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An Interesting Book
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What are your thoughts on Global Warming?
Yes, industrialization is damaging the environment more every year!
18%
 18%  [ 2 ]
No, the current climate trends are comparable to previous trends!
36%
 36%  [ 4 ]
I could use some more information on Global Warming before I can say for sure.
45%
 45%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 11

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Tenshi



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:32 pm    Post subject: An Interesting Book Reply with quote

We have a few book discussion threads, but they're dedicated to book groups. I really wanted to simply recommend a book to you guys that has really changed how I look at one of the biggest issues in the world today: Global Warming.

John Crichton's "State of Fear" is, as books go, so-so. What has me so enamored is the footnotes of every scientific source his characters cite. You could view the book as "Industry Propaganda against Global Warming" (though, admittedly, you would be playing into the book's talking points). The data is incredibly interesting, and the book is well worth a read for how well the data is presented by the characters. Also, the plot isn't that bad.

I guess the only thing I disliked about the story is how much of a wimp the main character was in the beginning of the book. And how none of the bad guys had awesome death scenes. I guess that's very realistic, and also somewhat expected from the author of Jurassic Park, Congo, and The Andromeda Strain.

Still, I promise the book will force you to review your notions about Global Warming and face the scientific evidence that can support or refute the notion of Global Warming.

I'm sort of ashamed, but I have to admit, I never actually checked into it. I was swept up in the romantic notion of "saving the planet," and looking back I realize that one of my favorite shows as a kid (Captain Planet) may well have been construed as a propaganda machine. And maybe it worked, because when Global Warming said we humans were destroying the Earth, well... I didn't even hesitate to accept it as fact.

Anyway. Well worth the read, incredibly thought provoking, and will undoubtedly give you a much stronger opinion one way or the other. I don't much care whether or not you support or refute Global Warming after you read the book, but being informed is definitely preferable to being uninformed. I've been checking on more current scientific data all day since I got back!

I'm putting up a poll about Global Warming, simply for curiosity's sake.
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Asa



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm. I think global warming (note the lack of capitals) is a crock, mainly because it's unsupported, practically a religion, and being proven wrong more every year (hello, multiple feet of snow in October?). The ice caps are growing, not shrinking, in the natural cycle of nature. AND they're not really calling it global warming anymore, not as much as they used to. Now it's 'climate change'.

First there was nuclear winter, then global warming, what next? It's just a scare tactic.

I've heard of that book, and though I have not yet read it, I do intend to. You're right, supported thinking is extremely important. And then you'll all think like me. ^_~
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thespaceinvader



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I vote none of the above. The majority of climate change (and i can see its effects even within my lifetime - at home, we used to get regular falls of snow annually, which would regularly stay for days or weeks. We're now lucky to get one a year) is down to nature, but a significant proportion is down to us.

That's not the reason we need to quit abusing fossil fuels though. That's cos they're running out.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's too much politically motivated research out there masquerading as science for me to make any sort of study of the thing that would have an ounce of validity. Might be I pull ten studies and get a result that tells me global warming is going to kill thousands, might be I get ten that tell me it's all good and the natural cycle of the sun or something. The politicians have moved in and set up camp, hence the change from global warming to climate change, only people with the time to spend most of their waking hours on the problem know and I can't trust any of them to have the integrity to tell the truth. Not when taking global warming into your research proposal instantly nets you loads of money anyway.


That said I think it's pretty foolish to spend energy so wastefully anyway. We've got what? Ten, fifteen years of oil left, tops. Baring discovering loads of major fields of course. Which we won't do because no-one's really looking that hard, that's why the oil industry's been buying itself up, consolidating its reserves. Our current free use of electricity and motorised transport is an anomaly, the more you use it the quicker it's going to be gone. Most people aren't prepared for the sort of world that's going to exist once man goes 'back to nature' in a hurry me thinks.
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Asa



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree. The earth heats up and cools off in cycles, the political fabrication is just that.

Conservation is different from extremism, I agree that moderation in our use of resources would be the best thing. And I guess that's one good thing to come out of this, even if they are a misguided about how they do it.
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Dark Mirf



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not completely false though. It would be silly to say that every thing we do from fuel consuption to landfill has no impact on the planet whatsover. I wont call it Global Warming, but the welfare of our living enviroment should concern us all.
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theBSDude



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but that's polution -- completely different.
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. Well, in 1988 the United Nations chartered a group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to track this kind of issue. They were charged with reading and evaluating climatological research and summing it up for policy makers. In 2007, the IPCC issued its fourth assessment report, in which for the first time they concluded that "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." (Full report - PDF, Summary for policy makers - PDF, New York Times write-up) The judgment was based on an exhaustive review of the work of hundreds of climatologists. And it took the IPCC nearly 20 years to reach the conclusion that we're responsible. Given that they've devoted decades to studying this issue, and involved many scientists from all over the world, I'm inclined to accept their judgment.

Particularly when it's backed up by dozens of professional organizations of scientists. The Wikipedia entry scientific opinion on climate change makes for interesting reading, with a lots of links to original sources at the end.

Note that although scientists have concluded global warming exists and is a problem, they haven't reached a consensus on how bad it will be, or on how fast it will happen.

On a related topic, I find that blog Asa linked to highly suspect, for several reasons.

First, it's some random guy with blogspot blog. Anyone and their cat can get a blog on blogspot. It does not inspire confidence.

Second, the blog is overtly partisan. Note the wide range of politically based ads in the left column -- McCain T-shirts, several exposť-style "truth" sites, and so on. The fact that he still has a "Blogs for Bush '04" ad at the very bottom of the page on the left is deeply weird. I find it hard to take the blog seriously as a source of scientific information.

Third, the blog post's basic claim is that the ice caps are expanding. As evidence it offers a link to (and quote from) a Financial Times blog post, which was itself citing a report by the CBC. Somewhere along the line, portions of the CBC report got ignored. Take the first paragraph, for example, which says:

Quote:
There's an upside to the extreme cold temperatures northern Canadians have endured in the last few weeks: scientists say it's been helping winter sea ice grow across the Arctic, where the ice shrank to record-low levels last year.


The two blogs citing the article have latched on to the "helping winter sea ice grow" part, and ignored the "ice shrank to record-low levels last year" part. The article also contains several cautions and provisos, like "it's too soon to say what impact this winter will have on the Arctic summer sea ice, which reached its lowest coverage ever recorded in the summer of 2007." But the blogs ignore those parts.

So in one corner we have a blog post by some guy, on an overtly partisan blog, which cherry-picks evidence. In the other corner, we have an exhaustive report prepared over a period of decades by professional scientists employed by the United Nations. Hmm. Tough choice ... but I think I'm going to go with the scientists on this one.

On a slightly conciliatory note, I'll happily admit that there are a lot of alarmists out there who spread all manner of grossly exaggerated and misleading reports about global warming which make it appear as the Impending Imminent Doom of Doomishness. Alarmists are irritating. I dislike them.
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Virturealm



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've pretty much heard all the same things as Tin, and will agree.

But my stance on global warming? I kinda think it's all moot. We've kinda got bigger problems going on, and solving enough of those problems looks like it will stop the pollution, just as a side effect.
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Squeeself



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tin about sums Squee's points on the blog article in question, except for the most important fact: One year of data does NOT refute or prove global warming. Cold and warm years are normal, but climate change is a trend over MANY years, and HAS been proven to be happening.

Squee's particularly sensitive to global warming topics, as Squee's father does consulting research for NASA, NIC, NCDC, NOAA, etc. Squee's father runs research through satellites on climate wind&ocean current tracking, storm tracking, as well as, notably, iceberg tracking. You can find a lot of the raw data at: http://www.scp.byu.edu/ Though, you kinda need to know what you're looking at to have that do any good Wink Some pretty pictures for ya though.

Squee keeps up-to-date with global warming issues through Squee's father. And Squee can tell you it IS happening, and although evidence is sometimes hard to process, more and more is being found. While Squee's father is enough of a scientist not to speculate on whether humans cause the climate change or not--his research can't really be linked to such things--Squee again sides with the IPCC for the reasons Tin stated.

Back to the point about climate change occuring over years, with variations in-between. There are actually clips there you can view that are show ice extents over a number of years; these are what scientists use, not a single year. Just because there's a heat wave, doesn't mean it's global warming. And the reverse is equally true. What was it? Squee doesn't know exact numbers, but we only risen like 1 degree average since some year quite a while ago? That's how it works...very slowly and imperciptably, ignoring variation.

Now, the REAL problem is with politics. Those who claim it doesn't exist, and those who claim we should go hysterical about it. The reality is...regardless of whether humans caused it, it's highly unlikely anything we do now will make much difference, from some of the latest studies Squee has heard of. That doesn't mean conservation and energy solutions aren't a bad thing, just that people pushing that agenda religiously have alterior motives or are misinformed. And the same is true of the reverse...

Politics and science have an annoying history of not playing well with each other....
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Allicat



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well all I would have said has already been pointed out by Tin and Squee. I am a marine scientist, or at least I'm studying to be, and the institute I study at have a specialist department on Arctic studies. Every scientist in that place (there are about 150) agrees that global climate change is happening. What to do about it, how bad it is, and what effects it'll have are all under debate, but this is the case everywhere.
The basic fact is, regardless of whether it is happening or not, we need to be less wasteful. Resources are running out and that is happening. For certain.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the most we can hope to do is soften the fall as far as resources go. Start setting up lower energy infrastructures like aqueducts and rail links between cities and farming centres etc, stuff that doesn't require too much wham behind it. Ten, fifteen years down the line - I'll be pleasantly surprised if most people still have computers let alone internet access. The knowledge and resources are there to manage the transition to a less intensive society easily, we'd even retain most of our standard of living, but will social order take it when the lights go out and the food stops coming to the supermarkets? I mean we've seen what happened in New Orleans and that's not nearly on the same scale, the hairless monkey is not a dreadfully rational species at times.
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We do definitely need to reduce our energy use, particularly as regards transportation. But I really hope you're wrong about the Internet going poof, Nem. I'm inclined to think that so many people have invested so much time and money in setting it up that they'll find ways to continue making it work.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Internet's very energy expensive, data centres alone consumed a percent of the world's electricity in 2005, by 2020 their carbon footprint is predicted to be larger than that of airtravel [1]. The sources for that energy and the supporting economic infrastructure, primarily oil and coal, are running out, and no amount of money or effort to the contrary will change that. Unless we've managed to advance fuel cell technology to a practical point/repealed copyrights on the more interesting parts of it that were purchased by the oil industry back in the 80s/early 90s in order to prevent development, and the scientists have fixed their tomaks so we've got a much larger supply of electricity, people are going to be too busy killing each other over their lights going out and lorries not delivering food to notice their internet doesn't work anymore.

'course I really hope I'm wrong too, but nothing I've seen of humanity leads me to believe most people do anything other than complain about things they don't like and lash out with senseless violence when they don't get what they want.
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem wrote:
... nothing I've seen of humanity leads me to believe most people do anything other than complain about things they don't like and lash out with senseless violence when they don't get what they want.


Oh, Nem. You're so cute when you're all cynical and misanthropic like that! ^_^
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