Archive for May, 2006

baked alaska

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

The USA Today has a fantastic multimedia presentation on the thawing of Alaska. In addition to a solid article on the subject, it shows an interactive graph of the temperature change (aka the hockey stick) from 200 A.D. – 2100 A.D. Move your mouse over the graph and you’ll see the what the temperature was/is/will be, how it was calculated, and what was happening at the time. For example, in 870 A.D., the average world temperature was 57 degrees (based on scientific analysis). During that time, the Mayan civilization was at its peak but eventually collapsed due to intense drought.

Click on the video player and you’ll see a map of Alaska and three small videos that illustrate retreat of glaciers, impacts on permafrost (including what permafrost is), and impacts on the forest as the summers get warmer. As each brief video plays, the locations appear on the background map.

I’m not normally a fan of the “McPaper” and the reporters are a bit too even-handed with the little ice age arguments (which translates as, “there’s some microscopic doubt that humans are causing climate change but let’s overinflate the counterargument so as not to upset the conservatives”). However, this elevates my respect of the paper. It’s an excellent presentation and well-worth a visit.

future of virtual environmental activism?

Monday, May 29th, 2006

I note with interest today’s NYTimes article on MTV’s entry into shows produced for cell phone screens. I don’t know how they’ll do with music videos, as the article points out, there’s significant pixel smear in image movement, which worsens with reduced streaming rates. But this might actually work with Flash activism, that has  slightly cruder animation, and short shows that contain lots of relatively static images. Think the Meatrix on your cell.

your 15 minutes of fame with climate change models

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Britain’s Open University and The British Broadcasting Company, BBC have teamed up to produce a series of documentaries on climate change. They will be hosted by veteran BBC nature documentarian, David Attenborough. The BBC links to a downloadable model that people can run on their PCs. (For more about the model see here and here). The results will be part of the documentary. Who knows, maybe your individual model run will be highlighted on the show.
Much information is available at a special section of the BBC site. The British news sites, BBC and Guardian have done spectacular jobs in educating the public on climate change. One wonders, what in the world is happening with North American news sites? Oh, that’s right, this much effort would suggest they’re taking a position on the science on climate change and we all know there’s conflicting evidence….

who knew Al Gore would be a celebrity?

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

I’ll let the entertainment reporters handle that one. Al Gore is at the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which offers compelling evidence for climate change. In the meantime the movie has a very nice web site containing a comprehensible digest of the science underlying climate change with RSS feeds of climate related articles and blog posts