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Bogus “balance” in science reporting

Many environmental issues rest crucially on science, so it's unfortunate that so much mainstream scientific journalism sucks.  It sucks for much the same reason that so much mainstream political journalism sucks: the quest for "balance," regardless of where the truth lies.  Chris Mooney, the go-to guy for writing on the overlap of science and policy, has a longish piece in Columbia Journalism Review on just this issue, and it's a must-read.Mooney gives special attention to global warming, where the problem is particularly acute. "There's a very small set of people" who question the consensus, says Science's executive editor-in-chief, Donald Kennedy. …

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Vote

At this point, nothing remains to be said.  The arguments have been made.  The evidence has been presented.  Just go vote. If the environment matters to you, and you're still not sure, well heck, you might stop by here or here for some spin.  Just don't bother going here.  If you want to read fairy tales, try your local library.

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The Now House

I have a long-standing love affair with modern modular homes, particularly those built with eco-friendly materials and techniques (which is most of them, these days).  I also have a long-standing love affair with the "digital home" movement, wherein everything is wired to everything else and everything is online and the refrigerator knows when it's out of milk and all that.  So I am all agog at the unveiling of the Now House, a modern, modular, sustainable, digital-to-the-hilt exhibition home built using a system designed by Clever Homes, packed with products chosen by CNET Digital Living, and presented by the non-profit …

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Making the green with green

The World Resources Institute (WRI) teamed up a  while back with nine corporations based in the northeastern U.S. to form Climate Northeast, a kind of proof-in-the-pudding demonstration that corporate policies to meliorate global warming don't have to cost big -- in fact, they can be profitable.  You can download the case studies (PDF) from their site. "We are undertaking these projects because they make business sense," said Randolph Price, vice president for environment, health and safety, Consolidated Edison Company of New York. "We hope our experiences will be useful for other businesses interested in getting started with greenhouse-gas management programs." …

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Green building products

Those of you interested in eco-friendly building may want to check out the GreenSpec Directory, which "includes information on more than 1,750 green building products carefully screened by the editors of Environmental Building News, organized according to the 16-division CSI MasterFormat(tm) system." If you don't know what the 16-division CSI MasterFormat(tm) system is, well dude, get with it!  You can find it over on BuildingGreen.com -- like all their stuff, it's got no advertising or sponsorships, so it should be the straight scoop.

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Enviro journalist winners

I meant to mention this last week:  The Society of Environmental Journalists announced the winners of its third annual awards for excellence in environmental journalism.  Congrats to Seth Borenstein (who, you will recall, I heart) in print, Ilsa Setziol in radio, Ed Rodgers in television, and the many other winners. According to SEJ: The number, quality, and diversity of entries vying for this year's awards signaled a renewed interest in environmental journalism after a year in which the nation's attention -- as well as the news media's -- had been focused on terrorism and war. Wishful thinking? I hope not.

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Laying eggs

Tom Toles in The Washington Post.

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They’re coming to eat your children!!!

Bush just debuted a new swing-state campaign ad called "Wolves."  You can watch it on his website. It shows a pack of wolves prowling through a dark forest, makes the usual bogus claims about Kerry cutting intelligence budgets (and fails to note that Bush's hand-picked new CIA head Porter Goss actually did propose huge cuts), and concludes that "weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm."  In other words:  A vote for Kerry is a vote for terrorists eating you. The ironies are rich.  This comes from an administration that has pushed to downlist wolves from the endangered …

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Kyoto one step closer

The lower house of Russia's parliament approved the Kyoto Protocol today.  All that remains for formal Russian ratification is approval by the upper house and the signature of president Vladimir Putin, both widely considered inevitable formalities.  Once Russia signs on, Kyoto will officially take effect. Suffice to say, Putin's motivations were not altruistic.  His ratification of Kyoto -- and it is entirely his doing, as he has reduced the democratic checks and balances of Russia's government to almost nothing -- is part of a deal with the European Union.  He gives them this bargaining chip against the U.S., and they …

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Monster slash

I'm not really into these things, but lots of people love them -- witness the popularity of The Meatrix and the JibJab guys -- so if you are so inclined, check out Monster Slash, a Flash animation including a reinterpretation of the old song "Monster Mash," rerecorded by Bobby "Borris" Pickett, the very man who wrote the original.  You can probably figure out what it's about from the picture at left.

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