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'Climate crisis' needs brain gain - Comments

weavehole's Avatar Comment 1 by weavehole

If you havn't already, why not head to
and BOINC the hell out of it.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:15:00 UTC | #231113

nickthelight's Avatar Comment 2 by nickthelight

I wonder if Sir David King regards global warming as the most important of the challenges facing our species? I for one think that poverty, AIDS and famine are more important in the short term. And important though the problems of a changing climate is, this could crowd these near field problems out of the public conscience with catastrophic results.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:19:00 UTC | #231115

Squippel's Avatar Comment 3 by Squippel

There is good reason and good evidence to believe that our climate situation (global warming) is not man-made.

The BBC documentary 'Global Warming Swindle' is a good introduction to this research. I encourage you to take a look at this.

Just writing this a few minutes later. I just saw that this was a BBC news article... how peculiar.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:23:00 UTC | #231118

weavehole's Avatar Comment 4 by weavehole

nickthelight Short Term you may be right but surely the whole point is that over the long term it is Developing Countries that will be most harshly hit by Global Weirding.

If you havn't already visit,, and donate the shit out of them.

(right, will stop spamming now)


Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:27:00 UTC | #231119

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 5 by Quetzalcoatl


It was Channel Four. Much of what Swindle said has been debunked.

As for the article-

I disagree with King. Poverty is always going to be with us. Turning attention away from space technology is a bad way to go about dealing with it. Ultimately, if the human population continues to increase, we will need off-world resources to support us. The only way that is going to happen is through investment in space technology.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:29:00 UTC | #231120

nickthelight's Avatar Comment 6 by nickthelight

Squippel -

"The BBC documentary 'Global Warming Swindle' is a good introduction to this research. I encourage you to take a look at this".

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:32:00 UTC | #231121

obscured by clouds's Avatar Comment 7 by obscured by clouds

weavehole on September 8, 2008 at 7:15 am
If you havn't already, why not head to
and BOINC the hell out of it.

If anyone is interesting in joining BOINC, please read this and join team...

Contribute to science directly by volunteering some of your computer's processing power!


Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:36:00 UTC | #231123

weavehole's Avatar Comment 8 by weavehole

Firstly, it was a C4 doc not BBC.

Secondly, it was a travesty of a program, but an excellent piece of Bushite propaganda. It repeatedly misrepresented and obfuscated issues that, if ignored, will mean complete disaster for millions of people around the world.

Yes, there is always the possibility that 95% of the worlds scientists are wrong but that, surely, is not a gamble that we have the right to make.

Is it?

Edit: Oh yes. Teach the debate! heh heh.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:43:00 UTC | #231127

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 9 by NewEnglandBob

There are 4 billion of us around. Should we make 3 billion work on the 'worst' problem and then 1 billion work on the next 'worst'?

There are plenty of great minds to work on all problems. Lets also put more effort in educating more great minds instead of neglecting the education of so many.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:50:00 UTC | #231132

Sciros's Avatar Comment 10 by Sciros

As long as we stop using biofuels I'll be happy.

Making a link is easier to do than typing a bunch of stuff up.

The Q/A in the link talks about the need to do biofuel production the "right" way, but I maintain that throughout history people's track record of doing things the "right" way has been pretty damn abysmal.

I also don't see anything good about Indonesia becoming the next "OPEC" (in the words of the guy I linked to). Is the irony just too sweet to pass up, with Indonesia being the country with the largest Muslim population in the world?

Meanwhile, farmers are using more of their land than ever to grow corn for inefficient use as ethanol, reducing how much land is dedicated to growing produce, raising food prices. And this I would say is far, far worse than rising gas prices for everyone (well, except things like airline and shipping companies) and has harsher far-reaching effects.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:52:00 UTC | #231133

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 11 by Apathy personified

Sir David said it was time such funding - and the brains it supports - were pushed to answering more pressing concerns.

I really disagree with the sentiment expressed in the above statement.

Why does there have to be a limited amount of money spent on research? If he wants research into global warming, that's fine, but why should other areas of research suffer because of this? If he feels so strongly, he should petition governments and big businesses to fund the research - not loot through other research areas.

You can't force, or push people into research areas, if they want to research on particle physics and not global warming - it's up to them. I can very well understand why people wouldn't want to get into climate change research, the whole issue is far too politicised and this could clamp down on any scientific dialogue.

It's a highly subjective statement that what scientists are doing in CERN is not 'a pressing concern'.

King seems to have taken a slightly anti-blue skies research position, which is deeply regretable, thank science that he's no longer chief scientist.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:54:00 UTC | #231134

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 12 by Quetzalcoatl

This section really clinches it:

"Space exploration and particle physics are already helping: for example, Earth satellites monitor climate, and particle accelerators offer new technologies for power generation (using the safe and abundant nuclear fuel, thorium) and waste disposal by nuclear transmutation.

"In parallel, the distributed Grid computing technology developed to analyse LHC data is already being used for many other applications including climate modelling, and telescopes look for the killer asteroids that could render moot all discussion of climate change."

Without investment in space technology, we'll have no hope of doing anything about any asteroids heading our way. King seems to have a very narrow perspective on this.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:58:00 UTC | #231137

Sciros's Avatar Comment 14 by Sciros

Quetz, I disagree. We can invest in radioactive spiders, weird gamma ray machines, and so forth, and just create a superhero that will stop any asteroids headed towards Earth. We may not need to invest in space technology at all! YOU have a very narrow perspective on this!11!eleventeen

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:00:00 UTC | #231143

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 13 by severalspeciesof

Testing new avatar

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:00:00 UTC | #231141

weavehole's Avatar Comment 15 by weavehole

4billion?? Shurely shome mishtake

As for biofuels Sciros; they also seem to go hand in hand with human rights atrocities

(I too am lazy with the whole typing/paraphrasing malarkey)

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:01:00 UTC | #231144

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 16 by Quetzalcoatl


We should not meddle with superhero technology- we could easily create a supervillain instead, then we would be screwed.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:03:00 UTC | #231145

Sciros's Avatar Comment 17 by Sciros

Supervillains don't like asteroids either; they're *competition*! So, it's a win-win... at least as far as asteroids are concerned. Now, mass enslavement and firepits and blackened skies, that's a different issue.

Weavehole, that's a good thing to point out -- doing biofuels "the right way" is not going to happen because the reason theyre even happening at all is there's money to be made. And when there's money to be made, little else matters to too many people.

EDIT: I took a proper look at the pdf... yeah, it basically confirmed what I've been thinking all along and what I've read in the past. It really seems to me that any support of biofuels inadvertently does a great deal more harm than good, if it does any good at all.

Building an infrastructure to better transfer electricity, building nuclear power plants, water power plants; creating a network of electric charge stations to phase out gas stations across the US, Europe, Japan, S. Korea, and eventually other countries, so that fully electric cars are finally viable -- that makes sense to me. Such efforts, if spearheaded by BP, Exxon, etc., can keep them as the energy giants they are today, but having made a leap in the kind of energy they provide. ...Anyway, I'm way off topic now so I'll leave it for a more relevant article.

Oh and regarding 4 billion -- maybe we weren't counting the Muslim "world" and other fundamentalists, who couldn't be bothered to even learn basic science let alone be trusted to advance it.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:06:00 UTC | #231147

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 18 by severalspeciesof

Any advancement in any area of science can, in the future, bring unexpected benefits to another area. I read a while ago that scientists were studying why groups of fireflies could seem to all fire in unison or in waves. Many, many people scoffed at the 'expense' of those studies. Yet, later, using some of the information gleaned from those very studies, people involved with the internet were able to set up situations were many 'overloading' problems could be avoided. Not saying the Haldron Collider could solve climate problems, but who knows? ;)

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:09:00 UTC | #231149

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 19 by bugaboo

"It's all very well to demonstrate that we can land a craft on Mars, it's all very well to discover whether or not there is a Higgs boson (a potential mass mechanism); but I would just suggest that we need to pull people towards perhaps the bigger challenges where the outcome for our civilisation is really crucial."

So invest in future scientists ie childrens education. How many new faith (anti-science)schools are planned teaching ID, YEC etc?

Any comments on that Sir David?

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:14:00 UTC | #231151

Opisthokont's Avatar Comment 20 by Opisthokont

It is truly surprising and distressing to hear this from the mouth of a scientist. Science is unpredictable: it is an exploration of the unknown, and while we might have ideas on what we might find, we are wrong probably more often than otherwise. Many important discoveries are the result of 'blue sky' research, and to oppose such research is appallingly short-sighted.

Meanwhile, as Apathy Personified points out, scientists follow their own muses. Scientists are people, with their own interests, and those interests should not -- cannot -- be dictated by external forces. The solution to global climate change is not to tell scientists that they must change their research goals, but to encourage those scientists who already have that goal. Improving education of and funding for science is imperative on that count. Cutting funding elsewhere is only folly.

Finally, there is no reason why we must focus all of our activity on solving only one or a small subset of the world's problems. Things are never so static that they can be fixed in isolation. Even if solving one problem does not cause others (although that cannot be guaranteed not to happen -- science being unpredictable and all), that problem may be unsolveable without simultaneously solving other problems. It is unlikely that the LHC will contribute to a long-term solution of global warming, but one cannot be certain....

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:28:00 UTC | #231156

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 21 by mixmastergaz

Squippel: If you're talking about the documentary I think you're talking about then you should be aware that many of the scientists who contributed to it were dismayed at the programme that eventually emerged and complained that their views were grossly misrepresented by the programme-makers, in much the same way that Richard objected to the gross distortions of his position in 'Expelled'. Their complaints were upheld by OFCOM.

Honestly, these clowns are to climate science as intelligent design is to evolution.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:36:00 UTC | #231162

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 22 by mixmastergaz


Several species of:
...small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict. Nice new avatar! None more cow! That's the reverse side of pink floyd's 'Scrotum Caught Shudder' album that is! (I think that's what it's called).

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:41:00 UTC | #231163

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 23 by severalspeciesof

Indeed, none more cow! It's from the album 'Atom Heart Mother'. The one with Ron Geesin playing with the group.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:57:00 UTC | #231170

dancingthemantaray's Avatar Comment 24 by dancingthemantaray

Gosh...who on earth would have thought global warming deniers would be hanging around here. The Channel four documentary has been widely discredited (just watch it & see how they mangle data). I'm afraid that GW has just as much support amongst scientists as evolution, denying it puts one on a similar level to crazy creationists with their heads in the sand...

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:58:00 UTC | #231171

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 25 by Frankus1122

I showed my class the Great Global Warming Swindle after watching An Inconvenient Truth as an exercise in looking at information critically. After we watched GGWS we looked it up in Wikipedia. We found a list of scientists involved in the film. We randomly looked up info on one of the scientists listed. He belonged to some foundation (can't remember the name). We looked up the foundation. One of its major sponsors was Exon.
It was a good little exercise in checking sources of information and thinking critically about the information presented.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 08:02:00 UTC | #231175

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 26 by severalspeciesof

Gosh...who on earth would have thought global warming deniers would be hanging around here.

If D.Robertson can hang around...

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 08:03:00 UTC | #231176

Sciros's Avatar Comment 27 by Sciros


Your motivations are ones I agree with, but would you not agree that companies like Exxon *should* be actively researching issues that they may be directly involved in? I know that if I were in charge at a large energy company, I would be funding all sorts of research at the moment.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 08:09:00 UTC | #231179

Tezcatlipoca's Avatar Comment 28 by Tezcatlipoca


I was going to ask if that was a Pink Floyd avatar but Gaz nailed it.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 08:14:00 UTC | #231181

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 29 by severalspeciesof


Gaz seems to be always on top of things musical. Kudos to him.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 08:19:00 UTC | #231185

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 30 by Frankus1122


...but would you not agree that companies like Exxon *should* be actively researching issues that they may be directly involved in?

Sure. But based on past evidence of tobacco companies researching the effects of cigarette smoke, and the conclusions they reach, one has to question the validity of those results.
I try not to push any agenda on the students. Except that they question the information presented to them, including the info I provide them.
I was just teaching them about Bloom's taxonomy of higher order thinking skills this morning.
Knowledge>Understanding>Application>Analysis>Synthesis> Evaluation or Judgement.
Determining what the facts are is the crucial first step. Although there are many facts that are not in dispute, making sense of what those facts mean and coming to a reasonable conclusion does take a bit of critical/higher order thinking.
I am not here to provide answers for my students; I just try to get them to think about questions in more meaningful ways.

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 08:30:00 UTC | #231191