Thursday, September 15, 2016

XKCD Takes On Climate Change

Sustainability
Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Popular Science re-published a cartoon from XKCD on climate from 20000 BCE to 2016. It is scroll-like so you may have to  wait a few seconds for it to load and then scroll down.

From Wikimedia Commons.

I first found it on Greg Laden's blog and he has some caveats as well as a thorough discussion of the cartoon. The blog is subtitled "culture as science -- science as culture," which reflects Laden's background and education in anthropology (Ph.D. anthropology Harvard with Irven DeVore). This is the place where the cartoons falls into difficulties and contributes to common misconceptions.

Laden notes that the pre-history in the cartoon is considerably oversimplified, at times just plain wrong and misleading about the nature of humanity. Humans arose across time and space although sometimes we treat these changes as discrete steps. Our early history is wonderfully messy.

Laden comments on why its a great cartoon, on missed opportunities, provides a list of simple facts and big concepts that are wrong, and why getting the facts right matters and is important.

It is a wonderful cartoon.

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