There are many tipping points

12 07 2007

After the rain 1 - by Tanakawho (creative commons)I normally enjoy visiting James’ place, and this day was no exception. However, this post of his had me scratching my chin. The post is from a while ago, and something about the snarky bored tone got me thinking.

I imagined him thinking to himself as he typed it up. “Why another film? Hasn’t Gore done the subject to death? Can we stop being sanctimonious already?”

But I think that misses the point. The movie isn’t for us, the people who care passionately about climate change and/or work in the field.

The movie is for ordinary people for whom “global warming” is either something to bravely deny (thus showing they ain’t no tree huggers, no siree) or bravely ignore (it’s the end of the Earth, I can’t change that, pass me the keys to the SUV).

I think about what happens when a new breakthrough occurs in science; you see a lot of activity in that same area, a lot of papers applying the new ideas with slightly different parameters. It’s pretty much the same in every academic endeavour. Knowledge proceeds in increments.

Why can’t we think of public awareness of climate change in the same way? The denialists (and the media, though unwittingly) have been complicit in this by reducing “global warming” into a meaningless catchphrase. It’s about time people saw what it really means, and if that means an explosion of docos all touting some different aspect of climate change, just so that ordinary people can see it’s a complex issue, then I’m all for that.

Photo: After the rain 1 by Tanakahwo (creative commons at


Bush deep in denial

2 07 2007

WaPo’s evocative headline says a lot: President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease.

Seems that Bush has been secretly seeking advice vindication from all sorts of people. Perhaps his colossal failures are starting to eat at his conscience. But if you thought that he was inwardly agonising, you’d be wrong:

Bush has virtually given up on winning converts while in office and instead is counting on vindication after he is dead. “He almost has . . . a sense of fatalism,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who recently spent a day traveling with Bush. “All he can do is do his best, and 100 years from now people will decide if he was right or wrong. It doesn’t seem to be a false, macho pride or living in your own world. I find him to be amazingly calm.”

That sounds to me like the calm before the storm. Is he going to crack?

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27 05 2007

Global warming lets loose a river in Egypt

25 04 2007

Great example of global warming denial found by Open Mind. I’ve pretty much got to the point where I think open scorn and derision is the proper response to the denier foot soldiers. They obviously lack the ability to reflect logically on the holes in their arguments.

Move over, Godzilla. Knut’s in town.

17 04 2007

Too cute

Go on, click. You know you want to.

Exciting times for muckrakers

12 04 2007

Delete keyWhen the news media talks about blogs, it kind of infuriates me that they flatten the huge differences between wankfests like Red State and Little Green Footballs, and blogs like Talking Points Memo, which actually models itself on professional news outlets. TPM of course, can claim the credit for joining up the dots on the US Attorney scandal in Washington and pushing for the media to take notice of it, despite indifference and resistance from an entrenched (and mostly elite) establishment.

Now, the latest news is that the White House has lost an “undetermined” number of emails which were sought by a House oversight committee — quite be accident, you understand. These emails are suspected of detailing the planning behind the US Attorney scandal; their release would have blown the whole thing wide open.

The Politico is saying “this is a big problem for the White House”, but I’m willing to bet the White House has weighed the options, and is willing to take the short-term hit. Anyone who doubts this scandal was a major deal need look no further than this transparent attempt to feed the homework to the dog. If the White House is reduced to making this kind of desperate risk assessment, choosing indeed to let itself be raked over the coals for this — and there is no question but that it deserves to be — then the underlying offence surely rises to criminal levels.

The parallels to Watergate are obvious. These are indeed exciting times for muckrakers.

Framing links all drawn together

12 04 2007

in this valuable post by Communications professor Matthew Nisbet. READ THE PAPERS HE LINKS TO.

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