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Powerpoint with a purpose
January 8, 2007 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Al Gore trains 1,000 people from around the world to share the message he presented in "An Inconvenient Truth". "The goal had been to train 1,000 "presenters" to show slides of melting glaciers and charts of climbing temperatures, but many more have wanted in. Those selected to gather at the Hilton Nashville Downtown last week included teachers, doctors, a meteorologist, ministers, Wal-Mart employees, actress Cameron Diaz, architects, retirees, veterans and financiers."
posted by PreteFunkEra (63 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
A little cult-like, IMO. I bet Rush Limbaugh and James Inhofe will be calling it the 'gorecult' or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 3:42 PM on January 8, 2007


Wouldn't that be "Keynote(tm) with a Purpose"?

As a PowerPoint on Mac user, the movie felt like Keynote paid for product placement.
posted by Gucky at 3:49 PM on January 8, 2007


well, except Gore sits on teh board at Apple...so , yeah,. 'paid for placement' might be stretching it
:)
posted by das_2099 at 3:54 PM on January 8, 2007


Is that environmentalist Al Gore, or Vice-President Al Gore?
posted by OmieWise at 3:58 PM on January 8, 2007


Wow, I had no idea Al Gore sits on Apple's board. That explains the amount of times the camera pans into the side of his "Shiny 1 Inch Thick Brushed Aluminum Apple Macintosh Brand Powerbook".
posted by Count at 4:00 PM on January 8, 2007


A one thousand people.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:05 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


A one thousand points of light.
posted by psmealey at 4:07 PM on January 8, 2007


I love the journalist's attempt to appear like they're giving two sides of the story by citing the Competitive Enterprise Institute, as if Marlo Lewis is a leading authority on the matter. ExxonMobil funds the group heavily, and Lewis is a politician, not a scientist.

(Yes, I know Gore's a politician, not a scientist, but at least he's in agreement with the consensus of the scientific community.)
posted by Wataki at 4:17 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh! That Evil Liberal Bias in Weather!
posted by homunculus at 4:48 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wataki: False dilemma is the only thing the media know. Take the MMR scare in the UK: 1 scientist saying one thing = every other scientist saying something else, as far as Today and Private Eye are concerned.

see also: Ben Goldacre.
posted by athenian at 4:49 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Yes, I know Gore's a politician, not a scientist, but at least he's in agreement with the consensus of the scientific community."
Really? I've talked to a NRC senior research officer (NMR research) and a chemist working for Environment Canada (one who assesses environmental analytical labs for competency) about "An Inconvenient Truth" and BOTH of them told me that Al Gore's movie is a crock. To my surprise, both of them felt that human destruction of the environment has very little, if nothing, to do any climate change that occurs. If they don't have some scientific authority on a matter like this, I'm not sure who would. It seems to me like Al Gore might be on the other side of that consensus.
posted by Count at 4:57 PM on January 8, 2007


Count, do you have any references for articles that your friends have written? Because just saying that you talked to some guys who thinks that Gore's full of it doesn't exactly convince me. Up until now, I've seen mainstream scientific support for Gore's ideas and criticism of them only from industry supported hacks. Do you have anything real to backup what you are saying or are we just supposed to believe you?
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 PM on January 8, 2007


Count-

19 Climate Scientists disagree with you

You have anything to back your statement up? Other than quotes by GWB? And where in the hell did you find two Canadians that agree with Bush?
posted by vaportrail at 5:31 PM on January 8, 2007


The cynic in me thinks that the right will have a field day when check out clerks from Wal-Mart give this presentation in your locale. Why can't they find 1000 climataologists to give the presentation? Is there anything resembling the global science community pounding on the table about this? Why are some people so vehemently arguing against this? Is it economic? Is there any evidence to the position that this is all about grandstanding for dwindling research dollars? I mean, I have heard plenty of arguments for and against, and it doesn't make sense that you could reasonably believe that it is not happening given that there has to be some effect of all of the fossil fuel being burnt worldwide...right? Right?
posted by sfts2 at 5:32 PM on January 8, 2007


Yeah, the oceans are rising, hurricanes are getting stronger and we're having a sunny, 70 degree winter in Philadelphia, but Gore's using an Apple, so eff him and his agenda.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:37 PM on January 8, 2007


sfts2: Is there anything resembling the global science community pounding on the table about this?

Pretty much. The national science academies of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the US, as well as Brazil, China, and India issued a joint statement on the urgency of tackling climate change in June 2005. The Royal Society in the UK has been challenging ExxonMobil directly.
posted by russilwvong at 5:42 PM on January 8, 2007


sfts2 - not quite sure where to start. Try here. Note that at this point, even the "opposers" have given up the stance that Global Warming isn't happening, it's (to them) a question of how much of it is due to consuming fossil fuels.
posted by swell at 5:50 PM on January 8, 2007


A thousand points of light within the billions of living things that have lived on this earth from the beginning. Some live through the changes, others do not. This is the way it has been and will be.

The idea that humans can have a big enough effect on that system to change it is a longshot. The idea that we may be able to help it along is barely plausible.

We do need to clean up our act, but I definitely take issue with the assumption that we, and we alone, are the driving force for climate change on our planet. This is the main problem I have had with this docu-drama-mentary.

For a start read about Milankovitch Cycles
posted by Big_B at 5:57 PM on January 8, 2007


I can think of about 430 people in DC who could use the lecture.
posted by dpanarelli at 6:03 PM on January 8, 2007


Big_B: carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We are pouring vast amounts of the stuff into the atmosphere; it's at the highest point now that it's been in at least a half-million years.

Look at the planet in Google Earth if you want to see just how much of an influence we have.

At one time in North America, you could walk from Maine to Texas and barely see the sun at all; the entire eastern half of the continent was densely forested.

But no, we're not having any real effect! The earth is Much Too Big for us puny humans to change in any appreciable way.

I'm sure the cod agree with you.
posted by Malor at 6:10 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting timing this... I just yesterday signed up (filled out the online app at www.theclimateproject.org) to become one of those presenters.

Cult? Meh. Everybody wants to believe in something. Me, I want to believe that I can make a difference, too.

So there. ;)
posted by deCadmus at 6:48 PM on January 8, 2007


You have a good point octothorpe, I could just be lying about two scientists talking to me. Whether you believe me, is your decision. Either way, I was just letting you know of the only first hand opinion I've had from the scientific community.

My post was merely in defense to the claim that Al Gore sided with the "consensus of the scientific community". I figured that if two scientists disagree, it is not a consensus.

Personally I was surprised by their statement, because the movie had pretty much convinced me. They argued that
a) the ozone hole has had periods where it has been much bigger than it is now (long before the industrial age)
b) The earth has been getting hotter and hotter (long before the industrial age), and at some point (not in our lifetimes) it will cool down severely just like it has been doing for its lifetime
c) people often associate one thing (climate change) with another (pollution) and assume that one is wholly responsible for the other.
They both felt that although humans might have a minor effect on the climate, the movie is very sensationalist.

Here's a good link for some information on how what Buzzcock worries about "the oceans are rising, hurricanes are getting stronger and we're having a sunny, 70 degree winter in Philadelphia" has happened before and will happen again:
http://www.clearlight.com/~mhieb/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

Product placements aside, I personally found it funny that there are frequent shots of Al Gore flying around on a private jet. It feels like he's saying, "It takes YOU to make the difference, not me."
posted by Count at 6:58 PM on January 8, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: Yeah, the oceans are rising, hurricanes are getting stronger and we're having a sunny, 70 degree winter in Philadelphia, but Gore's using an Apple, so eff him and his agenda.

Thank you.....That's why I added the "okit'sKeynote" tag.
posted by PreteFunkEra at 7:04 PM on January 8, 2007


For, like, forever, ctrl and capslock have been swapped on Sun keyboards, putting ctrl in its rightful position to the left of A, to the delight of left pinky fingers everwhere.
posted by heydanno at 7:07 PM on January 8, 2007


aaah! wrong thread. too many tabs. sorry, folks.
posted by heydanno at 7:08 PM on January 8, 2007


"people often associate one thing (climate change) with another (pollution) and assume that one is wholly responsible for the other.
They both felt that although humans might have a minor effect on the climate, the movie is very sensationalist"


Count. So 650,000 years of co2 data in comparison to temperature is wrong?
posted by PreteFunkEra at 7:10 PM on January 8, 2007


Love: Al Gore.
Hate: Cameron Diaz.
posted by Dizzy at 7:29 PM on January 8, 2007


Big_B,

we have to be very careful when we invoke the Milankovitch cycles with respect to the present climate change we refer to as Global Warming. The Milankovitch cycle is a phenomenon associated with the earth's orbital eccentricity, procession and the obliquity. These parameters are known to vary on scales of tens of thousands of years. Please refer to this quite simple website (pages 2 and 3). Now, Milankovitch cycles are associated with about 5degreesC temperature change (at least that was the difference between ice ages). That over tens of thousands of years. We got 1degC warming over the last century and the projection is that we will get 2-3degs more by 2100. Furthermore, according to the Milankovitch theory we are supposed to be past the peak of the interglacial period and moving towards the next ice age, i.e. we should be getting colder NOT warmer, as shown in this diagram (go to figure 1).

So, what are you really talking about?

A very well respected geologist Wally Broecker has said, "Climate is an angry beast, and we are poking it with sticks".
posted by carmina at 7:30 PM on January 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


"I could just be lying about two scientists talking to me."

Yeah, it's not like there are people on the internets who are paid to lie about these things, so how could anyone doubt your anecdotal evidence?
But really, it's not about you or your scientist friends being liars so much as you just throwing some "I talked to some guys" into the conversation without something to back it up.

"Hey this guy on Metafilter said that somebody said that movie was full of crap" - would that persuade you of anything if we were sitting around talking about anything?
posted by 2sheets at 7:35 PM on January 8, 2007


Count,

my answer above goes to you too.
posted by carmina at 7:36 PM on January 8, 2007


dpanarelli : I can think of about 430 people in DC who could use the lecture.

Make that 535 people (you forgot the Senate).
posted by TheSpook at 7:37 PM on January 8, 2007


I could just be lying about two scientists talking to me.

Ehh. Don't worry about it. Contrary to rational folks' cynicism about anything found on the Internet, when you wander into website flamefests you invariably encounter an alien dynamic: people who refuse to accept the validity of anything unless it's been published on the Internet.

Your experience matches mine. Notwithstanding the Internet rhetoric, what I've been told is that scientific consensus holds that (1) the Earth is getting warmer, and (2) we don't know why. There's a lot of intellectual dishonesty on the Chicken Littles' side of this argument, and it's shameful and disappointing.

Having said that, I don't get particularly worked up about it because they're ultimately right: Regardless of whether pollution has caused global warming, anybody with half a brain reaches the conclusion that we probably shouldn't blow tons of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere — so if a bit of dishonest fear mongering leads to a beneficial end, I'm okay.
posted by cribcage at 7:49 PM on January 8, 2007


In the ice ages of yesteryear which Gore is showing, he is merely showing a relationship between CO2 levels and temperature. He's not saying which affects which, he's just assuming that the CO2 levels increase the temperature. In fact, the ocean's temperature is what caused the CO2 levels to rise during warm periods 1000's of years ago:
http://www.john-daly.com/oceanco2/oceanco2.htm
This link states that it was not the CO2 which made the Earth warmer, it was in fact the Earth's warmth which made the CO2 more prevalent.
The video you linked to is merely a presentation about how there's more CO2 now than ever.
It goes without saying, Al Gore is a very eloquent and entertaining speaker.

Oh and sorry Blazecock, for getting your name wrong in my last post.
posted by Count at 7:55 PM on January 8, 2007


according to the Milankovitch theory we are supposed to be past the peak of the interglacial period and moving towards the next ice age, i.e. we should be getting colder NOT warmer,

So we're heading off the next ice age by dumping co2 into the atmosphere? Damn ingenious of us. We couldn't possible survive an ice age.
posted by IronLizard at 7:57 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


IronLizard,

perfect! You got it. If only we pumped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere more slowly so that we get warmer over 20,000 years or so (not 200 years).
posted by carmina at 8:03 PM on January 8, 2007


My post was merely in defense to the claim that Al Gore sided with the "consensus of the scientific community". I figured that if two scientists disagree, it is not a consensus.
Count, there is not consensus in the scientific community that reality exists, if you're willing to use the 'I found two guys who disagree' standard. Are you being pedantic? I (strangely coincidentally) know an NMR researcher who did not believe that global warming was a human-influenced phenomenon. His opinion on the matter, though, is out of step with what the vast majority of knowledgeable folks in the field of climate research have come to accept.

That's "consensus."

You can say that consensus requires absolute agreement, but there's not consensus about the fall of the Soviet Union. I've talked to folks who still passionately believe that the 'breakdown' and 'disintegration' of the USSR was -- and is -- just the next diabolical trick by the infinitely crafty Reds. Historians, though, have achieved consensus: The USSR no longer exists.
posted by verb at 8:03 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, some guy on teh internets who just joined MeFi less than a months ago comes with one link and anecdotes. I guess that Al Gore, with his 30 years of research and two books filled with citations to peer-reviewed scientific journals must be wrong.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:07 PM on January 8, 2007


This link states that it was not the CO2 which made the Earth warmer, it was in fact the Earth's warmth which made the CO2 more prevalent.

The extremely inconvenient truth of the matter is that CO2 makes the earth warmer, and the warmth makes the CO2 more prevalent. It's a feedback loop.

Incidentally, is there a way to measure past ozone levels?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:14 PM on January 8, 2007


I figured that if two scientists disagree, it is not a consensus.

Um, Count, consensus does not mean that every single scientist agrees 100% with every single point of a theory. It means that the prevailing weight of currently accepted research supports that theory. If you needed to wait around for unanimous opinion on everything, you'd never progress because you're never going to get it.

To reiterate, just because you talked to two scientists that don't agree, it doesn't mean that there is no consensus.

or what verb said
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Al Gore conducted 30 years of research? I thought he was a politician. He is more impressive than I thought.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:18 PM on January 8, 2007


Al Gore conducted 30 years of research?

1980s: Representative Al Gore (D-TN), who had been a student of Revelle's, co-sponsored the first Congressional hearings to study the implications of global warming and to encourage the development of environmental technologies to combat global warming.

So, almost thirty, yea.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 PM on January 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not being pedantic.
Think about it from my perspective, I've talked to two actual scientists about the movie. Both of them said it was bull. Of course my first impression is going to be that the scientific community is not in a consensus that Al Gore is right.
It's not like I am trying to fill some agenda I have against Gore. I actually enjoyed the movie (apart from the crying about losing the election and blatant product placement) and felt good that Gore was going to make a difference. I also vote Green Party.
I was merely trying to present the alternative view that I heard.
Enough, I'm out.
Peace
posted by Count at 8:49 PM on January 8, 2007


So, now that Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake have broken up, she's dating global warming?

That's not going to be a very interesting headline for US Weekly. Doesn't she know that all of the important celebrities are adopting African babies?

(Seriously though, thanks for the link. I work in a bookstore and have made a note to borrow a copy of An Inconvenient Truth to peruse this week.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:02 PM on January 8, 2007


Count, if you want a very detailed discussion of the science, see Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming. (It's a companion website Weart's book.)
posted by russilwvong at 10:13 PM on January 8, 2007


Product placements aside, I personally found it funny that there are frequent shots of Al Gore flying around on a private jet. It feels like he's saying, "It takes YOU to make the difference, not me."

Yes, I noticed that too. I remember I thought "Hey, all this flying around to give his presentation is stupid! Why doesn't he record it and have it distributed around the world, so that he doesn't have to travel himself? It could be shown in hundreds of auditoria at the same time, and he'd reach a much bigger audience! No, forget auditoria, let's show it in MOVIE THEATRES!...Oh, wait..."
posted by Skeptic at 11:46 PM on January 8, 2007


Does anyone remember the world scientific consensus circa 1950-1990 that margarine is a healthful substitute for butter? Any pretense of certainty about the long range dynamics of complex chaotic system like climate is simply absurd.

Which is not to say we shouldn't be concerned about the environment. I personally am a lot more worried about the destruction of natural habitats occurring at an alarming pace all over the world. Of course, nothing will stop this short of a totalitarian world government, imposing strict absolute limits on population growth and development.

I really think that all this climate change hysteria has taken hold because the environmentalists are so frustrated about their continuing failure to stop the inexorable (and exponentially accelerating) ruination of the Earth by humankind. And so they have invented this new crusade, with a long enough horizon that they can pretend there is still time to fix everything.

In short, climate change is a foolish distraction from the real, pressing environmental problems, which by the way are actually unsolvable, as a simple consequence of human nature.
posted by metaplectic at 1:32 AM on January 9, 2007


In short, climate change is a foolish distraction from the real, pressing environmental problems, which by the way are actually unsolvable, as a simple consequence of human nature.

If a problem is really unsolvable (and I don't believe environmental problems are, or that human nature is fixed), the appropriate response to it is distraction.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:31 AM on January 9, 2007


Does anyone remember the world scientific consensus circa 1950-1990 that margarine is a healthful substitute for butter?

Oh, and the world was flat. Don't ever forget the earth used to be flat.
posted by IronLizard at 3:12 AM on January 9, 2007


I'm not being pedantic.
Think about it from my perspective, I've talked to two actual scientists about the movie. Both of them said it was bull. Of course my first impression is going to be that the scientific community is not in a consensus that Al Gore is right.
It's not like I am trying to fill some agenda I have against Gore. I actually enjoyed the movie (apart from the crying about losing the election and blatant product placement) and felt good that Gore was going to make a difference. I also vote Green Party.
I was merely trying to present the alternative view that I heard.
Enough, I'm out.
Peace


[swift boat engine rumble]
posted by srboisvert at 3:33 AM on January 9, 2007


The idea that humans can have a big enough effect on that system to change it is a longshot. The idea that we may be able to help it along is barely plausible.

"Longshot"? "Longshot"? Wtf kind of idiotic thinking is this? Oh, I know "it doesn't seem true to me, so it can't be true". Bleh.
posted by delmoi at 5:26 AM on January 9, 2007


Skeptic: Indeed...what's the point of having all these additional presenters redound what Gore did? Is it to get around the dislike a lot of people seem to have for Gore? I find most of those people pooh-pooh the notion of global climate change due to increased technological output of CO2 anyhow.

I've been saying the "maybe we're staving off the next Ice Age" thing since back around '88 or so, when I realized it'd been a while since the last time I went to the SC State Fair (it's in early October) and actually needed to blow on my fingers to warm them. OTOH, I remember back in the late '70s when there were a couple of fairly tough winters in parts of the US, and CBS and (I think) Time and Newsweek were trying to tell us we might be experiencing the onset of the next Ice Age. Oh, well; what's the old saw about "'data' is not the plural of 'anecdote'"?
posted by pax digita at 5:26 AM on January 9, 2007


Product placements aside, I personally found it funny that there are frequent shots of Al Gore flying around on a private jet. It feels like he's saying, "It takes YOU to make the difference, not me."

The making of the film was carbon neutral, all the CO2 generated by flying around? Balanced out by green carbon sinks.

Don't let that get in the way of your "ironic laugh" though.
posted by delmoi at 5:29 AM on January 9, 2007


What are these presenters going to do, are they supposed to go door-to-door or something?
posted by empath at 6:29 AM on January 9, 2007


Indeed...what's the point of having all these additional presenters redound what Gore did?

It makes sense from my perspective. For those of us who believe there is a problem and are disturbed by it, the greatest challenge is getting other people to think about the issue and actually investigate the science behind it (rather than just dismissing it with knee-jerk reactions like "oh those freaky scientists" or "humans can't affect the earth"). An Inconvenient Truth did a great job of explaining some of these issues, but not everyone saw the movie. And people who did see the movie probably still don't understand the science & evidence well enough to be able to explain it verbatim without reference material. (I can't). So it makes a lot of sense to have "ambassadors" who can take this information back to their local communities, spreading the concepts in an almost viral way.
posted by crackingdes at 6:40 AM on January 9, 2007


What's funny about this is that someone thinks Gore has actually conducted 30 years of climate research.
posted by tadellin at 6:59 AM on January 9, 2007


He's been bringing attention to the issue for 30 years, which is more than most people are doing.
posted by agregoli at 9:51 AM on January 9, 2007


A long rant about global warming and dirty hippies
posted by homunculus at 10:08 AM on January 9, 2007


homonculus that was a great read. Thanks.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2007


"He's been bringing attention to the issue for 30 years, which is more than most people are doing."

Yeah, and he's had some of the best access to material not open to the everyman.
posted by PreteFunkEra at 3:13 PM on January 9, 2007


ACT QUICKLY - Watch the entire movie right now
posted by PreteFunkEra at 3:50 PM on January 9, 2007


homunculus, this is a very interesting piece. Thank you. I will try to post in on realclimate (with attribution of course!) You people find some nice stuff, keep them coming!
posted by carmina at 7:19 AM on January 10, 2007


Adam Smith spinning in his grave
posted by homunculus at 2:50 PM on January 10, 2007


Oh, and the world was flat. Don't ever forget the earth used to be flat.

Theologians were wrong about geography in the past = scientists are wrong about climate change now

INCONTROVERTIBLE
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:03 PM on January 10, 2007


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