Thursday, December 3, 2009

Science or Conspiracy?

Do you believe in climate science? Or is it a world-wide conspiracy to control your life?

We begin with a digest of a key hearing at the U.S. government, December 2nd, 2009. You'll hear testimony from Dr. John Holdren, Obama's top science adviser, and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, head of NOAA, among other things. The sparks fly when Republicans like Jim Sensenbrenner talk about a global scientific fraud, "scientific fascism" and a "culture of corruption" in science.

I try to referee the event, with the top 30 minutes of audio, from the full 1 hour 46 minute recording. The digest is 7 megabytes in Lo-Fi, and I introduce each speaker. You can download the whole thing here, as a 26 MB Lo-Fi mp3 file.

Just as a sanity check, you can also download Chairman Ed Markey's 8 minute closing remarks here.

The official government web site for the event is here.

Find some of the video of John Holdren on the hacked email controversy, at Joe Romm's Climate Progress blog, here.

In the second half hour, we finally have some fun, among all the bleak news. British broadcaster Hugh Warwick gets his first tattoo. He's been chosen to represent the hedgehog. It's "A Prickly Affair" - fun yet serious, as we try to get close to nature. In America, the book is called "The Hedgehog's Dilemma".

What is the dilemma? It was first expressed by the philosopher Schopenhauer. The hedgehog wants love, but gets hurt by the spines as it approaches. So it withdraws, and then feels lonely.

Warwick suggests we are in the same position now with Nature. We want to experience the wild, but if we do, in our millions, we end up damaging the wilderness. Yet when we withdraw into cities and cyber-life, we feel disconnected. Humans have some hard-wiring to expect and need the smells, touch, and sights of the natural world.

And hedgehogs are marvellous creatures. They can live for an hour and a half without air. When hedgehogs hibernate, you might think they were dead. Yet they are one of the few wild animals we can approach, even nose to nose - because they don't have to run or fight. If threatened, they just curl up in a ball.

Find out all about them, with Hugh Warwick, who's not only written the book, he's studied them, and championed them, for 20 years. Warwick often appears in the BBC and other nature shows. His story about the Hedgehog Olympics in Colorado reminds us of the film "Best in Show".

It's Hedgehog Heaven. Grab that hilarious interview here.


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