Tag Archives: Nuclear power

Ridiculing ridiculous science commentary

Sometimes it’s pointless to debate rationally with critics. When their approach and arguments are ridiculous it may be better to ridicule them rather than treat them seriosuly.

Simon Jenkins, Guardian columnist

It seems some British scientists have decided to do this with one of The Guardian’s columnists, Simon Jenkins. The last straw was a silly article of his Martin Rees makes a religion out of science so his bishops can gather their tithe. In this he made childish attacks on The Royal Society and its President Lord Martin Rees, the Large Hadron Collider, the BBC for running science programmes, the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, investment in science education, science advise on the H1N1 flu virus, nuclear power and “mad cow” disease, and so on.

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Environmental movement needs pragmatism

Book Review: Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

Price: US$17.153
Hardcover: 336 page
Publisher: Viking Adult (October 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670021210
ISBN-13: 978-0670021215

Stewart Brand is an invigorating and challenging writer. He has a long history in the environmental movement. His green credentials are undeniable. But he is not afraid to think outside the box. To challenge current environmental thinking. And to fight against the destructive role of ideology which can be such a limitation in political movements.

This book has two clear messages for environmentalists and “greens”:

1: Discard ideology.

2: Cities are green, nuclear energy is green, genetic engineering is green.

Brand proposes a pragmatic, non-ideological approach to the ecological and environmental problems we face today. In the process he has to critique some ideas he formerly promoted, and some of his allies still promote.

The book effectively deals with four areas. The role of cities, shanty towns and slums, the problem of anthropological contributions to climate change, the problem of energy and the role of nuclear power, and the resistance to solutions using genetic engineering.

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“Climategate” – the smoking gun?

Some of the more extreme climate change deniers, and others who have an anti-science agenda, continue to dredge through the domestic debris of the emails stolen by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia. Their conclusions are, of course, predictable.  Meanwhile, the balanced media summary oif this fiasco is probably well represented by George Monbiot in the Guardian: “The leaked exchanges are disturbing, but it would take a conspiracy of a very different order to justify sceptics’ claims.” (see Global warming rigged? Here’s the email I’d need to see ).

I particularly liked his depiction of the email that the climate change deniers and their allies would dearly love to find. It’s a great satire and portrays some of the silliest conspiracy theories promulgated by deniers. Continue reading