Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Shonky scepticism

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  • Joanna,

    Martha, Sue and co. open their Craft 2.0 exhibition at the New Dowse on Saturday from 11am-4pm

    Special K will be selling some baking by me to fundraise for Oxfam, although of course apparently I taste like diabetes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    The Global warming debate won't go away. There's still too much science to be discussed. The recent UN report is very controversial and somewhat biased. Just look at the presumption that CO2 is the cause of much of the problem.

    Here's a slightly peculiar sight to illustrate this:
    http://cannabisculture.com/articles/1804.html.

    Gases do move up in tha air (wind currents etc). Things float, as we know. But CO2 will eventually fall to earth.

    This is an interesting experiment showing just the point that C02 is heavier than air. And remember once CO2 settles (and eventually it will), the nature of sea water deals with CO2 very efficiently. Carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water.

    The point is, don't be so adamant that the science is settled on this Climate change issue. There are lots of unanswered questions and many scientists agree on this. Just because one BBC doco seems a bit rusty, doesn't mean we can't still debate this sensibly...right wing bloggers and all!

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Thanks for this post russell - interesting to see how far Furedi's net has been cast.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    Sorry Andrew - what exactly does the well-known fact that carbon dioxide is heavier than air have to do with the global warming debate? And where is your evidence that "CO2 will eventually fall to earth."? Like, when?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 159 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    Andrew:
    This is a common mistake to make. This is the clearest answer I could find on Yahoo answers to clarify this for you:


    "The atmosphere is a mixture of different gases, and CO2 is one of the heaviest, but it does not form layers.

    Up to a height of about 100 km, the atmosphere is called the "homosphere" (Greek homos = same) because it is a fairly uniform mixture - the different gases still occur in almost the same proportions at all heights. The "ozone layer" is from about 15 km to 35 km, but it is a false name because ozone is already a very scarce gas, and the extra proportion of it at these heights is very slight.

    Above 100 km, comes the "heterosphere" (Greek heteros = different) where the lighter gases predominate the higher you go.

    The greenhouse effect is distributed throughout the homosphere, and depends on its proportion of CO2 and of CH4 (methane)."


    Re: carbon dioxide dissolving in seawater: this is of concern also due to the fact that this has the effect of lowering the pH of the ocean, making it (at first) slightly more acidic. The effect of this on the many sea organisms which have calcium carbonate based shells (think shellfish and coral etc) is not known but worrying.

    The UN report (I assume you mean the 2007 IPCC report on climate change) that you dismiss as "controversial and somewhat biased" was contributed to by 2500 scientists from 130 countries. The controversy is not present among the experts in the scientific community. The people who know what they are talking about. The people who have studied the issue at length, rather than on the internet.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    But CO2 will eventually fall to earth.

    So we suffocate before we overheat. Unless we smoke pot. Chill, problem solved.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    But back to the Crafts
    Thanks for pimping our little project Russell.

    i think martha promised she'd have your babies in return so let me know when you want her posted up ;)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • plum,

    Andrew -- I am not a climate scientist, but saying CO2 is heavier than air in the Earth's surface says nothing about it's activity higher up. Perhaps air movements higher up keep it moving. Perhaps it reacts chemically with other molecules. For example, ozone is good up there, but down here it can react to form tear gas-like chemicals.

    Also, what you're saying boils down to this: Thousands of climate scientists—including sceptics such as Richard Lindzen—have somehow overlooked a basic piece of science that children study in high school science classes.

    Yeah, right.

    Wellington • Since Feb 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But back to the Crafts
    Thanks for pimping our little project Russell.

    i think martha promised she'd have your babies in return so let me know when you want her posted up ;)

    Jeebus. That photo from the Great Blend and the undies in the mail were trouble enough ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Thanks Tony, good stuff you are pointing at. As I said debate is good. I don't think the Don Christie's of the world are very helpful though. I'll look into your reasoning. By the way, what's wrong with doing research on the internet, that's where a lot of credible information is posted after all.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water

    you might find that this is causing acidification of the oceans. (dunno how reliable that link is).

    and russell. a man could do worse. threaten the waving of consumer guarantee act if martha doesn't arrive in one piece.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    On the subject of pimping (sorry Martha), I'll also be selling my t-shirts at Craft 2.0

    Re: Climate stuff. Wasn't there some great "idea" a while ago to pump allthe excess CO2 into the sea via giant pipelines?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Martha Craig,

    I believe I actually pimped Sue's services for baby making, not my own.

    I may have failed to mention it to her though.

    Petone • Since Nov 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    ps. I thought Don Christie was funny

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    Andrew:

    I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with doing light research on the internet (god knows I love the Wikipedia), but its no replacement for a solid four years spent researching the entire breadth and depth of a topic to gain a PhD and then devoting your adult life to understanding that topic more fully. Especially in the sciences.

    I don't think all opinions on matters of science are created equal and we need to give a little more weight to the opinions of the guys and girls who really really know the minutiae of this stuff than to the punters who google "climate change" and suddenly think they are experts (and I'm not having a shot at you by the way).

    Hence I don't really know that controversy is the right word to use in regards to this issue. I think maybe scientists need to do a better job explaining to the general public why they truly do believe that global warming is a) occurring, and b) due to anthropogenic causes.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Yeah, you are right Hadyn, I need to chill out!

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    "scientists" + "explaining to the general public".

    god i laughed...

    mostly because you're right, and because the only scientist i never met who seems to be able to string two coherent sentences together is david hayward.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    Che:

    If you mean David Hayward at SGES at Auckland Uni, then you ought to talk to his boss Willie Smith.

    He can certainly string a sentence or two together himself (legs off a chair and all that). But he's Scottish, so I don't know if his sentences qualify as "coherent" or not.

    A very entertaining man though.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Just another reason why students studying science at university should be forced to study rhetoric

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    And poets, science...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And students studying arts at Uni should be forced to...

    I'm just curious is all.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    As someone whose role is to convey (often very complex numeric) information to the public I can say that all of the training in the world cannot help you when you hand over your stuff to the media (read idiots, no offence Russell) and they rip it to bits and report whatever sells.

    At a StatsNZ conference a while back veteran reporter Linda Clarke stood before the gathered statisticians and basically told them that no one in the media understood numbers nor did they have any interest to.

    If

    students studying science at university should be forced to study rhetoric

    then students studying communications (rhetoric?) should be forced to study science.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    dammit need to type faster!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    And students studying arts at Uni should be forced to...

    enrol in a degree with more purpose...

    (says he with a middling BA from vuw)

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    And students studying arts at Uni should be forced to...

    ...date the science kids

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

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