Watch Old Sea Ice Vanish

Speaking of #ThanksNASA, using a really cool infographic, we can now see how sea ice since 1984 has been disappearing! Like a really sad kind of magic!

Ok I’m trying to be upbeat here, but really what we need to see and understand if that climate change is continuing to drastically affect the Arctic.

And understanding this is the first step in trying to stop the procession toward no ice.

Read about it here! 

 

#ThanksNASA

The incoming presidential administration has talked about axing funding for NASA earth science research.

This would result in a loss of 40% of funding dedicated to understanding our planet.

Why? It’s been suggested it has to do with NASA’s focus on what was called “politically correct environmental monitoring“.

In response, scientists have taken to twitter, with the hashtag #ThanksNASA to highlight the good work done at NASA

Read about it here! 

 

For Some, Scientist Aren’t the Authority on Science

A new study coming out in the journal Public Understandings of Science finds that many people believe that university and industry scientists are the authority to trust about sciency things (risks and benefits of technology and its applications).

However, among evangelicals, the pattern is very different. Rather they see religious organizations as the authority on science.

Which could play into the “fact free” society we are living in.

I don’t know how to change this conundrum. I don’t know how to make it clear that facts are facts. I’m open to suggestions.

Read about it here!

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More expensive plastic bags = fewer plastic bags!

The number of plastic bags found on UK beaches has fallen by nearly half over the last year.

And it was all due to the massive cost of plastic bags now imposed on the British public! Just kidding, it’s only a 5p levy.

Read about it over at the guardian, and start implementing a levy on all plastic bags!

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Stand up for NIH funding

Elizabeth Warren recently posted a piece on Medium about a bill to help advance medical innovation in the United States. But, as she points out, this bill does not provide money to basic research funded through the NIH, but rather is meant to make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to make money by lying to the public.

Needless to say this is upsetting, and given the current funding rates and the tightening of the federal budget for scientific research (NIH funding was cut by 20% over the last dozen years…), this bit of science news should inspire you to call your senator or congressman.

Read the piece here, and remember: This is not normal.

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The Arctic waters are refusing to freeze

Like a petulant teenager, the Arctic and Antarctic ice is refusing to freeze. After record high temperatures this summer, and bolstered by persistent warm weather from the South, the sea ice that melted this summer is not refreezing.

This has all sorts of implications for weather patterns and low lying areas, all of which you can read about over at the Guardian!

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) close-up, Svalbard, Norway.

Make America Informed Again

One thing that sprung out of the 2016 Presidential Election is the role that fake news played in the spread of misinformation, and potentially lead to the current disastrous result.

Sometimes this is because the editorial staff has a slant on an issue that they are actively pushing. But sometimes there’s simply bad reporting because it’s easier to do and can make you more successful than good reporting does. Even when addressing something as objective as science.

Think about it: a new study comes out, with a sweeping groundbreaking conclusion. There’s a press release that accompanies the study, if you’re a journalist do you:

  1. Only write about it if you, yourself, are an expert in the field, capable of digging into the details and evaluating it in the context of everything else known yourself?
  2. Consult with a slew of experts, assuming you’re not one yourself, to ensure you evaluate the release properly — as best you can — before you craft your narrative?
  3. Call a few people to interview them, writing down quotes, so that when you write about the study and its conclusion, you can add in either affirming or dissenting opinions from experts?
  4. Or do you simply write a catchy headline designed to highlight the new, spectacular conclusions, and base your story entirely on the press release?

Forbes wrote an article addressing this exact problem. 

Or if you want the TL;DR version watch this Last Week Tonight clip, where John Oliver explains how important it is to understand science.