Very discouraging poll results showing all Americans are ignorant regarding climate change

globeby ToastyKen

Views Differ on Shape of Earth, Climate Edition

[Via Daring Fireball]

Americans — of all political stripes — are grossly misinformed about the percentage of climate scientists who think global warming is happening. Sad.

The largest fraction do not know enough to say. At east they admit their ignorance.

And 14% do get the right answer – essentially 100% of climate scientists think the world is warming. Maybe only 98% think that humans are involved. ( the poll described global warming as simply the idea that the average global temperature has increased over the last 150 years.)

Yet 60% of Americans are wrong. Maybe there is a little comfort that Democrats are twice as likely to get the right answer as Republicans and twenty times as likely that Tea Party members. No group got this correct.

On such an important topic, how can so many Americans be so ignorant? I think we can point to the atrocious job the media does with this topic. They do not want to reduce the ignorance in any fashion. As you’ll see below, all groups actually distrust the media to a very high degree. Perhaps they know who poorly they are all being served by the media.

The majority of Americans acknowledge global warming. They at least are not ignorant here (although a Republican is almost 3 times more likely to not acknowledge global warming  and a Tea Partier over 6 times).

Interestingly, the more ignorant a group was about global warming, the surer it was that it was well-informed – a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Americans just do not have any idea of how the experts feel. In fact, equal numbers (41%) of Americans respond affirmatively to these questions: “Most scientists think global warming is happening” and “There is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.”

Again, only the first case it true. Yet the majority of Americans get this wrong (45% of Democrats but 71% of Republicans).

In other parts of the poll, 45% of the Democrats feel that we are being harmed right now (16% of the Republicans) while 33% of the Republicans feel we will never be harmed (51% of the Tea Partiers).

The one question most Americans would like to ask an expert is “How do you know that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, not natural changes in the environment?” (Here is an easy answer. Essentialyl, the CO2 levels are rising. We can tell that the CO2 being added to the atmosphere comes from the burning of fossil fuel and not from natural processes. We can see that the added CO2 in the atmosphere is holding in more heat. The ways that this heat is being retained rule out other major causes.)

Nicely, everyone wants more research done into renewable energy sources. Complete bipartisanship here. And every pretty much opposes raising the gas tax 25 cents and using the money to reduce the income tax.

The other interesting aspect is that the Tea Partiers simply do not trust much of anything: 56% distrust TV weathermen, 91% distrust the mainstream news media, 48% distrust scientists, 95% distrust President Obama, 84% distrust their own Representative, 72% distrust the EPA,  73% distrust the Department of Energy and  62% distrust the CDC,

The comparable distrust numbers for Democrats are 36% weathermen, 46% media, 12% scientists, 19% President Obama, 47% Representative, 20% EPA, 26% DOE and 30% CDC.

And, not surprisingly, while even a majority of Republicans acknowledge evolution (51% for them vs. 62% for Democrats), 66% of the Tea Partiers do not acknowledge evolution.

Now the basic numbers. People were asked to self assign themselves into parties. If anyone self identified themselves as members of the Tea Party, their answers were excluded from the Republican, Independent or Democrat bins. The size of the polling means that the 95 percent confidence level is ± 3%. But the smaller size of the subgroups increases their errors, with the Tea Party numbers being larges (±10%).

Somewhat high but it is possible to get statistically significant numbers since they have views so at odds with the Democrats.

Its not really open if you give closed benefits to your partners/subsidiaries

walled gardenby ell brown

Android OEM wake up call: Google document proposes giving Motorola time-to-market advantage to build Android ‘lead devices’
[Via MacDailyNews]

“Here’s a [snippet from a] document from a Google-internal presentation that Judge Alsup (the federal judge presiding over Oracle’s patent and copyright infringement lawsuit against Google) didn’t want to be withheld from the public,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents.


The first bullet point is “Do not develop in the open.” Followed by  “Lead device concept: Give early access to the software to partners who build and distribute devices to our specification (ie, Motorola and Verizon).”

So now that they own Motorola’s mobile division – or will shortly – it looks like anyone else who makes Android phones will be second class citizens to the company that holds Android overthem.

If I were them, I’d be looking for someone else than Google for my operating system. Or they will ‘fork’ Android and develop their own OS, as Amazon is rumored to be doing.

And now the iPad has changed medical school education

Yale hands out 64GB iPad 2s to entire Medical School student body
[Via Edible Apple]

By David Goldman:

You just never know where the iPad 2 is going to show up these days. From airplane cockpits to the NFL, the iPad is increasingly becoming a favored replacement for massive reams of paper.

Not too long ago, we reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneer football team gave all 90 of its players iPad 2s to serve as replacements for gargantuan playbooks that made the Yellow Pages seem small by comparison.

And now the iPad 2 is making inroads into medical schools, a fact which shouldn’t be too surprising given its current popularity with doctors and hospitals.

Starting this Fall, Yale Medical Students won’t have to worry about carrying around obscenely large textbooks. Nope, their shoulders  will be spared the wear and tear of carrying around a collection of books that can seemingly way upwards of 30 pounds.

So out with the old textbooks and in with the iPad 2.

But far from solely serving as a textbook replacement, students will can use their new iPads to check out Yale’s curriculum and “read and handle confidential patient health information.” What’s more, students will be able to download lecture notes and access course materials as well.

Even better, the iPad 2s are genuine gifts and students will be allowed to keep them after graduation. Of course, that sounds like a great deal until you ponder the insane price of a Yale medical education these days.


They expect to make up for the cost of the ipads in reduced paper needs and other savings. Probably in health concerns since the students won;t be carrying around those heavy textbooks.

And the security concerns of patient data is actually much, much less using an iPad versus a laptop. Another nice job by Apple.

A dying business model? Looks like an opportunity for Microsoft.

Why Carol Bartz was fired
[Via asymco]

Occasionally I write articles titled “Why CEO X was fired.” You can read one here, and here and here.

These are allegorical stories. I don’t base the opinion on evidence but on perception of what’s wrong with a particular company’s strategy and then try to trace the point of strategic failure which should have triggered management change. Of course, the reasons are often something else, probably mundane or “political” in nature.

The objective therefore is to analyze strategy and more precisely strategy failure.

So, Yahoo! What went wrong?

Before we answer that, we should know what went right. Yahoo, like Google, depends on advertiser revenues. For that, it sells the behavior of its users. It processes over 25 billion events every day and builds a database (estimated to be in 10s of petabytes) to mine for information that is, hopefully, worth something to advertisers.

But in order get user behavior it needs to provide compelling reasons for user participation. For that, Yahoo licenses content and offers communication services (among other things.)

This sounds like a reasonable business model. So what could go wrong? As always, we being by measuring performance along a prevailing basis or axis of competition. Has Yahoo’s product been improving in ways meaningful to its customers? Is that improvement beyond what buyers value or can absorb? To answer, we need to be careful in recognizing that the customer is the advertiser, not the user. Like in all advertising business models, the user is the product.

So when seen in this context, the problem becomes clearer. We have to determine whether the product (user behavior) is good enough or too good. We have to compare it to alternatives which might offer better price/performance for a given customer need.


Yahoo has to give people a reason to use it, in order to get the customer data needed to support is business model – advertising. Google does lot so f things to get this data. Things that ir pretty much also controls.

Here, Yahoo licensed other media to give its users – media that could often be examined in other ways or was itself also dying.

SoYahoo is on a downhill spiral. What to do?

How about get Microsoft to buy them? I’m not sure even Ballmer is that balmy.

This makes for fun conjecture but I think Yahoo may simply be on its way out of town.

Violating conservation of energy not a good way to start a model

Simplified model in recent climate paper doesn’t even conserve energy
[Via Ars Technica]

We’ve discussed how a recent paper by a prominent climate contrarian had set off an exaggerated response in some corners of the popular press that ultimately contributed to the resignation of the editor of the journal that published it. But the paper remained part of the scientific literature, which, as we commented at the time, “Should induce his critics to get more thorough criticisms formally published.” Apparently one was already in the works, and it was released over the weekend by Geophysical Research Letters. The paper focuses on the simplified model used in an attempt to indicate that clouds could force the climate, and shows that the model may not even be able to reproduce the conservation of energy.

The paper is the work of Andy Dessler, who focuses on understanding how clouds influence the climate (that’s our coverage of some of his past work). Dessler lays out the usual understanding of clouds in the first sentence: as the climate changes, the clouds change in response, and may enhance or limit the change in climate. In contrast, he cites two papers (by Richard Lindzen and the recent one by Roy Spencer) where they use the same model of the climate to suggest that the causality is reversed, and changes in clouds drive the climate to new states.


I mentioned this rebuttal to the original Spencer paper. I missed this in my reading of the paper:

A quick run-through of the model, however, shows that it is “potentially problematic,” which appears to be a bit of an understatement. “Heating of their climate system by the ocean (ΔFocean > 0) causes an increase of energy in the ocean (C(dTs/dt) > 0), apparently violating energy conservation,” Dessler notes. In other words, the model suggests that, by transferring energy from the ocean to the atmosphere, it’s possible to increase the energy of the ocean.

Yes, apparently the model used in the original paper postulated an equation that releasing heat from the oceans would result in heating them up. So, the model that was touted by all the denialists has as a consequence the denial of the conservation of energy and the laws of thermodynamics.

Yet, the writer of the rebuttal paper – Dessler – went ahead and assumed that this false equation was true in order to evaluate the paper.  And even here it failed muster.

If I was an editor that published a paper requiring that the laws of thermodynamics be violated in order for the model to work, I would have resigned also.


Apple should hire this guy and transform license agreements

Student Transforms Painfully Long iTunes License Agreement Into Something Apple Would Be Proud Of
[Via Cult of Mac]

Have you ever attempted to read the whole iTunes Software License Agreement after installation? No, me neither. And there’s one good reason for that: it’s so dull it makes me want to gauge out my eyeballs and smash up my Mac. But one grab student has transformed the endlessly boring body of text into a pain-free masterpiece that even Apple itself would be proud of. 

Gregg Bernstein, who really need to get a better hobby — only joking, Gregg! — has spent some time on making that iTunes License Agreement a whole lot more digestible. It’s a lot prettier, easier to read, easier to search, easier to print, and easier to navigate.

However, according to TUAW, this wasn’t just something Gregg did in his spare time:

For his master’s thesis he went through Apple’s license agreement (all 4,137 words of it) and designed something that looked a lot more clean and beautiful, and actually meant something. Things like how many copies you can make of each item, and what you’re actually agreeing to when you click “Agree” are spelled out much more clearly.


Apple could revolutionize the industry if it went to something like this. But I bet the lawyers won’t like it.

Watch it holding your breath

You are required to hold your breath while you watch this entire video
[Via Pharyngula]

Human beings are weirdly adaptable creatures, aren’t they?


Now think that the world record for holding your breathe underwater is 11 minutes and 35 seconds!


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