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Michael Mann Scores 2018 AGU Climate Communication Prize!

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Michael Mann, author of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, Dire Predictions: The Visual Guide to the Findings of the IPCC, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, and one gazillion scientific papers on climate change, won the prestigious Climate Communication Prize, awarded by his peers earlier today at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

From the PR:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences and director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, is the 2018 recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s Climate Communication Prize.

The prize was established in 2011 to highlight the importance of promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change.

The AGU Climate Communication Prize is given annually to one honoree in recognition of “the communication of climate science.” The award honors scientists who have made a significant contribution in promoting scientific literacy and fostering understanding of science-based values, according to the AGU website.

Mann conducts hundreds of media interviews and appearances every year and directly reaches public audiences via social media. His op-eds and commentaries have been published in dozens of outlets, including The Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde.

Mann communicates about the effects of climate change through a variety of media, including his third book, “The Madhouse Effect,” published in 2017. For this effort, he teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles to explore public perception of climate change. Mann also was a featured speaker during the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D. C., and has testified before Congress.

Mann also collaborated with author and illustrator Megan Herbert on a children’s book titled “The Tantrum that Saved the World.” He has appeared in numerous documentary films, including a feature role in “Before The Flood” starring Leonard Di Caprio.

In addition to outreach efforts, Mann continues to conduct and publish research. His areas of interest are in climate science, including climate change, sea level rise, human impact on climate change, climate modeling, and the carbon budget. He is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications.

In February 2018, Mann received the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Public Engagement with Science Award. In 2017, he was recognized with the Schneider Award from ClimateOne and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ James H. Shea Award. He was also inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame. Mann was elected an AAAS fellow in 2015.

He completed his doctorate at Yale University in 1998.

Congratulations Mike!


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Democratic Candidates for President: Round Two, The Bottom Tier

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I recently completed a Twitter based poll to rank the 35 or so potential Democratic Party candidates for president. Since who was paired with whom had a lot to do with determining the exact percentages, I chose to divide the results, most of which were triads of candidates in a single poll, into three tiers. The bottom tier includes the candidates who came in third in a given three way comparison. You can vote for them in the latest of my Twitter Polls.

The purposes of this project are two fold. One, to help us all educate ourselves on who these people are. So, along with this and other polls are information about the candidates. Not much information, but a little, and you can expand from there.

The second is to help us, somehow, and I’m not sure how we are going to do this exactly, have conversations about these potential Democratic POTUS candidates in a way that does not make us look like a bunch of simpering six-year-olds with teeth coming in. In other words, respectfully and intelligently. I know, that is asking a lot, but still, let’s try.

Here is a short YouTube clip for each of these candidates. This is your chance to go through them and make the argument that one or more of them should be left in the running. I’ve divided them arbitrarily into three groups, and only one from each group will go forard to Round Three

The three twitter polls are here:

Oprah Winfrey

Michael Bloomberg


John Delaney


Val Demmings

Tulsi Gabbard

Mitch Landrieu


Mark de Blasio


Claire McCaskill


Jeff Merkley

Tim Ryan


Sheryl Sandberg

By the way, in a straw poll reported by NBC News today, this happened:

Someone else/DK/other: 28.8 percent

Beto O’Rourke: 15.6 percent

Joe Biden: 14.9 percent

Bernie Sanders: 13.1 percent

Kamala Harris: 10 percent

Elizabeth Warren: 6.4 percent

Sherrod Brown: 2.9 percent

Amy Klobuchar: 2.8 percent

Michael Bloomberg: 2.7 percent

Cory Booker: 2.6 percent


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Can we talk about ladder pulling for a minute?

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In light of the Kevin Hart backlash. Or maybe the Joy Reed controversy. I do not refer here to the metaphysical roots of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I refer, rather, to all those Irish white guys in America, whose ancestors were used as target practice by Tammany Hall Toughs in 19th century New York, who are now just fine, and from this position above a repressed and exploited past, say really bone-headed things like “All Lives Matter, #!” They climbed the ladder, and the first thing they did was pull it up so the next group could not. And I refer to all the other ladder pullers out there. You know who you are. Or, maybe, you don’t, and that could be a problem.
Continue reading Can we talk about ladder pulling for a minute?


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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Investigated For Sexual Misconduct #MeToo (Updated)

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There was an accusation made in 2014 about an early 1980s rape by Tyson, but that never went anywhere and as far as I know was never proven. When that accusation resurfaced recently, a pysics professor, Katelyn Allers, came forward to relate a 2009 story of unwanted touching ad an AAS meeting. The incident was not viewed as especially traumatic by Professor Allers, but it was seen as inappropriate at the time. Ashley Watson, while working as an assistant to Tyson, relates “red flag” moments, attempts at persuasion to have sex, during her time working for him, and talks about misogynistic comments. Those allegations are all summarized in a report that came out yesterday in Buzzfeed News, but was initially summarized on a blog at not-my-favoriate-blog-site, Patheos.

And now, according to the Buzzfeed report, Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, the producers of the Cosmos reboot hosted by Tyson, are investigating these incidents.

The statement by the producers of Cosmos: Continue reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson Investigated For Sexual Misconduct #MeToo (Updated)


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Thwarting another attack on climate science, Michael Mann releases his own emails

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You’ve heard about the “scientific method.” If your memory is excellent, and you took a lot of science classes in American schools, you learned two of them, because life science textbooks and physical science textbooks teach somewhat different concepts called “scientific method.” If you study the history of science, even at a superficial level, or do actual science, you will find that the “scientific method” you learned in high school, the very same “scientific method” people who either love or hate science, but are not scientists, and talk a lot about science, incessantly refer to, is not what scientists actually do. Neither the procedures for developing a study nor the inferential process of advancing understanding follow this method, or at least, not very often. Doing science is much more haphazard and opportunistic, nuanced and visceral, much less clean and predictable. Like the famous physicist once said, “The scientific method; that is what I fall back on when I can’t think of anything else do to.”

But there is one thing that is found common to most scientific endeavors, and without this thing science would not progress very quickly or very far: Continue reading Thwarting another attack on climate science, Michael Mann releases his own emails


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Voting With A Porpoise

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A new book to help educate our small fry on the importance and meaning of voting: Voting With a Porpoise by Russell Glass, Sean Callahan and Daniel Howarth (illustrator).

It is a whale of a book:

A pod of dolphins (and their porpoise friend, Petey) is in trouble. Their reef no longer provides the food they need to survive. The pod can’t figure out what to do until Petey suggests they hold an election to decide.

2018 Parent and Teacher Choice Award winner, Voting With a Porpoise is a fun, timeless, and beautifully illustrated story that teaches children how elections and voting have the power to solve hard problems.

The authors created this book to help change the culture around elections and voting. To that end, 100 percent of the profits for Voting With a Porpoise will be donated to 501(c)(3) non-partisan voting-related causes focused on getting more people of all backgrounds to the polls, such as Rock the Vote, Vote.org, TurboVote, and others.

This book is the next best thing to lowering the voting age to 16! Or lower!


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Is Blackface Ever Racist?

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In order to answer this question, we have to talk about Jim. Jim Crow.

The term “Jim Crow” can refer to the set of laws based on the claim that black people in America are inferior to whites, are to be kept from opportunity, and segregated. Lynching is an option. The law implements this philosophy by codifying segregation and repression.

But Jim Crow was also an actual person. Well, not really a person, but a character played by a person, prior to the Civil War, that war that ended slavery.

After that war, the law, society, and politics changed, giving free blacks, most of whom were former slaves, opportunity and meaningful freedom. This change was widespread, rapid, and dramatic. Suddenly, there were black elected officials, for example. Black kids went to schools with their elders, and African American literacy rates rose rapidly. African Americans voted and actively participated in the political process. African Americans began to accumulate some wealth, and to own land, and were free to use public accommodations.

But the Federal government dropped the ball and these changes were not supported or enforced, and the northern white establishment quickly gave sway to the southern racists. There was a rapid fire series of events often associated with mini battles involving police, troops, and angry townspeople, that pushed African Americans back down. In some counties or cities, even at the state level, there were two sets of ballot boxes during elections. The legal one where everyone could vote, and the whites only box. Generally, the white only ballots were the ones that were counted.

This is when the Jim Crow legal philosophy emerged. White America oversaw the dismantling of most of the post war advancements, using the Jim Crow laws.

Besides the Jim Crow laws, another part of that regression was the widespread construction of civil war monuments across the south, honoring southern generals, troops, etc. Also, monuments were erected to celebrate the white victories in the post Civil War battles mentioned above. These monuments were explicit acts of oppression of black Americans.

Those are the very same monuments that have been coming down lately in the south, the center of protests bringing white supremacists out of the woodwork, the great people on both sides, according to Trump. (See: Taking down New Orleans’ monuments: Not what you think)

So, where does the original Jim Crow fit in? Before the war, Jim Crow was a character played by actor Thomas Dartmouth Rice. He had started playing the role by 1832, probably with blackface from the beginning, but if not, black face was soon added. Jim Crow was an absurd, ignorant, negative depiction meant to denigrate African Americans, mostly in those days slaves. But the black face Jim Crow continued after the Civil War and became the basis for later ministerial shows. Those shows were also meant to denigrate blacks. Stepin Fetchit was a latter day version of this, played by African American actor Lincoln TMA Perry. Perry was the first African American actor to make it big, and he had a long career as a fully co-opted player in 20th century racist Hollywood. Being already black, he did not wear black face, but he played a role fully cognate with Jim Crow.

In fact, post modern revisionists have taken both the original racist Jim Crow image and Stepin Fetchit, made the link with colonial African tropes, to call it all an embodiment of the “trickster” archetype. That’s also racist, that revisionism.

Jim Crow was a very offensive and hurtful parody of black people. Jim Crow was an absurd character meant to entertain racist whites. Jim Crow is where black face began, back in the 1830s Blackface was never not racist.

Blackface Halloween costumes are blatantly racist. Blackface has always, always, been racist. Blackface has been a racist, denigrating, part of white society in America since the early 1830s, when Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice invented this horribly offensive persona. Blackface has never been anything but racist.

And everyone knows this, except Megan Kelly.

NBC, maybe you need to take out the trash. Hey, NBC, thanks for taking out the trash.


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