Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Imagine You Are Above Mars

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The surface of Mars [Wikimedia]

This film is a fiction, a creation of photographer Jan Frojdman who chose "some locations (on Mars) and processed the images into panning video clips."

Frojdman writes "The film is not scientific. As a space enthusiast I have just tried to visualize the planet my way."

The result is stunning and provocative.  It is also an example of human scientific and technological abilities.

When I finished viewing it, I thought of Dorothy's comment, "There's no place like home."

Earth! what a sweet planet we live on.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Collisions in Low Earth Orbit: The Kessler Effect

Edward Hessler

Have you ever heard of the Kessler effect, also known as collisional cascading?  I hadn't.

It is a density effect. When the number of objects in low earth orbit (LEO) becomes high enough  collisions would result in a  cascade of collisions. This is known as an unstable debris environment. The hypothesis was first proposed by NASA scientist, Donald J. Kessler in 1978.

The estimate is that there are some 700,000 objects larger than 1 cm and 170 million larger than 1 mm residing in Earth orbit. It is crowded out there.

Space debris [Wikimedia

The topic is an active area of research and was the subject of a recent conference. The film, Space Debris: A Journey to Earth was produced for the 7th European Conference on Space Debris, 18-21 April 2017. LEO looks very messy.

Warning. The volume overwhelms the narration at times.

The International Space Station has been in orbit for more than 15 years. There have been four times when crew members were ordered to take emergency shelter in the space capsule attached to the space station.

Here is a photograph of a window chip caused by a collision. It was taken by British astronaut Tim Peake when he was a crew member on the International Space Station.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Adventure Stewardship Alliance: Three Rivers Expedition

Water & Watersheds
Guest Blogger: Paul Twedt

Photo credit: Grant Armour

Since 2015, local Minnesotan Paul Twedt has helped to found groups that adventure ethically. As co-founder of Packing It Out, a national group focused on removing litter from America's hiking trails, the group has packed out over 1,800 lbs of trash while thru-hiking over 5,000 miles, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail corridors.

For 2017, Paul decided it was time to bring these stewardship efforts to his home state of Minnesota and to the local rivers. With help from another river-loving Minnesotan, Michael Anderson, they have developed the Adventure Stewardship Alliance. The mission of this Minnesota-based alliance is to inspire stewardship of wild places, cultural connections, and a sense of place through storytelling and stewardship-based adventures. They accomplish this mission by packing out litter from wild places and community-building through experiences with nature, natural history, and telling the stories of the rivers they are paddling.

Their Three Rivers Expedition will be the pilot trip for Adventure Stewardship Alliance and will be a 1,200 mile canoe trip spanning the length of the Namekagon/St. Croix river system, the Minnesota river, and 620+ miles of the upper Mississippi river. "Basically just the Minnesota section of that great river," says ASA founder Paul Twedt. Along the way they will be cleaning up litter and sharing naturalist teachings, nature observations, and river stories on the ASA social media channels and website (find those through the ASA website). Their website also includes a trip progress page where they are documenting and sharing the amount of litter removed and unique and notable observations.

Launching June 13th, the Three Rivers Expedition will begin at Namekagon Lake, the source of the Namekagon river, paddling 235 miles to the St. Croix confluence and on down the river to its Mississippi river confluence near Hastings, MN. Upon finishing the St. Croix, the crew will shuttle to Big Stone Lake, the source of the Minnesota river, and paddle 330 miles to the Mississippi river confluence at Pike Island in Fort Snelling State Park. Come September, the team will embark upon the Mississippi river, beginning at Lake Itasca and paddling through Winona, MN. This litter-cleansing crew will also be hosting an event as they paddle through the Twin Cities on October 14th, so be on the lookout for more info in the coming months as they get details planned out.

In line with their community-building goals the ASA team has developed local partnerships with groups addressing issues in our Twin Cities community. The canoes for the trip, dubbed "vessels of light" by ASA founder Michael Anderson, are built by local youth brought together through Urban Boat Builders in St. Paul to develop job skills and become engaged steward-citizens. Food for the journey is supplemented by Sisters Camelot, a local organization aiming to improve access to organic foods and reducing food waste in the local grocery supply system.

Follow along with this journey of stewardship, community-building and intentional living by signing up for email updates at Adventure Stewardship Alliance and connect with them on social media to get the day to day experiences from the rivers while you are at it.

Cheers and hopefully we'll see you on the river!

Stay tuned for updates from the crew on this blog, Sustainable Commons, from each leg of the Three Rivers Expedition.

Paul Twedt
Founder of Adventure Stewardship Alliance and Co-founder of Packing It Out

Paul Twedt
Photo credit: Grant Armour
Michael Anderson
Photo credit: Grant Armour

Friday Poem

Image result for nature

Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

This Friday's poem is by Chase Twichell.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The purpose of life

Environmental & Science Education.
Edward Hessler


We ask about purpose a lot.

It interests us and we sprinkle our conversations with it liberally.

Think about life.

What are its purposes? Sometimes we get even bolder and become very specific and limit it to one purpose.

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll and Minute Physics producer Michael Reich propose A (just one and not "the") purpose for life.
Sean Carroll [Wikimedia]

As you might guess, it takes more than a minute, 4 minutes and 22 seconds to be exact. After all it is a big topic. So, let's call it Less than 5MinutePhysics.

It is the last video in a series by Carroll and Reich and is based on Sean Carroll's book, The Big Picture.

You will encounter two ideas in that book that may be new, one is naturalism and the other is poetic naturalism. I'm a naturalist and I find poetic naturalism a very compatible world view.

Here is what Sean Carroll has to say about both of them.

"Naturalism is a philosophy according to which there is only one world — the natural world, which exhibits unbroken patterns (the laws of nature), and which we can learn about through hypothesis testing and observation. In particular, there is no supernatural world — no gods, no spirits, no transcendent meanings.

"I like to talk about a particular approach to naturalism, which can be thought of as Poetic. By that I mean to emphasize that, while there is only one world, there are many ways of talking about the world. “Ways of talking” shouldn’t be underestimated; they can otherwise be labeled “theories” or “models” or “vocabularies” or “stories,” and if a particular way of talking turns out to be sufficiently accurate and useful, the elements in its corresponding vocabulary deserve to be called real.

"The poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” That is absolutely correct. There is more to the world than what happens; there are the ways we make sense of it by telling its story. The vocabulary we use is not handed to us from outside; it’s ultimately a matter of our choice."

Two reviews of the book, one favorable, one not.

Monday, May 22, 2017

In the News: Health Issues

Environmental and Science Ecucation
Edward Hessler

Do you ever wonder what to make of the daily press and news reports on health and medical "breakthroughs" and headspining headlines with their way too often gushy recommendations and overwrought concerns? My immediate reaction is suspicion but I don't always have the time or take the time to investigate to find out what was really said in the research or press releases (which have their own problems).

Prostate cancer screening—the famous PSA—comes immediately to mind but it is only one from a very long list of reports and press releases.  Just exactly was the recommendation of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in the most recent statement on PSA screening? Was it a reversal of the 2012 against broad-based PSA screening or...?

Or what about the recently widely reported link between diet soda, stroke and dementia?

I recommend a resource I both trust, rely on and admire for understanding reports on drugs and devices, vitamins and nutritional health, diagnostic and screening tests, dietary recommendations, surgical procedures, psychotherapy and mental health interventions.

HealthNewsReview is edited by a crackerjack health reporter, Gary Schwitzer who is an adjunct associate professor in the UM School of Public Health which houses the website. Reports are reviewed using several well-explained criteria and then given a star-rating for accuracy.  How the star-rating is developed is explained.

I include a full description of the ten review criteria here.

And here are three pieces from HNR on prostate cancer screening, the relationship suggested between diet soda, stroke and dementia and the health effects of coffee.

Regular HCN contributor, Alan Cassels, a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria just recently wrote a review of Choosing Wisely's efforts to reduce unnecessary medical care. Susan Perry wrote a celebratory piece about Choosing Wisely for MinnPost.

The HCN site is rich, useful and worth checking-out.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Poem

Image result for nature

Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Wislawa Szymborska wrote today's poem. It is about an experiment in informal physics.

What Graduate School in Theoretical Physics Can be Like

Image result for graduate school

History of Science
Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler.

A blog I read faithfully is written by mathematical physicist, Peter Woit (Columbia University). I don't read it because I understand much of the content. I don't. It is heavy duty physics most of the time and what I understand is often fleeting but I enjoy Woit's exposition and responses as well as his eagle eye for interesting stuff to read and other links to talks, blog posts, papers, etc.

Woit has been a long-time and I think thoughtful critic of what is called string theory. Woit has both friends and bitter enemies and was once referred to as a terrorist which seems way too extreme to me but the language of war is one that comes naturally it seems but used way too often.

I discovered Woit several years ago upon reading an essay in the American Scientist. Woit was very critical of not only string theory but of an NSF requirement that grants allocate some funds to public outreach, especially education for teachers. Woit thought, as I do, that this doesn't make sense for many of the more esoteric disciplines. I'm all for professional development just not this kind. So, I started looking for his name for hoped for thoughtful criticism, the kind that makes you think and question what you think you know. 

The title of Woit's blog, Not Even Wrong, is attributed to the brilliant and often acerbic theoretician, Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel prize awardee. It refers to an argument that fails at some deep level. Pauli was a master of very deep physical thinking. Much of the progress seen in quantum mechanics in the first part of the last century is due in some part to his informal discussion with others. He had an incredible talent for sharing his ideas with others and reviewing papers (harshly but well) before their publication.

Have you ever wondered about what graduate school in theoretical physics is really like?  This week Woit included two links, the first to an essay by Bob Henderson who went to the University of Rochester for his Ph.D. after he quit a job in electrical engineering. The title of Henderson's touching and often heart-rending essay--a short memoir--is What Does Any of This Have to Do With Physics? Woit thinks the piece might better have been titled "What Graduate School in Physics is Really Like?"

After graduate school Henderson left to work on Wall Street as a quant. Ultimately he quit, hopped on his motorcycle and drove west. On the way he stopped at the University of Rochester to talk with his former advisor about what went wrong, about why he had quit theoretical physics.  Henderson's essay is about the difficulty of finding a doable problem, how easy it is to get sidetracked and the difficulty of backtracking from false leads.  

Woit includes this powerful quote from the essay and while it is Henderson writing about his advisor it applies to him. Writers talk of the terror of facing a blank page, but it's no different for theorists...trying to choose which path to take. There are an infinite number to choose from, and most go nowhere or back from where you came. The clock is always ticking and you spend so much time in the dark that it can make you not only question your path, but your own self-worth. It can make you feel stupid.

Henderson's essay might have pleased Aristotle for it is about the examined life and while his last debrief with his advisor must have been painful and difficult, it helped him complete this epicycle in his career. One thing he learned is that those who stay in theoretical physics don't mind wandering in the dark and really, really want to know, no matter the stony path forward. Henderson is now a journalist and free-lance writer.

Woit links to another and similar essay by a string cosmologist, Kate Marvel, who after finishing her Ph.D. became a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University's Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. Her essay is titled The Parallel Universes of a Woman Scientist.

If you read one or both essays, please do yourself a favor and read the comments. I am going to link you to Woit for Henderson's essay where you can read Woit's comments as well as responses which enrich the essays.

The magazine in which both essays are from, Nautilus combines science and the humanities in its stories. The articles are beautifully illustrated, too, a bonus. And while I'm at it, Woit was the subject of an essay written by no other than Bob Henderson. It, too, is a great read.

h/t Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Charge of the 300

Image result for climate change

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

John Abraham is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul who not only has a deep interest in global warming and its impacts but the chops to write and comment sensibly.

Abraham contributes periodically to a column for the British newspaper, The Guardian. The column is wonderfully titled, "Climate Consensus--the 97%."

Recently Abraham delved into the backgrounds of some of those "300 scientists telling Trump to burn climate."

It turns out, you won't be surprised, that there is one thing about them. They are missing a pre-requisite: necessary and sufficient knowledge of climate change. They write and bloviate without expertise.

Here it is.

Professor Abraham was one of three recipients of the National Center for Science Education Friend of the Planet Award in 2016. The other two are Katherine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University and Dana Nuccitelli, who works for a private environmental firm in California.  They received the award for their contributions to The Guardian column and Skeptical Science, a blog that examines the science and arguments of global warming skeptics.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Schrodinger's Cat

Image result for schrodinger cat

Edward Hessler

One the most well-known, explored and puzzling thought experiments (Gedankenexperiment) in physics was conceived by Nobelist Erwin Schrodinger.

The purpose was to provide a way of thinking about a very famous paper in physics published by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen in 1935. Neither the paper or the thought experiment is intuitive! To put it another way this moggie has had many lives.

I've mentioned my deep regard and admiration for the work of Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder. She has had a long interest in music and has posted some of her songs occasionally. Recently she collaborated with two musicians--Apostolos Vasilidis and Timo Albo to produce a second music video.

Hossenfelder wrote the lyrics, sings and later explains this puzzle. Vasilidis and Albo wrote the music, play and also sing.

This video received production support from FQXi. Here is information about the Foundational Questions Institute.

What a difference  there is between the world of the big (us, for example) and the world of the small (the quantum world).

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Never Alone

by Edward Hessler

So what do you do when you see your culture disappearing in front of your eyes? Talk about and notice it or try something more active to see whether it works?

The Inupiat people, native to what is now known as Alaska never had a written language until quite recently.  Their culture was passed down orally, generation to generation to generation.

An Inupiat family, 1929 [Wikimedia]

Young Inupiat have drifted from an oral tradition, attracted by the modern world and its demands, e.g., school. As you will learn in the video linked below, transition from a traditional way of life to a modern way of life has also become a profound challenge.

Some members of the tribe made a decision to try an experiment in a different way of transmitting their culture through the development of a video game.  They worked with a New York game development company, E-Line. The game, Never Alone is based on an old Inupiat tale ("Kunuuksaayuka"). In this story a child, Nuna and her pet arctic fox embark on a challenging wilderness trek, encountering obstacles to solve, in search of the source of the fierce winters their village has endured.

The E-Line developers traveled to Alaska in January when it is both cold and dark, a test of their commitment to the project. This short video from the New Yorker tells the story of the development of this beautifully produced game. One of the demands of the project was that this be a community-based and collaborative development project. And it was

The video is based on a story about this project by Simon Parker (November 2014) which you can read via a link in the description that accompanies the video.

For more information about the Inupiat, the National Park Service's Inupiat Heritage Center was designed to tell their story. In addition, an article in Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine describes Inupiat subsistence hunting activities.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Being Nosey about the Nose

Image result for embryo

Biological Evolution
Science & Environmental Education

I've mentioned as well as made use of material posted by University of Minnesota-Morris blogger PZ Myers. I hope always with attribution. The blog is Pharyngula which refers to a stage in embryonic development.

Myers is among my favorite 'splainers of things science and I especially look forward to posts on recent research reports as well as reports on a new class he is teaching this semester (Ecological Development) .He carefully walks us through the details. Occasionally he comments on reporting about science. Whew or Phew! It is not easy to report about science if you are not careful, ask questions and stick to the evidence presented in the original paper. And then there is the problem of the headline preceding the article which twist the science.

Myers did a recent post on our noses titled--are you ready?--Having fun with the nasal cycle. This may be the furthest thing from your thinking about what it means to have fun. You may know, I didn't, that "we don't breathe in equally through both nostrils, there is an alternating rhythm" one that we can detect with just a little attention.

And Professor Myers provides instructions on how one can track this rhythm.  He tried it with his wife while they were traveling. It is not scientific although Myers points out that there is an instrumental method and links readers to it. It relies only on paying attention every 30 minutes on which side of your nose is doing the heavy breathing.  Dr. Myers notes that colds interfere with the cycle. See the link above, please, for full details.

By the way, you may remember hearing/learning about one or two, maybe all, development stages: blastula, gastrula, neurula which are followed by the less familiar pharngula stage.  Professor Myers published a post describing them and events characterizing them.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Goldman Environmental Prize

Image result for goldman environmental prize

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors the achievements (and what achievements they are) of grassroots activists (unlike me, a desk bound fake) from each continent around the world.

Here is a gallery of this year's prize winners.

Here is information about the award.

Here are profiles of this years honorees.

What a remarkable group and it is very sweet to share the planet with them.

The lives of environmental activists often end in violent deaths. These are people who have spoken, acted and organized against mineral exploitation, mining, logging, agribusiness, hydroelectric dams, etc. So far, 2015 has been the deadliest year. Just a few days ago, Kuki Gallman, an Italian-born, Kenyan national was murdered.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Poem

Image result for georgia

Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Today's poem is by Anya Silver.

She teaches, as does her husband, at Mercer University, Georgia. Scroll down to find her (and him if you are interested).

The Stethoscope

Image result for stethoscope

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The use of the stethoscope is at the crossroads, even past it according to some.  See this Washington Post article on its use and how doctors line up on its use versus, say apps or other technology.

The article has a link to MurmurLab which is for listening practice.  Unfortunately, it is not available to the general public but the information sheet about CARD, the Cardiac Ausculatory Recording Data Base at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Helen B. Taussig Children's Heart Center introduces readers to this aspect of the work of the heart center. 

In addition the Washington Post essay points our the MurmurQuiz which is designed to for students to learn by listening to actual cases. Again this quiz is not currently available to the public but has a sign-up for notification when it becomes available for listening by the general public.

However, the Post essay does have two active links to the sounds of a normal heartbeat and two anomalies.

I was reminded of a comment by Dr. Anthony Verghese, Stanford University School of Medicine who is dedicated to putting life back into the routine physical.  About the stethoscope, he is known for asking "What's the most important part of the stethoscope?"  His medical students often stare in silence then moan when Dr. Verghese answers "The part between the earpieces."  This article includes this quote and also provides a lovely profile of him and his clinical approach to clinical medicine.

Dr. Verghese promotes the culture and enculturation of bedside medical practice.  At  StanfordMedicine25 Dr. Verghese describes what he means by these practices. There are 25 lessons on routine bedside practices at the highest standards of practice.  These are standard techniques that every doctor should known and practice at the highest level possible.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Republicans Who Care About Climate Change

Image result for great plains

Climate Change
Sustainable Energy & Transportation
Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

I recently read an essay by Rebecca J. Romsdahl, a professor of Environmental Science & Policy at the University of North Dakota.

It was about how red state rural America is acting on climate change, without using the phrase climate change. She and her colleagues surveyed 200 local governments in 11 Great Plains states to find out what they are doing to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. They found that many reframe the issue in order to move forward and become more sustainable..

One response. We frame the initiatives as energy savings (= $ savings), as smart growth/good planning, and as common sense resource management. Climate change is only explicitly referenced in our Climate Protection Plan adopted in 2009. Most initiatives fall under the "sustainability" umbrella term.

Dr. Romsdahl reported on the results of this study in a short essay in The Conversation. It is a revealing read and important research..

The essay made me think about conservatives, some of whom were once climate change deniers but who now have accepted the hard evidence for human-caused climate change. Here are thumbnail sketches of two of them and one of a larger group that may surprise you.

Robert Inglis

I heard former U. S. Congressman Robert Inglis speak at a University of Minnesota Kuehnast Lecture a couple of years ago. Inglis noted that he once represented one of the reddest of the red districts in the United States (he served 12 years, not consecutively). He finally lost his 4th District South Carolina seat for several reasons, one of which was his directness in answering a question by a conservative Christian radio host. "Yes or no: Do you believe in human causation on climate change?  It was an outdoor event and he was roundly and loudly booed when he said "Yes."  His seat is currently held by Trey Gowdy.

So, how did he get there? One of the influences on accepting the science of climate change was in 2004 when he faced a new opposing constituency: a son, four daughters and his wife who accepted the evidence for climate change.  His son told him, "Dad, I will vote for you, but you are going to clean up your act on the environment."  Another influence was the evidence he was presented while he was a member of the House science committee. In this respect he is different from a considerable number of conservatives. Inglis has three roots: conservatism, Christian values and an abiding evidence-based world view.

There are three energy principles to which he holds: no subsidies (don't pick winners), honest cost accounting (e.g., the inclusion of health costs in calculations), and a genuine free enterprise.

PBS has a long interview with Inglis in which he recounts his history and amplifies his prescriptions for Republicans.  Englis founded repulicEN, the Energy and Enterprise Initiative which is housed at George Mason University. Local weather forecaster Paul Douglas who minces no words about his conservative politics, deeply held Christian beliefs and that climate change is real is a Minnesota member.

Jerry Taylor

Mr. Taylor is president of the Niskanen Center where he works to turn climate skeptics into climate realists.

His background does not hint that he would now be doing this kind of work. Taylor served as staff director for the energy and environment task force at ALEC, a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives. This Wiki entry describes the work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Lerner also served as a vice-president at the Cato Institute, a leading conservative/libertarian thinktank.

In a recent interview with Sharon Lerner who covers health and environment for The Intercept,  asked about Taylor's "conversion." It wasn't instantaneous but was deeply influenced  by a queston Joe Romm, a highly regarded blogger on climate change, asked after the two of them did a program. In that program Taylor repeated a claim that the predictions about temperature increases once made in testimony by NASA scientist James Hansen had proven wrong. It was Hansen who in 1988 gave congressional testimony that raised climate change to a general awareness.

After the program Romm asked Taylor whether he had ever read Hansen's predictions. He said that Hansen's predictions were quite accurate. Rather than blowing this short exchange off, Taylor followed up, reread the testimony and found that Romm was correct. Taylor then asked other climate skeptics who had made the same argument and found that not only were they making that argument but they had been fully aware that they knew that they were being misleading. This led him to more reading about the science.

But it wasn't the science alone that convinced him he was wrong. Taylor was both a climate skeptic and an economic skeptic, i.e., even if climate change was true, the nation couldn't afford the costs to do anything about it. Eventually, he found that the economic case crumbled.

Taylor thinks that "talking to Republican...elites...about science" calmly and dispassionately is powerful in helping them to see through the nonsense. He also makes a conservative case for climate change, similar to Inglis's arguments. They are found in blog comments found at this Niskanen Center profile of Mr. Taylor.

I was interested to learn that his brother, James Taylor works for the Heartland Institute and that their dominance in climate denial has occurred under his tenure.  Joe Taylor notes that they no longer "spend a lot of Thanksgivings together."

Sharon Lerner's interview fills in the details which I've only outlined.

Climate Solutions Caucus

This bipartisan congressional caucus was formed in 2016 by Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Carlos Cueblo (R-FL).

The caucus has a novel membership structure. Members board this ark in pairs: one Republican and one Democrat so if you are a Republican who wants to join you must bring a Democrat and if you are a Democrat you must bring a Republican.

The website of the caucus includes a statement on purpose from documents filed with the Committee on House Administration: "to serve as an organization to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation's economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety."

A current list of members is found on the caucus website (link directly above). I was surprised by a few of the members which merely reflects my biases. I was glad to be shown wrong...again.


I haven't covered the territory. There are many conservatives who accept mainstream science. I just wanted to highlight a few..

Kate Sheppard notes in a recent piece in The Huffington Post that "there are plenty of conservatives arguing for conservative responses to the threat of climate change". She cites several examples.

The Republican mayor of Carmel, IN, James Brainerd made lowering emissions a priority "because it saves his city money and makes it a nicer place to live."

Former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and George Schultz, with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are members of the Climate Leadership Council which consists of Republicans. They recently proposed a carbon tax as "'an insurance policy' against the 'mounting evidence of climate change.'"

The motto of RStreet, a nonprofit, public policy, research organization, "Free Markets. Real Solutions" quickly summarizes their orientation to energy issues.  Ms. Sheppart notes that they partner with "small goverment conservatives and environmentalists on shared priorities.

ConservAmerica ("Conservation is Conservative" is an organization of conservative Republicans, and Independents dedicated to creating, finding and supporting conservative studies for today's environmental energy and conservation challenges."

Please go to Sheppard's column for some of the details. It is a quick read.

At the beginning of her article, Sheppard mentions neoconservative writer Bret Stephens, a recent editorial page hire of the New York Times who downplays the quality and claims of global climate science. He is known for dissing science. You may know his work, even that he is writing about climate for the NYT. In an alert (aka as a push notification) about his debut, the NYT, according to Susan Matthews of Slate wrote that "reasonable people can be skeptical about the degrees of climate change." His first column elicited this response from climate change scientists.

One of the signers, is John Abraham, a professor of engineering at the University of St. Thomas.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Climate Change: Flyers from NCSE

Image result for globe

Climate Change
Environmental and Science Education
Edward Hessler

Recently, MnSTA president Michele Koomen sent an alert to the MnSTA membership about a Heartland Institute unsolicited mailing on global climate change. She also announced MnSTA's plans to develop a position statement on global climate change.

The National Center for Science Education has published three counter-Heartland flyers. One explains why using these materials would be a mistake; the second provides the top 5 reasons the Heartland materials don't belong in the classroom; the third is about the Heartland claims against the 97% consensus.

They can be downloaded here.