Wouldn’t it be nice if there were consequences for a journalist garbling a story?
“MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data”
In the pre-Web 2.0 days, this would have gotten no notice, but now it’s getting “Dugg” up. The story reads in part:
The two lead authors of a paper published in this week’s Geophysical Review Letters, Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, state that as a result of the increase, several million tons of new methane is present in the atmosphere.
Methane accounts for roughly one-fifth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, though its effect is 25x greater than that of carbon dioxide. Its impact on global warming comes from the reflection of the sun’s light back to the Earth (like a greenhouse).
Ah. So what with the 25x greater effect, its effect must be 25 x greater, right? Or should that only be 5x greater, since it’s only “one fifth of greenhouse gases”. Or should it be 1/5th, because the factor of 25 is already accounted for? (Hint, that last one is closest, but what was that about water vapor?)
Open loop systems fail.
This is what all those free-marketeers, in their narrow little way, are trying to tell us. If journalists get no correction for getting things wrong, they will continue to get things wrong, and the public will continue to be confused. Feeling themselves barraged by streams of contradictory nonsense, what choice to they have but to “go with their gut”?
The throwaway article in an (I suspect) not especially important tech website is getting passed around, based on the reporter’s deep understanding and coherent explanation of the story, right? Or perhaps it is because of the conclusion:
One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a handle on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it’s too early to know for sure if man’s impact is affecting things at the political cry of “alarming rates.” We may simply be going through another natural cycle of warmer and colder times – one that’s been observed through a scientific analysis of the Earth to be naturally occuring [sic] for hundreds of thousands of years.
No need to blame that crap on the innocent researchers. Just one more writer writing about something he doesn’t know as if he does. Just one more tiny bit of intellectual poison, that’s all, just a little bit more. Yummm. Open wide…
Update: Watt’s Up runs with it.