. Sifting through the material we have on SkS while putting this post together, I'm quite amazed at what our global team of volunteers has tackled and accomplished over the years. In this article, we'll take a look back and recount some of the pivotal moments in the history of SkS as it evolved from a personal database to a website reaching thousands of people around the globe each day.

SkS-Birthday

As this turned into a fairly long post, you can jump to individual years via these links or the respective buttons:

2007 - SkS goes live
2007

2008 - The calm before the storm
2008

2009 - Going social and international2009 2010 - From one blogger to a big team2010
 2011 - Peak in blogs and an award2011 2012 - Getting hacked and striking back2012
2013 - The year of the 97%2013  2014 - More publications and projects2014
2015 - Countering Denial with a MOOC2015 2016 - Making lemonade from lemons2016

2017 - Onwards and upwards
2017


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9 comments


SkS Resources - Easy to remember Short URLs

Posted on 9 August 2017 by BaerbelW &

Many of you will - hopefully! - be aware of the short URLs included on the Fixed-number list which lead to our rebuttals. They all have the format of "http://sks.to/" + [key word]. So, if you know that the key word for the rebuttal to "It's the sun" is "sun", you can build the link quickly by combining our short link and the key word to http://sks.to/sun. These short URLs come in handy on social media but also in comments sections and the full list is also available in a handy chart:

MythBingo

Myth-Rebuttal Chart - aka "Myth Bingo" - created by jg

What you may not yet know is that we also have short URLs for many other targets, be it for some of our own blog posts, some graphics or papers. This article will be used to list some of those URLs we keep using ourselves frequently. Please feel free to use them as well!

List of short URLs

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1 comments


The Trump Effect - Making Lemonade from Lemons

Posted on 13 June 2017 by BaerbelW &

It may just be me but I get the distinct impression that - "thanks" to Donald Trump's ill-advised and shortsighted decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement - people have been hearing a lot more about climate change since June 1.

As one datapoint, the topic got a lot of coverage on German TV on June 2 with for example about 8 out of 15 minutes dedicated to it in the main news at 8pm or 10 minutes out of 30 at 10pm. There has also been a lot of coverage in the international press as shown in this very helpful CarbonBrief analysis which lets you select articles by various attributes: Global reaction: Trump pulls US out of Paris Agreement on climate change

We can also tell that there seems to be more interest in the topic by looking at the statistics for visits to Skeptical Science. We for example had 48,000+ and 57,000+ unique visitors on June 1 and 2 respectively which is more than twice as many as we have on average and between 3 and 4 times more than on those days a year ago.

One area where we've been keeping very close tabs are the daily views for our rebuttals and by now, we have collected more than 49,000 datapoints for them since the beginning of 2017. The "Trump effect" is clearly visible when looking at the number of rebuttal views from mid-May to early June:

JumpInRebuttalViewsFigure 1: Number of views for each rebuttal across the different levels available (basic, intermediate and advanced). Shown are only rebuttals with at least 500 views on a given day. The big outlier is the rebuttal for "there's no consensus".

Here are some other highlights captured in early June (so the data goes up to June 2). You can see the larger version of the graphics by clicking on them. The top-most viewed rebuttals are calculated by adding up the views of all three available levels basic, intermediate and advanced for each month:

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3 comments


Citizens’ Climate Lobby - Pushing for a price on carbon globally

Posted on 12 May 2017 by BaerbelW &

This blog post provides an update to Dana Nuccitelli’s article from June 2013 about Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) as a lot has happened in the almost four years since it was published.The basics about CCL as explained in Dana’s post haven’t changed and because of that won’t be repeated here.

In 2013, CCL had been active mostly in the U.S. and Canada and the rest of the world didn’t yet play much of a role as shown in this snippet from Dana’s article:

“CCL is also exploring the possibility of launching some UK chapters. Although the UK is part of the European carbon cap and trade system, that system is experiencing difficulties, and CCL aims to maintain UK support for carbon pricing.”

Worldwide presence and impressive number

But, as this current map illustrates, CCL has by now gone global and has chapters on all continents except Antarctica:

CCL-Chapters

Blue pins designate active chapters and yellow pins show chapters in development. Link to live map

The following video is a snippet from last year’s CCL conference in Washington D.C. and gives a glimpse of why people from around the world are joining this effort to get a meaningful price on carbon:

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26 comments


SkS Team - Marching for Science around the globe

Posted on 1 May 2017 by BaerbelW &

Many articles have already been written about the recent March for Science - Dana's Guardian post "March against madness" being a case in point. So, this one will not have a lot of words and will let the collages put together from the marches where members from our Skeptical Science team participated in speak for themselves. Where available, you'll also find links to the respective march's homepage. Enjoy!

Sou marched in Melbourne (and has a blog post on HotWhopper about it):

SkS-M4S-Sou

Baerbel joined the rally in Stuttgart (organiser's Flickr album) and the march in Tübingen (video from the event) in southern Germany:

SkS-M4S-Baerbel

Ian joined the march in London (more of Ian's pictures in his album on Facebook):

SkS-M4S-Ian

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6 comments


Paced version of Denial101x starting on March 21!

Posted on 16 March 2017 by BaerbelW &

The next iteration of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, starts on March 21 and will run for 8 weeks as a paced course.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland and takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation. With all the misinformation and outright lies coming out of Washington regarding climate science - not to mention many other topics - our MOOC will give you the knowledge to spot and the tools to effectively counter them.

The course first launched in April 2015. Since then, over 30,000 students from over 160 countries have enrolled in the course. Last year, we were honoured to be named one of the finalists for the first-ever edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning (the prize went to TU Delft's Arno Smets). We've received some wonderful feedback from students who've taken the course, particularly teachers who are using our course videos in their classes. Here is a video compilation of some feedback from the students:

You can sign up for free via the edX website.

Hope to see you there!

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3 comments


To tweet or not to tweet at Donald Trump? That was the question!

Posted on 8 March 2017 by BaerbelW & John Mason

Knowing Twitter to be the prefered means of communication for the current POTUS and that he “may” have a thing or two to learn about climate science, John Mason recently set out to explain the carbon cycle in a series of 49 tweets in a language we hoped Donald Trump would be able to grasp.

As John explained: “I often wonder if a lot of climate change communication follows formats that may be unattractive to some people. Lengthy posts complete with explanatory graphics are appreciated by many, but others simply may not have the time to work through them for all sorts of reasons. Yet, this should not exclude them from accessing information. So regardless of whether Trump read the tweets or not, I wanted to proceed with this as an experiment in making climate communication available to a wider demographic. The simpler the framing of information, the more quickly it may be scanned and absorbed. I picked a fairly complex aspect of planetary science - Earth’s Carbon Cycle - and set out to simplify it whilst keeping it consistent with what the science says.

So, on February 28, the tweets started to go out on Twitter in a little tweet storm:

Tweet-Storm-01

A good two hours later the final tweets were sent:

Tweet-storm-03

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20 comments


Why claiming that climate scientists are in it for the money is absurd

Posted on 14 February 2017 by BaerbelW &

If you are reading the comments on basically any climate change related article, it won't take long to get to one (or more!) commenters boldly claiming that "climate scientists are only in it for the money". This will often be accompanied by outrageously high $ amounts to really get anybody's hackles up but without any real evidence for their statement.

This article is intended to be a repository listing resources you can use to counter this unsubstantiated claim whenever it crops up somewhere. Some are blog posts, some are videos while others come from social media postings.

Videos

One of the best explanations of why the claim is just absurd comes from Richard Alley in this interview snippet:

Many of the scientists interviewed for Denial101x also explain why they do what they do and it doesn't have anything to do with money (big surprise!). All those expert interviews are available in the Wakelet-collection Denial101x Expert Interviews

Blog Posts

John Timmer in ArsTechnica (May 2012) - Accusations that climate science is money-driven reveal ignorance of how science is done

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9 comments


2016 in Review: a recap of what happened at Skeptical Science

Posted on 31 December 2016 by BaerbelW &

Considering what all our team of volunteers managed to get done in 2015 we didn't really go into 2016 with the expectation to "beat" it as far as productivity goes. But, as it turned out, this review article for 2016 is about the same length as last year's so we at least haven't taken a sabbatical! As this post is quite long, you can jump to the different sections via the following links:

Scholarly Publications and books

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences and presentations

Social Media and some homepage stats

Recognition


Scholarly Publications and books

thesisOn August 3 SkS founder John Cook received notification that his PhD thesis had been accepted without revision, so he's now Dr. John Cook (but I have a hunch that he still prefers to be called John, at least by his friends and colleagues!). You can download his thesis, aptly titled "Closing the “consensus gap” by communicating the scientific consensus on climate change and countering misinformation” from SkS. It consists of 9 papers published in peer reviewed journals and other publications, the different chapters woven together into a single document by introductory comments. It makes for quite an interesting read! Congratulations to John for this accomplishment!

John co-authored the paper "The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism" with Stephan Lewandowsky and Elisabeth Loyd. The three authors look at both rhetorical and scientific arguments put out by deniers and list examples of where these various arguments contradict each other as outlined in Graham Readfearn's explainer.

In October, John's in-depth article "Countering Climate Science Denial and Communicating Scientific Consensus" was published online in the Climate Science Oxford Research Enyclopedias from where it can also be downloaded as a PDF document.

Mark Richardson, Kevin Cowtan and Martin Stolpe from the SkS-team  published "Reconciled climate response estimates from climate models and the energy budget of Earth" in Nature Climate Change with Ed Hawkins as another co-author. You can read more about this paper on Kevin's University of York webpage, where he published a background article.

Robert Way published "Underestimated warming of northern Canada in the Berkeley Earth temperature product" in the International Journal of Climatology with co-authors Frank Oliva and Andre Viau from the University of Ottawa.

ExaminingFactsTogether with Daniel Bedford, John published the textbook "Climate Change: Examining the Facts". From the description:

"Climate change is one of the most controversial and misunderstood issues of the 21st century. This book provides a clear understanding of the issue by presenting scientific facts to refute falsehoods and misinformation―and to confirm the validity of other assertions.

Is public understanding of global warming suffering from politically biased news coverage? Is it true that the global scientific community has not reached a consensus on whether humans are causing climate change? This important book addresses these questions and many more about global warming, identifying common claims about climate change and using quantifiable, evidence-based information to examine their veracity." 

2016 saw continued interest in our consensus study (Cook et al. 2013) with the paper surpassing half a million downloads on ERL's website in early summer. As of this writing, the paper still gets downloaded about 2,000 times per week and currently stands at 570,000+ downloads from ERL, making it the most viewed paper in all of the journals published by the Institute of Physics (IOP). It also gets "talked about" on the net a lot as indicated by Altimetric.

In December, Cook et al. (2013) was included as one of the influential papers in ERL's special collection to celebrate its 10th anniversary publishing peer-reviewed scientific papers. ERL celebrated its anniversary with a reception at this year's AGU:

AGU-ERL

As a reaction to continued attacks on our paper - and especially a published comment by Richard Tol - we collaborated with the authors of 6 other consensus studies and published "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming" in April (Cook et al. 2016). Both of our consensus papers have been consistently listed among the top 3 of ERL's most viewed papers since then and "Consensus on consensus" just passed 100,000 downloads sometime during the last week of 2016.

CoC

Several more publications are currently in the works and we’ll let you know about them once they’ve been published.

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3 comments


Skeptical Science at AGU 2016 - a recap

Posted on 26 December 2016 by BaerbelW & John Cook

This year's Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has come and gone and quite a lot happened during the week from Dec. 12 to 16. As mentioned in our earlier post, several SkS teammembers were actively involved with giving talks and/or presenting posters while others were there to take it all in as was the case for me with attending AGU for the very first time.

This post is a (long) recap divided into the following sections:

SkS presentations

Denial101x featured in a poster session

Rally to stand up for Science

ERL's 10th anniversary reception

NCSE Friend of the Planet awards

Interviewing Stephan Lewandowsky

Further Reading

AGU-2016-collage

Some impressions from AGU 2016 (photos: Baerbel Winkler)

SkS presentations

John Cook presented a talk A Brief History of Consensus (PPT 6.8Mb), outlining the misinformation campaign against consensus, the studies quantifying the level of scientific agreement and how to neutralise misinformation.

Dana Nuccitelli presented a talk on climate model accuracy – comparing past global temperature projections to observations, and effectively debunking associated myths.  The model-data comparisons can be seen in the video below.

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0 comments


Getting involved with Climate Science via crowdfunding and crowdsourcing

Posted on 7 December 2016 by BaerbelW &

At a guess, many of you reading this post are already making good personal choices to help mitigate climate change. Some of you would perhaps like to do more. So, here are some suggestions where you can get actively involved either via crowdfunding, where you make a monetary donation or via crowdsourcing, where you donate your or your computer's time to sift through different sets of data.

This post is divided into three sections:

Ongoing crowdfunding - sites and groups listed here are continously looking for donations

Shortterm crowdfunding - these are projects with a target amount and a set deadline

Crowdsourcing - projects looking for your (or your computer's) time


Ongoing crowdfunding

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF)

Logo-CSLDF The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was established to make sure that legal actions are not viewed as an attack against one scientist or institution, but as attacks against the scientific endeavor as a whole. As well. the CSLDF protects individual scientists facing unfair legal attacks by organized groups. Given the current climate - pun most definitely intended - in the U.S. the CSLDF's work is unfortunately becoming ever more important. Link to donation page

Dark Snow Project

Jason Box's and Peter Sinclair's The Dark Snow Project gathers ‘hard numbers’ from the Arctic to quantify the distant snow/ice melting impact of industrial and wildfire black carbon soot; mineral dust; and microbes, each melt factor having some human driven enhancement. Link to donation page LogoDarkSnow

The Australian Climate Council

LogoClimateCouncil After thousands of Australians chipped in to Australia's biggest crowd-funding campaign, the abolished Climate Commission has relaunched as the new, independent Climate Council. We exist to provide independent, authoritative climate change information to the Australian public. Why? Because our response to climate change should be based on the best science available. Link to donation page

Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE)

Your donation to Citizens’ Climate Education will train ordinary citizens to promote fair, effective, and non-partisan climate change solutions. Citizens’ Climate Education’s volunteers understand that we owe it to tomorrow’s generations to face our climate challenges today. These informed, respectful citizens work to build a clean and prosperous future, leading elected officials towards solutions that reduce carbon pollution, create jobs, and strengthen the American economy. Link to donation page Logo-CCE

Real Skeptic Blog

Logo-RS The goal of Real Skeptic is to look at claims about science and investigate what the scientific literature has to say about it. Since the official start of Real Sceptic a wide array of articles about skepticism were written for this website. There’s a heavy emphasis on the accuracy of the articles published and the usage of high quality sources. Link to Patreon page

Inside Climate News

InsideClimate News is an essential, global voice that exposes the truth about the climate crisis. We connect the dots to those responsible, so that you can hold them accountable. As we enter our 10th year, we’re launching The InsideClimate Circle to ensure that our award-winning nonprofit news organization remains fiercely independent and courageously persistent. Link to membership page ICN-Log

 


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3 comments


Dear Mr President-elect: a message from across the Pond

Posted on 29 November 2016 by John Mason & BaerbelW

Dear Mr President-elect,

On 6 Nov 2012, at 11:15 am, you tweeted:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

We'd like to take you on a quick tour back through the ages, because the early understanding of Earth's climate - and the role that carbon has to play in it - came from the West, not the East. Let's run through it quickly.

In 1800, British astronomer William Herschel first measured the heat that occurs in the warm – now known as infra-red (IR) – part of the spectrum. In 1824, French engineer Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier calculated that Earth should be colder than it is, at its orbital distance from the Sun. Today, it is common knowledge that outgoing IR radiation is emitted by the Earth's surface in response to heating by the Sun. But Fourier was the first to figure out that the IR was being slowed down during its journey back out to space. The air, he said, must act as a form of insulating blanket, keeping the planet warm. Smart guy.

This was just two years before Samuel Morey patented the first internal combustion engine.

In 1861, Anglo-Irish physicist John Tyndall observed that some atmospheric gases were transparent to IR radiation. But he found that others, like water vapor and carbon dioxide, were powerful IR absorbers. He was the first to propose that changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could influence the Earth's climate. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius took it further. He made the first detailed calculations to see what a doubling of carbon dioxide levels might do to temperatures. His answer was a 5-6°C increase in the average global temperature. His ‘hot-house theory’ was set out for the first time in 1908 in his popular book ‘Worlds in the Making’.

In 1909, American astronomer Andrew Douglass developed the techniques of studying tree-rings and was the first to find the connection between tree ring widths and climate. In 1931, American physicist E.O Hulburt ran calculations to determine the effect of doubling carbon dioxide with the added burden of water vapor. His figure? 4°C of warming. In 1938, English engineer Guy Callendar discovered evidence of a warming temperature trend in the early twentieth century. He also found that CO2 levels were increasing and he warned that over the coming centuries there could be a climate shift to a permanently warmer state.

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24 comments


Join the self-paced version of Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial!

Posted on 20 October 2016 by BaerbelW &

The next run of our free online course, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, started on Oct. 18 and will be open until March 7, 2017 as a self-paced course. This means that there are no deadlines apart from the final day of the MOOC and that you can work through all of the material as your time allows. If you participated in one of the earlier iterations but missed some deadlines, this is the opportunity to see it through.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a collaboration between Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland, that takes an interdisciplinary look at climate science denial. We explain the psychological drivers of denial, debunk many of the most common myths about climate change and explore the scientific research into how to respond to climate misinformation.

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0 comments


Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

Posted on 3 May 2016 by BaerbelW & jg

Chances are high that you will have come across somebody somewhere on the internet who still doesn't accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. That somebody may well have used a veritable firehose of falsehoods - usually referred to as a gish-gallop - where a big list of myths is fired off in quick succession. Creating such a gish-gallop is quick & easy and the urge to try and debunk all the misinformation it contains is often quite strong, but it's also a very time-consuming task to undertake. One time-saving option to tackle it, is to just concentrate on the most egregious instances of misinformation as examples of how the writer tries to mislead his readers and to ignore the rest. But, this has the disadvantage that others might accuse you of cherry-picking what you chose to debunk.

So, what other options do you have to fairly quickly dispense with such a firehose of falsehoods?

Option #1 - The Fact-Myth-Fallacy overview

Our MOOC Denial101x debunked around 50 of the most often heard myths related to climate science using the recipe to start out with the fact, followed by a short mention of the myth (with a warning!) and finishing off with explaining the fallacy employed. A condensed version of these debunkings is available as a four-page-PDF which you can download from here:

Fact-Myth-FallacyThe fallacies are based on the five techniques used by science deniers to distort facts: fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking evidence, and conspiracy theories. The acronym FLICC is an easy way to remember these techniques.

FLICC: Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, Conspiracy theories. John Cook

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11 comments


The Uncertainty Handbook: Download and Translations

Posted on 23 February 2016 by BaerbelW &

UHB-EN-ThumbHave you ever struggled with the communication of climate change uncertainties? Are you frustrated by climate sceptics using uncertainty - inherent in any area of complex science - as a justification for delaying policy responses? Then the new ‘Uncertainty Handbook’ - a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Climate Outreach (former COIN) - is for you.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on communicating uncertainty into a few pages of practical, easy-to-apply techniques, providing scientists, policymakers and campaigners with the tools they need to communicate more effectively around climate change. Download the report here, and check out our 12 principles for more effectively communicating climate change uncertainty here.

tuh_button

The Authors:

The Uncertainty Handbook was authored by Dr. Adam Corner (Climate Outreach), Professor Stephan Lewandowsky (University of Bristol), Dr Mary Phillips (University of Bristol) and Olga Roberts (Climate Outreach). All are experts in their fields and have expertise relating to the role of uncertainty in climate change or how best to communicate it.

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7 comments


2015 in Review: another productive year for the Skeptical Science team

Posted on 29 December 2015 by BaerbelW &

2015 has been yet another very productive year for the all volunteer Skeptical Science team. From publishing scientific papers to co-producing a MOOC we were kept rather busy throughout the year. This post is a wrap-up of what all we’ve been up to and includes these sections:

Scholarly Publications and books

Other publications and activities

Our MOOC Denial101x

Conferences

Social Media


Scholarly Publications and books

As in previous years, members of the SkS-team contributed to ongoing scientific research and (co)authored several important papers, published books and a book chapter.

Kevin Cowtan published a paper (Cowtan et al. 2015) which showed that global climate models are even more accurate than previously thought. Several members of the SkS-team were among the co-authors: Zeke Hausfather, Peter Jacobs, Martin Stolpe and Robert Way.

diagram

A depiction of how global temperatures calculated from models use air temperatures above the ocean surface (right frame), while observations are based on the water temperature in the top few metres (left frame). Created by Kevin Cowtan.

Dana Nuccitelli and John Cook were co-authors on Benestad et al. (2015) which found common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus.

John Cook published Misinformation and How to Correct It (Cook et al. 2015) a multi-discplinary review of misinformation research. He was asked to anticipate where future research into misinformation might head - which is a tough ask. He approached it creatively by answering the question what he would like to research in the future.

John also is a co-author on Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial (Lewandowsky et al. 2015) which examined the comments on climate science-denying blogs and found strong evidence of widespread conspiratorial thinking. The study looks at the comments made in response to a previous paper linking science denial and conspiracy theories.

In "Misdiagnosis of earth climate sensitivity based on energy balance model results" Mark Richardson - together with  Zeke Hausfather, Dana Nuccitelli, Ken Rice and John P. Abraham  - explained the many shortcomings in Monckton et al. (2015). They found that differences could be explained because Monckton et al. relied a lot on a narrative approach (aka storytelling) while most other studies use physics and real-world measurements where possible.

Dana NDanaClimatologyBookCoveruccitelli wrote and published the book Climatology versus Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics which covers a wide range of climate-related topics, starting with a history of some key discoveries in the field of climate science beginning nearly 200 years ago. Along the way it debunks some common climate myths, progressing forward in time to the 1970s, when scientists’ ability to model the global climate began to advance rapidly. It examines the accuracy of a variety of global warming projections, starting with J.S. Sawyer in 1972, through the recent IPCC reports, as well as some predictions by contrarians like Richard Lindzen.

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4 comments


Leveraging the Skeptical Science Glossary for references

Posted on 28 October 2015 by BaerbelW &

If you are a long-time reader of Skeptical Science you'll be aware of the glossary functionality which automatically displays definitions of scientific terms when you have the cursor hover above an underlined term. This neat functionality was created and announced by Bob Lacatena and went live in February 2013.

The Skeptical Science team has had on and off discussions about the need for a kind of bibliography for all the scientific papers we regularly reference in our blog posts and rebuttals. During one of these discussions Phil mentioned that it would be nice to have the relevant reference immediately displayed in a pop-up-box. And so, the penny dropped and we realised that we already had this functionality available at Skeptical Science: the glossary!

I went ahead and did a quick test to see if the idea could work out and added an entry for Cook et al. (2013) to the glossary. Once the entry had been added and a page found where the spelling of the "term" - i.e. the reference - fitted the glossary entry, this immediately worked as intended and the citation was displayed in the right-hand margin of the page as soon as the cursor hovered above the reference:

SkS-Glossary-References-01

You should be able to test this yourself with the above reference to our consensus study. Hover the cursor above it and see what happens! If it doesn't work, check your glossary settings via the "Look up a Term" panel shown at the bottom of this page:

lookupaterm

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2 comments


Skeptical Science reader survey - thanks for your feedback!

Posted on 6 October 2015 by BaerbelW &

Thanks a lot to all of you who participated in our reader survey, providing lots of feedback for us to sift through and mull over! We'll share some snapshots of the results in this post and include some of your written comments, selected from those responses where you've given us your consent to share them.

Some statistics

We received 314 filled out surveys over the course of a week with most of them coming in the first 3 days after we posted the link. About 30 different countries show up in the results, with the US, Australia, the UK and Canada listed the most often which also makes English the most often mentioned first language.

Some results

Blog posts

SurveyResultsBlog

SurveyResultsResearchSelected comments about blog posts:

"It is the first resource I look for comments and discussions about new research."

"i became aware of your site a few years ago, it's a great resource, helped me understand the science."

"it is in the comments where this blog shines. you are doing it right and the community you have nurtured works well and is something i read often"

"The only reason I did not rate blog posts as extremely valuable, is many are available on other blogs I visit regularly. If SKS was my sole source, I would have rated all as extremely valuable. I do have high confidence in what I read at SKS."

"It's tough not to give you folks top marks - Your articles are straight forward and gear towards the intelligent layperson. The links you offer to back up everything described is most excellent. Keep up the good work."

"I find the site very rewarding. Climate change has been a long time interest and to find the wide ranging content is engaging my interest in an ongoing way."

Rebuttals

SurveyResultsRebuttalsSelected comments about rebuttals:

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4 comments


Skeptical Science reader survey - your chance to give us your feedback!

Posted on 15 September 2015 by BaerbelW &

Update: Our survey was closed on Sept. 22 - thanks to all of you who participated!

Since its inception in 2007 Skeptical Science has changed quite a lot and many resources have been added over the years. Our "Welcome to Skeptical Science" post gives a rough overview of which resources have been made available by John Cook and the dedicated team of volunteers from across the globe.

Many of the resources and features have been added because we hoped that they would be useful for you - our readers - and many of the comments you share - or the emails you write - are an indication that this is in fact the case. But, we'd like to dig deeper and get a better handle on which features are the most valuable for you or where we can improve Skeptical Science's content. This is why we put together the Skeptical Science Reader Survey (as of Sept. 22 the survey has been closed):

SkS Reader Survey

The survey shouldn't take longer than 5 to 10 minutes to complete. You'll find questions about which sections of Skeptical Science you regularly visit and how valuable you find them.

Blog post gradingMost questions ask for feedback via a scale from 0 to 5 like the ones for blog posts shown on the left.

But, we also included free text questions where you can provide additional feedback about the resources or Skeptical Science in general.

So, thanks for taking our survey and helping us to make Skeptical Science better!

Here is the link to the survey: Skeptical Science Reader Survey

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2 comments


Denial101x MOOC - Full list of videos and references at your fingertips

Posted on 3 September 2015 by LarryM & BaerbelW

The "Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial" MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is now available as a self-paced course that anyone can take at any time.  The course was produced by the all-volunteer Skeptical Science team and the University of Queensland, and hosted on the edX-platform.  The lectures and expert interviews provide a unique resource for countering climate myths, learning effective myth-debunking techniques, and learning the basics of climate science in easily digestible bites.  These resources are now available in an organized and easily searched format.  Use them often!

MOOC videos.  The collection of Denial101x videos listed below is organized by week and by topic.  There are 81 lectures on focused topics, each about 5-7 minutes in length, plus 40 full interviews with experts in climate science and climate communication.  The video playlist is also available on the Denial101x YouTube channel.

MOOC references.  Each Denial101x lecture is supported by peer-reviewed research.  A comprehensive list of references is available, with links to the corresponding papers.

MOOC-related blog posts:

Other SkS resources:


Index of videos by week

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20 comments


Indonesian translation of The Debunking Handbook

Posted on 1 August 2015 by BaerbelW &

The Debunking Handbook is now available in Indonesian. Many thanks to Herendraswari Kusumawardani who did this 10th(!) translation of the handbook.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Debunking Handbook into another language, please contact us (select "Enquiry about translations" from the drop-down list) to ensure nobody else is already working on your language. Then download this Word document which has all the English text in one column and a blank column in which to place the translated text. Once complete, send us back the document and we'll insert the translated text into the existing design. The already available translations can be found on this page.

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0 comments


As the Denial101x course ends, a new one begins

Posted on 1 July 2015 by BaerbelW &

On June 16, the first iteration of Denial101x came to a close and here is a collection of feedback from students, lecturers and course staff to hopefully whet your appetite to enroll in the self-paced version of our MOOC due to launch on July 1!

Student perspective

Thousands of students from around the world participated in Denial101x and many of them put a pin on a map:

Denial101x-Map

We received videos from students across the world sharing their experience with and perspective about Denial101. Here is a compilation of them:

Lecturer perspective

Dr. Keah Schuenemann - one of our MOOC's lecturers - published a blog-post about her experience. It starts with the students' video feedback followed by this :

It really makes me feel like all of the hard work was worth it!  I spent most weekends this semester working on this course.  Plus, I made a lot of new friends that I hope to continue to work with in the future.  Thanks to John Cook for inviting me to participate!

Keah also created a playlist containing all her lectures: Heat Waves, Wavy Jet Stream, Sea Level Rise, Extreme Weather, Weather vs Climate models, Water Vapor Amplifies Warming, and IPCC Underestimates:

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3 comments


97 Hours - the Turkish edition

Posted on 2 December 2014 by BaerbelW &

Shortly after 97 Hours of Consensus had been successfully completed, we received an email from the Turkey-based blog Out for Beyond enquiring if they could create translated versions for the quotes. Obviously, we were quite happy with this chance to increase the project’s reach even further!

The Out for Beyond team quickly started to translate the quotes while we prepared the Skeptical Science website in order to eventually host the “dubbed” cartoons. Once they became available, the translations were proofread by a colleague of mine in Germany and given a big thumbs-up for their quality.

The first finished quote was the one for Michael Mann (who knew that he is fluent in Turkish?):

97Hours_Michael_Mann_TR

97Hours_49_James_HansenIn an effort to raise awareness in Turkey about climate change, Out for Beyond is publishing the quotes on their blog while COP20 in Lima is happening. The plan is to publish one quote per hour from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm each day, making this campaign stretch out for almost the complete duration of COP20. Please visit Out for Beyond to follow their project!

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1 comments


From Pole to Pole - a climate-themed tour through a zoo

Posted on 20 October 2014 by BaerbelW &

The Wilhelma is Stuttgart’s zoological and botanical garden and is one of the many participants in the Pole to Pole campaign organised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) which represents and links 345 institutions and organisations in 41 countries. The European zoos count millions of visitors each year and EAZA aims to educate as many of them as possible about environmental and conservation issues in countries around the world. Previous campaigns highlighted the plights of tigers, rhinosapes or European carnivores to name just a few examples. Participation of the zoos and what they offer in support of a campaign is voluntary and it usually hinges on whether or not a zoo keeps any of the flagship-species highlighted in a campaign.

EAZA-Logo WilhelmaLogoP2P-small

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5 comments


Seal of approval - How marine mammals provide important climate data

Posted on 22 July 2014 by BaerbelW & Anne-Marie Blackburn

Understanding what is happening in the oceans is crucial since 90% of global warming is going there and attempts to measure temperatures at various depths go back to the 1960s. But, what does this Weddell seal have to do with this and what is it wearing on its head?

Weddell_Seal_DanCosta
Weddell Seal West Antarctic Peninsula (photo: Dan Costa - NMFS 87-1851-03)

To answer these questions we have to backtrack a bit and look at the recent history of data collection used to find out what is happening in the oceans.

How has the data for charts like the ocean heat content been collected?

OHC
Figure 1: Land, atmosphere, and ice heating (red), 0-700 meter OHC increase (light blue), 700-2,000 meter OHC increase (dark blue). From Nuccitelli et al. (2012)

The underlying data about the temperature at different depths has been collected since the 1960s via expendable bathythermographs (XBT) and mechanical bathythermographs (MBT) deployed from ships travelling across the high seas. These measurements have been rather confined to the shipping lanes most travelled and therefore leave out a lot of the actual ocean surface, including much of the polar regions as these are not (yet!) on any regular shipping lines.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a network of autonomous Argo-floats started to be deployed all across the ocean and there are currently 3,600 floats providing around 100,000 measurements per year.

Current ARGO-statusFigure 2:  Positions of the floats that have delivered data within the last 30 days (Updated daily) From the Argo website

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11 comments


Mitigation Mosaic: How small steps can make a difference

Posted on 14 January 2014 by BaerbelW &

I live in Fellbach (pop. 44,200 in 2011) in southern Germany’s Baden-Württemberg. The town covers an area of 2,770 hectares (ha) of which 1,296 ha are used for agriculture, 163 ha for vineyards, 316 ha are forested and the rest is used for housing, light industry, streets and other purposes. The town lies at an altitude of 288m (center) and its highest point is the Kappelberg at 469m. Fellbach is located close to Stuttgart which is the capital city of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Germany

Fellbach

Introduction

Even though this region hasn’t yet seen pronounced negative effects of climate change – and perhaps may not even be hit as hard as others in the future – the town and its local energy provider (Stadtwerke Fellbach) have been pro-active in establishing mitigating strategies since the second half of the 1990s.  Fellbach has the advantage that it owns the majority of the local energy provider “Stadtwerke Fellbach” and can therefore set the general direction of how energy is sourced. A major decision was already taken back in the second half of the 1990s when Fellbach decided to make its administration CO2-neutral by the year 2012 (a goal already reached in 2010).  And, in 2007 the town council unanimously voted to work towards further decreasing CO2 emissions across town by another 10% over the next 10 years by encouraging mitigation activities on privately owned premises. In order to support this, €10m will be made available from the town’s budget.

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4 comments


Your chance to make a difference: Join the SkS-Translator team!

Posted on 1 January 2014 by BaerbelW &

Are you a bi-, tri- or even multilingual Skeptical Science reader and would you like to help increase our website’s global reach? If your answer is ‘Yes’, then here is your chance to make a difference!

What this is all about

We already have translations in 20 different languages as indicated by the flag-icons on Skeptical Science’s homepage:

BannerFlags

But the number of translations published for each language varies greatly. Just click on some of the flags in the banner to see for yourself! For 2014 we have the goal to make more content available in more languages and in order to do this we need your help.

Translating texts can be a time consuming effort, but please don’t let this stop you from raising your virtual hand or stepping forward as we have different translation tasks waiting to be tackled. At least some of them shouldn’t be too much of a timehog (or so we hope)!

Translation tasks waiting for You to be tackled

Here are some items on the to-be-translated-list and what’s already out there:

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0 comments


Swedish translation of The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism

Posted on 7 December 2013 by BaerbelW &

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism has been translated into 18 languages. The latest translation is Swedish. Many thanks to Katarina Kaudern for her work translating the guide and to Emma Andersson and Ole Martin Christensen for proofreading it.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Guide into another language, there are two documents to help you: a two-column Word document with all the English text in one column and a blank column to place the translated text, plus a PDF Overview of the Guide to clearly mark each section.

Please download the Word document and email the document back to us with the translated text. We'll then insert that into the existing design. But best first to contact me by selecting "Enquiry about translations" from the contact form's dropdown menu to ensure no one else is already working on your language. Note: the following languages have already been translated:

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1 comments


Croatian translation of The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism

Posted on 21 November 2013 by BaerbelW &

Since launching in December 2010, the Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism has been used by teacher associations, museums, websites, student groups and other organisations. The Guide has also been translated into 17 languages. The latest translation is Croatian. Many thanks to Ivan Guettler and others from the Croatian meteorological society for doing the translation.

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate the Guide into another language, there are two documents to help you: a two-column Word document with all the English text in one column and a blank column to place the translated text, plus a PDF Overview of the Guide to clearly mark each section.

Please download the Word document and email the document back to us with the translated text. We'll then insert that into the existing design. But best first to contact me by selecting "Enquiry about translations" from the contact form's dropdown menu to ensure no one else is already working on your language.. Note: the following languages have already been translated:

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0 comments


Where SkS-Material gets used - Coursera's Climate Literacy Course

Posted on 2 August 2013 by BaerbelW &

On May 17, 2013 'Climate Literacy' - a MOOC (massive open online course) offered from the University of British Columbia (UBC) via the Coursera platform - kicked off with a first email from the instructors Dr. Sara Harris and Dr. Sarah Burch:

"Welcome to Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations. You are among thousands of students from around the world currently registered for this course. Climate Literacy offers an unparalleled opportunity to have a meaningful, informed conversation about climate change. Despite the shifting winds of public opinion and intricate political machinations, it’s hard to miss the ongoing conversation surrounding climate change. Stories are emerging from around the globe: rising sea levels and eroding coral islands in the Maldives; increasing hurricane activity affecting the U.S. eastern seaboard and Gulf coast; drought in central Africa; declining amphibian populations in the Amazon. …."

What followed has been an excellent example of how these types of online courses should be done:

  • Professionally produced videos with the instructors addressing us - the students - directly
  • Presented by two engaging instructors who clearly put a lot of effort into this first iteration of the course
  • Accompanying materials like video-transcripts and slides made available for download
  • Clearly structured overall course layout with outlines for each weekly module made available on Fridays
  • Reasonable deadlines to turn in course work

Over the course of 10 weeks, we tackled the various aspects of climate change in modules called 'The Conversation', 'Climate System', 'Energy', 'Carbon', 'Models', 'Future Climate', 'Impacts', 'Mitigation', 'Adaptation' and 'Taking Action'. The first 6 modules were presented by Dr. Sara Harris who teaches global climate change, environmental science, and oceanography in the department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She has a PhD in Oceanography from Oregon State University and a research background in paleoceanography and paleoclimate.  With module 7, Dr. Sarah Burch took over. She is Assistant Professor of Climate and Society at the University of Waterloo, but co-created the course during her time as a Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UBC.  She has a PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from UBC and focuses on climate change and sustainability governance.

SaraHarrisSarahBurch

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14 comments


How SkS-Material gets used - Slovenian translation of the Scientific Guide

Posted on 17 June 2013 by gvert & BaerbelW

In the last two decades a changing climate has started to show devastating consequences – ranging from some extreme weather events to sea level rise and rapid Arctic ice melt. At the same time peer-reviewed studies showing the effects of human activities on the climate system have grown into a vast body of evidence for anthropogenic climate change. On the other hand, those in denial have grown in number and gained a great deal of attention in politics, media and public debates. Fortunately, some internet sites try to bridge the chasm between accurate, but rather dry scientific reports and the knowledge of an average layperson about climate change. Undoubtedly, Skeptical Science fits this category by providing a vivid and accurate picture of climate change for the general public.

LogoSlovMetSocThe Slovenian Meteorological Society, a team of a little more than one hundred people interested in meteorology, was very pleased to see the Skeptical Science internet site for the first time some years ago. We immediately decided to translate well-written scientific answers on skeptics’ arguments. It took us a few months to translate 60 articles in Slovene language. Our activities about climate change later focused on a presentation of climate change science to the broader public. A paper titled Stališče Slovenskega meteorološkega društva o podnebnih spremembah  (Statement of Slovenian Meteorological Society on Climate Change) was issued in our journal Vetrnica.

In spite of these described activities, something more was needed to counteract the growing denial movement in Slovenia. The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism became available at that time and we decided to create a translation for it. In September 2011 the Slovenian version was published on Skeptical Science. Due to lack of financial resources, we were unable to print and distribute the guide to the broader public at the time. After a year and a half, in early spring this year, we had gathered sufficient funds for printing 1000 copies.

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3 comments


Video 16 more years of Global Warming available with German voice-over

Posted on 3 February 2013 by BaerbelW & olivermarchand

A version of the 16-Years-video with German voice-over has been created and uploaded to the SkS-Youtube channel. Creating this version involved five steps and virtual collaboration across four countries and two continents:

  1. Translating the video-script and cutting the wording down to roughly fit the English original time-wise was started in Germany by Bärbel with proofreading and corrections provided from Switzerland (Oliver) and Norway (Gunnar).
  2. Once we had the script, Oliver recorded the voice-over in Switzerland and sent the audio-file to Kevin C. in the U.K.
  3. Kevin then merged the voice-over with his video to create the German version which required some "stretching" of the video to fit our slightly longer audio (2:18 compared to 2:02).
  4. As a last step, John (in Australia) uploaded the final video to the SkS-channel where it is now waiting to be watched
  5. To coincide with the video's release we also prepared and published a German version of the 16-year rebuttal.

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0 comments


Review of new iBook: Going to Extremes

Posted on 24 June 2012 by BaerbelW &

James Powell's iBook Going to Extremes is an informative read about the recent weather extremes around the globe, with an emphasis on the U.S. which experienced 14 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011, the most in history. My short review will mostly be about the advantages of this - relatively - new type of book and not so much about the content which will be very familiar to regular readers of Skeptical Science.

The iBook-format is ideal for a topic like weather extremes and their relationship with climate change as it makes it easy to include not just pictures but also videos and interactive graphics. You'll come across videos from floodings as well as footage captured by satellite of events like the inundation of Cairo Beach:

These multi-media additions make reading this as an iBook a lot more interesting than reading it the "traditional way" as a printed book. I was especially impressed by several "before-and-after" satellite images depicting towns like Joplin before and after the tornado hit on May 22, 2011.

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14 comments


Klimafakten.de - Leveraging Skeptical Science content

Posted on 29 November 2011 by BaerbelW &

To coincide with the Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa (COP17) a new website has been launched in Germany on November 28: klimafakten.de.

LogoKlimafakten

Some content of the new website is based on Skeptical Science and the translation and editing was made possible through a grant from the European Climate Foundation (ECF) . The website's quality is ensured with the help of a scientific advisory board which includes climate scientists from Germany and Switzerland like Prof. Dr. Peter Lemke, Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar- and  Marine Research, Bremerhaven and Prof. Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to name just two. The complete list of board members has been posted on the website.

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2 comments


German Energy Priorities

Posted on 4 July 2011 by dana1981 & BaerbelW

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Germany has decided to phase-out its nuclear power plants by 2022.  Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would need to replace a substantial amount of this phased-out energy with coal and natural gas power plants.

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45 comments


So, you think that learning about climate change needs to be tedious?

Posted on 9 February 2011 by BaerbelW &

Actually, that isn’t necessarily so if the information is gift-wrapped or disguised as a fun but not trivial climate-quiz! In the course of working as a voluntary zoo-docent, I have helped to put together several quizzes to pique visitors’ interest about specific topics like tigers, rhinos, the rainforests or right now apes. All of these quizzes contain general questions about the animals and areas but don’t shirk away from the hard themes like the dire straits these species and regions are in. Questions which come with striking visuals or comparisons work best to get people thinking. We’ve been using the quizzes as one element of various materials – some of it “hands-on” – on our touch-tables. If the visitors are interested to learn more, some of the questions and answers can then be explained in more detail.

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15 comments



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