We've been saying for a while that expensive gas is good news -- not just because the expense of filling a tank could drive people into the arms of bikes and subways, but because affordable gas is a sign of a weak economy. But Fox News has continued to cling to the conviction that lower gas prices are best -- probably because Obama was president and gas prices were on the rise.
Well, now gas prices are dipping a bit, but Obama is still president, so it's time for their views to "evolve." Media Matters caught various Foxers claiming that lower gas prices are now a sign of Obama ruining the economy.
A study that just came out in Nature Climate Change found that wind farms can impact local temperatures, particularly at night. Basically, the turbines mix warmer air from high up with colder air closer to the ground. Hence, warmer air overall, in these very local spots.
So, of course, Fox News is telling people that "New research shows wind farms cause global warming." Not to be out-crazied, the Telegraph is going with "Wind farms can cause climate change." Gizmodo at least uses the word "local" in its headline. But unfortunately such restraint hasn't stopped the internet from deciding, as this apparently very patriotic gentleman on Twitter demonstrates, that "Wind farms = worse for local climate change than 100 years of pollution (0.6 degree F)."
Which, FINE, the scientists report that the temperature changes they've documented, "if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate." That impact, however, is different from what we normally mean by climate change. We're talking about the increase of global average temperatures, which -- funny how averages work -- is a much bigger deal than local temperature increases.
"Immigrants cause global warming!" says Stephen Colbert. "It's always an immigrant who's cutting my grass with an exhaust-spewing lawnmower. ... And their spicy food always increases my emissions."
In a smart segment this week, Colbert rips apart noxious ads that criticize immigrants for increasing their carbon footprints. The ads, being run on MSNBC, come from anti-immigration group Californians for Population Stabilization. Watch:
The Discovery Channel isn’t a climate change denier, but it’s certainly shaping up to be an equally formidable foe -- a climate change avoider.
Media outlets and activists are lambasting the network for failing to adequately address climate change in its recent series,Frozen Planet. The seven-part series, which was jointly produced with the BBC, explores life in the North and South poles. The series’ final episode, “On Thin Ice,” depicts how decreasing ice cover impacts polar habitat and wildlife, but fails to acknowledge the fact that human activities are spurring global warming.
Oh, Denis Hayes and Gaylord Nelson, what hath ye wrought. Though Earth Day was founded with good intentions, the holiday has long since been co-opted by flacks from all trades as another great opportunity to sell shit. And we can't exactly blame them: What doesn't go well with Earth? Seriously, it's the Sriracha of planets.
Here at Grist HQ, we're in the unique position of receiving a press release about every targeted Earth Day campaign in existence. No matter what we say to the collective PR hive mind, come Earth Day they always make sure we're fielding pitches like a young Joe Garagiolo. And bless 'em for it, because with the dire state our atmosphere's in (insert second Sriracha joke here), we sure could use the yuks.
We figured you can, too. Here are some of our favorites this year.
Founder and editor of Adbusters magazine, Kalle Lasn is largely credited for conceptualizing and starting the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park, New York City, which eventually spread around the world. Here, he talks to Solutions about his vision for the future.
Q.You have been trying to change consumer culture for years. How did the idea for Occupy Wall Street begin?
A. It began in early 2011. It was percolating in 2010. We were excited by the anarchist action in Greece and discontent among young people in Spain, and the Arab Spring began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, and we saw how young people in Egypt were using social media to get tons of people out to the streets and pull off regime change. Our brainstorming sessions at Adbusters began and we said, “We need a regime change in America as well.” Not hard regime change like Egypt where dictators were torturing people. We are after a soft regime change. We felt the heart of American democracy and found that, in Washington, D.C., things were rotten and corporations were getting their own way with lobbyists and money power. Wall Street people have created a global casino, and meanwhile young people are having a hard time finding jobs and are losing their houses. So let’s try to create a Tahrir Square moment in America.
Q.How do you feel about how the protests ended? Did they flame out, or was it a success? What lessons were learned?
Friday I chatted with NYU professor, blogger, and media critic Jay Rosen as I began thinking about The Huffington Post's story about the letter from NASA retirees criticizing the agency's climate research. This transcript is meant to accompany my post on that topic.
SR: Did you follow this story at all as it happened?
Jay: yes, someone pinged me about the original
then I read Dave's
that's all I really know
just posted on Twitter about it
SR: OK, good. Did you see the editor's note they posted?
SR: OK. So here's what I'm thinking:
Dave was sort of gentlemanly about it and said, "let's move on"
But I looked at that editor's note and thought, wait a minute
SR: They're now saying, "we agree with the agencies and experts who are concerned about the role of carbon dioxide"
Which is pretty much the same as saying, "We disagree with these NASA retirees"
yet the story played it totally straight, and still does, only now, instead of a lame "What do you think?" it ends with "here's what we think"
Today the Huffington Post won a Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations, Huffington Post! Now you're in the club. I'm sure the execs at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal who failed to take home any wins this year are teeth-gnashingly jealous.
But that's not what this post is about. What it takes to win Pulitzers, most of the time, is big budgets, smart reporters, and weighty topics of national import. But most of the stories that shape our national debates, and thereby our future, are nothing like this sort of award bait. Most of those stories are more like "NASA Global Warming Stance Blasted By 49 Astronauts, Scientists Who Once Worked At Agency," a short piece in The Huffington Post last week.
This article recycled a press release announcing that a bunch of former NASA employees, including some astronauts and scientists but no climate experts, had taken issue with the agency over its work on global warming. Findings that "man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated," the retirees charged. The article -- written not by one of HuffPo's famously uncompensated bloggers, but by its science editor, David Freeman -- didn't offer a single fact in rebuttal of the letter. But at the end, it asked: "What do you think? Is NASA pushing 'unsettled science' on global warming?"
It was a ludicrous postscript, one that abdicated the very purpose of science coverage. Journalists who specialize in science are our proxies to help us figure out what's trustworthy in realms where we lack detailed expertise ourselves and don't have time to acquire it. Asking for opinions online can be entertaining -- but the climate debate isn't the same thing as, say, weighing in on whether The Hunger Games movie did justice to the book.
As more people spend time thinking, writing, reading, and talking about food, the need for in-person forums to enhance the kinds of idea-sharing that already happen online only seems natural. The latest of these events will be aimed specifically at those whose love for reading rivals their interest in food. Elizabeth Thacker Jones, a graduate student in Food Studies at New York University, started thinking about creating a food-focused book fair over a year ago, and from May 4 to May 6 in Brooklyn, she’ll finally see it come to fruition.
For some, it's a little hard to believe Food Book Fair 2012 is the first of its kind. “People react to say, ‘I can’t believe this hasn’t already happened,’” Jones said.
It won’t be a book fair in the strictly traditional sense. As Jones describes it on her website: “Permeating through art, design, fashion, architecture, activism and publishing, the Food Book Fair is a festival of food culture.” The panels she has planned speak to that, with titles like “Food + Design + Tech,” “Food + Cities,” and even “Food + Porn.” Celebrated figures in the food world like Marion Nestle, Tamar Adler, and Bryant Terry will give talks and book signings. Saturday evening, a “Foodieodicals” event will showcase over 10 independent zines and quarterlies, followed by a Pecha Kucha Night -- a tradition started in Japan involving short slideshows, in this case of creative food projects. Sunday’s schedule includes a Hemingway-inspired literary dinner.
The fair is designed to offer something for everyone, not just those already deeply immersed and invested in food issues. “This word ‘foodie’ -- there’s kind of a negative undertone to it,” Jones said. “[The book fair] is meant to challenge that concept. We want it to be accessible to everybody.”