Categories
AGW catastrophism Climate Change Global Warming Omniclimate Skepticism

Psychosociological Reasons for AGW Belief

From the BBC, no less, in an article explaining the popularity of catastrophisms of all kind:

[…] cultural historian Paul S Boyer, author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture [says]: “It is deeply appealing at a psychological level because the idea of meaninglessness is deeply threatening. Human societies have always tried to create some kind of framework of meaning to give history and our own personal lives some kind of significance.” […]

thinking about the ways the world might end, or the timing, may be fulfilling a basic human need.  “It comes down to an issue of power,” says Michael Molcher, editor of the magazine The End is Nigh. “What you get during times of particular discontent or war or famine or during general bad times is a rise in apocalyptic preaching and ideas. It is a way for people to control the way their world works. The one thing we can never predict is the time and manner of our own deaths.

Cue ominously dangerous ideas of geoengineering

Categories
America English International Herald Tribune Letters Politics USA

Fact Checking Is Not What It Used To Be

Dear Editors of the IHT

It is commendable for William Falk to take upon himself the task of updating the wide world of what has been happening whilst Democrats and Republicans cavorted at their respective national political conventions (”The two weeks you missed”, IHT, Sep 8). However, it would have been even more commendable had Mr Falk checked all his “facts”: otherwise, rather than a news update, his effort will be just another act of disinformation.

In particular:

1- “Hezbollah…has a new base of operations in the Americas: Venezuela” – really? This has been an ongoing accusation for years, with little evidence ever provided. Shouldn’t one be a little bit more skeptical about it then, when the only source of the information are unnamed “Western intelligence officials”? This is a Presidential Election year in the USA, after all, and we all know which candidate stands to benefit if any international crisis explodes (or is concocted)

2- “Some [polar bears] were headed toward the edge of the ice shelf, 400 miles away – far beyond their endurance” – really? All we know is that by chance, a helicopter surveying the Arctic for oil-exploration has spotted nine polar bears swimming. The “400 miles away” detail has been reported not by those on the helicopter, and not even by the WWF that published the original story, but by a journalist at London-based “Daily Mail”, a newspaper that has retracted the story (=deleted from their website) since.

All in all, it looks like Mr Falk himself has been too busy watching Barack Obama, John McCain and assorted “dorky delegates bopping to the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder”

Categories
Italia Italiano Partito Democratico Politica Veltroni

Matteo Colaninno, Braccia Rubate alla Gestione Aziendale

Una performance disastrosa, stasera, quella di Matteo Colaninno a Matrix di fronte al Ministro Scajola. Sembra quasi che qualcuno gli abbia strappato, dalla documentazione da leggere prima di andare in trasmissione, una pagina ogni due o tre.

Scajola spesso riesce a malapena a trattenersi dal ridere. E’ ancora buio pesto, nel Partito Democratico…

Categories
AGW Climate Change Data Global Warming Omniclimate Science Skepticism

Simple Climate Questions? An Engineer Replies

(my answer to “Simple Question, Simple Answer… Not“, guest commentary by Spencer R. Weart, of the American Institute of Physics on RealClimate)

Would it be possible to have an actual senior engineer present their (presumably, mainstream) views of anthropogenic climate change and of the use of models?

As a (senior? and scientifically trained) engineer myself, I can guess what Mr Weart is aiming at, but he’s still using a language that brings down no barrier. For example, a statement such as

“Gilbert N. Plass used the data and computers to demonstrate that adding carbon dioxide to a column of air would raise the surface temperature”

will and does definitely make people suspicious.

You see, I have seen dozens, and I am sure there are out there hundreds of thousands of designs that have been “demonstrated” in a computer only to fail miserably when put into practice.

In fact, one point that I don’t think Mr Weart realizes (and likely, it’s all part of the miscommunication) is that it’s the engineers that have to deal with the actual world out there, and all its complexity, starting from but having to go beyond what calculations (formulae and/or models) suggest.

It really is the job of engineers to understand the complexity of the real world, and to make things work within that complexity.

There is little point in arguing to your manager that, say, in the computer your revolutionary design of a car needs only 2 gallons per 100 miles, when the actual thing is measured as drinking much more than that.

The one rule common to all engineered system is, the more stuff you put in, the higher the chances that something will go wrong. In Mr Weart’s case: the more factors need to be made to interact using models and supercomputers to calculate “global warming”, the higher the chance that the computed answer won’t be the right one.

Therefore, rather than accusing engineers of looking for simple answers (likely, misunderstanding them), Mr Weart should try to bridge the gap.

An example of another scientific endeavor, apart from climate change, where extremely complex, just-made modelling has been successfully applied as-is into an engineering project, would definitely be a good starting point.

Categories
Ambiente Cambiamento Climatico Catastrofismo Italiano Repubblica Riscaldamento Globale Scienza

La Bufala degli Orsi – Articolo su Svipop

Ringrazio il giornalista e scrittore Riccardo Cascioli che ha avuto la bonta’ di pubblicare sul suo sito Svipop – Sviluppo e Popolazione e nella sua newsletter un mio articolo sulla bufala propinata tramite stampa alla fine di Agosto, la storia dei nove orsi polari in affogamento:

LA MEGA-BUFALA DEGLI ORSI POLARI: ECCO LE PROVE

di Maurizio Morabito

E’ il 21 agosto quando la sezione USA del WWF segnala che 9 orsi sono stati avvistati in Alaska, a nuoto nel Mare di Chutki: una notizia subito ripresa da molti giornali in tutto il mondo. Il che andrebbe bene, senonché almeno uno di questi giornali, il britannico Daily Mail, ha poi pensato di infiorettarla e ingigantirla con particolari errati e/o inventati, solo per poi cancellare tutto quando la storia non poteva piu’ reggere.

Nel frattempo, a migliaia di persone sono state date informazioni errate, anche in Italia, in quella che è stata una colossale presa in giro. Ma procediamo con ordine…