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Buzz Clik

Buzz Clik's Journal
Buzz Clik's Journal
May 26, 2015

Climate Change Debate Fueled by ‘Echo Chambers,’ New Study Finds

Climate Change Debate Fueled by ‘Echo Chambers,’ New Study Finds

College Park, Md and Annapolis, Md — A new study from researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) demonstrates that the highly contentious debate on climate change is fueled in part by how information flows throughout policy networks.

The UMD and SESYNC researchers found that “echo chambers”—social network structures in which individuals with the same viewpoint share information with each other—play a significant role in climate policy communication. The researchers say that echo chambers may help explain why, despite a well-documented scientific consensus on the causes and drivers of global changes in climate, half of U.S. senators voted earlier this year against an amendment affirming that climate change is human-induced.

A peer-reviewed paper based on the study was published online May 25 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Our research shows how the echo chamber can block progress toward a political resolution on climate change. Individuals who get their information from the same sources with the same perspective may be under the impression that theirs is the dominant perspective, regardless of what the science says,” said Dr. Dana R. Fisher, a professor of sociology at UMD and corresponding author who led the research.


Keep in mind that it goes both ways -- denial as well as zealous declarations that every blip on the weather radar is due to climate change.

I would also submit that this kind of "echo chamber" approach exists for all environmental discussions -- GMOs, vaccinations, bees, whatever. Simple minded people will tend to keep the discussions "pure" by excluding those with different points of view, regardless of how valid they might be.
May 25, 2015

Marking Memorial Day

Who Invented Memorial Day?

As Americans enjoy the holiday weekend, does anyone know how Memorial Day originated?

On May 1, 1865, freed slaves gathered in Charleston, South Carolina to commemorate the death of Union soldiers and the end of the American Civil War. Three years later, General John Logan issued a special order that May 30, 1868 be observed as Decoration Day, the first Memorial Day — a day set aside “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land.”

At the time, the nation was reunited politically, but it remained culturally divided, and so did Memorial Day observations. In the North, the federal government created national cemeteries for men who died in the war, while state governments from New York to Michigan gradually made Decoration Day an official holiday throughout the 1870s. In the South, from April to June, women dressed in white and knelt beneath statues of fallen Confederate leaders; they told stories about the men who appeared in portraits lining the walls of many Southern homes. By the early 20th century, as Americans faced enemies abroad, many of the surviving Civil War veterans recognized their shared wartime history and reconciled their differences — turning Memorial Day into a national holiday.


This is a good day to look past why wars were fought and to look to those who fell.
May 21, 2015

Does science have a liberal bias?

Everyone knows that the truth has a liberal bias.

---Stephen Colbert

Colbert's tongue-in-cheek declaration about the truth is too often taken literally by progressives. Partisanship being what it is, we often are convinced that the truth is on our side.

Is the same true of science? Do scientific facts support our liberal causes? Examples:
  • Global climate change (and the human influence)
  • Anti-GMO movement
  • Rejection of all pesticides
  • The dangers of nuclear energy
  • Anti-vaccinations

The answer, of course, depends upon your position on these issues. For example, although anti-vaxxers originate from within the left, progressives as a whole do not embrace the anti-vaccination stance, and the science tends to support vaccinations as being safe.

What is your attitude? Are you willing to accept scientific evidence -- scientific consensus -- when the science is contrary to the personal opinion that you passionately embrace?
May 8, 2015

Based on the dangers of GMOs discussed at DU, I see an opportunity:

From what I've read here at DU, we know for a fact that if we eat GMO food, the genetic modifications of the food can be transferred into our human genes and alter our DNA. We run the high risk of having unwanted traits passed on to us from Frankenfoods.

Actually, this isn't all bad, and it sounds like a fantastic opportunity. Let me tell you why: I recently saw a documentary about a young man who was bitten by a genetically modified spider. Some of the spider's genes were passed to the young man, and very soon he began developing spider traits like being able to cast webs, crawling up walls, and extraordinary strength and agility. I would like that to happen to me!

There is a dark side, and I guess that's the aspect that has everyone so frightened. In another instance, a man's DNA was fused with that of a fly, and the man eventually transformed into a six-foot tall fly. It was awful!

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone at DU for opening my eyes to the science of GMOs. Truly, a door has opened for me.

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