The value of a right to know, upon further review of the racist Lin headline, money vs. morals in Texas, dispatches from the weak ice, and the value of collecting.
As if the world needed more evidence that the climate debate is more about politics than science, one only needed to hear last night's report on All Things Considered about the climate scientist who leaked the memos from a think tank purporting to show the Heartland Institute to hired someone to write school curricula diminishing the science of climate change.
Ironically, Peter Gleick, who leaked the documents, succeeded only in providing yet another distraction to the evidence of climate change.
You'll note that not one sentence in the NPR report dealt with the science of climate change. Even more significant: The story wasn't about the legitimacy and meaning of the memos, but the manner in which they were obtained. Give credit to those on the political side of the issue: They're good at this.
Today, LiveScience.com's Stephanie Pappas considers whether it matters anymore:
Scandals may have a limited impact in part because of a psychological phenomenon called "motivated reasoning," which simply means that people focus on evidence that confirms what they already believe and ignore evidence that doesn't fit their worldview. The Yale group's surveys have found that seemingly irrelevant factors have much more to do with people's acceptance of climate change. [10 Surprising Results of Global Warming]
One of these factors is "the economy, the economy, the economy," Leiserowitz said. Climate change concern was at a peak in 2007 and 2008, but when the recession hit, that concern plummeted like a stone. People can only worry about so many things at a time, Leiserowitz said. Media coverage of climate issues is also down by at least two-thirds in newspapers and 80 percent on the nightly news since 2007, another factor that drives public interest, their surveys have shown.
Translation: People will work hard to find evidence of that which they already believe, and work even harder to ignore that which might undermine their beliefs.
In that phenomenon, science has no chance.(1 Comments)
If you read the post I wrote earlier this week about Northfield's Malt O Meal renaming itself MOM Brands, you probably can figure out that my non-artistic side tends to think the "branding" business is a snake oil industry.
Today, the journalism community is abuzz with another example of that.
The Associated Press announced a new logo today. It's changing from this:
"The AP Masterbrand Strategy enables us to channel our brand traits, personality, vision and promise into a new visual identity system that captures our history and guides our future," the AP says in its brochure outlining the reasons for the change.
What, then, does the new logo say to you that the old logo didn't? According to the AP:
The logo "stands upright to stress integrity." the marketers said.(16 Comments)
In advance of Sunday's Oscars broadcast, the Easter Seals Society is criticizing Hollywood for not showing "characters with disabilities" more often.
In an email today, the group said:
The stories of children and adults living with disabilities simply aren't being told. In 2010, acclaimed movies like The King's Speech and Temple Grandin brought interesting characters living with disabilities to enthusiastic audiences - but last year's major releases showed a distressing lack of portrayals of people with special needs.
The entertainment industry needs to keep hearing from supporters like you that people with disabilities, and the people who care about them, are not invisible. As industry leaders celebrate the year's finest films at the Oscars this weekend, they'll also be thinking about new projects for the year ahead - making this the perfect time to speak out and let them know we want to see more diversity onscreen.
Movies and television aren't just entertainment. They're a mirror we hold up to society - but right now, they don't accurately reflect the millions of children and adults living with special needs in the U.S.
Can it be done? Sure. One of the few successful shows NBC has on its schedule -- Parenthood -- includes a character with autism:(8 Comments)
Today's what-are-they-thinking news release comes from the Department of Natural Resources, which reports its conservation officers are finding "various types of refuse" being discarded along Minnesota roads and waterways.
"We're seeing everything from wooden fish house blocking materials on lakes to old appliances in roadway ditches," said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director, said in the news release.
CO Jeff Humphrey of Cromwell just completed a litter investigation where numerous bags of household trash were dumped along a rural road. The contents were revealing.
"In this case they made significant effort to remove labels with names and addresses from their garbage, but I found a child's name on a piece of homework and a wrist band from a local hospital," Humphrey said. "A few phone calls and I identified my suspect."
The reasons for their actions were likely economics.
"They said they did not have garbage service and usually take their garbage to their employers to get rid of it," Humphrey said.
Sometimes a citizen helps a CO solve a litter case. CO Jeff Johanson of Osakis recently issued a citation to a man caught on a trail camera dumping waste on private property.
The individual was always very careful about removing items with any sort of identification on them. Finally, the property owner had had enough, put up a trail camera, and was lucky enough to get a guy and his vehicle on the camera littering.
"With the electronic evidence, the interview went pretty smoothly and the guy admitted to it right away," Johanson said. "I made him clean up the waste and issued him a citation. Of course, he knew nothing about the countless other times things were dumped there; must have been somebody else."
Assignment: Send me your photos of the junk you find on the side of the road, on the ice, or in the wild.(6 Comments)
U.S. Rep. Allen West is lambasting the Obama administration today because it cost him $70 to fill up the tank on his car.
"Here is the bottom line," he writes on his Facebook page. "Last night it took 70 dollars to fill the tank of my 2008 H3 Hummer, what is it costing you? What does it cost the President to fill his gas tank?"
A Hummer? Who could have foreseen this problem? Just about everyone but Rep. West apparently.
Check out the spec sheet on the Hummer H3 (2008) from the Department of Energy:
If Rep. West bought his Hummer when it was new -- 2008 -- the average price in his district for gasoline was about $3.90. It would have cost him about $90 to fill up his car then.
Even at the lowest price (in his district) since his car was new ($1.62 in December 2008), it would have cost West about $35 to fill up his vehicle (assuming he did so with a gallon left in the tank).
Incidentally in his personal financial disclosure statement, Rep. West doesn't list owning a Hummer. He lists having a car loan on a Mercedes, a model which gets slightly better gas mileage.