Posts Tagged ‘science’

I couldn’t help but share this with you:

How many more stories like these before we get the message?

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The folks at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence think they have a better way to organize the creation and consumption of content around complex topics such as global warming. Their new Collaboratorium project aims to fix what they perceive as wrong with current Web collaboration tools such as forums, blogs, emails, IM, and wikis.

It is one thing to create a tool and to throw it out into cyberspace. It is another to get people to use it. As I listened to the video, I asked myself, is the Collaboratorium a place I would choose, to write, comment, and read about climate change solutions? My response is mixed. While I share some of Dr. Klein’s frustrations with the status quo, I am not sure I agree with his solution.

One of the beauty of blogging is the immediacy and creativity that comes with it. Same with wikis. It is precisely because of their loose and imperfect nature, that these tools are so effective. One understandable reaction to such haphazard creation, is a need to control the process. This brings up an interesting tension, that may be best resolved with the offering of a broader range of tools, including other structured collaborative sites besides Wikipedia. Whether Collaboratorium fills that void, only the future will tell . . .

I am curious to hear your thoughts!

Related story: Climate and the web electronic democracy on steroids

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Today, John Tierney writes about ‘The Global Warming Paradox‘, an account of a  surprising research study from three researchers at Texas A&M University. Here is what they found, after interviewing a representative sample of 1,000 adults:

Directly, the more information a person has about global warming, the less responsible he or she feel for it; and indirectly, the more information a person has about global warming, the less concerned he or she is for it.

Results of the whole study appear in the February issue of Risk Analysis. John Tierney joins the chorus of people in the research: ‘I think it’s (global warming) a real risk, but I’m also confident that we’ll cope by adapting to climate change and/or finding ways to minimize it.

I disagree with John Tierney, and unlike him, am not so sure that ‘we’ll cope‘. It is going to take more than technology and science to come even close to a happy resolution. Leadership at the top, business solutions, technology and science yes, financial incentives, individual behavioral changes, community initiatives, a new code of ethics, international diplomacy, population control measures, lots of goodwill at all levels, . . . the problem needs to be attacked from all possible angles. It is monumental in proportions and requires solutions of the same magnitude.

Back to the study itself, it is important to frame the results within the larger context of the research methodology:

It should be noted that the information effects reported in this article are limited to self-reported information. Objective measures of informedness about global warming and climate change might produce different effects. And indeed there is some scholarly evidence to suggest that this might be the case. In their models of mass assessments of the risks of genetically modified foods, Durant and Legge found that self-reported informedness and objective measures of informedness were almost entirely uncorrelated, and that their effects worked in opposite directions.

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In the scary global warming video category, here is one more, just released today on Youtube, to announce ‘Six Degrees Could Change the World‘, an upcoming show on National Geographic Channel:

You mean, 6 degrees, that’s all it will, would take, to wipe out the planet? This is probably one of the scariest numbers I have heard about global warming. From a non scientist, average citizen perspective.

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Found this morning in my mailbox, a mail from Science Debate 2008, a citizen-led initiative launched in December 2207, and now 10,000 members strong, including some of the most prestigious names in science, technology, and business:

Dear Marguerite,

We are pleased to announce that the world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has become an official cosponsor of Science Debate 2008. You can read more about it here.

Please expect more major announcements very soon.

In case you missed it, you can hear one of our organizers, Shawn Lawrence Otto, talk with Ira Flatow on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday.

Click here to listen:

Thank you for your help – the ONLY reason we are making this progress is because of your support. Check out the amazing lists of signers here and here, and please – forward this to your friends and colleagues and ask them to join this important initiative.

Finally, we need some help. We have been personally volunteering full time for this effort, and throwing in our own personal funds, and we need to pay for more web hosting, travel, communications, and event organizing. Please consider making an online donation here.

Thank you!

The team at ScienceDebate2008.com

This is a very important initiative. I am hoping you will join me in supporting Science Debate 2008. Just one click!

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The Experts are Unnerved by what’s been happening in the Arctic. Yet another article in the New York Times, complete with cool multimedia interactive window, where you can ‘see’ the extent of the Arctic ice melt over this last summer. Scary thoughts cross my mind, and that’s it.

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How to Save the Planet in Five Easy Paragraphs‘. Now, that’s one catchy headline. No Impact Man‘s done it again. He got me hooked and reading his post, and all the comments below. Could it be that the answer to our big problem, lie in five easy paragraphs? I was hoping. It turns out, it is not so simple. Global warming is a big monster with many heads, all of which need to be dealt with, at the same time. No matter how we look at it, there is lots of work involved, for all parties involved. Scientists need to work like mad to develop groundbreaking technologies, many of them. Businesses need to market the right products. Governments at all levels need to set in place courageous policies. Influencers need to continue spreading the good word. And citizens need to take personal responsibility for their action, and stop consuming like there is no tomorrow. Because of the number of actors and roles involved, the complexity can become mind boggling. And my fantasy of a Super Green Conductor, that we could just follow blindly, has yet to materialize.

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