Category Archive: Environment

Apr 10 2014

Plastic: worse than we thought

That plastic grocery bag you got at the store is something more than just an eyesore and a source of nasty chemicals, it’s also a magnet for accumulating more pollutants. The ingredients that make up more than 50% of plastics are already deemed chemical hazards by the UN Globally Harmonized System. But as floating bits …

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Apr 09 2014

Recursive confirmation

Last month, I reported on a paper that was about to be retracted by a journal; the paper by Lewandowsky and others analyzed public articles and comments by climate change denialists and found evidence that they were populated by wacky conspiracy theorists and thin-skinned paranoid weirdos (it’s true!). Said conspiracy theorists, weirdos, and industry shills …

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Apr 02 2014

A poll! To benefit my campus!

This is terribly self-serving, but I finally aim to use my poll-crashing powers for personal gain. UMM is competing in a video contest, and we’re currently a distant third. This is the contest: For the third straight year, Planet Forward is partnering with Second Nature to host the Climate Leadership Awards Video Voting Competition. Second Nature, which …

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Apr 01 2014

Ignoring the scientists, part 2

We’re not doing anything about slow, steady climate change, and we’re also not dealing with acute, local environmental risks, like the recent Washington mudslide. The Snohomish County officials who control land use permits asserted last week that there was no way of knowing a giant mudslide would ever happen there. In fact, the area was …

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Apr 01 2014

25 years of futility


The IPCC has been issuing climate change warnings for 25 years. Here’s the net result: But if we go back to brass tacks, it’s worth asking how the world has reacted to these repeated warnings. Since 1990, annual global greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels have gone up 60 per cent. Or perhaps you’d …

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Mar 31 2014

Cosmos upstaged!

Last night on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how we know the universe is immensely old, and even took a sharp poke at that nonsensical idea that the earth is only about 6,000 years old. I figured there’d be some indignant squawking on the internet this morning, but no…the creationists are all quiet about it. …

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Mar 22 2014

Potential disasters pimpling the whole country

Your must-read article for the day is When the Rivers Run Black, the story of the Kingston, Tennessee coal ash spill. The walls of a gigantic reservoir pond containing toxic waste produced by a coal-fired power plant ruptured, pouring 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash into the environment. It was the largest industrial accident …

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Mar 21 2014

The paper they don’t want you to read!

The climate change denialists are a bit thin-skinned; they’ve also been exposed as a bit on the wacko side. The journal Frontiers in Psychology is about to retract a paper that found that denialists tend to have a cluster of weird beliefs (NASA faked the moon landings, the CIA was in charge of the assassination …

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Mar 19 2014

Take that, BP!


It’s nature’s revenge: a marlin attacked an oil pipeline, causing a 5 day shutdown and costing BP over $100 million. The attack moose are in training for Keystone XL. It’s not going to be pretty.

Mar 19 2014

Watching Nate Silver squander his reputation

Nate Silver is putting together this journalism startup, and it’s already on the path to failure. I mentioned his oblivious sexism the other day, and now we learn the name of the ‘science’ writer he’s bringing to to cover the environment. Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site FiveThirtyEight launched on Monday, with a controversial …

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