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TeaPotty

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Guardian Article about ASI
« on: August 12, 2013, 02:49:43 PM »
Global Warming, Arctic Ice Loss, and Armchair Scientists
Armchair scientist Neven provides valuable insights into the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/aug/12/global-warming-arctic-armchair-scientists



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While these institutions gather and make available important Arctic information, a wider community has taken a very active role in interpreting the data. These "armchair" scientists play a particularly important role in telling the rest of us what the data actually means for our future.

Perhaps the best example is the Arctic Sea Ice blog which was started in 2010 by Neven, a 38 year old freelance writer who set up the blog to draw more attention to the Arctic and create a central place for the exchange of information and ideas concerning Arctic sea ice.

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People like Neven, who can provide clear descriptions to the larger public are doing a great service. This is particularly so because scientists who are employed at major research institutions are often not trained in communication and such activities are not rewarded. I view these complementary activities and viewpoints an exciting development in the larger conversation about climate change.

Neven

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Re: Guardian Article about ASI
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 02:52:19 PM »
I've reposted this on the ASIB.
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Latent

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Re: Guardian Article about ASI
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 12:19:40 AM »
Congratulations Neven.
 I think there must be a few scientists out there who envy your ability to convey the information so succinctly and chair such an incredible blog (is chair the correct term?) in his spare time?

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Guardian Article about ASI
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 03:23:52 AM »
One of the ways I think Neven stands out is his ability to report dispassionately upon the issue, without an ulterior motive or vested interests (and even scientists will tend to have at least some of these, even if only in terms of not being able to discuss things until they publish, an unwillingness to appear alarmist or to subject oneself to professional ridicule etc) getting in his way.

Without the bias of agenda and the restriction of procedure, a unique resource has been created - a striking work of high quality citizen journalism. I doubt many scientists would be envious, in the sense that they presumably chose science to do science - not to talk about it - but it is a striking achievement.

I always look at any information and ask myself what the bias is - what the agenda behind the words is - and in Neven's case I am unable to detect any significant such bias or agenda (beyond perhaps some level of concern about the implications of the events in question, which is only human).

The importance of the work Neven does, and the significance of the achievement in gaining recognition from other parties cannot be overstated (the last part important - it's easy to talk without anyone hearing you online).

Now we just need to capture and clone him, and get at least another ten such people equipped and capable of doing the same for the other big changes underway in the earth system.

Neven

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Re: Guardian Article about ASI
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 03:32:09 AM »
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One of the ways I think Neven stands out is his ability to report dispassionately upon the issue, without an ulterior motive or vested interests (and even scientists will tend to have at least some of these, even if only in terms of not being able to discuss things until they publish, an unwillingness to appear alarmist or to subject oneself to professional ridicule etc) getting in his way.

I do have my motives, but 1) try to be transparent about them, and 2) like you say, try not to let them get in the way. It's the least I can do, right? And then it's up to you to determine where to position what I say.

For instance, when I was younger, I rented movies at a video store. I usually would ask the people working there for advice, register their opinions, watch the movie and then see if I shared their opinion. So sometimes there'd be a guy or gal who I would deem to not have a taste for good movies, and I would ask them about a movie. If they would say it's a great movie, I would not rent it.

So even if a source isn't trustworthy, you still can come away with useful information. But of course, it helps if a source tries to be consistent and is transparent about that.
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