Getting it All Wrong

i-d8d7d18492405c1cbf15d3b563ec8349-wrongbuzz.jpgEven with the best intentions, it’s possible to get things wrong. And with lesser intentions, being wrong becomes easy. First, James Hrynyshyn on The Island of Doubt reports that the IPCC will retract its 2007 prediction that global warming could melt the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. Although the IPCC promises “the best peer-reviewed science available,” this faulty prediction whispered its way from article to article in a game of journalistic telephone. Tim Lambert on Deltoid is grateful that the IPCC will correct their error, and observes that the current gaffe is getting more media attention than the actual 2007 report. But while the IPCC may have made an honest mistake, other sources seem to mix things up deliberately. Scicurious offers an example on Neurotopia, citing a perfectly good study which showed that stronger and/or more attractive individuals are more likely to prevail in conflicts of interest. In spinning this science, TimesOnline “had to go and say some rather false things,” translating attractiveness to blondeness and invoking the questionable phrase “warrior princess.” Dave Bacon on The Quantum Pontiff catches New Scientist in a similar bit of sensationalism, as they recently entangled “local field potential measurements in a monkey’s brain” with hardcore quantum mechanics. With interest coming at the price of inaccuracy, should we as readers let bygones be bygones?

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Copenhagen, Claus & Christ

i-056faeb5a8565bc75ca2aae370a825f8-santabuzz.jpgThe climate summit in Copenhagen came to a tenuous conclusion on Friday, as five nations pulled a non-binding “agreement” from thin air. This agreement recognizes the threat of rising temperatures and pledges financial aid for developing countries, but sets no emission guidelines and is not legally enforcible anyway. On Casaubon’s Book, Sharon Astyk fears what global warming will do to Santa’s Workshop, writing that the major players at Copenhagen were “afraid to do hard things,” and content to “pretend to do something” instead. Meanwhile, Greg Laden on his blog points out that Copenhagen provided another chance for global warming denialists to miss the forest for the snow-covered trees. Seguing back toward the North Pole, Revere celebrates an otherwise secular family’s faith in Santa Claus on Effect Measure, writing that Christmas is “warm and pleasant at a dark time of year,” and an opportunity to buy gifts for “loved ones and friends to make them happy.” And on Aarvarchaeology, Martin Rundkvist considers the legacy and future of Christmas carols, after singing about Christ himself in an “increasingly vague and all-encompassing” Swedish Church.

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Copenhagen Update

i-a38820751c136ebdbb57a877dddcad5d-cope2buzz.jpgTensions are mounting in Copenhagen over the so-called “Danish text,” a draft agreement that would allow developed countries such as the United States and China to emit nearly twice as much carbon per capita as “third world” or developing countries. Meanwhile, scrappy island nation Tuvalu stood up for a stricter resolution, only to be scolded by the economies-that-be. Eric Michael Johnson on The Primate Diaries writes that the Danish text would “effectively stifle the growth of poor nations while allowing wealthy nations to continue their disproportionate levels of carbon pollution.” In a separate post, Johnson criticizes those who “dismiss out of hand any concerns that the developing nations might have. The next fifty years could very well be extraordinarily harsh ones for the Global South.” On Casaubon’s Book, Sharon Astyk wonders why regulation of this agreement would fall to the World Bank, “an institution that [poor nations] have profound and deeply relevant reasons to distrust?” If you need to cool off, head over to A Few Things Ill Considered, where Coby points us to “a fabulous boil down approach to the climate debate.”

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Talks in Copenhagen, More on CRU Emails

i-d928262a7a1c999778b98c95028d86b6-copebuzz.jpgA potentially historic climate change conference began in Copenhagen Monday and will run for the next two weeks as leaders and diplomats from around the world attempt to reach an agreement about global warming. Meanwhile, the stolen emails of Climategate are still making some headlines, but why? Dismissing cries of conspiracy, ScienceBloggers have moved on to consider the broader implications of the event. Josh Rosenau on Thoughts from Kansas decries the invasion of privacy, writing “I’m sure the server contained private notes to the researchers’ loved ones and family and a host of other content” that was never meant to be shared. On Framing Science, Mathew Nisbet says scientists need to update their public image, because “the public is expecting and demanding greater involvement in science-related decisions and greater accountability on the part of scientists.” Chad Orzel on Uncertain Principles writes that human stupidity was the only thing exposed by the climate hackers, and that “the belief that science is somehow above issues of perception and communication leads directly to this sort of catastrophe.”

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