As southeast Brazil grapples with its worst drought in nearly a century, a problem worsened by polluted rivers, deforestation and population growth, the largest reservoir system serving São Paulo is near depletion. Many residents are already enduring sporadic water cutoffs, some going days without it. Officials say that drastic rationing may be needed, with water service provided only two days a week.
Aaron Sankin comes to the dismal conclusion that GamerGate’s trolls are winning’ because they are successfully scaring women away from the game industry, and real journalists are even less likely to take games seriously as a beat, leaving the industry in the hands of what Tim Maly has called the enthusiast press (Remember, as many others has have pointed out, GamerGate not only isn’t about ethics in journalism, it’s actively hostile to honest journalism).
I don’t know really know what this and this are satirizing, but I found them funny anyway.
In local news: Oregon’s governor is corrupt and/or incompetent, but the Willamette Week makes a strong case that he’s still better than the alternative. Meanwhile, Rick Turoczy points out that Portland is becoming a marketing technology hub. Which makes sense since Webtrends is our one big tech startup success story (since SurveyMonkey moved away and Jive, which also moved, isn’t necessarily a success), and Wieden + Kennedy is a real anchor-company for the city. It also occurs to me that thinking of Portland as an ad agency town helps explain much of the city’s transformation over the past few years. Elsewhere, The Baffler editor John Summers said “When you’re in Portland and you don’t own your own house—if they’re bringing in tech people, you should just pack your bags.” And it’s not just tech bros coming. It’s ad tech bros. *shudder*
A lot of people like this piece where Quinn Norton tries to find some hope in a doomed world, but I’m sorry, I just couldn’t get through it. But maybe you’ll find some comfort there? If not, perhaps Drunk Jeff Goldblum will cheer you up:
I rewatched FunkyForest and it gets better with every viewing. It’s pure mad genius. No, it doesn’t make any more narrative sense on rewatching, but it starts to make its own sort of internal sense, the way the most absurd of dreams make sense while you’re dreaming them.
Why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defence planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis – or all three.
John Timmer at Ars Technica looks at what a survey of Australians about their beliefs regarding climate change can tell us about our perceptions of popular opinion:
The false consensus effect became obvious when the researchers looked at what these people thought that everyone else believed. Here, the false consensus effect was obvious: every single group believed that their opinion represented the plurality view of the population. This was most dramatic among those who don’t think that the climate is changing; even though they represent far less than 10 percent of the population, they believed that over 40 percent of Australians shared their views. Those who profess ignorance also believed they had lots of company, estimating that their view was shared by a quarter of the populace. […]
But there was also evidence of pluralistic ignorance. Every single group grossly overestimated the number of people who were unsure about climate change or convinced it wasn’t occurring. Even those who were convinced that humans were changing the climate put 20 percent of Australians into each of these two groups.
In the end, the false consensus effect is swamped by this pluralistic ignorance. Even though everybody tends to think their own position is the plurality, those who accept climate change is real still underestimate how many people share their views. Meanwhile, everyone overestimates the self-labelled “skeptic” population.
*The messages, which span 13 years, show a few scientists in a bad light, being rude or dismissive. An investigation is underway, but there’s still plenty of evidence that the earth is getting warmer and that humans are largely responsible.
*Some critics say the e-mails negate the conclusions of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but the IPCC report relied on data from a large number of sources, of which CRU was only one.
*E-mails being cited as “smoking guns” have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to “hiding the decline” isn’t talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The “decline” actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.
When geologists like James Hutton and Charles Lyall first began to read the past of our planet in fossils and in the strata of rock 200 years ago, they noticed something ominous. There were fossilized seashells on mountaintops. Mountaintops had once been at the bottom of seas. What’s more, solid land had once been swamp. And coastal real estate had been the most unstable of all, ending up underwater or high and dry. We humans are coast-hugging creatures. As Plato put it, we are like frogs dotted around a pond. Over 60% of us live near coasts. And coasts are fragile places to be.
The bottom line? Weather change will come. Massive weather change. It will come with or without the mitigation of greenhouse gases. And—like the indigenous people of Indonesia’s Aceh who build their houses on stilts–we have to be prepared to triumph over disaster. We cannot waste trillions on just one form of climate change. We have to be prepared for both fire and ice. Or, to put it differently, we have to realize that Mother Nature is not nice.
More Americans believe in guardian angels than humans’ role in global warming, according to recent polls.
A Pew poll released late last month found that just 36 percent of Americans believe humans are responsible for accelerating global climate change, which scientists say mushroomed after the industrial revolution due to humans’ dependence on carbon-based fuels. […]
The 36 percent who believe in human-caused climate change is fewer than the number of Americans who apparently believe they’re protected by guardian angels, some 55 percent, according to a poll published in 2008. […]
That’s not all. A blog at the website of Foreign Policy notes that more Americans believe in UFOs and ghosts than do anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming.