Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nature at War, Todd at Brown (and BDH Archives Online!)

One of my fellow Brown alums, Chris Nugent, noted this striking spider-vs.-ant footage (wait for the end).  Chris likes wolves, too, so he may enjoy tomorrow's entry, which will include a clip of a wolf sparring with a bald eagle.

Other Brown alums might wish to find me on display at Table MD-92 (“Seavey, Todd”) on the Main Green near the John Carter “Warlord of Mars” Brown Library on Friday night during Campus Dance (or catch me via e-mail if you’re there the following two days).  You can also read old Brown Daily Herald online now, notes Andrew Corsello, but the pivotal years 1989 and 1990, containing many of my columns, appear to be missing.  This is just as well for any future presidential campaign I might mount.

In other nature news, notice how ABC manages to put a scary rising-storms-trend headline on a story the actual content of which says, no, there has not been a significant increase in storm frequency or intensity, they just happen to have hit populated areas this year and the evidence about whether it's related to global warming is inconclusive.  Yet the headline nonetheless presumes there is a “cause” of the (imagined) increase in storms.  That's the official narrative, after all. 

And I for one would love to hear the global warming paranoiacs explain why populated areas being hit is an inevitable side effect of warming rather than a random occurrence.  I don't doubt they'll try to come up with something -- something just slightly more plausible than "The sky is angry and has finally figured out where we live!"  (Maybe something involving the “storm belt” shifting away from the equator blah blah blah.  We all know subtle climate changes can only bring bad things, never good, and that everything counts as climate change.  Everything.)

But it’s not as if I oppose all pro-nature activism.  Diana Fleischman notes this instructive video on how to be a “Vegan Black Metal Chef” (here preparing pad thai).

That’s consciousness-raising I think we can all support.  By contrast, I will probably not attend this event at Brown on Friday:

Looking for another event to add to your reunion schedule?  Consider this invitation for a free cocktail reception called: "Working in the Common Good," Friday, May 27 from 4:30 to 6:30 in the backyard of the Swearer Center at 25 George Street. The event will be an informal gathering of alumni, graduating seniors and masters candidates, and some of the staff and faculty who are working to help connect Brown students with social change internships and jobs and build a community of alumni who are working to make a difference with non-profits, for-profits and governments and NGOs around the world.


Marc S. said...

You don't give climate change scientists enough credit, they generally are fairly dispassionate when it comes to the actual underlying scientific questions. The article itself quotes the NWS scientist as saying: "We know that there are ingredients that thunderstorms need that could increase in a warmer world, but we also know there are ingredients that may decrease, so the connections if any are very tenuous and the scientific discoveries on this have yet to be made."

Even quotes from climate change scientists most typically sounding the global warming alarm are pretty circumspect, e.g.

- "It is a truism to say that everything has been affected by climate change so far and therefore this latest outbreak must in some sense have been affected, but attribution is hard and the further down the chain the causality is supposed to go, the harder this is. For heat waves it is easier, for statistics on precipitation intensity it easier – there are multiple levels of good modelling, theory and observations to back it up. But we have much less to go on with tornadoes."

- "In general I do think it’s best to avoid statements like “global warming is to blame for” or “global warming caused” or “this is evidence of global warming,” especially in regards tornadoes."

Our own local climate expert upbraided the Seattle mayor for claiming that last year's problems with mountain snowpack had anything to do with climate change (although his bottom line summary re: the climate change "debate" was that, to be skeptical of global warming, you'd have to believe that putting blankets on your bed would make you cooler.)

Todd Seavey said...

Yeah, in this case I really meant to criticize ABC more than the scientific establishment -- and knowing how these things work, I realize I'm likely criticizing some overworked twenty-year-old intern who was given stern instructions to "make the headlines exciting" rather than the writer, even.