Thin Science?, Propaganda?, Hidden Agendas?....unfortunately that's what most of us expect to find behind the headlines when the stakes are high. In this brilliantly tight presentation from TED, Cambridge Phd. candidate, Rachel Pike introduces us to her work on the molecule Isoprene and then helps us understand the enormous effort behind the scientific work about our atmosphere. Consider....620 scientists in 40 countries reviewed by 400 scientists in 113 countries. Does that change your opinion of our headlines? Regardless...make sure to watch for shots of the flying lab Rachel and her teammates use in their work.
Posting in Environment
In this brilliant presentation from TED, Cambridge Phd. candidate, Rachel Pike introduces us to her work on the molecule Isoprene and then helps us understand the enormous effort behind the scientific work about our atmosphere.
Nov 22, 2009
She said that Isoprene is equal to the weight of Methane? That definitely isn't molecular weight and can't be by volume in the atmosphere because it isn't a gas. As I could entail even by the brevity of this presentation that it may ride on the condensate above the forest canopy or the fog machine. Huge amount of stuff important to the atmospheric system? As condensation nuclei for near surface moisture formation phenomena especially around forests but I'd like to see the hypotheses testing for global effects. So this is the source of all the simplistic, pretentious, and derivative self-validation that promotes the dramatic headlines fit for publishing on the European's version of Enquirer? No wonder there is a credibility problem. The public is sensing that some scientists are contributing to the drama by exaggeration and conjecture. The goal may be to pursue funding from taxpayer dollars but it is getting to seem like pork barrel ventures. Even worse to usurp people into financial schemes that will have no bearing on environmental issues or oversight to determine the effectiveness and where the money goes. Actually, the cap-and-trade or other schemes could be just the transition for the financial underwriters and petroleum industry to make their next huge bundle. Wouldn't that be ironic?
I'm not sure just what Rachel is getting at. Obviously thousands of scientists are involved in atmospheric studies. After all, anything less would mean we are not getting our money's worth for the billions in research we are spending worldwide each year. You get similar research complexity at companies such as IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Intel which have R&D budgets in the billions. Is Rachel saying that the atmosphere and all its interactions are very complex? Again, that should be obvious to anybody who has done even cursory study of climate. You would expect large teams of scientists would be needed to study such complexity in detail. The real question, the one Rachel can't address, is where are we in studying the climate? Have we identified all the interactions, however subtle, which can cause major changes? For example, after the last two decades of intense study, why did no one predict the plateauing of temperatures in the last decade? Does this plateau have anything to do with the plateau of 1940-1970? It's quite possible that this is all part of man-made global warming, but the fact that the science still is not to the point that this could be predicted indicates that our knowledge is not nearly complete as the newspaper headlines would like us to think. If thousands of scientists with petaflops of computer processing at their disposal could not predict what actually is happening, isn't that an argument that we don't know as much that we think we do?