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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Media Bias or Stupidity?

Here is a story about Britain's chief scientist expressing the opinion that The Day After Tomorrow is "realistic". Now, one might make the absurd assumption that this means he thinks that an ice age with a 3-day (or so) onset is pretty reasonable. You'd be wrong. But...here's the opening paragraph:

The Hollywood blockbuster that depicts a sudden ice age brought about by climate change is "remarkably realistic" in parts, says the Government's chief scientist.

Wow, so we really could see an ice age developing over a few hours! Now I'm worried. Fortunately, I read on:

"The general interaction between the scientific community and political community is interestingly well portrayed," he said. "The opening scenes setting up the key scientific factors and introducing the viewer to the scientists and the scientific-political interface are in my view remarkably realistic. I think palaeoclimatologists can closely identify with the discussion. The skeptical reactions that the scientists received are also rather well depicted."

But what about the actual ice age?

"The current consensus is that climate change may result in a weakening of the Gulf Stream but not a complete halt," he said. "The cooling caused by a weakened Gulf Stream would not actually counteract the general warming caused by increased greenhouse gases. Northern Europe is more likely to get warmer than colder."

Humm, so whether or not this guy is right...it seems that the story is not at all "realistic" in the sense of, well, "realistic."

And finally, this scientist's opinion on the true impact of the movie:

Some critics of the film have suggested that its exaggerated storyline - showing tornadoes ripping through Los Angeles and snowstorms lashing Delhi - could dangerously mislead the public and cause them to become compacent about the real but not so dramatic dangers of climate change. "Will the public become inured? I think we're quite a long way from that. We're still in a situation where we need to engage the public more fully in the global warming debate," Sir David said.

Well, I certainly don't think that this movie is going to convince anyone that global warming --> ice age is less likely than they might already think. The problem is 1) people are way too influenced by movies/TV/fiction in general, 2) supposedly-reputable rags like the UK Independent run stories with misleading headlines and opening couple of paragraphs and 3) people only read the first three paragraphs of a story. That combination is a dangerous one. Unfortunately, there's not a lot any individual person can do to stem such a tide. Maybe if enough people actually talk about reality and put fiction in its rightful place we could do some good. Here's hoping.


Absolutely hilarious post on global warming over at Prometheus (hat tip Edge of England's Sword) =). Sad but true.


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