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Thanks, Chris. I'm surprised to see Brand accepting uncritically claims
that human action is responsible for global warming. I thought the
evidence on that point was mixed, at best. Apart from data showing a
_slowing_ of warming trends since 1940, compared to 1880-1940, and
satellite data showing negligible warming overall, I would expect
effects of human action to be swamped by the earth's massive natural
I have a number of friends who are professional earth scientists, and good
ones (my undergrad college had a very strong planetary geo program - many
of the Mars probe folks are from there). There really is little debate on
this in the scientific community - not because debate has been suppressed,
but because, as with evolution, there really is a preponderance of
evidence. The satellite data gets wobbly because it's measuring the
temperature from space, and the nature of the greenhouse effect is that
heat is trapped lower to the ground. Urban heat islands have had a skewing
effect, but the skeptics on this issue are pretty much limited to political
thinktanks. The liberal *and apolitical* scientists are unanimous here.
There is some debate about whether or not human activity has postponed an
ice age that would have happened otherwise, or possibly even ended the
Little Ice Age, but there's not much dissent on the influence of human
Brand's observations about reversals in the environmental movement were
very interesting, nevertheless. He might have mentioned also the
support of the Sierra Club for the building of Glen Canyon Dam in 1964.
I recall, when I was an SC member, that they now describe that as their
worst mistake. I think it was a trade for some other preservation, and
they've kicked themselves since.
[Interestingly, this article came up at work today; Stewart Brand is part
of the Long Now foundation, as is Danny Hillis, my new employer's co-founder.]
Chris Maden, freelance text nerd: <URL: http://crism.maden.org/ >
Robin Hood didn't steal from the rich and give to the poor; he took
money from the tax collectors and gave it back to the taxpayers.
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