Friday, April 28, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Global warming as asset
The Corner has a post on a dust-up between Nature magazine ("the once respected science magazine") and Encyclopaedia Britannica. Apparently, Nature published a news feature that claimed that Wikipedia was just as accurate, if not more so, than the venerated volume. This bit in The Register, commenting on the whole thing, is the most interesting to me [emphasis mine]:
- Perhaps the clue lies not in the news report, but in the evangelism of the accompanying editorial. Nature's news and features editor Jim Giles, who was responsible for the Wikipedia story, has a fondness for "collective intelligence", one critical web site suggests.
- "As long as enough scientists with relevant knowledge played the market, the price should reflect the latest developments in climate research," Giles concluded of one market experiment in 2002.
Lots of evangelism going on over global warming, eh? And their point on science being scientific is smack-on. More also here.
I attended a meeting last week to review a draft hydrogeological (i.e. groundwater) study that San Diego County is doing for arid East County. The study was commissioned to make sure the development plan for that area is supported by the amount of groundwater available. I thought the geologist's study was technically very sound, and his model did a great job describing the actual water use/storage/availability conditions.
I asked him what has lately become the most important question for guys like him: How does he present this information to his bosses and the public that ensures it isn't used as political football? His deer-in-the-headlights initial response said a lot. After blinking for a second, he replied that he hoped the model would stand on it's own merit.
Unfortunately, I think that approach has become a tad naive these days; advocacy for your data has become a necessity now (assuming it hasn't always been the case that you had to defend your thesis through the peer review process), but historically this has always been scientific advocacy, not political advocacy.
Using data from sources on the Internet further complicates matters, especially when it's difficult to decide whether that information is authoritative or not.
Not really offering a solution here, just an observation. But clearly it's an issue that won't go away.
by Don Bosch :: Evaneco.com
reprinted with permission db
guest contributing writer Greener Magazine