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OK: Now explain midichlorians.

With growing fascination for the large land vertebratomorphs that are so startlingly diverse on Tatooine, I secured Imperial funding for an expedition to Tatooine, to survey the exotic megafauna and search for fossils of Tyrannodraconis that might further illuminate their evolution. My ensuing report summarizes my trilogy of investigations and discoveries from this “holiday in the suns." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jul 22, 2014 - 5 comments

That's a lot of decaying plant matter

Word association time: I say "peat", you say… "Scotland", right? Not necessarily! Peat is found around the world, including in many African countries. Earlier this year, scientists trekked through a Congo swamp, braving gorillas, elephants, crocodiles, and more. Their reward? Discovery of a peat bog the size of England. The team estimates that the bog covers between 100,000 and 200,000 square kilometers (40,000 to 80,000 sq miles), with the peat-layer reaching up to 7m (23ft) beneath the ground.
posted by Lexica on Jul 11, 2014 - 28 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

National Climate Assessment

This morning the U.S. government released the newest National Climate Assessment, which "concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country." You can explore the assessment here. Previously.
posted by brundlefly on May 6, 2014 - 48 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

"Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science..."

Climatologist Michael E. Mann, known for introducing the famous "hockey stick" graph, has filed a defamation suit against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 31, 2014 - 90 comments

Maple Syrup Revolution: New Discovery Could Change the Business Forever

"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 23, 2014 - 102 comments

Ice flow nowhere to go

Stuck in the Antarctic ice we set out to study - Erik van Sebille of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 describes his fieldwork in Antarctica. The Guardian has extensive coverage of the expedition, including visiting the remains of a previous expedition, how they became icebound, and their rescue.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2014 - 17 comments

Worst Case Scenarios

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency’ [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Dec 18, 2013 - 254 comments

“Tell your second grade teacher I’m sorry.”

At the elementary school in Brooklyn where I taught first grade, science was a “special,” along with dance, art, and physical education. That meant that students were delivered by their homeroom teachers to the science teacher between one and three times a week for less than an hour each time.

...

“I’M NOT A SCIENTIST, man,” Florida senator Marco Rubio told GQ magazine in an interview published in December 2012, following the first presidential debate season in twenty-eight years to fail to mention climate change. Rubio had been asked how old he thinks the earth is; it is unclear whether he was signaling a fashionable disdain for scientific facts or whether he truly did not know.
[more inside]
posted by tilde on Nov 26, 2013 - 34 comments

Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want to Kill Each Other

A new meta-analysis finds that extreme changes in temperature increase the likelihood of inter-group conflict. (SLA)
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Aug 2, 2013 - 76 comments

What’s Killing Minnesota’s Moose?

The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
posted by brundlefly on Jul 26, 2013 - 40 comments

A Song of Our Warming Planet

"University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello." Direct Vimeo link.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 18, 2013 - 21 comments

What concrete things the Romans have ever done for us

"Portland cement is the source of the “glue” that holds most modern concrete together. But making it releases carbon from burning fuel, needed to heat a mix of limestone and clays to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit) – and from the heated limestone (calcium carbonate) itself. Monteiro’s team found that the Romans, by contrast, used much less lime and made it from limestone baked at 900˚ C (1,652˚ F) or lower, requiring far less fuel than Portland cement." -- How Berkeley Lab scientists discovered the secret of Roman concrete's durability and how it could help make modern concrete more environmentally friendly.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 21, 2013 - 39 comments

CO2 to hit 400 parts per million next month, highest since the Pliocene

Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 25, 2013 - 127 comments

Sense About Science

With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 28, 2013 - 9 comments

The vanishing groves

The vanishing groves: A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine.
posted by homunculus on Oct 17, 2012 - 19 comments

Current state of evidence on whether climate change is causing recent extreme weather events

Is climate change causing our recent extreme weather events? (pdf). A panel of eminent climate scientists lays out the current state of what we know, and what we don't know yet, in this forthcoming paper. Jason Samenow (of the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog) nicely summarizes the key points. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 13, 2012 - 46 comments

Can an activist be a good scientist?

NASA's James Hansen has been called the "godfather" of climate warming, largely because of his long record of major publications on the topic. He is also a determined climate activist, protesting, blockading, and demanding (PDF) that immediate action be taken to deal effectively with the issue, while using his science to advance his case. Recently, he and 2 colleagues effectively contradicted the widespread view that individual extreme weather events cannot be directly linked with observed climate warming, using extreme high temperatures as an example. [additional earlier and new (PDF) information]. (See previous (PDF) related work by others.) Several climate experts have attacked Hansen's activism and his science (PDF). Does his activism make James Hansen a bad scientist? (Related previous posts here and here, now peer-reviewed and published.)
posted by dmayhood on Aug 12, 2012 - 62 comments

Sixteen Concerned Scientists

"Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically." Link. [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Jan 27, 2012 - 270 comments

Climate Change by Climate Scientists: the musical

In the media landscape there are climate change deniers and believers, but rarely those speaking about climate change are actual climate scientists... From the Power Episode of The Hungry Beast a weekly, half-hour, TV show on ABC (Australia) television combining journalism, comedy and the reportage of weird. It asks questions others don’t, covers stories others won’t and brings them to your screen in ways that only this unique team of broadcasters can do.
posted by MT on May 11, 2011 - 21 comments

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears....

The Science of Why We Don't Believe In Science. Or How To Win An Argument: Try Not To Rely on Facts. MotherJones investigates what recent research can tell us about how we reason (or don't).
posted by Diablevert on Apr 18, 2011 - 45 comments

Meet the Denialists

A handful of US scientists have made names for themselves by casting doubt on global warming research. In the past, the same people have also downplayed the dangers of passive smoking, acid rain and the ozone hole. In all cases, the tactics are the same: Spread doubt and claim it's too soon to take action.
posted by gerryblog on Oct 8, 2010 - 31 comments

Whack-a-mole climate denialism

Investigative reporting continues to attack the credibility of the IPCC reports on climate change, as well as vicious personal attacks. These stories gain wide coverage in the denialist echo chamber, yet several months down the track, after thorough independent investigation, they are found to be false. Weak retractions are published in newspapers, but the damage is done.
posted by wilful on Aug 26, 2010 - 36 comments

5 Percent Too High

Odds of Cooking the Grandkids: "There is a horrible paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looks at how the limits of human physiology interact with upper-range global warming scenarios. The bottom line conclusion is that there is a small - of order 5% - risk of global warming creating a situation in which a large fraction of the planet was uninhabitable (in the sense that if you were outside for an extended period during the hottest days of the year, even in the shade with wet clothing, you would die)." [more inside]
posted by symbollocks on May 7, 2010 - 47 comments

Need ammo?

How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic: "...a handy one-stop shop for all the material you should need to rebut the more common anti-global warming science arguments constantly echoed across the internet."
posted by Neilopolis on Dec 5, 2009 - 142 comments

ClimateGate?

The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit suffered a security breach this week. Hackers made off with thousands of email correspondences between some of the world's top climate scientists, and posted them to the Internet1.

Tony Hake has posted an article at The Examiner, highlighting what he feels are the most egregious examples of scientists manipulating and hiding data to support the established theories about Climate Change. Some of the scientists involved counter that the quotes are taken out of context, and that "People are using language used in science and interpreting it in a completely different way".

1 I'm not going to link to them, but the Examiner article mentions where to get them.
posted by Who_Am_I on Nov 20, 2009 - 146 comments

I soon found myself observing when plants first blossomed and leafed

Thoreau was into it. Scientists are using it to understand climate change. When Project Budburst starts again on Febraury 15th, you can participate, too. [more inside]
posted by Tehanu on Jan 27, 2008 - 15 comments

Are dead-tree magazines good or bad for the climate?

"So by this analysis dead-tree magazines have a smaller net carbon footprint than web media. We cut down trees and put them in the ground. From a climate change perspective, this is a good thing" explains Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine's editor-in-chief. While some decry this type of carbon footprint accounting as "cheating", the paper industry has lately been eager to convince the public that they are carbon-neutral.
posted by finite on Dec 29, 2007 - 36 comments

Water, water everywh—Oh dear.

So you've all heard about how global warming will lead to rising sea-levels, but what about falling freshwater levels? [more inside]
posted by Weebot on Oct 26, 2007 - 43 comments

September 2007 polar sea ice anomaly

Video (8MB, MPEG) of arctic sea ice extent, recorded from January to September 2007. [other formats] This summer a dramatic decrease compared to previous years in the extent of the north pole ice cap was observed. Scientists are freaked out [bugmenot]. This summer, the Northwest Passage was open for a few weeks, allowing three ships to traverse it. [more inside]
posted by sergeant sandwich on Oct 12, 2007 - 32 comments

White House reverses stance on existence of global warming

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has endorsed the recent IPCC report, reversing the White House stance on the existence of global warming. Bodman claims that the Bush administration has always accepted scientific studies pointing to man-made climate change, even as Henry Waxman, House oversight committee chair, has been holding hearings on the White House's misleading the public on global warming for the last six years; hearing documents. Bodman also rejects caps on CO2 emissions, claiming that the US is "a small contributor when you look at the rest of the world," when in fact it's the largest contributor worldwide (and has an even greater share of cumulative CO2 emissions). Previously: IPCC, Waxman.
posted by russilwvong on Feb 6, 2007 - 29 comments

Scientific American digs deep on climate change

Anyone interested in climate change or is still wondering about it's potential effects and possible solutions should check out this must-read Special Issue of Scientific American. Here is a freebie article they have posted online called A Climate Repair Manual.
posted by jacob hauser on Aug 28, 2006 - 11 comments

The great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition

The return of astronauts to the moon by 2020? Yeah! Hurricane predictions, long-term monitoring of weather and climate change? Not so much. (related here and here)
posted by Smedleyman on Jun 15, 2006 - 78 comments

Hansen Speaks

That scientist NASA tried to silence? He finally did the radio interview last week.
posted by alms on Feb 6, 2006 - 16 comments

Bush Turns Up the Heat on NASA

Bush administration tries to silence NASA's chief climate expert James Hansen from granting interviews about global warming. Meanwhile, a new study by Australian researchers confirms that global sea levels are rising, and may make island nations like Tuvalu and the Maldives uninhabitable by the end of the century. [via RawStory]
posted by digaman on Jan 28, 2006 - 40 comments

Oily lollipops, carbonized brains

Pederasts of the mind: Of kids, lies and Oil. The American Petroleum Institute partners (in 2004) with The National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) and Scholastic (see: Scholastic's creedo) to provide K-12 lesson plans, on energy and oil, which resemble the API's own "Teacher Lesson Plans" and snappy flash presentations such as Progress Through Petroleum! which are bundled with fun stuff and cool facts. The NSTA/API lessons teach all about energy and oil except the global environmental impacts. Didactic bonus from NSTA's oil-friendly curriculum : a surrealistic gallery of oil industry imagery for kids to download.

Recent glacial melt speedup in Greenland and Antarctica shocks researchers, while the Pentagon games scenarios of Abrupt Climate Change : Don't worry, says the DOE's Energy Ant - oil's good, like cows, m'kay ? . Extra credit : Play the Oil and natural Gas Crossword Puzzle, or the "Industry Lesson Plan Game" (that, and more, inside)
posted by troutfishing on Oct 5, 2004 - 21 comments

another canary tips over

another canary tips over
as the administration (more specifically the white house council on environmental quality and its head james l. connaughton) continue to ignore and bury the warnings of the effects global warming from their own scientists.
posted by specialk420 on Sep 23, 2003 - 52 comments

environmental spin memo

Spinning the Environment
One section of the memorandum, "Winning the Global Warming Debate," asserts that many voters believe there is a lack of consensus about global warming among scientists. "Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly," it says. "Therefore you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue." Among the ways to "challenge the science," the memorandum says, is to "be even more active in recruiting experts who are sympathetic to your view and much more active in making them part of your message" because "people are more willing to trust scientists than politicians."

So much for science based decisions regarding the fouling of our nest. Sounds Green = Is Green in the bizarro world of spin.
posted by nofundy on Mar 4, 2003 - 35 comments

Reality check from Swiss Re and UNEP

Reality check from Swiss Re and UNEP "The increasing frequency of severe climatic events...has the potential to stress insurers, reinsurers and banks to the point of impaired viability or even insolvency." "Climate Change and the Financial Services Industry", a UNEP report supported by 295 banks and insurance and investment companies around the world. The report concludes that, worldwide, loses from Climate related disasters are doubling every decade . NOAA generally concurs. Dr. Bob Gagosian, Director of Woods Hole, has even worse news. Should we take the scientific mainstream seriously? Or is it all "Junk Science"according to the industry funded Steve Milloy or the CEI, or even a New Age Pagan Conspiracy? Play on little humans......play on.....
posted by troutfishing on Oct 9, 2002 - 15 comments

The World Summit on Sustainable Development,

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, aka "Earth Summit II," will start soon in Johannesburg, ten years after the Rio Earth Summit. Have things improved at all in the last ten years? While there are some reasons to be optimistic, the data isn't cheerful. Our climate is growing unstable; tens of millions are dying or likely to die, and hundreds of millions more likely to be made refugees, because of environmental pollution and degraded ecosystems; and half the plants and animals on the planet seem headed for extinction over the next century. In short, things are grim. What steps, big or small, are you taking to do your part for the environment?
posted by AlexSteffen on Aug 17, 2002 - 30 comments

When NASA scientists watch Michael Bay films, comedy ensues.

When NASA scientists watch Michael Bay films, comedy ensues. 'The technology is not at all far-fetched,' said Dr Greg Laughlin, of the Nasa Ames Research Center in California. 'It involves the same techniques that people now suggest could be used to deflect asteroids or comets heading towards Earth. We don't need raw power to move Earth, we just require delicacy of planning and manoeuvring.' Oh yeah, nothing could possibly go wrong with this plan. I'm not being a Luddite here...I realize the scientists involved aren't going to be doing this any time soon, if ever. It still spooks me, though.
posted by Ezrael on Jun 11, 2001 - 14 comments

Grab your water-wings while you can, because I'm afraid I am the bearer of bad tidings. We only have a billion years of beach time left, because our planet's ocean's are going to dry up completely. Fortunately, earth will be almost completely unlivable by then, so our descendents will already be dead. According to professor of meterology James Kastings, "My calculations are somewhat pessimistic and present a worst case scenario..."
posted by sixfoot6 on Feb 20, 2000 - 2 comments

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