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14 February 2021
Elizabeth Kolbert’s third book is now out! Under a White Sky is “a book about people trying to solve problems created by people trying to solve problems.” These problems are environmental problems – they are instances of nature becoming less natural. As humans build cities and plant crops and make waste, we alter the world we live on, the ecology we live within. In Kolbert’s previous book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning …
7 June 2017
I have some questions for you. You answers determine whether you’re ready to begin talking about climate policy. Do you believe that carbon atoms exist? Do you believe that carbon can bond to oxygen? Do you believe that the bonding of carbon to oxygen is an exothermic reaction? Do you believe that exothermic reactions make heat? Do you believe that heat can be used to boil water? Do you believe …
2 May 2017
It’s getting green outside – what’s it mean for the planet? Find out in this blog post contemplating the relationship between spring leaves and atmospheric CO2.
27 April 2017
A quick exercise in deconstructing the argument of a “elevated CO2 is good” video on YouTube by identifying its logical fallacies. Pull up a chair, grab a bowl of popcorn, and join us in the critique!
24 December 2016
It’s bonfire season here in the Fort Valley. I live in a forest, and that forest is full of dead and downed wood. Motivated by a desire to (a) reduce forest fire risk and (b) clear out some of the area under the trees for unobstructed recreation, I gather it up and periodically burn it off in batches. We time these blazes to the weather – before or after after …
9 November 2015
This is probably the last week our planet’s atmosphere will have less than 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide. When are we going to stop letting this heat-trapping waste gas pile up in our home?
2 December 2011
From “Volcanic Versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide” by Terry Gerlach in the June 14, 2011 issue of EOS: Human activities emit ~135 times as much carbon dioxide as the world’s volcanoes? Holy cow.
8 September 2011
You may have heard that the Republican party has been embracing non-scientific and anti-scientific positions lately. National Public Radio compiled a bunch of quotations reflecting this trend on their website yesterday. I thought I might take a moment here on the blog to critique their statements (both pros and cons), and then reflect on why, in total, the Republican trend towards anti-science strikes me as a dismaying course for my …
13 April 2011
Yesterday afternoon, I went to the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill to attend a briefing arranged by the American Meteorological Society on the topic of geoengineering as a response to climate change. The two speakers, Ken Caldeira and David Keith, argued that the U.S. should invest heavily in geoengineering research, so we can figure out what’s safe and what’s irresponsible before we actually make any decisions about which …
25 January 2011
Over the weekend, hideously cold temperatures kept me indoors. I baked a cake, I went to see the new movie “True Grit” (excellent), and I read the 2006 compilation of John McPhee’s writing on transportation, Uncommon Carriers. Like most everybody I know, I came to McPhee based on his geology writings — the quartet of books that were collectively republished en masse in 1998 as Annals of the Former World, …