Last Sunday's Parade insert:
You know, in the newspaper that I'm not supposed to get, that somehow gets to my doorstep every Sunday since that one fine day in August, sometimes including a visit during the week which has to be one more reason the daily dinosaur may be going out of business, but I digress...
The Parade was waving an article by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner entitled What Should You Worry About?; addressing the fact that "we're bad at assessing risk -- we panic about the wrong things." The article is short and sweet, encapsulating how the media is influential in our perceptions of epidemics, shark bites and just plain fear as to how likely we are to be scammed with identity theft.
A fascinating little quickie to read as far as understanding how we Americans are subject to fear mongering and sky is falling tactics faster than you can say 'everybody out of the water...shark!' all courtesy of the mainstream media.
For example-- this piece -- offered to us by, let's just say call them The Stevens now-- references all kinds of numbers in making their point, "summer of 2001...media dubbed the 'Summer of the Shark'...[by declaring] 'sharks come without warning' with commentators elaborating on all the ways a shark can get you..." ooooooh
Well, The Stephens immediately respond to this kind of hysteria in saying, "during all of 2001, there were 68 shark attacks worldwide, of which just four were fatal...on average 5.9 fatalities per year" worldwide!
This is the kind of stuff John Stossel gets into with his book, Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity. As even a media guy for over thirty years admits "many in the media are scientifically clueless and will scare you to death."
So while on the subject of global warming, Stossel's book includes remarks from Dr. Patrick Michaels, citing opinion in his Association of American Geographers 2003 Climate Paper of the Year:
"points out that melting Arctic ice won't raise sea levels any more that the melting ice in your drink makes your glass overflow...'the Arctic ice cap is just floating ice...if it melted ...it's not a land mass adding to water."Stossel continues making the argument it's just all about money anyway, and the "twenty-five billion dollars in government funding has been spent since 1990 to research global warming....if it has little to do with man, and most to do with just how the planet works, there wouldn't be as much money to study it." Just like the lack of availability to study the mating rituals of ants and why it rains or rather, why it never rains in southern California. How many of us would pay to see it, as who really cares?
Quoting also a Harvard astrophysicist, Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Stossel helps his argument hit a few high notes saying even Dr. Baliunas laughs at the CO2 connection, as "CO2 helps plants grow. Warmer winters would give farmers a longer harvest season, and might end the droughts in the Sahara desert."
Now going back to The Stephens, you know what they end with?
"Fear sometimes distorts our thinking to the point where we become convinced that certain threats are so enormous as to be unstoppable...The average global ground temperature over the past 100 years has risen 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or .74 degrees Celsius. But even the most brilliant climate scientists are unable to predict exactly what will happen to the Earth as a result of those atmospheric changes and when anything will happen."Were they not just putting global warming in the same category as screaming Shark? I think so.
You know, I think even Chairman Mao would have a problem today with global warming; as it would have perhaps allowed a few million people to actually survive starvation and would have certainly hampered his steel production agenda, for the common good of course. Wow, talk about a community organizer and grass roots efforts to indoctrinate a whole society; Obama's got nothing on this dude.
Or does he?
I am so over global warming already I can't stand it. Perhaps we will return to it later, you know, like when hell freezes over or when I can sit at the North Pole in a bikini, but I'm feeling a need to go rogue right now.
Maybe it's the lack of sunspots that are affecting my brain, but I have this fascination building inside me, all of a sudden all I want to do is get a t-shirt with Che's mug on it or one that says I've got "the red sun in my heart".
Power to the People and Make it a Good Day, G