I fear that the story of the Deepwater Horizon is still only in the second act. As if Gulf residents need anything else to be worried about at the moment, the National Oceanic + Atmospheric Admn announced yesterday that this hurricane season (which officially starts next Tuesday) is likely to be “active to extremely active,” comparing it to the 2005 season that produced Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. What the heck happens if a hurricane or tropical storm were to pass over the oil-coated Gulf? It’s unchartered territory, but on his WunderBlog, meteorologist Jeff Masters takes a stab:
One of the more unnerving prospects to consider if a hurricane hits the oil spill is what the hurricane’s storm surge might do with the oil/dispersant mixture. The foul mix would ride inland on top of the surge, potentially fouling residential areas and hundreds of square miles of sensitive ecosystems with the toxic stew.
Joss Garman has an excellent post comparing the campaign against relativity a century ago with the campaign against the science of climate change today:
At a time when The Guardian just reported another poll showing a drop in concern about climate change, and a New York Timesfront page this week described Britons’ growing doubts about the science, its worth taking a look at that anti-science campaign, which was waged by Einstein’s critics because like today’s climate denial movement, the anti-relativity movement had some success too.
“Anti-relativists… built up networks to act against Einstein’s theory in concert. This led to some success.For instance, the clamor about the theory in Germany contributed to the Nobel Committee’s delay in awarding its 1921 prize to Einstein and to the particular choice of subject for which he finally did receive it: his account of the photo-electric effect, instead of the controversial theory of relativity.”
As I’ve documented elsewhere, prolific climate deniers such as Ian Plimer, James Delingpole and Christopher Booker who deliberately spread untruths on climate change can be wrong 99% of the time and right for less than 1% of the time and still ‘win the argument’ because the playing field simply isn’t level. Equally, the IPCC can be right 99% of the time and wrong less than 1% of the time, and they still ‘lose.’ As Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, whom the NYTquoted last year as “an expert on environmental communications,” told Climate Progress:
“It is well known in both sociology and communications thatpublic opinion is largely shaped by media coverage. So the shift in public opinion about climate change is linked to the nature of mainstream media coverage of the so-called “climategate scandal.”
It is not a surprise that public concern about climate change should have been dented following such a fierce media and smear campaign by a coalition of fossil fuel industries (well documented in the case of Koch industries and Exxon) and conservative ‘think tanks’ (covered extensively by Desmogblog and Climateprogress in a US context, and exposed to a less extent in the UK) which have peddled disinformation for decades to deny this fact.
With the U.S. release this week of the final installment of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy++, the English-speaking world is again given a chance to indulge in a view of Scandinavia that is entirely dystopian. In Larsson’s Sweden, the police are useless where they are not corrupt; the countryside is full of violent drug dealers; the rich are utterly unprincipled. This is no longer a clean, well-lighted place for Volvo owners. What went wrong?
The story of Sweden over the last 50 years has been one of a steady loss of exceptionalism. In some ways the outside world has grown more “Swedish” — we all wear seatbelts, drink less, and believe in gender equality. At the same time, Sweden has grown much more worldly — it drinks more, works and earns less, and struggles with the assimilation of immigrants. The Swedes themselves no longer believe in a Swedish model, or, when they do, it’s very different from the heavily regulated “people’s home” of myth.
Last summer, I was on a panel with Pär Nuder, a Social Democrat intellectual and former finance minister whose description of the Swedish model was one of high taxes but minimal regulation; generous parental leave, but very high female employment; and a much greater reluctance to nationalize failing industries than is found in the rest of Europe, or in the United States for that matter. When Swedish car makers go bust, the state does not bail them out. Volvo is now owned by a Chinese company, and Saab by a Dutch maker of sports cars. Even the school system has been partly privatized, along with almost everything else that the state once owned.
The other point Nuder made was that Sweden is now a country with a sizeable immigrant population. Nearly a fifth of the Swedish population today are people either born abroad or the children of two immigrants, and this figure has risen by about a third in the last decade. Almost everyone from outside the EU has come as a refugee: Over the last decade, the country took in nearly 80,000 refugees from Iraq, which is nearly 1% of the population. But though they are not recruited as workers, they are expected to work, and the problem is that there is hardly any heavy industrial work for them to do.
"He left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910, together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit bookshops for at least a century. That milestone has now been reached, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Twain’s autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words.”
“Some of you may have noticed that I no longer have a facebook page and that my myspace profile is mangled. No, I was not hacked. I have been trying to cancel myspace for a few weeks and was having trouble, so I destroyed what was there. I have now reached someone there who is promising me that they will let me leave. I have no grudge against myspace or facebook. It’s hard to explain. I just don’t want to do these things anymore and I started to feel like I had to. So I stopped. That’s all. People will tell me that that kind of networking is vital for my career. Well, I guess I’m willing to go ahead and find out that no one is coming to my shows because I don’t have a myspace or a facebook account. I wish all of you in the social network world a terrific whatever you’re doing. If you still want to reach me, you can come here to my website. I will try to use the time I have freed up by killing those things to update this page more often. A good life, or a hard life lived well, to all of you.”—Louis C.K. (via schlomo: soupsoup)