Michael Tobis

Michael Tobis

Michael Tobis, editor-in-chief of Planet3.0 and site cofounder, has always been interested in the interface between science and public policy. He holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences where he developed a 3-D ocean model on a custom computing platform. He has been involved in sustainability conversations on the internet since 1992, has been a web software developer since 2000, and has been posting sustainability articles on the web since 2007.

Recent Articles

Phone Companies


Transcript from an online chat.

So far this has cost us several hours and probably a few customers.

Please hold for a Verizon Wireless sales representative to assist you with your order. Thank you for your patience.

You are now chatting with ‘Lawrence’

Lawrence: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service.   [more]



Friend 1: We’re going to count birds  tomorrow.

Me: Where I come from, counting birds is very easy this time of year.

Friend 2: Because there are so many of them?



The Burzynski Clinic

Someone acting approximately  lawyer defends someone claiming to have a cancer treatment, who charges enormous amounts of money to people for being in clinical trials. These clinical trials have been going on for decades without any published result.

It seems to me that charging people to be part of clinical trials is the sort of corrupting influence that you want to keep away from people doing, or acting as if they are doing, scientific research. [more]

quicquid status quo

I saw a sentence on a leftish site today, Mother Jones iirc, to the effect that “Power is concentrated in the hands of defenders of the status quo”

This seems almost a tautology. Moments in history where this is not true are rare – they are the true tipping points.

The question is the nature of the status quo and of the power. [more]

Last Post

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSzK-6wimbc&w=420&h=315]

This blog is moving to http://init.planet3.org Please reset your bookmarks and feeds (http://init.planet3.org/feed/). That site and feed are now live. Updates about the shutdown of this site will appear on this article.

Approximately a million page views (at least 979,918 as I write, not counting feed subscribers) have been served by this Blogger site. [more]

Dennis Ritchie has Died

A less publicly renowned figure in the history of computing than Steve Jobs, but at least equally central in its development, Dennis Ritchie also passed away recently.

Dennis was coauthor of the original UNIX operating system and author of the first implementation of the C language. This is to say, the majority of modern computing builds directly on his work, and most of the rest was directly influenced by it. [more]

A better Way

This blog will be moving soon, to be a sub-blog under Planet3.0 .

Recall that the original purpose here was to examine how scientific communication had failed and what to do about it. Planet3.0 is the result of that thinking. It’s my attempt not only to do something about it, but to encourage others to do something about it as well. [more]

Good News from Texas

It’s still unseasonably warm in Austin, but at least the season has changed. While it remains very dry here, major storms have been quite visible to our north and south of late. So, it seems that October is bringing us a normal summer pattern, and it’s raining a more or less normal amount in Texas. [more]

The Forces of Occupation

Obviously I’ve been wrapped up in Planet3.0 these last couple of weeks. But amazing developments have been afoot.

I am ALMOST as far as this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI_P3pxze5w]

But it is tempered by something clever somebody said at SXSWEco last week. Something like:

We don’t need a movement chasing down the White House to make them do the right thing. [more]