Open Thread Plus Toles Cartoon Of The Week

A cyber-penny for your thoughts.


46 Responses to Open Thread Plus Toles Cartoon Of The Week

  1. Somewhere along the way the Republican party stopped caring about reality. More and more, it seems, they live in a dream world of their own making.
    They are Pied Pipers, leading their followers over the cliff. They are selling my grandchildren’s future for little green pieces of paper.

  2. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    At the beginning of the 3rd hour of the math class I teach Thursday nights, I put the graphic “Arctic Sea Ice Extent 9/18/2012” up on projector. A small handful of the 20-some students were able to recognize it as a view of the Arctic without it being pointed out to them. I took my laser pointer and identified Alaska, Canada, Greenland, etc., and most of the rest then recognized it as well. I told them this represented the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice on record – the lowest in thousands upon thousands of years, and much below the 1979 to 2000 average. Most looked on intently, while a few seemed as though they expected me to expose the AGW conspiracy they’d heard Rush talk about. One student correctly identified the Northwest Passage – none could identify the Northeast Passage. A couple had heard of Eric the Red – none knew the story about why Greenland was ice and Iceland was was (sort of) green. None knew about Shell’s drilling in the Arctic. But everyone knew Santa’s workshop would be lost if all the ice melted. A few knew that Metropolis would be overrun with crime if Superman’s Fortress of Solitude were lost to the melt. OK, I had to end the five minute session with a little humor… but it’s a start.

  3. Peter Mizla says:

    As to the cartoon. How much longer will the disinformation from the fossil fuel companies be effective? They have been very successful thus far- when will we turn the corner on them, and relegate them to obscurity?

  4. 13Emeth says:

    Some issues/questions extracted from a longer planned post on my blog:

    1. After eliminating the false equivalency in the media typically exhibited when reporting on global warming, a number of individuals appear to have the mindset that the media will be a useful tool in convincing people of the severity of global warming, both in magnitude and timing. However, has anyone thought about the potential detriment such a situation would create? Numerous books have been written about how to present information to an audience in effort to increase the probability that the audience is receptive to the validity of that information, but does/will the news media present material on global warming in adherence to these recommendations? If not would getting the media on ‘the side of the climate’ even matter or would it be worse due to cognitive dissidence or backfire effects experienced by those viewers/readers the media would be trying to convince?

    Another issue is that people believe discussing the future detrimental consequences of global warming is counterproductive if individuals are not presented with an element of reinforced hope; basically they need to believe that the problems are hard and require work, but are solvable and what those solutions could be. Can the news media accomplish this within their 3-5 minute subject sessions? What strategies do people have to enhance the communication abilities of the media based on the operational time restrictions of the media? Clearly it is not as easy as writing a letter to the editor instructing editors and anchors on what to do and just expecting it to happen.

    2. Even after getting people to accept the reality that humans are the driving force behind global warming, getting people to adjust their priorities to addressing global warming will still be difficult because environmental consequences, despite their severity, are longer term than most consequences associated with other societal problems like income inequality, hunger and education gaps (note that list only includes non-superficial ‘problems’). Arguments regarding protecting children and creating a more stable economy through the expansion of ‘green’ jobs have been made nearly incessantly and yet have had only a marginal effect, if any, on changing the attitude of importance for the public regarding the environment. Polling information frequently lists environment as a low concern versus economy, taxes, corruption in Congress, terrorism, education, etc. People can blame the misinformation campaign by the deniers, but that really is just a cop-out excuse because the majority of humans had little respect for the environment before there was such an organized and aggressive campaign.

    As regrettable as it sounds popular opinion appears more influenced by celebrities than policy makers. To that end where are the younger celebrity environmentalists? It seems like every major celebrity who is characterized as ‘green’ is over the age of 30 and individuals like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Daryl Hannah, Ed Begley Jr., etc have little influence with the younger generation. The ‘green’ characterization for the very rare younger ones seems to only extend to being vegans, not exactly helpful when trying to drive public opinion in favor of environmental policies. Has the environmental movement attempted to court individuals like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Emma Watson, Zac Efron, etc? Modern society can be disconcerting when it can be reasonably argued that Taylor Swift is more influential than James Hansen, but that appears to be where it is at realistically, especially when noting the demographic represented by the fans of the above individuals and what type of voting block they may become in the future.

    3. Perhaps it would be useful to create another Walden-type book. I have yet to see any book described as ‘the modern Walden’. Sure you see the occasional blogger go off-line for one month or some other insignificant time period, but these individuals are typically still in an urban environment eliminating any real environmental connection. What if the environmental movement could organize a group of individuals to create the backbone for a modern multicultural ‘Walden’? Recruit 20 or so individuals from multiple countries (U.S., China, India, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, the Netherlands, etc.) and arrange it so they go out in the ‘wilderness’ for a period of time (six months?) with nothing but some form of shelter, adequate food supplies (this is not the 1800s they should not be expected to forage for food) and a paper journal. Then use writings from their journals to create another Walden-type book, which would hopefully establish/restore an emotional connection between the environment and society.

  5. Tami Kennedy says:

    The keys to Congress include the one to start the ‘Snow-Job’ Machine

  6. Will Fox says:

    A new study reveals that fast-flowing and narrow glaciers have the potential to trigger massive changes in the Antarctic ice sheet, and contribute to rapid ice-sheet decay and sea-level rise:

  7. ColoradoBob says:

    IN A world first, researchers have shown that many species of fruit fly won’t survive even a modest increase in temperature. Many are close to or beyond their temperature safety margin – and very few have the genetic ability to adapt to climate change.
    As Ary Hoffmann of the University of Melbourne’s department of genetics put it: ”We were hoping to see potential for adaptation and that didn’t happen. Which is bad news. And not just for fruit flies.”

    Read more:

  8. The first US Presidential Debate is coming up on Wednesday. It is supposed to be a “defining event” that needs the protection of a Presidential Debate Commission (3 Democrats and 3 Republicans) who actually agree on a few things: only 1 Democrat and 1 Republican can ever debate, moderators must be agreeable to never asking had questions. With PBS Newshour’s Jim Lehrer moderating the first debate, you can be sure that the questioning will match the false balance viewpoint of Newshour’s recent climate coverage…. though I will admit that having Walt Meier talk about sea ice melting this week was a vast improvement.

    How much better it would be if Dr. Jill Stein were included? We will never be allowed to know.

  9. Georga Grivois says:

    The GOP Obstructionists in Congress should be forced to return all their salaries for the past 3 1/2 years!

  10. David B. Benson says:

    Thanks for the link.

  11. Chris Winter says:

    Republican National Convention Ironies, 2012

    “The Tampa delegates are energized and full of visceral conviction, and their energy combines with the Convention’s folksy rhetoric, emotional appeal, and slick production to make a captivating media show. It may fairly be said that the GOP is hot right now.

    But it’s America that is burning.”

  12. Ken says:

    Bill Clinton is too modest! On the Daily Show Thursday, the former president claimed he wasn’t aiming for soaring rhetoric in his Democratic Convention speech.–1

    I guess soaring rhetoric just comes naturally to him.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Clinton and Obama excel at soaring rhetoric, but their records contradict their cynical, posturing, verbosity.

  14. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Politics as a ‘captivating media show’ – a Shakespearean tragedy! ME

  15. Tim Laporte says:

    The following blog by UCSD physics professor Tom Murphy is an excellent source for issues relating to peak oil and the physical limits to energy/economic growth. I highly recommend it to readers from Climate Progress as an addendum to this site’s excellent coverage of climate change:

  16. Joan Savage says:

    Yes, thanks for the link. To get the original PNAS article, the title is:

    Dynamics of the last glacial maximum Antarctic ice-sheet and its response to ocean forcing

    Nicholas R. Golledge, Christopher J. Fogwill, Andrew N. Mackintosh, and Kevin M. Buckley

  17. Chris Winter says:

    By purest coincidence, this afternoon I spent some time looking for applicable quotes from the Bard’s works. I found a few.

    * A Winter’s Tale [I, 2, 400] —

    Camillo: “Good my lord, be cured
    Of this diseased opinion, and betimes;
    For ’tis most dangerous.”

    * Hamlet [III, 1, 1683] —

    Claudius: “And can you by no drift of circumstance
    Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
    Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
    With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?”

    * Henry VI Part II [II, 1, 934] —

    Henry VI: “O God, what mischiefs work the wicked ones,
    Heaping confusion on their own heads thereby!”

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    An apt selection Chris, ME

  19. Chris Winter says:

    From Climate Science Watch:

    “A ‘first final cut’ of Craig Rosebraugh’s new film about the power of the oil industry, the global warming disinformation campaign, and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil blowout disaster was screened on September 13 at the international conference on Culture, Politics, and Climate Change in Boulder, Colorado.”

    Here is a trailer.

  20. Paul Klinkman says:

    Climate stoppers don’t plan to fail, they–

    I’m concerned on the surface, that the hearts of many environmental activists will be broken by the ashes of the electoral “victory” that approaches, and more fundamentally, that these people have no clue why they can’t put the government behind them and work with each other to actually inhibit climate change.

    I talk in terms of the people that care starting from scratch and reinventing government by the people and for the people. It’s one more climate change invention that we need for success.

    So, are we going to reinvent some kind of corruption-resistant online government, because it’s necessary to save most of the world’s species from extinction? There’s nothing to do but leave the people who can’t quite get it. Those who can, dream about us moving forward. Those who can help, reach into those who almost can move forward.

  21. Paul Klinkman says:

    Several years ago, researchers saw a relatively narrow ice river in Greenland flow 5 miles in 90 minutes. Its bottom was probably well-lubricated with meltwater at the time. Wishful thinking aside, there’s no good reason to expect that this curious phenomenon won’t reoccur.

  22. Jon Davies says:

    I’m hoping that once the negative effects really start hitting businesses, particularly insurance companies, and food/agro companies, they themselves will start demanding action from the governments, and the knock-on effects of these companies suffering will mean much of the public will be too. Shame it takes this to get some action on climate change, but I think it’s not too far away now.

    So yeah, I’m expecting business to be the driving force behind finally getting some political movement on the problem.

  23. David B. Benson says:

    “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  24. Clive says:

    This is the most apt comment that I know of in Shakespeare. Incredibly insightful words, given the were written some 400 years ago before technology had really exploded. I remember feeling how appropriate they were when genetic engineering started up:

    But man, proud man,
    Dressed in a little brief authority,
    Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
    His glassy essence, like an angry ape
    Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
    As makes the angels weep.

  25. Having just reviewed it, I recommend strongly reading Danny Kennedy’s new book “Rooftop Revolution”. I don’t know if he has read “Language Intelligence”, but he sure does bring some, along with a lot of enthusiasm.

  26. David B. Benson says:

    “All power corrupts but some must govern.”

  27. Jon Davies says:

    With all that’s changing right now in the climate and our planet, reading articles about people worrying about ‘climate change’ and the casual dismissal of their concerns in the comments (what’s a degree C here or there?), I realized the term just doesn’t seem to capture the scale and importance of what’s happening now and what we are afraid of and trying to prevent.

    Yes the climate is changing, but with an ice cap disappearing, sea level rising, ocean acidification, habitats and ecosystems dying, mass extinctions looming, hardiness and climate zones migrating, permafrost thawing, tree-lines rising and glaciers receding, it’s not just the climate that’s changing, it’s our whole planet, and we need a term that reflects that. One that get’s the full picture across, and reminds people of the full implications every time they here it, so they can’t just dismiss it as a 1 or 2 degree temperature rise that they might even think sounds quite pleasant.

    I propose something like “Planet Change”, “Heat Driven Planet Disarrangement”, “GeoBiosphere Upheaval”.

    Any suggestions?

  28. David B. Benson says:

    Clean Technica has a positive review but when I attempt to provide the link the great comment eater in the web swoopes in and goggles, two different versions now.

  29. Will Fox says:

    Personally I would go further. They should be charged with crimes against humanity.

  30. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Eventually they absolutely must be. No impunity.

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity’.

  32. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘As makes the angels weep (with laughter).

  33. catman306 says:

    Thanks for the excellent link!

  34. Spike says:

    Some welcome leadership by the leader of the opposition to the right wing coalition in the UK, with a call to decarbonise power supplies by 2030:

  35. Spike says:

    I often think of Wisdom’s Rebuke in Proverbs 1 verse 20-33, given that so many GOP deniers claim to be bible bashing traditionalists.

    This must be one bit of the Bible they selectively mute out.

  36. Spike says:

    it is also happening with the right wing in the UK, pushing a gas fueled future and deriding renewables and efficiency at every opportunity:

  37. Raul M. says:

    With reading and writing some about climate Geo-engineering and that we have been climate engineering long before we knew it to harm the environment, restoring the climate to livable systems would be in religious terminology akin to working for forgiveness. Yet we as a people are far from realizing that need for restoration. Doing the math about how much carbon is released and how much is sequestered for an individual is probably to revealing of just how much work to sequester the excess carbon that the forgiveness will entail.

  38. John McCormick says:

    Jon, the causal element in all the changes you listed is the planet’s climate changing. As thing worsen we will be talking about global climate chaos. Like a fire hose connected to the hydrant and left untended ; it flails in every direction….ah, what a thought: an unhinged global climate.

    GLOBAL CLIMATE CHAOS; that does it for me.

  39. Jon Davies says:

    John, I know the causal element is climate change, that’s my point. So much is changing and will change, NOT just limited to climate and weather. So I think we need a new term to get that across.

    Even “Global Climate Chaos” doesn’t go far enough in scope. The face of our planet is changing, maps will have to be redrawn. Ecosystems everywhere on earth are going to be thrown into turmoil and a desperate fight for survival. Limiting the term to ‘climate’ does not get all this across to people who haven’t been paying attention, and they’re the ones we need to pay attention!

  40. The real test for NewHour will come on Wednesday, when Jim Lehrer moderates a presidential debate. Will he have a question on climate change and the economic impact of adaptation, or continued delay?

    I doubt it.

  41. Brooks Bridges says:

    Consider ocean acidification while you’re looking for a term.

    So, Global Environment Chaos?

  42. David B. Benson says:

    I make it about US$750 billion per year for many, many years.

    To put that figure in perspective, a recent Institute of Medicine (NAS/NRC) report states that is the amount which is wasted in providing health care in the USA.

  43. Gillian King says:

    The Pied Piper metaphor rings true in several ways…

    > the piper hypnotises people/animals and leads them astray

    > the govt refuses to pay the piper for services rendered because it seems expensive. They end up paying with the lives of their children.

    Blogged here…

  44. David B. Benson says:


    It would be helpful if more would learn some of the basic properties of Rankine cycle steam turbines.

  45. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And in Australia and Canada, too. The Anglosphere Right is now, I would assert, utterly mad and wicked, and the greatest threat to human survival ever.

  46. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘A tale told by an idiot…