"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Thursday, January 6, 2011


From the comments on the toy story, "Vinny Burgoo" points out:

Google Ngrams: the world's most flawed evil toy? Still, here are its results for 'global warming' and 'climate change' in British English:

and in American English:


Thanks (continues Vinny in response to his own query). I will.

Those graphs might suggest that Americans are far more reluctant to be educated about climate hoo-ha than are Europeans. If so, this would be confirmation of a long-known phenomenon - in Europe, anyway - rather than anything new but perhaps its presentation in such a simple, graphic form might convince American journalists, campaigners, bloggers and expert witnesses that there's more to world opinion than the prattlings of their little stolen empire between the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. I thenk you.

I agree with Vinny's assessment (though I'm surprised that Vinny is a Brit as the nom de plume seems so Okefenokee-esque). The graph seems to show that Americans think "climate change" and "global warming" are two names for "the problem" when in fact they are obviously two different related concepts.

The "problem" remains "climate disruption", and recent events will probably turn out to fit into that perspective. Radiative forcing is the cause, warming is a symptom, disruption is the problem, and anthropogenic climate change includes all of the above.

And since this will inevitably lead to some talk about Dunning-Kruger, notice Stoat's observation on this graph:

Not only are Republicans clearly susceptible to D-K syndrome, we find that no self-identified Republican will admit to incompetence on a question!

What to do when the global superpower is an idiocracy?

Oh, and let me offer one small example of this phenomenon at work on the ground. I saw this mess and in good faith offered a formal definition of the technical term "forcing". So far it has not appeared. I wonder why not?


Tony Lee said...

Reading heaps of blogs about global warming is often mistaken for the equivalent of deep knowledge. The real question is which blogs?

Oale said...

the concepts of light and reflected light are indeed frequently misnderstood. people watching directly at light (say sun) experience a opposite colour distortion in their field of view, or may even go blind.

susan said...

Thanks for the pithy and accurate list of parts of the climate change, global warming semantics. That is really helpful.

Marion Delgado said...

Between your quote above on population and the video on the greenhouse effect on desmogblog, it must be Asimov time. Good.

My ƒavorite google bookƒ graph is Ye Olde ƒuck peaking in the 1600ƒ. What ƒoulmouthed creatureƒ our anceƒtorƒ were!

Steve Bloom said...

Smith is rather more of a persistent crank than the typical denialist blogger, which is saying a lot. Waste not your time.

Martin Vermeer said...

Michael, you know who "chiefio" is, don't you?

Life's too short.

David Wojick said...

Smith says he got some nasty rude comments that he is not posting. Yours?

But I don't suppose understanding the data would help.

Michael Tobis said...

I did lead with a snark, something like "geez, didn't any of you people take undergraduate differential equations?"

The fellow's pseudo-erudite response involving obscure mathematical corners that use the word "forcing" does show a certain diligence with a search engine.

No, I'm not aware of Smith/chiefio.

There will always be fools and charlatans. The sad fact is that people like this gather cheerleaders. That's quite ridiculous and seems unnecessary in world where people have a modest amount of effective education.

David Wojick said...

Which is Smith then, a fool or a charlatan? And you?

guthrie said...

Last I knew, Chiefio was one of watt's bag carriers, and therefore both a fool and a charlatan. But since I don't watch them very closely, I don't have any up to date information an any embarrassing errors he's made.

David Wojick said...

guthrie: One would think it hard to be both a fool and a charlatan, since a fool is one who is fooled while a charlatan is one who fools. The charlatan knows that what they say is false while the fool does not. But perhaps you have a special grasp of this distinction in the context of the climate change debate. Would you care to elaborate?