GWH Feb Potluck & Meeting: "Global Warming: Sound Science, Porous Politics"

  • February 11, 2014 · 6:00 PM
  • UU Church of Worcester

Next week we will be having a potluck prior to our presentation, where we will be joined by Les Blatt, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Education at Clark University in Worcester, MA for a talk on climate change. 

The potluck is open to anyone and we ask that if you are contributing, please send an email to [masked] with what you are planning on bringing. If you signed up at the January meeting, there is no need to email.  Also please bring a card or piece of paper with the name of your dish and whether it is vegan or vegetarian. The potluck will start around 6:00 and we plan to start eating at 6:15. At 7:00 we will plan on starting the presentation.

Professor Blatt will take us on a guided tour of the currently-contentious topic of global warming and its most noticeable manifestation, climate change.  His presentation flows from his education and long career as an experimental physicist, his familiarity with the work of professionals in related fields, his travels– both academic and cultural – and his many years of grappling with the climate change literature, both professional and popular.  “Global warming” is by now a proven, on-going, and scientifically well-understood process, occasional harsh New England winters not withstanding.  But are we humans really playing a major role in this potentially planet-altering scenario?  Present-day arguments about climate change often seem to be based in equal parts on science and on politics.  We will take a careful look at the science, and then dig just a bit into the rather more murky realm of the politicians and the media.

Les Blatt is an experimental nuclear physicist who has contributed to the study of high energy gamma radiation from the capture of protons and cluster projectiles by light nuclei. Some of the techniques he developed for this research form the basis of gamma-ray detector systems found in laboratories around the world. In recent years, his work has been directed toward the needs of pre-service and in-service teachers, and, more particularly, the development of methods and materials for making science more accessible to pre-college students at all levels. He received his A.B. from Princeton University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. He joined the Clark faculty in 1987 as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, after many years at The Ohio State University, including six years as Physics Department chair. He recently retired after holding a joint appointment in the Clark Physics and Education Departments, including serving two terms as Physics Department chair.

The meeting is at UU Church of Worcester, where we usually meet. (90 Holden St, Worcester) The program begins at 7pm, but as always, you are welcome to arrive and mingle around 6:30 PM. Whether you are a member or not, please consider a donation at the door.

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    • Brian M.

      "Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives. Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries...According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia ,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said."

      February 18, 2014

    • Brian M.

      A decade later Britain had record cold, and snows. In Ireland underground pipes layed hundreds of years ago froze for the first time, causing reservoirs to empty.

      February 18, 2014

  • Brian M.

    Here's an article where you can view a temperature proxy on a much longer time scale than the cherry picked data provided in the presentation. As you can see current temperature trend is at the level of noise in the big picture. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/09/hockey-stick-observed-in-noaa-ice-core-data/

    I moved from Minnesota to Long Island NY suffering a climate change of around 35 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm still alive today. Many of the plants I grow in my garden have ranges far in excess of this. It's not surprising because at the end of the last ice age temperatures rose so abruptly that any plant with a narrow climate sensitivity died out. Climate change, by definition is a slow process. Climate change does not cause old people to die of heat stroke, or freezing. That is called weather, and the best way to cope with that is modern technology and fuels. Human deaths attributable to weather has fallen the entire time blobal warming was supposed happen.

    February 17, 2014

    • Brian M.

      I've been upset about the biased presentation alarmists have given on this ever since my mother called me in a panic after watching a climate alarmist movie. I had to spend weeks debunking all the false claims made in the movie. It's like she had joined an end of the world cult.

      February 17, 2014

  • Brian M.

    The recent flooding in England is NOT due to global warming. It is due to weather along with building on a swamp with drainage ditches dug, and then not keeping those drainage ditches cleared of silt and vegetation. Of, course it will revert to swamp if you don't maintain the system originally put in place to drain the area in the first place.

    Here's an article pointing these facts out :
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/13/uk-flooding-met-office-and-all-that-a-map-from-878ad-tells-us-more-than-slingo/

    Some more information on the fact this was due to bad infrastructure decisions:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/16/the-real-reason-for-flooding-in-somerset-levels-not-global-warming-the-only-pump-was-turned-off/#more[masked]

    February 17, 2014

  • Keith M.

    There is a wolf at the end of the Cry Wolf fable. The current wolf is probably real, but the cries are incorrectly nuanced and presented; therefore, the threat of the wolf can be disregarded.

    1 · February 12, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Is there a wolf or is it our own dog? What I want is a balanced presentation so I can tell the true danger, or lack thereof.

      February 17, 2014

    • Brian M.

      That video was biased garbage. He was doing exactly what he was complaining about, blurring the lines between scientific criticism of alarmism over global warming with the ignorant claims of the religious right.

      February 17, 2014

  • Brian M.

    Here is the map of glacial bay showing the retreat of the glaciers. Worldwide coal use was negilable before 1870. Yet more than half of the glacial bay glacier by surface area had melted from 1760 to 1870 prior to then.

    Here is the USGS map for the area showing dates of retreat:

    http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2001/07/glacierbaymap.gif

    February 11, 2014

    • Brian M.

      So this glacier had been melting long before any influence of man on CO2 levels.

      February 11, 2014

  • Brian M.

    Here's info on the global frog die off. It has been determined that it is not due to global warming:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130515-chytrid-fungus-origin-african-clawed-frog-science/

    February 11, 2014

    • Brian M.

      The same pathogen was introduced in the habitat of the golden toad. Apparently the stress of a new disease prevented it from surviving the El Nino cycles it is normally able to adapt to. http://www.ldeo.colum...­

      February 11, 2014

  • Dan

    So I assume you don't need the separate email if we wrote what we'd bring for the potluck within the RSVP box?

    February 4, 2014

    • Dan

      thanks Robyn!

      February 4, 2014

    • Dan

      Sorry folks, I'm fighting a cold and am going to stay home tonight. Sorry my banana bread won't be there!

      February 11, 2014

  • Brian M.

    “Global warming” is by now a proven, on-going, and scientifically well-understood process, ..."

    Yes, "global warming" is proven and on-going since the last ice age. However it is not at all well understood in toto.

    From the Executive summary of the 3rd chapter of the IPPC report: "Many facets of the climate system are not well understood, ..."

    The IPCC executive summaries have been know to be far more alarmist than the underlying science warrants and even they admit that climate is not well understood.

    Skeptics don't disagree that the mechanism by which CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas. What is in contention is the large number of other factors, and how they interact to generate the end result. That is what skeptics know is not well understood. That doesn't even scratch the issue of the incredibly ignorant economic policy suggestions coming from global warming alarmists. Nor the dishonesty of their public advocacy.

    February 9, 2014

  • CherylBene

    This is the day BEFORE Darwin's Birthday - Let's REALLY celebrate !

    February 4, 2014

  • CherylBene

    I will attend - and bring a salad

    February 3, 2014

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