Arquivo da tag: Marketing

“Exoesqueleto é um grande ganho”, diz jovem do chute inaugural da Copa (Zero Hora)

JC e-mail 4974, de 17 de junho de 2014

Paraplégico rebate contestações ao projeto do neurocientista Miguel Nicolelis

Por três segundos na última quinta-feira, Juliano Alves Pinto, 29 anos, apresentou às câmeras um projeto de R$ 33 milhões: o exoesqueleto que permitiu o jovem paraplégico dar o pontapé inaugural da Copa do Mundo. Se ao projeto do neurocientista Miguel Nicolelis não faltaram críticas, o paciente não economiza elogios ao experimento.
– Aqueles que criticam são pessoas sem informação sobre o projeto – defendeu Juliano na manhã desta segunda-feira em entrevista a Zero Hora.

Questionamentos ao experimento científico se baseiam na dimensão da demonstração frente à grandeza da promessa, classificada quase como um milagre: munido de uma veste robótica, um paraplégico levantaria de uma cadeira de rodas, caminharia até o gramado do Itaquerão e chutaria uma bola acionando apenas a força do pensamento. Não foi o que ocorreu.
– O tempo foi muito curto para que isso acontecesse – constatou o jovem.

O uso do exoesqueleto representou mais um aprendizado na vida do morador de Gália – cidade de 7 mil habitantes a cerca de 400 quilômetros da capital paulista. Há 7 anos e meio, ele perdeu o movimento das pernas ao fraturar a coluna em um acidente de trânsito – no qual perdeu um irmão de 27 anos. Sob a nova condição em cima de uma cadeira de rodas, teve de readquirir as habilidades comprometidas:

– Minha vida mudou. Antes eu conseguia fazer as minhas coisas e, de repente, precisava das pessoas para me ajudar. Tive de reaprender a fazer tudo sozinho. Hoje, levo uma vida praticamente independente, dirijo, pratico esportes, me troco, tomo banho.

Passados os segundos de fama e a repercussão posterior à abertura do Mundial – na sua cidade, foi recebido com carreata -, Juliano retoma a rotina habitual. Ainda nesta semana, participa de um campeonato que representa uma das suas motivações: o atletismo. Para o futuro, ele busca ajuda para a compra de uma nova cadeira de corrida para participar de torneios e, quem sabe, acumular pontos para se tornar profissional. Paralimpíadas em mente?

– Sonho sim. Não perco as esperanças, nunca – diz o galiense.

Confira os principais trechos da entrevista que o jovem concedeu a Zero Hora, por telefone, nesta segunda-feira:

Como ocorreu a seleção para participar do projeto Andar de Novo e da abertura da Copa?
Sou paciente da AACD (Associação de Assistência à Criança Deficiente) de São Paulo, onde o projeto já estava acontecendo e onde estavam sendo selecionados alguns pacientes. Há uns seis meses, surgiu o convite para mim e eu aceitei. Ao todo, foram selecionados 10 pacientes, oito continuaram e três foram pré-selecionados para fazer a demonstração na Copa, mas todos os outros estavam preparados para usar o exoesqueleto. Depois veio a notícia, faltando uns quatro dias para o evento, que eu fui o escolhido.

Qual foi a sensação quando você recebeu a notícia?
Fiquei muito feliz não só por estar fazendo parte do projeto e representando todos eles, mas representando todos que também têm uma deficiência como eu e sonham, um dia, ter um bem-estar melhor para a sua vida. Creio que toda essa parte da ciência vem para nos ajudar, é um bem-estar a mais para a pessoa.

Como foi a preparação e o treinamento para o projeto?
Estávamos cercados de grandes profissionais não só na parte da ciência, mas também fisiatras, fisioterapeutas. Deu tudo certo. Eu saía de Gália de madrugada, chegava em São Paulo às 8h, ficava o dia todo em treinamento e voltava para a casa.

Por que você foi o escolhido?
Eu estava mais preparado para o dia da Copa. Não que os outros não estivessem, mas eu me enquadrava melhor no perfil que eles procuravam.

Qual foi a sensação ao vestir o exoesqueleto?
Posso dizer por mim e acho que pelos outros pacientes que também tiveram a oportunidade de andar no exoesqueleto que é muito bom. Você está em uma cadeira de rodas e, por mais que ela permita que você se locomova normalmente mesmo sem ter a mobilidade das pernas, você poder trocar alguns passos novamente, é um grande ganho. No meu caso, depois de sete anos e meio, o exoesqueleto trouxe isso de volta. É algo muito satisfatório, de muita alegria, você novamente poder fazer algo que perdeu lá atrás.

Foi como caminhar novamente?
A sensação, sim. Creio que isso depende, também, da gente começar a se adaptar mais… mas, poxa, é uma sensação bem real, mesmo.

Pelo sua sensação, será possível, no futuro, trocar a cadeira de rodas pelo exoesqueleto?
Creio que sim. Durante esse pouco tempo que acompanhei o doutor Nicolelis e sua equipe, percebi que eles têm um grande potencial para que isso venha a acontecer. Mesmo que haja críticas, que as pessoas não acreditem, estando ali e presenciando o projeto, creio que isso será possível, sim.

Inicialmente, a expectativa era que você levantaria da cadeira de rodas, caminharia até a bola e a chutaria. Não foi o que aconteceu. Como você avalia o resultado da experiência?
Como o próprio Miguel Nicolelis abordou, o tempo foi muito curto para que isso viesse a acontecer. A gente se enquadrou dentro de um roteiro da Fifa. Muita gente questionou por que fizemos o que fizemos na abertura também nos ensaios, mas foi porque o tempo era aquele. Para a gente fazer tudo isso(levantar, caminhar e chutar), teríamos que ter um tempo maior, não tinha como. É como o doutor Nicolelis falou, não existe na história uma demonstração da parte robótica dessa maneira em 29 segundos. Conseguimos fazer em 16 segundos, e menos apareceu na mídia. Então, a gente se enquadrou no padrão que nos passaram, fizemos aquilo para obedecer o tempo que chegou até nós. Não que a gente tenha fugido do que foi dito, mas nos adequamos dentro do tempo que tínhamos.

Então pode-se dizer que foi um sucesso?
Com certeza. Foi um marco, algo que entrou para a história.

Apesar da ampla divulgação do projeto, o chute ganhou apenas três segundos na televisão. Você ficou chateado com a pouca visibilidade dada no momento?
Eu não tinha conhecimento que havia sido transmitido em tão pouco tempo. Quando comecei a acompanhar vi que, realmente, foi pouco mesmo. Mas, depois, foi amplamente abordado, a mídia trouxe bastante o assunto, mas acho que poderia, sim, ter se dado um tempo maior para a apresentação, ter focado mais. Não sei se posso dizer que fiquei triste, mas posso dizer que gostaria que tivesse sido dado um tempo maior.

Críticos ao neurocientista Miguel Nicolelis disseram que o projeto foi um fracasso. O que você tem a dizer a eles?
Aqueles que criticam são pessoas sem informação sobre o projeto. Eles se baseiam no que pensam, mas eu creio que, se essas pessoas estivessem vivenciando o que os pacientes viveram durante todo esse tempo, tenho certeza que os pensamentos e argumentos seriam diferentes. Não tem como você falar de uma coisa que você não conhece, como dizer que o produto é bom se você não conheceu e não sabe detalhes. Então, eu creio que essas pessoas não têm informações corretas acerca do que está acontecendo.

O que mudou na sua rotina desde quinta-feira passada?
Estou procurando viver uma rotina normal. Agora, vou voltar a treinar e quero levar a minha rotina normal. O que mudou foi aparecer bastante na mídia, foi um assunto que ficou bastante visto, mas acho que isso não tem me atrapalhado. O que eu quero fazer é deixar as coisas bem claras, não me esconder, e estar disposto a esclarecer o projeto também.

Quais são seus planos?
O projeto continua, e estou buscando a minha classificação nos jogos de atletismo que participo. Tenho o sonho de conseguir um equipamento melhor, uma cadeira de corrida, para disputar e conseguir um índice para um nacional ou até um mundial. No Brasil não se acha, apenas com representantes, e o preço vai lá em cima porque é uma cadeira importada.

(Débora Ely / Zero Hora)
http://zh.clicrbs.com.br/rs/noticias/planeta-ciencia/noticia/2014/06/exoesqueleto-e-um-grande-ganho-diz-jovem-do-chute-inaugural-da-copa-4528138.html

Anúncios

More Corporations Using Tag And Release Programs To Study American Consumers (Onion)

ISSUE 50•23 • Jun 13, 2014

A Procter & Gamble marketing team attaches a tracking collar to an incapacitated head-of-household specimen.

NEW YORK—In an effort to more closely observe the group’s buying habits and personal behaviors, a growing number of corporations are turning to tag and release programs to study American consumers, sources confirmed Friday.

According to reports, multinationals such as Kraft, General Electric, Goodyear, and Apple have embraced the technique of tracking down potential customers in their natural habitats of department stores and supermarkets, forcibly tranquilizing them as they shop, and then fitting them with electronic tracking devices that allow marketing departments to keep a detailed record of individuals’ every movement and purchasing decision.

“In recent weeks, we have employed our tag and release initiative to sedate and earmark consumers in several Costco parking lots and Best Buy television aisles, which has already yielded valuable data from numerous middle-class family units,” said Sony market researcher Nathan McElroy, whose team gathers data on the consumer population by attaching radio-transponder collars to specimens across all age groups and income levels. “Today we subdued and chipped a beautiful white male earning $60,000 annually whose subsequent actions—where he eats, where he works, whether he purchases extended warranties on electronic devices—will give us important insights into his demographic.”

“We’re really starting to get a clear idea of just what sales promotions and big-ticket expenditures make these fascinating creatures tick,” he continued.

Representatives from several Fortune 500 companies described to reporters a delicate process in which marketing associates journey to such varied field sites as Marshalls, OfficeMax, and Bed Bath & Beyond, where they lie in wait behind a row of shopping carts or a promotional cardboard cutout. Once a desirable target moves into view, a member of the marketing team reportedly attempts to immobilize it by firing a tranquilizer dart into its neck or haunches before it can panic and skitter off into another aisle. The unconscious consumer is then fitted with a small, subdermal acoustic tag that is synced to the subject’s credit cards, allowing marketers to both physically and financially track their quarries.

Claiming that every effort is taken to employ humane handling procedures and inflict minimal trauma, marketing associates stressed that consumers always wake up in the same clothing department or mini mall in which they were found, and most obliviously resume their browsing of store shelves within 30 minutes of being sedated.

Researchers affirmed they have become increasingly interested in valuable targets such as college graduates who allot more than $500 per month to discretionary purchases, saying they have become fascinated by the group’s herd-like movements to Panera Bread and IKEA as well as their ritual use of products such as Swiffers and tablets. By monitoring these consumers as they feed, groom, use their rewards cards, and mate, marketers acknowledged they have amassed a tremendous amount of useful knowledge.

“Just last month we collar-tagged a prime specimen of a variety we’d been attempting to capture for a very long time,” said BMW marketing executive Samantha Barlow, referring to a suburban mother in her late 40s who was found gathering bunches of watercress and beet greens at a Whole Foods, where her precise weekly route through the aisles has now been recorded and analyzed. “And we finally have geolocators implanted in several dozen young professionals aged 25 to 35, whose consumption of products such as Stella Artois, Hugo Boss apparel, and designer colognes suggest they’ll provide us with fruitful data for years to come.”

“It’s important that we tag them early in the development of their buying habits,” Barlow added. “Obviously, once they reach 65, they become useless for our purposes and we remove their tags, or just let them chew them off.”

Despite the success of their tracking programs, researchers admitted their work has been hindered by limits in their methodology, noting that they are unable to observe any quantifiable activity from as many as a quarter of their tagged targets who remain sedentary almost around the clock and rarely leave their dens. Marketers noted these larger, slower specimens must often be hit with two or three darts before they can be safely approached.

“A large portion of our targets are fast food consumers, and you’ll lose 10 or 12 percent of those each year, usually to heart disease,” said Jonathan Lockhart, an independent marketing consultant. “You hate to see that, but the upside is that we get useful data we can then turn around and sell to pharmaceutical companies.”

“What’s bad news for Burger King is great news for Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer,” he added.

Aggressive Advertising Makes for Aggressive Men (Science Daily)

Feb. 28, 2013 — Does advertising influence society, or is it merely a reflection of society’s pre-existing norms? Where male attitudes are concerned, a new study implicates magazine advertisements specifically aimed at men as helping to reinforce a certain set of views on masculinity termed “hyper-masculinity.” The article by Megan Vokey, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Manitoba, and colleagues is published in Springer’s journal Sex Roles.

Hyper-masculinity is an extreme form of masculine gender ideology comprising four main components: toughness, violence, dangerousness and calloused attitudes toward women and sex. The authors found that hyper-masculine depictions of men, centered on this cluster of beliefs, appear to be common place in U.S. magazine advertisements.

Using a range of eight, high-circulation magazines marketed to men of different ages, levels of education and income (e.g. Golf Digest to Game Informer), Vokey and her colleagues analyzed the ads in each magazine where a photograph, picture or symbol of a man was shown. The researchers then categorized these advertisements using the four components that constitute hyper-masculinity. They found that at least one of these hyper-masculine attitudes was depicted in 56 percent of the total sample of 527 advertisements. In some magazines, this percentage was as high as 90 percent.

Vokey’s results are consistent with considerable prior research showing a positive association between hyper-masculine beliefs and a host of social and health problems, such as dangerous driving, drug use and violence towards women. Further analysis of the data showed that magazines with the highest proportion of hyper-masculine advertisements were those aimed at younger, less-affluent and less-educated men. The authors argue that this is an area of real concern as young men are still learning appropriate gender behaviors, and their beliefs and attitudes can be subtly shaped by images that the mass media repeatedly represent. In addition, men with lower social and economic power are already more likely to use a facade of toughness and physical violence as methods of gaining power and respect. These advertisements are thought to help reinforce the belief that this is desirable behavior..

The authors conclude, “The widespread depiction of hyper-masculinity in men’s magazine advertising may be detrimental to both men and society at large.. Although theoretically, men as a group can resist the harmful aspects of hyper-masculine images, the effects of such images cannot be escaped completely.” They add that educating advertisers about the potential negative consequences of their advertising may help reduce the use of these stereotypes.

Journal Reference:

  1. Megan Vokey, Bruce Tefft, Chris Tysiaczny. An Analysis of Hyper-Masculinity in Magazine AdvertisementsSex Roles, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s11199-013-0268-1

Anthropology Inc. (The Atlantic)

MARCH 2013 – ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Forget online surveys and dinnertime robo-calls. A consulting firm called ReD is at the forefront of a new trend in market research, treating the everyday lives of consumers as a subject worthy of social-science scrutiny. On behalf of its corporate clients, ReD will uncover your deepest needs, fears, and desires.

By GRAEME WOOD

Viktor Koen

On a hot Austin night last summer, 60 natives convened for a social rite involving stick-on mustaches, paella, and a healthy flow of spirits. Young lesbians formed the core of the crowd. The two organizers, who had been lovers for a couple months, were celebrating their birthdays with a Spanish-themed party, decorated in bullfighting chic. It was a classic hipster affair, and everyone was loose and at ease, except for one black-haired interloper with a digital camera and a tiny notepad.

This interloper was Min Lieskovsky, a 31-year-old straight New Yorker who mingled freely and occasionally ducked into a bathroom to scribble notes. She’d left a Ph.D. program in sociocultural anthropology at Yale two years earlier, impatient with academia but still eager to use the ethnographic skills she’d mastered. Tonight, that meant she partied gamely and watched her subjects with a practiced eye, noting everything: when the party got started and when it reached its peak, who stuck mustaches on whom—and above all, what, when, and how people drank.

For Lieskovsky, it was all about the booze. The consulting firm she worked for, ReD Associates, is at the forefront of a movement to deploy social scientists on field research for corporate clients. The vodka giant Absolut had contracted with ReD to infiltrate American drinking cultures and report back on the elusive phenomenon known as the “home party.” This corrida de lesbianas was the latest in a series of home parties that Lieskovsky and her colleagues had joined in order to write an extended ethnographic survey of drinking practices, attempting to figure out the rules and rituals—spoken and unspoken—that govern Americans’ drinking lives, and by extension their vodka-buying habits.

“There’s a huge amount of vodka that’s sold for drinking at home,” Lieskovsky says. “But no one knew where it was really goingapart from down someone’s throat eventually, and on a bad night perhaps back up again. Was it treated as a sacred fluid, not to be polluted or adulterated except by an expert mixologist? Some Absolut advertising and iconography suggested exactly this, assuming understandably that buyers of a “premium” vodka would want laboratory precision for their cocktails. Another possibility was that the drinkers might not care much about the purity of the product, and that bringing it to a party merely lubricated social interaction. “We wanted to know what they are seeking,” Lieskovsky says. “Do they want the ‘perfect’ cocktail party? Is it all about how they present themselves to their friends, for status? Is it collaboration, friendship, fun?”

Over the course of the company’s research, the rituals gradually emerged. “One after another, you see the same thing,” Lieskovsky told me. “Someone comes with a bottle. She gives it to the host, then the host puts it in the freezer and listens to the story of where the bottle came from, and why it’s important.” And then, when the bottle is served, it goes right out onto the table with all the other booze, the premium spirits and the bottom-shelf hooch mixed together, in a vision of alcoholic egalitarianism that would make a pro bartender or a cocktail snob cringe.

What mattered most, to the partygoers and their hosts, were the narratives that accompanied the drinks. “We found that there is this general shift away from premium alcohol, at least as it’s defined by price point, toward something that has a story behind it,” Lieskovsky says. “They told anecdotes from their own lives in which a product played a central role—humorous, self-deprecating stories about first encountering a vodka, or discovering a liqueur while traveling in Costa Rica or Mexico.” The stories were a way to let people show humor, or to declare that they’re, for instance, the kind of Austin lesbians who, upon finding exotic elixirs in far-off lands, are brave enough to try them.

ReD consultants fanned out and shadowed drinkers at about 18 different parties, trying to see which drinking practices held constant, whether in Austin, New York, or Columbus. This is one that did. Which meant that if a premium vodka brand tried to market itself solely as a product with chemistry-lab purity, it risked misunderstanding the home-party market and leaving money on the table.

The corporate anthropology that ReD and a few others are pioneering is the most intense form of market research yet devised, a set of techniques that make surveys and dinnertime robo-calls (“This will take only 10 minutes of your time”) seem superficial by comparison. ReD is one of just a handful of consultancies that treat everyday life—and everyday consumerism—as a subject worthy of the scrutiny normally reserved for academic social science. In many cases, the consultants in question have trained at the graduate level in anthropology but have forsaken academia—and some of its ethical strictures—for work that frees them to do field research more or less full-time, with huge budgets and agendas driven by corporate masters.

The world of management consulting consists overwhelmingly of quantitative consultants, a group well known from the successes of McKinsey & Company, the Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company. ReD’s entry into consulting represents an attempt to match the results of these titans without relying heavily on math and spreadsheets, and instead focusing on what anthropologists call “participant observation.” This method consists, generally, of living among one’s research subjects, at least briefly. Such immersive experiences lead not only to greater intimacy and trust, but also to a slowly emerging picture of the subjects’ everyday lives and thoughts, complete with truths about them that they themselves might not know.

Absolut, which paid ReD to observe home parties, is using both quantitative analysis and this new form of ethnographic research. “We are intensive consumers of market research,” Maxime Kouchnir, the vice president of vodka marketing for Pernod Ricard USA, which distributes Absolut, told me. “The McKinseys and BCGs of the world will bring you heavy data. And I think those guys sometimes lack the human factor. What ReD brings is a deep understanding of consumers and the dynamics you find in a society.” That means finding out not only what consumers say they want in a liquor, but also what their actions reveal about the social effect they crave from bringing it to a party. “If you observe them, they will be humans, exposed with all their contradictions and complexities,” Kouchnir says. “At the end of the day, we manufacture a spirit, but we have to sell an experience.”

The method dates back nearly a century in academic anthropology, though its pedigree in the business world is somewhat more recent. Xerox PARC, the legendary Palo Alto think tank that birthed many of the ideas that made the personal-computing revolution possible, employed anthropologists as early as 1979. Leslie Perlow, a Harvard Business School professor who has applied participant observation in corporate environments, says, “There is a long history of doing this in the study of organization—taking the ethnographic method from anthropology and, instead of taking it to faraway places, trying to understand the culture of our own work worlds.”

Now a handful of consultancies specialize in ethnographic research, and many companies (including General Motors and Dell) retain their own ethnographers on staff. Microsoft is said to be the second-largest employer of anthropologists in the world, behind only the U.S. government.

Tech firms, certainly, appear to be major consumers of ethnographic research. “Technology companies as a whole are in danger of being more disconnected from their customers than other companies,” says Ken Anderson, an ethnographer at Intel. Tech designers succumb to the illusion that their users are all engineers. “Our mind-set is that people are really just like us, and they’re really not,” Anderson says. Ethnography helps teach the techie types to understand those consumers who “aren’t living and breathing the technology” the way an Intel engineer might. (A curious exception to this cautious embrace of ethnographic methods is Apple, whose late co-founder, Steve Jobs, trusted his designers—and especially himself—more than he trusted consumers or researchers. “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want,” he famously said.)

Min Lieskovsky, the ReD consultant on the Absolut project, has been a friendly acquaintance of mine for nearly a decade. Christian Madsbjerg, a co-founder of ReD, gave me access to ReD consultants on two other projects, one on home appliances and the other on health care, and allowed me to tag along while they did their research. I agreed not to disclose the clients behind these two projects, and to change the names of the two women whose households the company was studying. In each case, ReD paid the households a nominal amount to answer its consultants’ questions.

Microsoft is said to be the second-largest employer of anthropologists in the world.

Both interviews I attended felt unusually intrusive. As a journalist, I’ve interviewed people about sensitive topics, such as their murderous past, or their fondness for sex with children. But a six-hour ethnographic interview felt in many ways even more intimate. After all, the corporate clients who commissioned these studies already knew the type of consumer information they could get through phone or Internet surveys. They knew everything except their customers’ naked, innermost selves, and now they wanted ReD’s ethnographers to get them those, too.

The first ReD anthropologist I went into the field with was Esra Ozkan, an MIT Ph.D. who had joined the company less than a year earlier. She wrote her dissertation on the study of corporate culture in the U.S., but she was a trained ethnographer, and spoke fluently about how Michael Fischer, a cultural anthropologist at MIT, and Joseph Dumit, an anthropologist at the University of California at Davis, had influenced her work. By birth a Muslim from eastern Turkey, Ozkan is married to an American Jew, whose family provided the connection to the woman she’d be interviewing.

The household we were about to visit was in Forest Hills, New York, and Ozkan said it was a home kept so strictly kosher that it had two kitchens, one for daily use and another, ultraclean one for Passover. The plan, she said, was to ask the ranking female, a 50‑something working mother I’ll call Rebecca, how she and her family used their living space—how they negotiated the kitchens, the bedrooms, the living rooms; what rules they followed and, more important, which ones they sometimes broke. “We want to hear them describe their homes, both for functionality, but also to hear what emotion they use to describe places,” Ozkan said.

She said much of her method involves noting which objects are assigned special importance. Interviewees carefully select the parts of their lives they exhibit to an ethnographer, and sometimes they will pause over a certain item—say, a kitchen utensil that cost $5 at Walmart, but that carries with it the memories of 30 Passovers—indicating that the object’s meaning is greater than its utility. “Those moments, when something is more than itself, are the ones I pay attention to,” Ozkan told me.

We drove to the house, a detached two-story Tudor in a quiet wooded neighborhood, and parked on the street. Upon exiting the car, Ozkan immediately whipped out an iPhone and began photographing everything, from the front lawn to the windows to the mezuzah on the doorjamb. Rebecca answered the door before we had a chance to knock, and introduced her poodle—a little yapper named Sir Paul—before introducing herself.

We walked into the house, where the children’s photos and religious decorations—every room in the “public” areas of the house showed signs of Jewish practice—gave a clear sense of self-presentation and values. Upstairs, away from the area most visitors would see, she showed us her room-size shrine to the Beatles, packed floor-to-ceiling with concert posters, guitars, and other memorabilia.

Rebecca sat us down in a slightly messy dining room adjoining a large and well-used kitchen, and Ozkan set up a camera to record everything. Our host dove right in, pointing to various appliances and explaining what each one meant to her, and where it fit in with kosher law. For every note I made, Ozkan made two. Although she knew Jewish practice well through her husband and past research, Ozkan asked Rebecca to explain the holidays and purity laws, just to see how she talked about them.

Rebecca confessed without any prompting that she would occasionally let her kosher vigilance slip slightly when she ate out, and that her husband, also Jewish, would drop the kosher thing entirely without her. “He’d eat a bacon cheeseburger if I weren’t around,” she said, perhaps half-joking. But Rebecca also said that inside the house itself, and especially around the inner-sanctum Passover kitchen, she never considered defying kosher law. “It’s like breathing, for us,” she said.

Over lunch the next day, I asked Ozkan what she had concluded from the visit. She noted all the things that Rebecca had never stated explicitly, but that were clearly what mattered most in her life. “She treats the kitchen as a holy place,” Ozkan said. That made three holy places in the house, if you count the two kitchens separately, and the Beatles shrine upstairs. Her deviance on the outside was, Ozkan said, a point well worth noting. “If you listen really carefully, you’ll find some things that don’t quite match the super-ideal framework of kosher,” she said. “And it’s always great to see that. It’s a way to see how people deal with practicalities and challenges in life, and how they choose to break that ideal image.” Listen to people talk about how they break the rules, in other words, and you’ll figure out what they consider the important rules in the first place.

Ozkan’s questions had hinted at product ideas that ReD’s client, a home-appliance maker, was considering. Would Rebecca contemplate buying an automated fridge that would advise her when she was running short on orange juice? And as Rebecca responded, her implicit consecration of her kitchen became evident. She seemed to care less about whether her kitchen remained well stocked or running smoothly than whether it remained her sacred space, controlled by her for her family, and not by, say, a talking robot. As with the vodka drinkers, the key elements were emotional ownership and connection.

The client’s goals were, in this case, never made fully clear to me. But Rebecca’s was only one of 21 homes the consultants would visit, and the only kosher one on the list. The visit would, however, begin to tell a story about Americans who love and hate their own kitchens, fetishizing some gadgets while simultaneously viewing them as instruments of their own enslavement.

If you’re selling a personal computer in China, the whole concept of “personal” is culturally wrong.

If the lessons were indistinct, they were deliberately so. ReD is gleefully defiant of those who want clear answers to simple questions, and prefers to inhabit a space where answers tend not to come in yes/no formats, or in pie charts and bar graphs. “We know numbers get you only so far,” the company’s Web site announces. “Standard techniques work for standard problems because there’s a clear benefit from being measured and systematic. But when companies are on the verge of something new or uncertain … those existing formulas aren’t easily applied.”

Jun Lee, a ReD partner, says that when clients are confronted with the company’s anthropological research, they often discover fundamental differences between the businesses they thought they were in, and the businesses they actually are in. For example, the Korean electronics giant Samsung had a major conceptual breakthrough when it realized that its televisions are best thought of not as large electronic appliances, measurable by screen size and resolution, but as home furniture. It matters less how thoroughly a speaker system rattles the bones and eardrums of its listeners than how these big screens occupy the physical space alongside one’s tables, chairs, and sofas. The company’s project engineers reframed their products accordingly, paying more attention to how they fit into living spaces, rather than how they perform on their technical spec sheets.

Christian Madsbjerg co-founded ReD almost a decade ago, after a brief stint in journalism. He dresses the part of the Nordic intellectual, alternating slick minimalist threads (think Dieter fromSaturday Night Live’s “Sprockets”) with modish Western wear that no American could really pull off. After more than 30 years in London and his native Denmark, he fled for New York, where ReD operates out of a wood-paneled Battery Park office once occupied by John D. Rockefeller.

The founding story of ReD sounds more like the genesis of a doctoral dissertation than of a multimillion-dollar company. Madsbjerg says he became enamored first with post-structural theory, and then with the 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who argued that the distinction between objects and their beholders needed to be effaced. When we consider a hammer, we might naturally think of its objective scientific properties: a certain weight and balance, a hardness, a handle with a rubber grip that has a particular coefficient of friction. What Heidegger posited is that these objective attributes are in fact secondary to the hammer’s subjective relationship with the person wielding it. The hammer has uses (a weapon, a tool), meanings (a symbol on the Soviet flag), and other characteristics that do not exist independently of the meeting of subject and object. A common mistake of philosophers, he claimed, is to think of the object as distinct from the subject. If all of this sounds opaque, I can assure you that in the original German it is much, much worse.


NowThisNews explores how Heidegger’s philosophy helps drive American marketing.


But before long, Madsbjerg had a list of clients desperate for Heideggerian readings of their businesses. The service he provides sounds even more improbable to a scholar who knows his Heidegger than to a layperson who does not. Many philosophers spend their lives trying and failing to understand what Heidegger was talking about. To interest a typical ReD client—usually a corporate vice president who is, Madsbjerg says, “the least laid-back person you can imagine, with every minute of their day divided into 15-minute blocks”—in the philosopher’s turgid, impenetrable post-structural theory is as unlikely a pitch as could be imagined.

But it’s the pitch Madsbjerg has been making. The fundamental blindness in the sorts of consulting that dominate the market, he says, is that they are Cartesian in their outlook: they view objects as the sum of their performance and physical properties. “If you are selling personal computers, you look at the machine and say it’s this many gigahertz, this many pixels,” he says. And you then determine whether a potential new market needs computers that perform faster than the ones currently on offer, and how big that market will be.

These specs, as well as data about how many households in, say, China will reach income levels that will allow a personal-computer purchase, fit nicely into spreadsheets and graphs. But they overlook human elements that exist in plain sight, the things the Anglo-Polish founder of the ethnographic method, Bronisław Malinowski, called “the imponderabilia of actual life.” These are, he wrote, “small incidents, characteristic forms of taking food, of conversing, of doing work, [that] are found occurring over and over again.”

These imponderabilia turn out to have huge consequences if you want to sell a personal computer in China. “We find that these objects have meanings, not just facts,” Madsbjerg says, “and that the meaning is often what matters.” So to sell a personal computer in China, for example, what matters is the whole concept of a “personal” computer, which is culturally wrong from the start. “Household objects don’t have the same personal attachment [in China as they do in America]. It has to be ashared thing.” So if the device isn’t designed and marketed as a shared household object, but instead as one customized for a single user, it probably won’t sell, no matter how many gigahertz it has.

China is a huge potential market, and every corporation with any ambition wants its piece of that pie, on the idea that if you make a dollar off each man, woman, and child in China, you’ve just made $1 billion. A source told me, for instance, that Coca-Cola approached ReD after years of trying and failing to sell bottled tea in China. (ReD would not confirm that the client in question was Coca-Cola.) The beverage company had imagined that this would be a simple variant on the fizzy-sugared-water business that had made it a global icon. Instead, it failed to seize a respectable market share, even though it was competing with lightweight local competitors.

Long-term observation revealed that when it comes to tea in China, what is for sale isn’t merely a tasty beverage. Instead, the consumption of tea takes place in a highly specific web of cultural rules, some of them explicit but many others not. For instance, you might serve strong tea to close friends, or to people you want to draw closer. But you would never serve strong tea to new acquaintances. That meant that no tea, however tasty, would sell if its strength was uniform. Let the consumer choose the strength, however, and you may be able to sell the product within the culture. Coca-Cola’s Chinese tea products are now on course to change accordingly.

To sell the ReD idea—that products and objects are inevitably encrusted with cultural meaning, and that a company that neglects to explore social theory is bound to leave profits on the table—Madsbjerg has evangelized with great success, giving what are surely the only successful corporate sales pitches salted with words like hermeneutics and phenomenology. Most of his consultants don’t have the usual business pedigree; M.B.A.s are very scarce (“tend not to fit in,” he says). Rather, many employees come from academia, and some from another interview- and observation-based realm: journalism. (I came to know the firm first through Lieskovsky—the former anthropology student on the Absolut project—and through another employee, who is a former editor at GQ.)

The second consultant I followed, Rachel Singh, also came from academia. A native of Manitoba, she’d joined ReD a year and a half earlier, after doing ethnographic work for Intel’s Ireland office and attending graduate school in digital anthropology at University College London.

We met a few blocks from the apartment of the day’s interview subject, at a café in the Los Angeles suburb of Tarzana—a concrete jungle named after the principal literary creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs, an early celebrity resident of the area. It occurred to me that in a previous era, before anthropologists discovered that their own societies were as irrationally rule-bound as so-called primitive ones, Singh might have aspired to perform fieldwork in actual jungles, and to study actual Tarzans.

The view of anthropologists as tourists in exotic lands is old and tired, which is not to say dead. Singh surprised me with her candor several times over the course of the day, but the first occasion was when she described her entry into the world of anthropology, which sounded to me like exactly that sort of romantic vision. “I came to university as a premed, and one day I just wandered into a lecture hall and heard a guy giving a lecture about his fieldwork with the Kwakiutl of British Columbia. He went on a ‘vision quest,’ and after falling asleep on a secluded beach, he woke up surrounded by seals. He returned to the village and was told by an elder that he had found his guardian animal.” Then, she said, the lecturer hiked up his sleeve to reveal a seal tattoo. Singh was hooked on the study of culture. She changed her major, and she sees continuity between her academic work and what she does now as an ethnographic hired gun.

In Tarzana, Singh was scheduled to meet, on behalf of a ReD client in the health-care field, a woman I’ll call Elsie. It was 10 a.m. on a beautiful Southern California Sunday—a perfectly awful time to sit inside and discuss the day’s topic, the visible precancerous skin lesions from which Elsie suffers. “It makes me feel like a leper,” Elsie confided after we began, and Singh nodded sympathetically, like an old friend. “It makes me feel like hiding.”

The interview started much the same way the previous one had, with the anthropologist documenting the setting in minute detail. With her iPhone, Singh snapped shots of the street, the parking garage, the squares of grass and the tropical trees in the neighborhood. Once inside, her eyes darted over every surface, and she noted the vacuum track marks on the floor; the drawers full of tubes of prescription creams; the European posters. Singh set up a video camera to record every minute of the six-hour interview—the better to capture the moments when Elsie’s responses revealed traces of unexpected emotion or meaning. Singh asked Elsie, a hefty, sun-spotted redhead of 52, about her medical regimen, then about the basic details of her life—what her childhood had been like, where she had lived, when she woke up every morning, what she ate, and whom she spoke with.

Singh unpacked Elsie’s responses methodically, adding an occasional compassionate or sympathetic word. When Singh asked about Elsie’s lesions, she phrased the questions carefully, suggesting that she could feel Elsie’s pain. “How would get this condition?” she asked. “What would be the symptoms?”

Elsie’s was the first of perhaps two dozen similarly in-depth interviews, Singh told me later. The client had created a product to treat one of Elsie’s conditions. The company knew very well what would happen to a lesion if it were frozen, zapped, or rubbed with cream. But what about the person attached to the lesion? A simplistic model of patient behavior might say that patients want whatever the most effective treatment is. But the conversation with Elsie revealed a much more fraught human experience. She had her taboos, such as being forced to even say the word lesion. She wanted to escape not just her lesions, but the shame they brought on.

Once Singh had completed the interview, before we parted ways, she made clear that there was at least one argument within anthropology that she was tired of hearing about: “Just don’t make this another story about the clash between practicing anthropologists and academics.”

The politics of anthropologists in academia tends to the Marxist left, even more so than the politics of academics in general. And to many of them, the defection of young scholars to the corporate world looks like a betrayal at best, and a devil’s bargain at worst. I told Singh that academic anthropologists had already shared some harsh words for their applied-anthropology brothers and sisters. “Well, they’re endangered,” she said of the academics, a little snootily. “We’re doing work that’s needed. We’re dealing with human issues.”

ReD offers businesses Heideggerian analysis, which sounds even more improbable to a scholar than to a layperson.

The corporate anthropologists I met generally come across as people who acknowledge the limits of what they do. Ken Anderson, the Intel ethnographer, co-founded a conference called EPIC for corporate ethnographers. Over the phone, he was warm and jokey, seemingly without rancor when he told me about his failed quest for an academic job out of graduate school (“At the time, the employment opportunities for white guys in academic anthropology were pretty darn slim”). He found instead a corporate career that has encouraged anthropological work—as long as it could hold relevance to the corporation at some point. He has spent weeks in London hanging out with bike messengers for Intel, and hunkered down in the Azores as digital technology reached remote settlements. Sure enough, his research sounds very blue-sky, and on a recognizable continuum with the anthropological research cultivated in the groves of academe.

A few years ago, he conducted an ethnographic study of “temporality,” about the perception of the passage and scarcity of time—noting how Americans he studied had come to perceive busy-ness and lack of time as a marker of well-being. “We found that in social interaction, virtually everyone would claim to be ‘busy,’ and that everyone close to them would be ‘busy’ too,” he told me. But in fact, coordinated studies of how these people used technology suggested that when they used their computers, they tended to do work only in short bursts of a few minutes at a time, with the rest of the time devoted to something other than what we might identify as work. “We were designing computers, and the spec at the time was to use the computer to the max for two hours,” Anderson says. “We had to make chips that would perform at that level. You don’t want them to overheat. But when we came back, we figured that we needed to rethink this, because people’s time is not quite what we imagine.” For a company that makes microchip processors, this discovery has had important consequences for how to engineer products—not only for users who constantly need high-powered computing for long durations, but for people who just think they do.

Among the luxuries of working for a corporate master is, of course, deliverance from the endless hustle to find funding. My partner is an academic anthropologist, and she goes from year to year having to pull together funding for trips to field sites in the Central African Republic—which, unlike China, is not a hotbed of corporate interest. (By contrast, Madsbjerg told me, “Our resources are not infinite. But almost.”)

But the bigger issue for academics is the fear that corporate anthropology is an ethical free-fire zone. “If there isn’t an IRB [institutional review board], a sort of neutral third party that watches out for the interests of those who are being researched, then obviously there is cause for concern,” says Hugh Gusterson, a George Mason University professor who has led anthropologists in opposing cooperation with certain U.S. military projects. He pointed to fury among his colleagues a few years ago, when it became known that Disney had paid ethnographers to study teenagers’ spending habits, the better to sell them Disney products. “They were learning about people—and not just any people, but minors—so they could exploit them, for profit.”

To get a research project approved at a modern university, a researcher faces a review board of professors commissioned to scrutinize the proposal and check for ethical sticking points—ways the project could hurt the people it studied, disrupt their lives, or take advantage of them. ReD, meanwhile, is bound only by the sense of decency of its senior partners. Luckily, they are Danish. I asked Madsbjerg if he had ever turned away a contract on account of scruples, and he told me the military of a South American country had approached him to discuss an ethnographic project on weapons design. He refused, on the grounds that helping people shoot other people wasn’t what ReD was about. Nor would he do work for a company that wanted to sell junk food to children. On the other hand, even contracts that are less obviously perilous, ethically speaking, could raise the hackles of an academic review board. Helping Coca-Cola feed sweetened beverages to 1.3 billion Chinese, for example, will probably not have a healthy impact on that country’s incidence of diabetes.

Roberto González, a cultural anthropologist who teaches at San Jose State University, goes so far as to argue that those who don’t follow the American Anthropological Association’s code of ethics should no longer be considered anthropologists at all. “Part of being an anthropologist is following a code of ethics, and if you don’t do that, you’re not an anthropologist”—just as you’re no longer fit to call yourself a doctor if you do unauthorized experiments on your patients. “Of course,” Hugh Gusterson adds, “we don’t license anthropologists, so we can’t un-license them either.”

Some anthropologists caution against assuming that the work done by ReD consultants and their corporate brethren is really ethnography at all. During the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army convened a team of purported ethnographers to staff a group called the Human Terrain System, which was tasked with producing militarily significant ethnographic reports and providing cultural advice. Professional anthropologists raised hell, condemning the participants for using their training inappropriately, but in time it became clear that there weren’t many anthropologists on the HTS staff at all. (One team member I knew had a doctorate in Russian literature.) The civilians on the staff were, for the most part, just a bunch of well-educated people reading up on Iraqi and Afghan tribes and writing reports that were quasi-anthropological at best.

That, it seems to me, is probably the best way to view much of what ReD does as well. The value the firm brings to clients comes partly from anthropology, practiced in a way that may or may not please those still in academia. But the value is also just an effect of putting an impressive ethnographic sheen on the work of many smart, right-brained individuals in a sector that overvalues quantitative research. Much of what I encountered while shadowing ReD’s consultants seemed like the type of insight that any observant interviewer might have produced, with or without an anthropology degree or a working knowledge of Heidegger.

Madsbjerg’s admiration for Heidegger does, however, show something of his genius for self-marketing. Many consulting firms plot growth curves and recommend efficiency strategies, but few offer the kind of research ReD does. Still fewer firms immerse themselves so happily in academic language, and only Madsbjerg has the cojones to walk into a corporate boardroom and tell his audience that the impenetrable works of a long-dead German philosopher hold the keys to financial success.

I asked Madsbjerg how he would sell his firm to a potential employee currently teaching at a university, and he leaned toward me with a smile, slipping comfortably into the Marxist lingo of academia. “Do you want to sit and write about the world,” he asked, “or do you want to do something in it?”

I couldn’t help but think of Steve Jobs’s famous entreaty to John Sculley, then the president of PepsiCo, asking him to join Apple in 1983 as CEO. “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life?,” Jobs asked. “Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

The irony, of course, is that ReD is changing the world in part by helping a global beverage company sell more sugared water.

Graeme Wood is an Atlantic contributing editor.

Quando o controle remoto não resolve (Carta Maior)

Durante muito tempo a crítica da mídia esteve restrita às universidades e a alguns sindicatos de jornalistas ou radialistas. Hoje a internet tem um papel importante na ampliação desse debate. Mas na academia houve um retrocesso.

Laurindo Lalo Leal Filho  – 14/12/2012

(*) Artigo publicado originalmente na Revista do Brasil, edição de dezembro de 2012.

Jornais, revistas, o rádio e a televisão tratam de inúmeros assuntos, quase sem restrição. Apenas um assunto é tabu: eles mesmos.

Durante muito tempo a crítica da mídia esteve restrita às universidades e a alguns sindicatos de jornalistas ou radialistas. Hoje a internet tem um papel importante na ampliação desse debate.

Mas na academia houve um retrocesso. O programa “Globo Universidade”, das Organizações Globo, tem parcela importante de responsabilidade nessa mudança. Surgiu com o objetivo de neutralizar aquela que era uma das poucas áreas onde se realizava uma análise crítica sistemática dos meios de comunicação.

Passou a financiar laboratórios de pesquisa e eventos científicos e, com isso, o objeto de investigação, no caso a própria Globo, tornou-se patrocinador do investigador, retirando da pesquisa a necessária isenção.

Fez na comunicação o que a indústria farmacêutica faz com a medicina há muito tempo, bancando viagens e congressos médicos para propagandear remédios.

O resultado prático pode ser visto no número crescente de trabalhos acadêmicos sobre o uso de novas tecnologias associadas à TV e as formas de aplicação dos seus resultados pelo mercado.

Enfatizam cada vez mais o papel do receptor como elemento capaz de selecionar, a seu critério, os conteúdos que lhe interessam.

Fazem, dessa forma, o jogo dos controladores dos meios, retirando deles a responsabilidade por aquilo que é veiculado. Fica tudo nas costas do pobre receptor, como se ele fosse dono de um livre-arbítrio midiático.

Esquecem o fenômeno da concentração dos meios que reduz o mundo a uma pauta única, com pouca diferenciação entre os veículos.

Dizem em linguagem empolada o que empresários de TV costumam expressar de modo simples: “o melhor controle é o controle remoto”. Como se ao mudar de canal fosse possível ver algo muito diferente.
Cresce também o número de empresas de comunicação oferecendo cursos até em universidades públicas retirando dessas instituições o espaço do debate e da critica.

Saem dos cursos de comunicação jovens adestrados para o mercado, capazes de se tornarem bons profissionais. No entanto, a débil formação geral recebida os impedirá de colocar os conhecimentos obtidos a serviço da cidadania e da transformação social.

O papel político desempenhado pelos meios de comunicação e a análise criteriosa dos conteúdos emitidos ficam em segundo plano, tanto na pesquisa como no ensino.

Foi-se o tempo em que, logo dos primeiros anos do curso, praticava-se a comunicação comparada com exercícios capazes de identificar as linhas político-editoriais adotadas pelos diferentes veículos.

Caso fosse aplicada hoje mostraria, com certeza, a uniformidade das pautas com jornais e telejornais reduzindo os acontecimentos a meia dúzia de fatos capazes de “render matéria”, no jargão das redações.

Mas poderia, em alguns momentos excepcionais, realçar diferenças significativas, imperceptíveis aos olhos do receptor comum.

Como no caso ocorrido logo após a condenação de José Dirceu pelo STF. Ao sair de uma reunião, o líder do PT na Câmara dos Deputados, Jilmar Tatto foi abordado por vários repórteres.

Queriam saber sua opinião sobre o veredicto do Supremo. Claro que ele deu apenas uma resposta mas para quem viu os telejornais da Rede TV e da Globo foram respostas diferentes.

Na primeira Tatto dizia: “a Corte tem autonomia soberana e pagamos alto preço por isso. E só espero que esta jurisprudência usada pelo STF continue e que tenha o mesmo tratamento com os acusados do PSDB”. Na Globo a frase sobre o “mensalão tucano” desapareceu.

Em casa o telespectador, mesmo vendo os dois jornais, dificilmente perceberia a diferença entre ambos, dada a seqüência rápida das imagens.

Mas para a universidade seria um excelente mote de pesquisa cujos resultados teriam uma importância sócio-política muito maior do que longos discursos sobre transmídias e receptores.

Laurindo Lalo Leal Filho, sociólogo e jornalista, é professor de Jornalismo da ECA-USP. É autor, entre outros, de “A TV sob controle – A resposta da sociedade ao poder da televisão” (Summus Editorial). Twitter: @lalolealfilho.

Law against anorexic models goes into effect (The Jerusalem Post)

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
01/01/2013

Print EditionPhoto by: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Models with body mass index below 18.5 may not be shown in Israeli media, on websites or go down catwalk at fashion shows.

Starting on Tuesday, female and male models who have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 may not be shown in the media or on Israeli websites or go down the catwalk at fashion shows.

The law, initiated by then-Kadima MK Rachel Adatto, aims to protect impressionable teens from eating disorders.

Every year, an average of 30 young adults and teens die of anorexia or bulimia.

The law, also sponsored by Likud-Beytenu MK Danny Danon and believed to be the first of its kind in the world, does make violations a criminal offense bearing a fine. But violators can be sued in court by interested citizens, including families whose relatives have suffered or died due to eating disorders encouraged by images of overly thin models.

While the media that publish or present illegal images are not liable, they will get a bad image for doing so; the company that produced the ad, ran the fashion show or used the overly skinny presenter can be taken to court.

In addition, any advertisement made to look with Photoshop or other graphics programs as if the model has a BMI under 18.5 has to be labeled with the warning that the image was distorted. The warning must be clear and prominent, covering at least 7 percent of the ad space.

BMI is defined as an individual’s weight in kilos divided by the square of his or her height in meters. Would-be models in campaigns and fashion shows must first obtain and show written statements from their physician stating that their BMI – up to a maximum of three months ago – was above 18.5.

If not, they can not appear.

Adatto, a gynecologist by profession who is not likely to return to the Knesset because since she joined The Tzipi Livni Party and was placed in a low position on the list, said that on January 1, a “revolution against the anorexic model of beauty begins. Overly skinny models who look as if they eat a biscuit a day and then serve as a model for our children” will no longer be visible.

Every year, some 1,500 teenagers develop an eating disorder, and 5% of those suffering from anorexia die each year. The problem even effects the ultra-Orthodox community because some haredi men increasingly demand very-thin brides.

Adi Barkan, a veteran fashion photographer and model agent who “repented” and is in the Israel Center for the Change in Eating Habits and a prime advocate for Adatto’s bill, said: “We are all affected. We wear black, do [drastic] diets and are obsessive about our looks. The time has come for the end of the era of skeletons on billboards and sickly thinness all over. The time has come to think about ourselves and our children and take responsibility for what we show them. Too thin is not sexy.”

The Second Authority for Television and Radio, which regulates commercially operated television and radio broadcasts, has already issued instructions to its employees to observe the new law.

IPCC enters new stage of Fifth Assessment Report review (IPCC)

GENEVA, 5 October – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is moving to a new stage in the preparation of its next major report, the Fifth Assessment Report, with the first of three government and expert reviews that will take place between now and May 2013.

The multi-stage review of draft reports is a key element of the IPCC assessment process. The main stages are the review of the first order draft by scientific experts, the review of the second order draft by Governments and experts, which starts today, and a final round of government comments on the draft Summary for Policymakers.

In the second stage of the review, IPCC member Governments are invited to review the second order drafts of the reports. Individuals with relevant expertise may also provide expert comments. The purpose of this government and expert review is to help ensure that the report represents the latest scientific and technical findings, provides a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the current information and is consistent with the mandate of the working groups and the outline of the Fifth Assessment Report that was approved by the Panel in October 2009.

  • For Working Group I, which covers the physical science basis of climate change, the government and expert review of the second order draft runs from 5 October to 30 November 2012. Further details are available at https://sod.ipcc.unibe.ch/registration/.
  • The government and expert review period for the second order draft of Working Group II, covering impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, will run from 29 March to 24 May 2013. More information will be available at www.ipcc-wg2.gov closer to that time.
  • Working Group III, which assesses the mitigation of climate change, will hold the government and expert review of its second order draft from 25 February to 22 April 2013. Further information will be available nearer the time at www.ipcc-wg3.de/ .

The number of experts involved in the review of the first order draft of the three IPCC working groups ranged from 563 to 659 for each working group, resulting in between 16,124 and 21,400 comments for each working group’s draft. Report authors must respond to each comment and they draw on the comments to produce the second order drafts. Experts who took part in this review are also invited to comment on the second order draft.

Following the multi-stage review, the Summary for Policymakers and the full report are submitted for approval and acceptance to the IPCC Plenary, its main decision-taking body. To ensure transparency, all review comments and author responses are made available on the IPCC website after the reports are accepted and finalized.

Working Group I will release its Summary for Policymakers in September 2013. Working Group II will release its Summary for Policymakers in March 2014, followed by Working Group III in April 2014. The Synthesis Report, that synthesizes key findings from the assessment reports of the IPCC’s three working groups and from recent Special Reports, is due to be released in October 2014, marking the end of the current assessment cycle.

Brazilian government uses indigenous language for the first time in anti-AIDS campaign (Washington Post)

By Associated Press, Published: October 11

SAO PAULO — Brazil is using an indigenous language for the first in a campaign aimed at curbing violence against women and the spread of HIV.

The program includes folders warning that “violence or fear of violence increase women’s vulnerability to HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases” because women who fear violence can be forced to have unprotected sex.

To get the message across to indigenous populations, folders and pamphlets were prepared in Tikuna, which is spoken by more than 30,000 Indians in the western tip of Amazonas state. Educational material is being prepared in other indigenous languages as well.

The campaign is a joint effort between Brazil and three United Nations agencies including the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).

“Indigenous groups have the right to this information in their own language,” said Pedro Chequer, the UNAIDS director in Brazil.

The campaign using materials in Tikuna was launched after health workers tested about 20,000 Indians for sexually transmitted diseases and found 46 with syphilis and 16 with the virus that causes AIDS, said Dr. Adele Benzaken of the UNAIDS office in Brazil.

The Tikuna Indians live near Brazil’s borders with Peru and Colombia, where prostitution and drug trafficking are rife, Benzaken said by telephone.

She said the information regarding HIV among indigenous groups will create a baseline that can be referred to in future years to determine if the incidence of the disease is increasing in that population.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

British Met Office facing legal action over pessimistic forecasts (Independent.ie)

Wednesday October 03 2012

A tourist attraction is considering suing The Met Office after it claims a string of pessimistic forecasts kept visitors away.

Rick Turner owner of the Big Sheep in Abbotsham, Devon, said poor forecasting was to blame for lower attendance at his farm attraction business.

Mr Turner is so angry he says he’ll take the agency to court unless its forecasts improve.

He said: “The Met Office seems to come up with such pessimistic forecasts predicting chances of rain when we’re enjoying sunshine.

“We’ve had a lot rain – that’s why it’s nice and green.

“But it’s important for the tourist industry that when we do have sunshine we need to be shouting about it rather than saying there might be some chance of rain.

“The Met Office forecasters need to realise that everything they say has an impact on whether people go on holiday or go for a day out.”

The Met Office insists that forecasters have no reason to dampen spirits and are simply doing their best with the data available.

But the weather service admitted ‘No weather forecaster is going to get it 100 per cent right all the time.’

“We have to tell the weather as it is that’s what our job is. This summer has been thoroughly disappointing,” said forecaster Dave Britton.

“It’ll be hard to find someone who hasn’t found that. It’s been the wettest summer in 100 years.

“The UK is lucky enough to have one of the best weather forecasting services in the world – we should recognise that.

“We have to remember Devon is the third or fourth wettest county in England. The Met Office can’t stop it raining. We get it right 87 or 88 per cent of the time which is absolutely phenomenal.”

Malcolm Bell a tourism expert in the south west said forecasts needed to be more balanced: “The challenge is that in the forecasts the Met office says there could be showers here or there when in fact it could be dry for 90 per cent of the time.

“People just hear the word rain and that puts them off going somewhere for the day.

“There’s a difference between that goes on for two or three hours and rain that lasts ten minutes in a shower and then passes through.

“I know it’s an incredibly difficult task for the Met Office but I always advise people to look at the websites – you have to get quite local to get more accurate.”

In June Claire Jeavons, who runs the Beverley Park holiday site in Paignton, Devon, said “alarmist” forecasts which often proved groundless were having a major impact on bookings across the West Country.

Claire Jeavons, who runs the Beverley Park holiday site in Paignton, Devon, said “alarmist” forecasts which often proved groundless were having a major impact on bookings across the West Country.

“It is already causing holiday-makers to stay away,” she said. “Just a few days ago we were hearing that all caravan parks in the West Country were on flood alert, and this simply wasn’t the case.”

Tony Clish, director of Park Holidays UK which owns 700 caravans in Suffolk, said he believes weather forecasters are afraid of being caught out after recent predictions of a “barbecue summer” were proved to be inaccurate.

He said: “Coastal holiday parks in Suffolk often stay dry when it is raining inland, yet forecasters frequently tarnish the whole county with a single wet-weather symbol.

“We’re not asking them to bend the truth, but just to be more careful with phrasing. For example, they could say that while inland areas may have showers, coastal areas are expected to be dry.”

Neil Armstrong Carried Argentine Soccer Team Pennant to the Moon (Fox News)

Published August 26, 2012

Armstrong-moon-ART.jpg

New York City welcomes the Apollo 11 crew in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue August 13, 1969 in a parade termed as the largest in the city’s history. Pictured in the lead car, from the right, are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died earlier this weekend, carried a pennant belonging to Argentina’s Independiente de Avellaneda on his history-making 1969 trip to the Moon.

Armstrong, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 82 due to complications from recent heart surgery, confirmed during a November 1969 trip to Buenos Aires that he carried the souvenir to the Moon.

The first man to walk on the Moon visited Argentina’s capital along with Apollo 11 crewmates Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins as part of a global tour organized by NASA.

Armstrong landed on the Moon with Aldrin on July 20, 1969, in the lunar module Eagle while Collins circled overhead aboard the command module Columbia.

The space pioneer said he had carried the pennant to the Moon, confirming statements by team officials that had been called into question by the public in Argentina at the time.

Hector Rodriguez, who served as Independiente’s public affairs chief at the time, proposed making Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins honorary partners in the team before Apollo 11’s voyage to the Moon.

“If they are going to be the greatest heroes of the century, they have to be Independiente partners,” Rodriguez said at the time.

Team management agreed to the deal and the three astronauts were registered as partners, with Aldrin as No. 80,399, Armstrong as No. 80,400 and Collins as No. 80,401.

Identification cards bearing photos provided by the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires were sent to the United States along with club pennants and gear for the astronauts’ children.

Armstrong thanked the team for its gesture in a May 1969 letter and said he wished to “be able to visit Buenos Aires soon and that circumstances will allow me to accept your invitation to visit the club,” an event that never took place.

Rodriguez was invited to a reception held for the astronauts in Buenos Aires by U.S. Ambassador to Argentina John Davis Lodge.

Armstrong said during the reception that the Independiente pennant brought the astronauts good luck on the trip to the Moon.

The story makes partners and fans of Independiente, which has won a record seven Libertadores Cups, proud.

The team, however, is currently struggling and could be relegated from Argentina’s First Division, something that has never happened before.

Climate Science as Culture War (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

ENVIRONMENT

The public debate around climate change is no longer about science—it’s about values, culture, and ideology.

By Andrew J. Hoffman | 18 | Fall 2012

earth_first_members_environmentSouth Florida Earth First members protest outside the Platts Coal Properties and Investment Conference in West Palm Beach. (Photo by Bruce R. Bennett/Zum Press/Newscom)

In May 2009, a development officer at the University of Michigan asked me to meet with a potential donor—a former football player and now successful businessman who had an interest in environmental issues and business, my interdisciplinary area of expertise. The meeting began at 7 a.m., and while I was still nursing my first cup of coffee, the potential donor began the conversation with “I think the scientific review process is corrupt.” I asked what he thought of a university based on that system, and he said that he thought that the university was then corrupt, too. He went on to describe the science of climate change as a hoax, using all the familiar lines of attack—sunspots and solar flares, the unscientific and politically flawed consensus model, and the environmental benefits of carbon dioxide.

As we debated each point, he turned his attack on me, asking why I hated capitalism and why I wanted to destroy the economy by teaching environmental issues in a business school. Eventually, he asked if I knew why Earth Day was on April 22. I sighed as he explained, “Because it is Karl Marx’s birthday.” (I suspect he meant to say Vladimir Lenin, whose birthday is April 22, also Earth Day. This linkage has been made by some on the far right who believe that Earth Day is a communist plot, even though Lenin never promoted environmentalism and communism does not have a strong environmental legacy.)

I turned to the development officer and asked, “What’s our agenda here this morning?” The donor interrupted to say that he wanted to buy me a ticket to the Heartland Institute’s Fourth Annual Conference on Climate Change, the leading climate skeptics conference. I checked my calendar and, citing prior commitments, politely declined. The meeting soon ended.

I spent the morning trying to make sense of the encounter. At first, all I could see was a bait and switch; the donor had no interest in funding research in business and the environment, but instead wanted to criticize the effort. I dismissed him as an irrational zealot, but the meeting lingered in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I began to see that he was speaking from a coherent and consistent worldview—one I did not agree with, but which was a coherent viewpoint nonetheless. Plus, he had come to evangelize me. The more I thought about it, the more I became eager to learn about where he was coming from, where I was coming from, and why our two worldviews clashed so strongly in the present social debate over climate science. Ironically, in his desire to challenge my research, he stimulated a new research stream, one that fit perfectly with my broader research agenda on social, institutional, and cultural change.

Scientific vs. Social Consensus

Today, there is no doubt that a scientific consensus exists on the issue of climate change. Scientists have documented that anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases are leading to a buildup in the atmosphere, which leads to a general warming of the global climate and an alteration in the statistical distribution of localized weather patterns over long periods of time. This assessment is endorsed by a large body of scientific agencies—including every one of the national scientific agencies of the G8 + 5 countries—and by the vast majority of climatologists. The majority of research articles published in refereed scientific journals also support this scientific assessment. Both the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science use the word “consensus” when describing the state of climate science.

And yet a social consensus on climate change does not exist. Surveys show that the American public’s belief in the science of climate change has mostly declined over the past five years, with large percentages of the population remaining skeptical of the science. Belief declined from 71 percent to 57 percent between April 2008 and October 2009, according to an October 2009 Pew Research Center poll; more recently, belief rose to 62 percent, according to a February 2012 report by the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change. Such a significant number of dissenters tells us that we do not have a set of socially accepted beliefs on climate change—beliefs that emerge, not from individual preferences, but from societal norms; beliefs that represent those on the political left, right, and center as well as those whose cultural identifications are urban, rural, religious, agnostic, young, old, ethnic, or racial.

Why is this so? Why do such large numbers of Americans reject the consensus of the scientific community? With upwards of two-thirds of Americans not clearly understanding science or the scientific process and fewer able to pass even a basic scientific literacy test, according to a 2009 California Academy of Sciences survey, we are left to wonder: How do people interpret and validate the opinions of the scientific community? The answers to this question can be found, not from the physical sciences, but from the social science disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and others.

To understand the processes by which a social consensus can emerge on climate change, we must understand that people’s opinions on this and other complex scientific issues are based on their prior ideological preferences, personal experience, and values—all of which are heavily influenced by their referent groups and their individual psychology. Physical scientists may set the parameters for understanding the technical aspects of the climate debate, but they do not have the final word on whether society accepts or even understands their conclusions. The constituency that is relevant in the social debate goes beyond scientific experts. And the processes by which this constituency understands and assesses the science of climate change go far beyond its technical merits. We must acknowledge that the debate over climate change, like almost all environmental issues, is a debate over culture, worldviews, and ideology.

This fact can be seen most vividly in the growing partisan divide over the issue. Political affiliation is one of the strongest correlates with individual uncertainty about climate change, not scientific knowledge.1 The percentage of conservatives and Republicans who believe that the effects of global warming have already begun declined from roughly 50 percent in 2001 to about 30 percent in 2010, while the corresponding percentage for liberals and Democrats increased from roughly 60 percent in 2001 to about 70 percent in 2010.2 (See “The Growing Partisan Divide over Climate Change,” below.)

 

Climate change has become enmeshed in the so-called culture wars. Acceptance of the scientific consensus is now seen as an alignment with liberal views consistent with other “cultural” issues that divide the country (abortion, gun control, health care, and evolution). This partisan divide on climate change was not the case in the 1990s. It is a recent phenomenon, following in the wake of the 1997 Kyoto Treaty that threatened the material interests of powerful economic and political interests, particularly members of the fossil fuel industry.3 The great danger of a protracted partisan divide is that the debate will take the form of what I call a “logic schism,” a breakdown in debate in which opposing sides are talking about completely different cultural issues.4

This article seeks to delve into the climate change debate through the lens of the social sciences. I take this approach not because the physical sciences have become less relevant, but because we need to understand the social and psychological processes by which people receive and understand the science of global warming. I explain the cultural dimensions of the climate debate as it is currently configured, outline three possible paths by which the debate can progress, and describe specific techniques that can drive that debate toward broader consensus. This goal is imperative, for without a broader consensus on climate change in the United States, Americans and people around the globe will be unable to formulate effective social, political, and economic solutions to the changing circumstances of our planet.

Cultural Processing of Climate Science

When analyzing complex scientific information, people are “boundedly rational,” to use Nobel Memorial Prize economist Herbert Simon’s phrase; we are “cognitive misers,” according to UCLA psychologist Susan Fiske and Princeton University psychologist Shelley Taylor, with limited cognitive ability to fully investigate every issue we face. People everywhere employ ideological filters that reflect their identity, worldview, and belief systems. These filters are strongly influenced by group values, and we generally endorse the position that most directly reinforces the connection we have with others in our referent group—what Yale Law School professor Dan Kahan refers to as “cultural cognition.” In so doing, we cement our connection with our cultural groups and strengthen our definition of self. This tendency is driven by an innate desire to maintain a consistency in beliefs by giving greater weight to evidence and arguments that support preexisting beliefs, and by expending disproportionate energy trying to refute views or arguments that are contrary to those beliefs. Instead of investigating a complex issue, we often simply learn what our referent group believes and seek to integrate those beliefs with our own views.

Over time, these ideological filters become increasingly stable and resistant to change through multiple reinforcing mechanisms. First, we’ll consider evidence when it is accepted or, ideally, presented by a knowledgeable source from our cultural community; and we’ll dismiss information that is advocated by sources that represent groups whose values we reject. Second, we will selectively choose information sources that support our ideological position. For example, frequent viewers of Fox News are more likely to say that the Earth’s temperature has not been rising, that any temperature increase is not due to human activities, and that addressing climate change would have deleterious effects on the economy.5 One might expect the converse to be true of National Public Radio listeners. The result of this cultural processing and group cohesion dynamics leads to two overriding conclusions about the climate change debate.

First, climate change is not a “pollution” issue. Although the US Supreme Court decided in 2007 that greenhouse gases were legally an air pollutant, in a cultural sense, they are something far different. The reduction of greenhouse gases is not the same as the reduction of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, or particulates. These forms of pollution are man-made, they are harmful, and they are the unintended waste products of industrial production. Ideally, we would like to eliminate their production through the mobilization of economic and technical resources. But the chief greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is both man-made and natural. It is not inherently harmful; it is a natural part of the natural systems; and we do not desire to eliminate its production. It is not a toxic waste or a strictly technical problem to be solved. Rather, it is an endemic part of our society and who we are. To a large degree, it is a highly desirable output, as it correlates with our standard of living. Greenhouse gas emissions rise with a rise in a nation’s wealth, something all people want. To reduce carbon dioxide requires an alteration in nearly every facet of the economy, and therefore nearly every facet of our culture. To recognize greenhouse gases as a problem requires us to change a great deal about how we view the world and ourselves within it. And that leads to the second distinction.

Climate change is an existential challenge to our contemporary worldviews. The cultural challenge of climate change is enormous and threefold, each facet leading to the next. The first facet is that we have to think of a formerly benign, even beneficial, material in a new way—as a relative, not absolute, hazard. Only in an imbalanced concentration does it become problematic. But to understand and accept this, we need to conceive of the global ecosystem in a new way.

This challenge leads us to the second facet: Not only do we have to change our view of the ecosystem, but we also have to change our view of our place within it. Have we as a species grown to such numbers, and has our technology grown to such power, that we can alter and manage the ecosystem on a planetary scale? This is an enormous cultural question that alters our worldviews. As a result, some see the question and subsequent answer as intellectual and spiritual hubris, but others see it as self-evident.

If we answer this question in the affirmative, the third facet challenges us to consider new and perhaps unprecedented forms of global ethics and governance to address it. Climate change is the ultimate “commons problem,” as ecologist Garrett Hardin defined it, where every individual has an incentive to emit greenhouse gases to improve her standard of living, but the costs of this activity are borne by all. Unfortunately, the distribution of costs in this global issue is asymmetrical, with vulnerable populations in poor countries bearing the larger burden. So we need to rethink our ethics to keep pace with our technological abilities. Does mowing the lawn or driving a fuel-inefficient car in Ann Arbor, Mich., have ethical implications for the people living in low-lying areas of Bangladesh? If you accept anthropogenic climate change, then the answer to this question is yes, and we must develop global institutions to reflect that recognition. This is an issue of global ethics and governance on a scale that we have never seen, affecting virtually every economic activity on the globe and requiring the most complicated and intrusive global agreement ever negotiated.

Taken together, these three facets of our existential challenge illustrate the magnitude of the cultural debate that climate change provokes. Climate change challenges us to examine previously unexamined beliefs and worldviews. It acts as a flash point (albeit a massive one) for deeper cultural and ideological conflicts that lie at the root of many of our environmental problems, and it includes differing conceptions of science, economics, religion, psychology, media, development, and governance. It is a proxy for “deeper conflicts over alternative visions of the future and competing centers of authority in society,” as University of East Anglia climatologist Mike Hulme underscores in Why We Disagree About Climate Change. And, as such, it provokes a violent debate among cultural communities on one side who perceive their values to be threatened by change, and cultural communities on the other side who perceive their values to be threatened by the status quo.

Three Ways Forward

If the public debate over climate change is no longer about greenhouse gases and climate models, but about values, worldviews, and ideology, what form will this clash of ideologies take? I see three possible forms.

The Optimistic Form is where people do not have to change their values at all. In other words, the easiest way to eliminate the common problems of climate change is to develop technological solutions that do not require major alterations to our values, worldviews, or behavior: carbon-free renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, geo-engineering, and others. Some see this as an unrealistic future. Others see it as the only way forward, because people become attached to their level of prosperity, feel entitled to keep it, and will not accept restraints or support government efforts to impose restraints.6Government-led investment in alternative energy sources, therefore, becomes more acceptable than the enactment of regulations and taxes to reduce fossil fuel use.

The Pessimistic Form is where people fight to protect their values. This most dire outcome results in a logic schism, where opposing sides debate different issues, seek only information that supports their position and disconfirms the others’, and even go so far as to demonize the other. University of Colorado, Boulder, environmental scientist Roger Pielke in The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics describes the extreme of such schisms as “abortion politics,” where the two sides are debating completely different issues and “no amount of scientific information … can reconcile the different values.” Consider, for example, the recent decision by the Heartland Institute to post a billboard in Chicago comparing those who believe in climate change with the Unabomber. In reply, climate activist groups posted billboards attacking Heartland and its financial supporters. This attack-counterattack strategy is symptomatic of a broken public discourse over climate change.

The Consensus-Based Form involves a reasoned societal debate, focused on the full scope of technical and social dimensions of the problem and the feasibility and desirability of multiple solutions. It is this form to which scientists have the most to offer, playing the role of what Pielke calls the “honest broker”—a person who can “integrate scientific knowledge with stakeholder concerns to explore alternative possible courses of action.” Here, resolution is found through a focus on its underlying elements, moving away from positions (for example, climate change is or is not happening), and toward the underlying interests and values at play. How do we get there? Research in negotiation and dispute resolution can offer techniques for moving forward.

Techniques for a Consensus-Based Discussion

In seeking a social consensus on climate change, discussion must move beyond a strict focus on the technical aspects of the science to include its cultural underpinnings. Below are eight techniques for overcoming the ideological filters that underpin the social debate about climate change.

Know your audience | Any message on climate change must be framed in a way that fits with the cultural norms of the target audience. The 2011 study Climate Change in the American Mind segments the American public into six groups based on their views on climate change science. (See “Six Americas,” below.) On the two extremes are the climate change “alarmed” and “dismissive.” Consensus-based discussion is not likely open to these groups, as they are already employing logic schism tactics that are closed to debate or engagement. The polarity of these groups is well known: On the one side, climate change is a hoax, humans have no impact on the climate, and nothing is happening; on the other side, climate change is an imminent crisis that will devastate the Earth, and human activity explains all climate changes.

climate_change_chart_six_americas 

The challenge is to move the debate away from the loud minorities at the extremes and to engage the majority in the middle—the “concerned,” the “cautious,” the “disengaged,” and the “doubtful.” People in these groups are more open to consensus-based debate, and through direct engagement can be separated from the ideological extremes of their cultural community.

Ask the right scientific questions | For a consensus-based discussion, climate change science should be presented not as a binary yes or no question,7 but as a series of six questions. Some are scientific in nature, with associated levels of uncertainty and probability; others are matters of scientific judgment.

  • Are greenhouse gas concentrations increasing in the atmosphere? Yes. This is a scientific question, based on rigorous data and measurements of atmospheric chemistry and science.
  • Does this increase lead to a general warming of the planet? Yes. This is also a scientific question; the chemical mechanics of the greenhouse effect and “negative radiative forcing” are well established.
  • Has climate changed over the past century? Yes. Global temperature increases have been rigorously measured through multiple techniques and strongly supported by multiple scientific analyses.In fact, as Yale University economist William Nordhaus wrote in the March 12, 2012, New York Times, “The finding that global temperatures are rising over the last century-plus is one of the most robust findings in climate science and statistics.”
  • Are humans partially responsible for this increase? The answer to this question is a matter of scientific judgment. Increases in global mean temperatures have a very strong correlation with increases in man-made greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. Although science cannot confirm causation, fingerprint analysis of multiple possible causes has been examined, and the only plausible explanation is that of human-induced temperature changes. Until a plausible alternative hypothesis is presented, this explanation prevails for the scientific community.
  • Will the climate continue to change over the next century? Again, this question is a matter of scientific judgment. But given the answers to the previous four questions, it is reasonable to believe that continued increases in greenhouse gases will lead to continued changes in the climate.
  • What will be the environmental and social impact of such change? This is the scientific question with the greatest uncertainty. The answer comprises a bell curve of possible outcomes and varying associated probabilities, from low to extreme impact. Uncertainty in this variation is due to limited current data on the Earth’s climate system, imperfect modeling of these physical processes, and the unpredictability of human actions that can both exasperate or moderate the climate shifts. These uncertainties make predictions difficult and are an area in which much debate can take place. And yet the physical impacts of climate change are already becoming visible in ways that are consistent with scientific modeling, particularly in Greenland, the Arctic, the Antarctic, and low-lying islands.

In asking these questions, a central consideration is whether people recognize the level of scientific consensus associated with each one. In fact, studies have shown that people’s support for climate policies and action are linked to their perceptions about scientific agreement. Still, the belief that “most scientists think global warming is happening” declined from 47 percent to 39 percent among Americans between 2008 and 2011.8

Move beyond data and models | Climate skepticism is not a knowledge deficit issue. Michigan State University sociologist Aaron McCright and Oklahoma State University sociologist Riley Dunlap have observed that increased education and self-reported understanding of climate science have been shown to correlate with lower concern among conservatives and Republicans and greater concern among liberals and Democrats. Research also has found that once people have made up their minds on the science of the climate issue, providing continued scientific evidence actually makes them more resolute in resisting conclusions that are at variance with their cultural beliefs.9 One needs to recognize that reasoning is suffused with emotion and people often use reasoning to reach a predetermined end that fits their cultural worldviews. When people hear about climate change, they may, for example, hear an implicit criticism that their lifestyle is the cause of the issue or that they are morally deficient for not recognizing it. But emotion can be a useful ally; it can create the abiding commitments needed to sustain action on the difficult issue of climate change. To do this, people must be convinced that something can be done to address it; that the challenge is not too great nor are its impacts preordained. The key to engaging people in a consensus-driven debate about climate change is to confront the emotionality of the issue and then address the deeper ideological values that may be threatened to create this emotionality.

Focus on broker frames | People interpret information by fitting it to preexisting narratives or issue categories that mesh with their worldview. Therefore information must be presented in a form that fits those templates, using carefully researched metaphors, allusions, and examples that trigger a new way of thinking about the personal relevance of climate change. To be effective, climate communicators must use the language of the cultural community they are engaging. For a business audience, for example, one must use business terminology, such as net present value, return on investment, increased consumer demand, and rising raw material costs.

More generally, one can seek possible broker frames that move away from a pessimistic appeal to fear and instead focus on optimistic appeals that trigger the emotionality of a desired future. In addressing climate change, we are asking who we strive to be as a people, and what kind of world we want to leave our children. To gain buy-in, one can stress American know-how and our capacity to innovate, focusing on activities already under way by cities, citizens, and businesses.10

This approach frames climate change mitigation as a gain rather than a loss to specific cultural groups. Research has shown that climate skepticism can be caused by a motivational tendency to defend the status quo based on the prior assumption that any change will be painful. But by encouraging people to regard pro-environmental change as patriotic and consistent with protecting the status quo, it can be framed as a continuation rather than a departure from the past.

Specific broker frames can be used that engage the interests of both sides of the debate. For example, when US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu referred in November 2010 to advances in renewable energy technology in China as the United States’ “Sputnik moment,” he was framing climate change as a common threat to US scientific and economic competitiveness. When Pope Benedict XVI linked the threat of climate change with threats to life and dignity on New Year’s Day 2010, he was painting it as an issue of religious morality. When CNA’s Military Advisory Board, a group of elite retired US military officers, called climate change a “threat multiplier” in its 2006 report, it was using a national security frame. When the Lancet Commission pronounced climate change to be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century in a 2009 article, the organization was using a quality of life frame. And when the Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington, D.C., think tank, connected climate change to the conservation ideals of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, they were framing the issue as consistent with Republican values.

One broker frame that deserves particular attention is the replacement of uncertainty or probability of climate change with the risk of climate change.11 People understand low probability, high consequence events and the need to address them. For example, they buy fire insurance for their homes even though the probability of a fire is low, because they understand that the financial consequence is too great. In the same way, climate change for some may be perceived as a low risk, high consequence event, so the prudent course of action is to obtain insurance in the form of both behavioral and technological change.

Recognize the power of language and terminology | Words have multiple meanings in different communities, and terms can trigger unintended reactions in a target audience. For example, one study has shown that Republicans were less likely to think that the phenomenon is real when it is referred to as “global warming” (44 percent) rather than “climate change” (60 percent), but Democrats were unaffected by the term (87 percent vs. 86 percent). So language matters: The partisan divide dropped from 43 percent under a “global warming” frame to 26 percent under a “climate change” frame.12

Other terms with multiple meanings include “climate denier,” which some use to refer to those who are not open to discussion on the issue, and others see as a thinly veiled and highly insulting reference to “Holocaust denier”; “uncertainty,” which is a scientific concept to convey variance or deviation from a specific value, but is interpreted by a lay audience to mean that scientists do not know the answer; and “consensus,” which is the process by which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forms its position, but leads some in the public to believe that climate science is a matter of “opinion” rather than data and modeling.

Overall, the challenge becomes one of framing complex scientific issues in a language that a lay and highly politicized audience can hear. This becomes increasingly challenging when we address some inherently nonintuitive and complex aspects of climate modeling that are hard to explain, such as the importance of feedback loops, time delays, accumulations, and nonlinearities in dynamic systems.13 Unless scientists can accurately convey the nature of climate modeling, others in the social debate will alter their claims to fit their cultural or cognitive perceptions or satisfy their political interests.

Employ climate brokers | People are more likely to feel open to consider evidence when a recognized member of their cultural community presents it.14 Certainly, statements by former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. James Inhofe evoke visceral responses from individuals on either side of the partisan divide. But individuals with credibility on both sides of the debate can act as what I call climate brokers. Because a majority of Republicans do not believe the science of climate change, whereas a majority of Democrats do, the most effective broker would come from the political right. Climate brokers can include representatives from business, the religious community, the entertainment industry, the military, talk show hosts, and politicians who can frame climate change in language that will engage the audience to whom they most directly connect. When people hear about the need to address climate change from their church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, for example, they w ill connect the issue to their moral values. When they hear it from their business leaders and investment managers, they will connect it to their economic interests. And when they hear it from their military leaders, they will connect it to their interest in a safe and secure nation.

Recognize multiple referent groups | The presentation of information can be designed in a fashion that recognizes that individuals are members of multiple referent groups. The underlying frames employed in one cultural community may be at variance with the values dominant within the communities engaged in climate change debate. For example, although some may reject the science of climate change by perceiving the scientific review process to be corrupt as part of one cultural community, they also may recognize the legitimacy of the scientific process as members of other cultural communities (such as users of the modern health care system). Although someone may see the costs of fossil fuel reductions as too great and potentially damaging to the economy as members of one community, they also may see the value in reducing dependence on foreign oil as members of another community who value strong national defense. This frame incongruence emerged in the 2011 US Republican primary as candidate Jon Huntsman warned that Republicans risk becoming the “antiscience party” if they continue to reject the science on climate change. What Huntsman alluded to is that most Americans actually do trust the scientific process, even if they don’t fully understand it. (A 2004 National Science Foundation report found that two thirds of Americans do not clearly understand the scientific process.)

Employ events as leverage for change | Studies have found that most Americans believe that climate change will affect geographically and temporally distant people and places. But studies also have shown that people are more likely to believe in the science when they have an experience with extreme weather phenomena. This has led climate communicators to link climate change to major events, such as Hurricane Katrina, or to more recent floods in the American Midwest and Asia, as well as to droughts in Texas and Africa, to hurricanes along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, and to snowstorms in Western states and New England. The cumulative body of weather evidence, reported by media outlets and linked to climate change, will increase the number of people who are concerned about the issue, see it as less uncertain, and feel more confident that we must take actions to mitigate its effects. For example, in explaining the recent increase in belief in climate change among Americans, the 2012 National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change noted that “about half of Americans now point to observations of temperature changes and weather as the main reasons they believe global warming is taking place.”15

Ending Climate Science Wars

Will we see a social consensus on climate change? If beliefs about the existence of global warming are becoming more ideologically entrenched and gaps between conservatives and liberals are widening, the solution space for resolving the issue will collapse and the debate will be based on power and coercion. In such a scenario, domination by the science-based forces looks less likely than domination by the forces of skepticism, because the former has to “prove” its case while the latter merely needs to cast doubt. But such a polarized outcome is not a predetermined outcome. And if it were to form, it can be reversed.

Is there a reason to be hopeful? When looking for reasons to be hopeful about a social consensus on climate change, I look to public opinion changes around cigarette smoking and cancer. For years, the scientific community recognized that the preponderance of epidemiological and mechanistic data pointed to a link between the habit and the disease. And for years, the public rejected that conclusion. But through a process of political, economic, social, and legal debate over values and beliefs, a social consensus emerged. The general public now accepts that cigarettes cause cancer and governments have set policy to address this. Interestingly, two powerful forces that many see as obstacles to a comparable social consensus on climate change were overcome in the cigarette debate.

The first obstacle is the powerful lobby of industrial forces that can resist a social and political consensus. In the case of the cigarette debate, powerful economic interests mounted a campaign to obfuscate the scientific evidence and to block a social and political consensus. Tobacco companies created their own pro-tobacco science, but eventually the public health community overcame pro-tobacco scientists.

The second obstacle to convincing a skeptical public is the lack of a definitive statement by the scientific community about the future implications of climate change. The 2007 IPCC report states that “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is very likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.” Some point to the word “likely” to argue that scientists still don’t know and action in unwarranted. But science is not designed to provide a definitive smoking gun. Remember that the 1964 surgeon general’s report about the dangers of smoking was equally conditional. And even today, we cannot state with scientific certainty that smoking causes lung cancer. Like the global climate, the human body is too complex a system for absolute certainty. We can explain epidemiologically why a person could get cancer from cigarette smoking and statistically how that person will likely get cancer, but, as the surgeon general report explains, “statistical methods cannot establish proof of a causal relationship in an association [between cigarette smoking and lung cancer]. The causal significance of an association is a matter of judgment, which goes beyond any statement of statistical probability.” Yet the general public now accepts this causal linkage.

What will get us there? Although climate brokers are needed from all areas of society—from business, religion, military, and politics—one field in particular needs to become more engaged: the academic scientist and particularly the social scientist. Too much of the debate is dominated by the physical sciences in defining the problem and by economics in defining the solutions. Both fields focus heavily on the rational and quantitative treatments of the issue and fail to capture the behavioral and cultural aspects that explain why people accept or reject scientific evidence, analysis, and conclusions. But science is never socially or politically inert, and scientists have a duty to recognize its effect on society and to communicate that effect to society. Social scientists can help in this endeavor.

But the relative absence of the social sciences in the climate debate is driven by specific structural and institutional controls that channel research work away from empirical relevance. Social scientists limit involvement in such “outside” activities, because the underlying norms of what is considered legitimate and valuable research, as well as the overt incentives and reward structures within the academy, lead away from such endeavors. Tenure and promotion are based primarily on the publication of top-tier academic journal articles. This is the signal of merit and success. Any effort on any other endeavor is decidedly discouraged.

The role of the public intellectual has become an arcane and elusive option in today’s social sciences. Moreover, it is a difficult role to play. The academic rules are not clear and the public backlash can be uncomfortable; many of my colleagues and I are regular recipients of hostile e-mail messages and web-based attacks. But the lack of academic scientists in the public debate harms society by leaving out critical voices for informing and resolving the climate debate. There are signs, however, that this model of scholarly isolation is changing. Some leaders within the field have begun to call for more engagement within the public arena as a way to invigorate the discipline and underscore its investment in the defense of civil society. As members of society, all scientists have a responsibility to bring their expertise to the decision-making process. It is time for social scientists to accept this responsibility.

Notes

1 Wouter Poortinga et al., “Uncertain Climate: An Investigation into Public Skepticism
About Anthropogenic Climate Change
,” Global Environmental Change, August 2011.
2 Aaron McCright and Riley Dunlap, “The Politicization of Climate Change and Polarization
in the American Public’s Views of Global Warming, 2001-2010
,” The Sociological
Quarterly
 52, 2011.
3 Clive Hamilton, “Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change,” paper presented
to the Climate Controversies: Science and Politics conference, Brussels, Oct. 28, 2010.
4 Andrew Hoffman, “Talking Past Each Other? Cultural Framing of Skeptical and Convinced
Logics in the Climate Change Debate
,” Organization & Environment 24(1), 2011.
5 Jon Krosnick and Bo MacInnis, “Frequent Viewers of Fox News Are Less Likely to
Accept Scientists’ Views of Global Warming
,” Woods Institute for the Environment,
Stanford University, 2010.
6 Jeffrey Rachlinski, “The Psychology of Global Climate Change,” University of Illinois
Law Review
 1, 2000.
7 Max Boykoff, “The Real Swindle,” Nature Climate Change, February 2008.
8 Ding Ding et al., “Support for Climate Policy and Societal Action Are Linked to Perceptions
About Scientific Agreement
,” Nature Climate Change 1, 2011.
9 Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer, “Apocalypse Soon? Dire Messages Reduce Belief in
Global Warming by Contradicting Just-World Beliefs
,” Psychological Science 22(1), 2011.
10 Thomas Vargish, “Why the Person Sitting Next to You Hates Limits to Growth,”
Technological Forecasting and Social Change 16, 1980.
11 Nick Mabey, Jay Gulledge, Bernard Finel, and Katherine Silverthorne, Degrees of Risk:
Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security
, Third Generation Environmentalism,
2011.
12 Jonathan Schuldt, Sara H. Konrath, and Norbert Schwarz, “‘Global Warming’ or
‘Climate Change’? Whether the Planet Is Warming Depends on Question Wording
,”
Public Opinion Quarterly 75(1), 2011.
13 John Sterman, “Communicating Climate Change Risks in a Skeptical World,” Climatic
Change
, 2011.
14 Dan Kahan, Hank Jenkins-Smith, and Donald Braman, “Cultural Cognition of Scientific
Consensus
,” Journal of Risk Research 14, 2010.
15 Christopher Borick and Barry Rabe, “Fall 2011 National Survey of American Public
Opinion on Climate Change
,” Brookings Institution, Issues in Governance Studies,
Report No. 45, Feb. 2012.

Brazil: Drug dealers say no to crack in Rio (AP)

By JULIANA BARBASSA

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO — Business was brisk in the Mandela shantytown on a recent night. In the glow of a weak light bulb, customers pawed through packets of powdered cocaine and marijuana priced at $5, $10, $25. Teenage boys with semiautomatic weapons took in money and made change while flirting with girls in belly-baring tops lounging nearby.

Next to them, a gaggle of kids jumped on a trampoline, oblivious to the guns and drug-running that are part of everyday life in this and hundreds of other slums, known as favelas, across this metropolitan area of 12 million people. Conspicuously absent from the scene was crack, the most addictive and destructive drug in the triad that fuels Rio’s lucrative narcotics trade.

Once crack was introduced here about six years ago, Mandela and the surrounding complex of shantytowns became Rio’s main outdoor drug market, a “cracolandia,” or crackland, where users bought the rocks, smoked and lingered until the next hit. Hordes of addicts lived in cardboard shacks and filthy blankets, scrambling for cash and a fix.

Now, there was no crack on the rough wooden table displaying the goods for sale, and the addicts were gone. The change hadn’t come from any police or public health campaign. Instead, the dealers themselves have stopped selling the drug in Mandela and nearby Jacarezinho in a move that traffickers and others say will spread citywide within the next two years.

The drug bosses, often born and raised in the very slums they now lord over, say crack destabilizes their communities, making it harder to control areas long abandoned by the government. Law enforcement and city authorities, however, take credit for the change, arguing that drug gangs are only trying to create a distraction and persuade police to call off an offensive to take back the slums.

Dealers shake their heads, insisting it was their decision to stop selling crack, the crystalized form of cocaine.

“Crack has been nothing but a disgrace for Rio. It’s time to stop,” said the drug boss in charge. He is Mandela’s second-in-command – a stocky man wearing a Lacoste shirt, heavy gold jewelry and a backpack bulging with $100,000 in drugs and cash. At 37, he’s an elder in Rio’s most established faction, the Comando Vermelho, or Red Command. He’s wanted by police, and didn’t want his name published.

He discussed the decision as he watched the night’s profits pile up in neat, rubber-banded stacks from across the narrow street. He kept one hand on his pistol and the other on a crackling radio that squawked out sales elsewhere in the slum and warned of police.

The talk of crack left him agitated; he raised his voice, drawing looks from the fidgety young men across the road. Although crack makes him a lot of money, he has his own reasons to resent the drug; everyone who comes near it does, he said.

His brother – the one who studied, left the shantytown and joined the air force – fell prey to it. Crack users smoke it and often display more addictive behavior. The brother abandoned his family and his job, and now haunts the edges of the slum with other addicts.

“I see this misery,” he said. “I’m a human being too, and I’m a leader here. I want to say I helped stop this.”

For the ban to really take hold, it would need the support of the city’s two other reigning factions: the Amigos dos Amigos, or Friends of Friends, and the Terceiro Comando, Third Command.

That would mean giving up millions in profits. According to an estimate by the country’s Security Committee of the House and the Federal Police, Brazilians consume between 800 kilos and 1.2 tons of crack a day, a total valued at about $10 million.

It’s unclear how much Rio’s traffickers earn from the drug, but police apprehensions show a surge in its availability in the state. In 2008, police seized 14 kilos; two years later the annual seizure came to 200 kilos, according to the Public Security Institute.

Nonetheless, the other gangs are signing up, said attorney Flavia Froes. Her clients include the most notorious figures of Rio’s underbelly, and she has been shuttling between them, visiting favelas and far-flung high-security prisons to talk up the idea.

“They’re joining en masse. They realized that this experience with crack was not good, even though it was lucrative. The social costs were tremendous. This wasn’t a drug for the rich; it was hitting their own communities.”

As Froes walks these slums, gingerly navigating potholed roads in six-inch stiletto heels and rhinestone-studded jeans, men with a gun in each hand defer to her, calling her “doutora,” or doctor, because of her studies, or “senhora,” or ma’am, out of respect.

“While stocks last, they’ll sell. But it’s not being bought anymore,” she said. “Today we can say with certainty that we’re looking at the end of crack in Rio de Janeiro.”

Even those who question the traffickers’ sudden surge of social conscience say the idea of the city’s drug lords coming together to ban crack isn’t far-fetched. After all, a similar deal between factions kept the drug out of Rio for years.

Crack first took hold in Sao Paulo, the country’s business capital, during the 1990s. In the early 2000s, it spread across Brazil in an epidemic reminiscent of the one the U.S. had experienced decades earlier. A recent survey found it was eventually sold or consumed in 98 percent of Brazilian municipalities. Most of the cities were too understaffed, underfunded and uninformed to resist its onslaught.

And yet, an agreement between factions kept crack a rarity in Rio until a handful of years ago, said Mario Sergio Duarte, Rio state’s former police chief.

“Rio was always cocaine and marijuana,” he said. “If drug traffickers are coming up with this strategy of going back to cocaine and marijuana, it’s not because they suddenly developed an awareness, or because they want to be charitable and help the addicts. It’s just that crack brings them too much trouble to be worth it.”

Duarte believes dealers turned to crack when their other business started losing ground within the city.

Police started taking back slums long given over to the drug trade as Rio vied to host the 2014World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. The plan disrupted trade, and the factions began hemorrhaging money, said Duarte. Crack seemed like the solution, and the drug flooded the market.

“Crack was profit; it’s cheap, but it sells. Addiction comes quick. They were trying to make up their losses,” he said.

Soon, the gangs were being haunted by the consequences.

Unlike the customers who came for marijuana or cocaine, dropped cash and left, crack users hung around the sales points, scraping for money for the next hit. They broke the social code that usually maintains a tense calm in the slums; they stole, begged, threatened or sold their bodies to get their next rock. Their presence made the hard life there nearly unbearable.

The Mandela drug boss said crack even sapped the drug kingpins’ authority.

“How can I tell someone he can’t steal, when I know I sold him the drugs that made him this way?” he said.

Many saw their own family members and childhood friends fall under the drug’s spell.

“The same crack I sell to your son is being sold to mine. I talked to one of the pioneers in selling crack in Rio. His son’s using now. Everyone is saying we have to stop.”

In Mandela, residents had to step over crack users on their way between home and work and warn their children to be careful around the “zombies.”

“There were robberies in the favela, violence, people killed in the middle of the street, people having sex or taking a crap anywhere,” said Cleber, an electronics repair shop owner who has lived in Mandela for 16 years. He declined to give his last name because he lives in a neighborhood ruled bygang members, and like many, prefers not to comment publicly.

“Now we’re going out again, we can set up a barbecue pit outside, have a drink with friends, without them gathering around,” he said. “We’re a little more at ease.”

Researcher Ignacio Cano, at the Violence Analysis Center of Rio de Janeiro State University, said crack is still being sold outside only select communities and that it’s hard to tell if the stop is a temporary, local measure or a real shift in operations citywide.

He said unprecedented pressure bore down on drug gangs once they began selling crack. In particular, the addicts’ encampments were sources of social and health problems, drawing the attention of the authorities.

Since March 2011, dawn raids involving police, health and welfare officials began taking users off the streets to offer treatment, food, a checkup and a hot shower. Since then, 4,706 people have cycled through the system. Of those, 663 were children or teenagers.

“I have operations every day, all over Rio,” said Daphne Braga, who coordinates the effort for the city welfare office.

At the same time, crack became such a dramatic problem nationally that the government allocated special funds to combat it, including a $253 million campaign launched by President Dilma Rousseff in May 2010 to stem the drug trade. Last November, another $2 billion were set aside to create treatment centers for addicts and get them off the streets.

In May, 150 federal police officers occupied a Rio favela to implement a pilot program fighting the crack trade and helping users.

“There are many reasons why they might stop,” said Cano.

Crack’s social cost is clear where the drug is still sold, right outside Mandela and Jacarezinho. In the shantytown of Manguinhos, along a violent area known as the Gaza Strip, an army of crack addicts lives in encampments next to a rail line.

Another couple hundred gather inside the slum, buying from a stand inside a little restaurant. Customers eat next to young men with guns and must step around a table laden with packaged drugs and tightly bound wads of cash to use the restroom. Crack users smoke outside, by the lights of a community soccer field where an animated game draws onlookers late into the night.

The Rev. Antonio Carlos Costa, founder of the River of Peace social service group, knows the dealers and believes the ban on crack here is “real, without return, and has a real chance of spreading to other favelas.”

That’s good news for residents, he said, but users will have to migrate to look for drugs, and that might expose them to real risk.

“They won’t be welcome. This society wants them dead,” he said. “This won’t be a problem that can be solved only with money. We’ll need professionals who really take an interest in these people. We’ll need compassion. It’ll be a challenge to our solidarity.”

Also predicting risks, attorney Froes has prepared a civil court action demanding local and state governments prepare treatment centers for users.

“There will be a great weaning of all these addicts as they’re deprived of drugs,” she said. “We’re not prepared to take on all the people who will need care.”

The addicts recognize the difficulty of their own rehabilitation.

One 16-year-old boy laying on a bare piece of foam said he’d studied until the 2nd grade but couldn’t read. Now, he was going on his third year in the streets.

“Who is going to give me work?” he asked.

Sharing his mattress was a 28-year-old woman. It had been three years since she last saw her three children and parents in Niteroi, the city across the bay from Rio. She was filthy, all of her body bearing the marks of life on the streets: bruises and open wounds, missing front teeth, matted hair.

“I wasn’t born like this. You think my parents want to see me now?” she asked. “I can’t go back there.”

A teenager with jaundiced, bloodshot eyes said she couldn’t remember how long she’d been on the streets, or her age.

She knew her name – Natalia Gonzales – and that she was born in 1997.

“I have nowhere to go,” she said, tears rolling down her cheeks. Softly, she started to sing a hymn, and its call for salvation in the afterlife took on an urgent note.

“God, come save me, extend your hand,” she sang. “Heal my heart, make me live again.”

EBay bans sale of spells and hexes (CNN)

By Erin Kim @CNNMoneyTech August 16, 2012: 4:27 PM ET

Starting in September, eBay is blocking the sale of potions and other magical goods.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Sorry, love spell vendors: eBay is cracking down on the sale of magical wares.

Beginning in September, the site is banning the sale of “advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions, [and] healing sessions,” according to a policy update.

The company is also eliminating its category listings for psychic readings and tarot card sessions.

The update is a part of a “multi-year effort…to build trust in the marketplace and support sellers,” eBay (EBAYFortune 500) wrote in its company blog.

Has anyone actually been buying magic on eBay? It seems so: The site’s “spells and potions” category currently has more than 6,000 active listings and happy feedback from quite a few satisfied buyers.

“Best spell caster on Ebay,” one customer wrote after a recent purchase.

“Wonderful post-spells communication!” another raved. “We bought 4 spells! Highly Recommend!”

Spells and hexes aside, eBay is rolling out a long list of rule tweaks, as it does several times a year. For example, buyers will now be required to contact sellers before getting eBay involved with any issues regarding a purchase. Sellers will also be subject to a fee for ending an auction earlier than planned.

EBay also banned the sale of “work from home businesses & information,” a category that is often abused by scammers.

EBay isn’t the only online marketplace culling its listings. Etsy, a platform for homemade goods, also recently prohibited the sale of various items, including drug paraphernalia and body parts. To top of page

First Published: August 16, 2012: 4:27 PM ET

*   *   *

Etsy blocks sales of drugs and human remains

By Erin Kim @CNNMoneyTech August 10, 2012: 5:55 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Etsy has become the go-to spot for homemade jewelry, knickknacks and household goods. Apparently, some have also been using the online marketplace to sell everything from drugs to human remains.

Now Etsy is cracking down.

The online marketplace recently revised its policies, excluding from its list of sellable items such products as tobacco, hazardous materials and body parts. (Hair and teeth are still OK).

“Odd as it may sound, we’ve spent long hours over the past several months extensively researching some offbeat and fascinating topics, from issues surrounding the sale of human bones to the corrosive and toxic properties of mercury,” the company wrote on its official blog on Wednesday.

Etsy says the changes are made in order to comply with legal rules and restrictions.

“But beyond that, when it comes right down to it, some things just aren’t in the spirit of Etsy,” the online company wrote. “While we understand that it is possible for certain items to be carefully and legally bought and sold, Etsy is just not the right venue for them.”

The new policy prohibits the sale of human body parts, including but not limited to “things such as skulls, bones, articulated skeletons, bodily fluids, preserved tissues or organs, and other similar products.”

Etsy banned most drug paraphernalia, though the company said it is not explicitly banning the sale of medical drugs. Instead, it’s asking that sellers remove any claims of “cure or relief of a health condition or illness.”

That set off a slew of angry posts from Etsy sellers in the company’s public forums.

“Now I need to change near[ly] a quarter of my listings or remove them,”wrote Etsy user Chrissy-jo, who operates an online store called KindredImages. “How am I going explain the use of a salve or even an aromatherapy eye pillow without making the claim that it aids in healing wounds or it helps relieve migraines?”

Another Etsy user named Irina, who runs PheonixBotanicals, wrote: “As an herbal crafter, I find the idea of being banned from listing traditional uses and folklore of plants quite disheartening.”

Sellers on Etsy operate their own shops, where they vend goods that are usually homemade. The online store plans to reach out to individual sellers to ask them to either remove a problematic listing or make changes to align with the company’s policy. To top of page

First Published: August 10, 2012: 4:10 PM ET

In the Name of the Future, Rio Is Destroying Its Past (N.Y.Times)

OP-ED CONTRIBUTORS

By THERESA WILLIAMSON and MAURÍCIO HORA

Published: August 12, 2012

THE London Olympics concluded Sunday, but the battle over the next games has just begun in Rio, where protests against illegal evictions of some of the city’s poorest residents are spreading. Indeed, the Rio Olympics are poised to increase inequality in a city already famous for it.

Last month, Unesco awarded World Heritage Site status to a substantial portion of the city, an area that includes some of its hillside favelas, where more than 1.4 million of the city’s 6 million residents live. No favela can claim greater historical importance than Rio’s first — Morro da Providência — yet Olympic construction projects are threatening its future.

Providência was formed in 1897 when veterans of the bloody Canudos war in Brazil’s northeast were promised land in Rio de Janeiro, which was then the federal capital. Upon arriving, they found no such land available. After squatting in front of the Ministry of War, the soldiers were moved to a nearby hill belonging to a colonel, though they were given no title to the land. Originally named “Morro da Favela” after the spiny favela plant typical of the Canudos hills where soldiers had spent many nights, Providência grew during the early 20th century as freed slaves joined the soldiers. New European migrants came as well, as it was the only affordable way to live near work in the city’s center and port.

Overlooking the site where hundreds of thousands of African slaves first entered Brazil, Providência is part of one of the most important cultural sites in Afro-Brazilian history, where the first commercial sambas were composed, traditions like capoeira and candomblé flourished and Rio’s Quilombo Pedra do Sal was founded. Today 60 percent of its residents are Afro-Brazilian.

Over a century after its creation, Providência still bears the cultural and physical imprint of its initial residents. But now it is threatened with destruction in the name of Olympic improvements: almost a third of the community is to be razed, a move that will inevitably destabilize what’s left of it.

By mid-2013 Providência will have received 131 million reais ($65 million) in investments under a private-sector-led plan to redevelop Rio’s port area, including a cable car, funicular tram and wider roads. Previous municipal interventions to upgrade the community recognized its historical importance, but today’s projects have no such intent.

Although the city claims that investments will benefit residents, 30 percent of the community’s population has already been marked for removal and the only “public meetings” held were to warn residents of their fate. Homes are spray-painted during the day with the initials for the municipal housing secretary and an identifying number. Residents return from work to learn that their homes will be demolished, with no warning of what’s to come, or when.

A quick walk through the community reveals the appalling state of uncertainty residents are living in: at the very top of the hill, some 70 percent of homes are marked for eviction — an area supposedly set to benefit from the transportation investments being made. But the luxury cable car will transport 1,000 to 3,000 people per hour during the Olympics. It’s not residents who will benefit, but investors.

Residents of Providência are fearful. Only 36 percent of them hold documentation of their land rights, compared with 70 percent to 95 percent in other favelas. More than in other poor neighborhoods, residents are particularly unaware of their rights and terrified of losing their homes. Combine this with the city’s “divide and conquer” approach — in which residents are confronted individually to sign up for relocation, and no communitywide negotiations are permitted — and resistance is effectively squelched.

Pressure from human rights groups and the international news media has helped. But brutal evictions continue as well as new, subtler forms of removal. As part of the city’s port revitalization plan, authorities declared the “relocations” to be in the interest of residents because they live in “risky areas” where landslides might occur and because “de-densification” is required to improve quality of life.

But there is little evidence of landslide risk or dangerous overcrowding; 98 percent of Providência’s homes are made of sturdy brick and concrete and 90 percent have more than three rooms. Moreover, an important report by local engineers showed that the risk factors announced by the city were inadequately studied and inaccurate.

If Rio succeeds in disfiguring and dismantling its most historic favela, the path will be open to further destruction throughout the city’s hundreds of others. The economic, social and psychological impacts of evictions are dire: families moved into isolated units where they lose access to the enormous economic and social benefits of community cooperation, proximity to work and existing social networks — not to mention generations’ worth of investments made in their homes.

Rio is becoming a playground for the rich, and inequality breeds instability. It would be much more cost-effective to invest in urban improvements that communities help shape through a participatory democratic process. This would ultimately strengthen Rio’s economy and improve its infrastructure while also reducing inequality and empowering the city’s still marginalized Afro-Brazilian population.

Theresa Williamson, the publisher of RioOnWatch.org, founded Catalytic Communities, an advocacy group for favelas. Maurício Hora, a photographer, runs the Favelarte program in the Providência favela.

*   *   *

APRIL 2, 2012

Are the Olympics More Trouble Than They’re Worth?

ProtestingToby Melville/Reuters

Winning a bid to host the Olympics is just the beginning. As London prepares for the 2012 Games this summer, residents have plenty of doubts: Will it be too expensive? Will it disrupt life too much? In the end, will they be better off because of the Games, or just saddled with public debt and a velodrome no one knows what to do with?

What about Rio de Janeiro: Will it come out ahead, after having hosted the Pan American Games in 2007, the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016?

READ THE DISCUSSION »

DEBATERS

Neil Jameson

The Games Help Londoners

NEIL JAMESON, LEAD ORGANIZER, LONDON CITIZENS

This is the world’s first “Living Wage Olympics,” and East London residents will reap the rewards.

Julian Cheyne

The Games Hurt Londoners

JULIAN CHEYNE, EVICTED RESIDENT, EAST LONDON

The Olympics are an expensive distraction that sets dangerous precedents, coddling the elite and trampling the poor.

Theresa Williamson

A Missed Opportunity in Rio

THERESA WILLIAMSON, FOUNDER, CATALYTIC COMMUNITIES

In preparing for the World Cup and the Olympics, Rio could make long-term investments and integrate the favelas. Instead it is aggravating its problems.

Bruno Reis

Brazil Can Come Out Ahead

BRUNO REIS, RISK ANALYST IN BRAZIL

These Games represent a golden opportunity, but will Rio de Janeiro repeat the success of Barcelona or the failure of Athens?

Andrew Zimbalist

Venues as an Asset or an Albatross

ANDREW ZIMBALIST, ECONOMIST, SMITH COLLEGE

Olympics planning takes place in a frenzied atmosphere — not optimal conditions for contemplating the future shape of an urban landscape.

Mitchell L. Moss

New York Is Lucky Not to Have the Games

MITCHELL L. MOSS, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

London will be a morass this summer. Meanwhile, there has never been a better time to visit New York City.

Anunciado no Facebook, tênis da Adidas é considerado “racista” (Revista Cult)

Com correntes de borracha, calçado teve a venda suspensa

Junho 2012

No mês de junho, a fabricante de materiais esportivos Adidas anunciou em sua página do Facebook o lançamento de um novo tênis na linha outono-inverno 2012, segundo informou o jornal “Le Monde”. Desenhado pelo estilista Jeremy Scott Roundhouse, o calçado traz pulseiras de borracha simulando correntes, que muitos internautas viram como uma referência à escravidão.

Segundo a CNN, a empresa rapidamente removeu a postagem na página do Facebook, mas o assunto já havia rodado o globo gerando revolta entre internautas.

“Aparentemente não havia pessoas de cor no departamento de marketing que o aprovou”, brinca Rodwell em comentário no site “Nice Kicks”, portal destinado aos lançamentos de tênis.

A empresa, inicialmente, defendeu o designer, descrevendo seu estilo como “original” e alegre, mas o fabricante alemão emitiu um comunicado onde pede desculpas aos ofendidos com o caso e afirma que o modelo não será comercializado.

Scientists struggle with limits – and risks – of advocacy (eenews.net)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Paul Voosen, E&E reporter

Jon Krosnick has seen the frustration etched into the faces of climate scientists.

For 15 years, Krosnick has charted the rising public belief in global warming. Yet, as the field’s implications became clearer, action has remained elusive. Science seemed to hit the limits of its influence. It is a result that has prompted some researchers to cross their world’s no man’s land — from advice to activism.

As Krosnick has watched climate scientists call for government action, he began pondering a recent small dip in the public’s belief. And he wondered: Could researchers’ move into the political world be undermining their scientific message?

Jon Krosnick
Stanford’s Jon Krosnick has been studying the public’s belief in climate change for 15 years, but only recently did he decide to probe their reaction to scientists’ advocacy. Photo courtesy of Jon Krosnick.

“What if a message involves two different topics, one trustworthy and one not trustworthy?” said Krosnick, a communication and psychology professor at Stanford University. “Can the general public detect crossing that line?”

His results, not yet published, would seem to say they can.

Using a national survey, Krosnick has found that, among low-income and low-education respondents, climate scientists suffered damage to their trustworthiness and credibility when they veered from describing science into calling viewers to ask the government to halt global warming. And not only did trust in the messenger fall — even the viewers’ belief in the reality of human-caused warming dropped steeply.

It is a warning that, even as the frustration of inaction mounts and the politicization of climate science deepens, researchers must be careful in getting off the political sidelines.

“The advice that comes out of this work is that all of us, when we claim to have expertise and offer opinions on matters [in the world], need to be guarded about how far we’re willing to go,” Krosnick said. Speculation, he added, “could compromise everything.”

Krosnick’s survey is just the latest social science revelation that has reordered how natural scientists understand their role in the world. Many of these lessons have stemmed from the public’s and politicians’ reactions to climate change, which has provided a case study of how science communication works and doesn’t work. Complexity, these researchers have found, does not stop at their discipline’s verge.

For decades, most members of the natural sciences held a simple belief that the public stood lost, holding out empty mental buckets for researchers to fill with knowledge, if they could only get through to them. But, it turns out, not only are those buckets already full with a mix of ideology and cultural belief, but it is incredibly fraught, and perhaps ineffective, for scientists to suggest where those contents should be tossed.

It’s been a difficult lesson for researchers.

“Many of us have been saddened that the world has done so little about it,” said Richard Somerville, a meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and former author of the United Nations’ authoritative report on climate change.

“A lot of physical climate scientists, myself included, have in the past not been knowledgeable about what the social sciences have been saying,” he added. “People who know a lot about the science of communication … [are] on board now. But we just don’t see that reflected in the policy process.”

While not as outspoken as NASA’s James Hansen, who has taken a high-profile moral stand alongside groups like 350.org and Greenpeace, Somerville has been a leader in bringing scientists together to call for greenhouse gas reductions. He helped organize the 2007 Bali declaration, a pointed letter from more than 200 scientists urging negotiators to limit global CO2 levels well below 450 parts per million.

Such declarations, in the end, have done little, Somerville said.

“If you look at the effect this has had on the policy process, it is very, very small,” he said.

This failed influence has spurred scientists like Somerville to partner closely with social scientists, seeking to understand why their message has failed. It is an effort that received a seal of approval this spring, when the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s premier research body, hosted a two-day meeting on the science of science communication. Many of those sessions pivoted on public views of climate change.

It’s a discussion that’s been long overdue. When it comes to how the public learns about expert opinions, assumptions mostly rule in the sciences, said Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School.

“Scientists are filled with conjectures that are plausible about how people make sense about information,” Kahan said, “only some fraction of which [are] correct.”

Shifting dynamic

Krosnick’s work began with a simple, hypothetical scene: NASA’s Hansen, whose scientific work on climate change is widely respected, walks into the Oval Office.

As he has since the 1980s, Hansen rattles off the inconvertible, ever-increasing evidence of human-caused climate change. It’s a stunning litany, authoritative in scope, and one the fictional president — be it a Bush or an Obama — must judge against Hansen’s scientific credentials, backed by publications and institutions of the highest order. If Hansen stops there, one might think, the case is made.

But he doesn’t stop. Hansen continues, arguing, as a citizen, for an immediate carbon tax.

“Whoa, there!” Krosnick’s president might think. “He’s crossed into my domain, and he’s out of touch with how policy works.” And if Hansen is willing to offer opinions where he lacks expertise, the president starts to wonder: “Can I trust any of his work?”

Richard Somerville
Part of Scripps’ legendary climate team — Charles David Keeling was an early mentor — Richard Somerville helped organize the 2007 Bali declaration by climate scientists, calling for government action on CO2 emissions. Photo by Sylvia Bal Somerville.

Researchers have studied the process of persuasion for 50 years, Krosnick said. Over that time, a few vital truths have emerged, including that trust in a source matters. But looking back over past work, Krosnick found no answer to this question. The treatment was simplistic. Messengers were either trustworthy or not. No one had considered the case of two messages, one trusted and one shaky, from the same person.

The advocacy of climate scientists provided an excellent path into this shifting dynamic.

Krosnick’s team hunted down video of climate scientists first discussing the science of climate change and then, in the same interview, calling for viewers to pressure the government to act on global warming. (Out of fears of bruised feelings, Krosnick won’t disclose the specific scientists cited.) They cut the video in two edits: one showing only the science, and one showing the science and then the call to arms.

Krosnick then showed a nationally representative sample of 793 Americans one of three videos: the science-only cut, the science and political cut, and a control video about baking meatloaf (The latter being closer to politics than Krosnick might admit). The viewers were then asked a series of questions both about their opinion of the scientist’s credibility and their overall beliefs on global warming.

For a cohort of 548 respondents who either had a household income under $50,000 or no more than a high school diploma, the results were stunning and statistically significant. Across the board, the move into politics undermined the science.

The viewers’ trust in the scientist dropped 16 percentage points, from 48 to 32 percent. Their belief in the scientist’s accuracy fell from 47 to 36 percent. Their overall trust in all scientists went from 60 to 52 percent. Their belief that government should “do a lot” to stop warming fell from 62 to 49 percent. And their belief that humans have caused climate change fell 14 percentage points, from 81 to 67 percent.

Krosnick is quick to note the study’s caveats. First, educated or wealthy viewers had no significant reaction to the political call and seemed able to parse the difference between science and a personal political view. The underlying reasons for the drop are far from clear, as well — it could simply be a function of climate change’s politicization. And far more testing needs to be done to see whether this applies in other contexts.

With further evidence, though, the implications could be widespread, Krosnick said.

“Is it the case that the principle might apply broadly?” he asked. “Absolutely.”

‘Fraught with misadventure’

Krosnick’s study is likely rigorous and useful — he is known for his careful methods — but it still carries with it a simple, possibly misleading frame, several scientists said.

Most of all, it remains hooked to a premise that words float straight from the scientist’s lips to the public’s ears. The idea that people learn from scientists at all or that they are simply misunderstanding scientific conclusions is not how reality works, Yale’s Kahan said.

“The thing that goes into the ear is fraught with misadventure,” he said.

Kahan has been at the forefront of charting how the empty-bucket theory of science communication — called the deficit model — fails. People interpret new information within the context of their own cultural beliefs, peers and politics. They use their reasoning to pick the evidence that supports their views, rather than the other way around. Indeed, recent work by Kahan found that higher-educated respondents were more likely to be polarized than their less-educated peers.

Krosnick’s study will surely spur new investigations, Kahan said, though he resisted definite remarks until he could see the final work. If the study’s conditions aren’t realistic, even a simple model can have “plenty of implications for all kinds of ways of which people become exposed to science,” he said.

The survey sits well with other research in the field and carries an implication about what role scientists should play in scientific debates, added Matthew Nisbet, a communication professor at American University.

“As soon as you start talking about a policy option, you’re presenting information that is potentially threatening to people’s values or identity,” he said. The public, he added, doesn’t “view scientists and scientific information in a vacuum.”

The deficit model has remained an enduring frame for scientists, many of whom are just becoming aware of social science work on the problem. Kahan compares it to the stages of grief. The first stage was that the truth just needs to be broadcast to change minds. The second, and one still influential in the scientific world, is that if the message is just simplified, the right images used, than the deficit will be filled.

“That too, I think, is a stage of misperception about how this works,” Kahan said.

Take the hand-wringing about science education that accompanied a recent poll finding that 46 percent of the United States believed in a creationist origin for humans. It’s a result that speaks to belief, not an understanding of evolution. Many surveyed who believed in evolution would still fail to explain natural selection, mutation or genetic variance, Kahan said, just as they don’t have to understand relativity to use their GPS.

Much of science doesn’t run up against the public’s belief systems and is accepted with little fuss. It’s not as if Louis Pasteur had to sell pasteurization by using slick images of children getting sick; for nearly all of society, it was simply a useful tool. People want to defer to the experts, as long as they don’t have to concede their beliefs on the way.

“People know what’s known without having a comprehension of why that’s the truth,” Kahan said.

There remains a danger in the emerging consensus that all scientific knowledge is filtered by the motivated reasoning of political and cultural ideology, Nisbet added. Not all people can be sorted by two, or even four, variables.

“In the new ideological deficit model, we tend to assume that failures in communication are caused by conservative media and conservative psychology,” he said. “The danger in this model is that we define the public in exclusively binary terms, as liberals versus conservatives, deniers versus believers.”

‘Crossing that line’

So why do climate scientists, more than most fields, cross the line into advocacy?

Most of all, it’s because their scientific work tells them the problem is so pressing, and time dependent, given the centuries-long life span of CO2 emissions, Somerville said.

“You get to the point where the emissions are large enough that you’ve run out of options,” he said. “You can no longer limit [it]. … We may be at that point already.”

There may also be less friction for scientists to suggest communal solutions to warming because, as Nisbet’s work has found, scientists tend to skew more liberal than the general population with more than 50 percent of one U.S. science society self-identifying as “liberal.” Given this outlook, they are more likely to accept efforts like cap and trade, a bill that, in implying a “cap” on activity, rubbed conservatives wrong.

Dan Kahan
A prolific law professor and psychologist at Yale, Dan Kahan has been charting how the public comes to, and understands, science. Photo courtesy of Dan Kahan.

“Not a lot of scientists would question if this is an effective policy,” Nisbet said.

It is not that scientists are unaware that they are moving into policy prescription, either. Most would intuitively know the line between their work and its political implications.

“I think many are aware when they’re crossing that line,” said Roger Pielke Jr., an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, “but they’re not aware of the consequences [of] doing so.”

This willingness to cross into advocacy could also stem from the fact that it is the next logical skirmish. The battle for public opinion on the reality of human-driven climate change is already over, Pielke said, “and it’s been won … by the people calling for action.”

While there are slight fluctuations in public belief, in general a large majority of Americans side with what scientists say about the existence and causes of climate change. It’s not unanimous, he said, but it’s larger than the numbers who supported actions like the Montreal Protocol, the bank bailout or the Iraq War.

What has shifted has been its politicization: As more Republicans have begun to disbelieve global warming, Democrats have rallied to reinforce the science. And none of it is about the actual science, of course. It’s a fact Scripps’ Somerville now understands. It’s a code, speaking for fear of the policies that could happen if the science is accepted.

Doubters of warming don’t just hear the science. A policy is attached to it in their minds.

“Here’s a fact,” Pielke said. “And you have to change your entire lifestyle.”

For all the focus on how scientists talk to the public — whether Hansen has helped or hurt his cause — Yale’s Kahan ultimately thinks the discussion will mean very little. Ask most of the public who Hansen is, and they’ll mention something about the Muppets. It can be hard to accept, for scientists and journalists, but their efforts at communication are often of little consequence, he said.

“They’re not the primary source of information,” Kahan said.

‘A credible voice’

Like many of his peers, Somerville has suffered for his acts of advocacy.

“We all get hate email,” he said. “I’ve given congressional testimony and been denounced as an arrogant elitist hiding behind a discredited organization. Every time I’m on national news, I get a spike in ugly email. … I’ve received death threats.”

There are also pressures within the scientific community. As an elder statesman, Somerville does not have to worry about his career. But he tells young scientists to keep their heads down, working on technical papers. There is peer pressure to stay out of politics, a tension felt even by Somerville’s friend, the late Stephen Schneider, also at Stanford, who was long one of the country’s premier speakers on climate science.

He was publicly lauded, but many in the climate science community grumbled, Somerville said, that Schneider should “stop being a motormouth and start publishing technical papers.”

But there is a reason tradition has sustained the distinction between advising policymakers and picking solutions, one Krosnick’s work seems to ratify, said Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University and a longtime target of climate contrarians.

“It is thoroughly appropriate, as a scientist, to discuss how our scientific understanding informs matters of policy, but … we should stop short of trying to prescribe policy,” Mann said. “This distinction is, in my view, absolutely critical.”

Somerville still supports the right of scientists to speak out as concerned citizens, as he has done, and as his friend, NASA’s Hansen, has done more stridently, protesting projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. As long as great care is taken to separate the facts from the political opinion, scientists should speak their minds.

“I don’t think being a scientist deprives you of the right to have a viewpoint,” he said.

Somerville often returns to a quote from the late Sherwood Rowland, a Nobel laureate from the University of California, Irvine, who discovered the threat chlorofluorocarbons posed to ozone: “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

Somerville asked Rowland several times whether the same held for global warming.

“Yes, absolutely,” he replied.

It’s an argument that Krosnick has heard from his own friends in climate science. But often this fine distinction gets lost in translation, as advocacy groups present the scientist’s personal message as the message of “science.” It’s luring to offer advice — Krosnick feels it himself when reporters call — but restraint may need to rule.

“In order to preserve a credible voice in public dialogue,” Krosnick said, “it might be that scientists such as myself need to restrain ourselves as speaking as public citizens.”

Broader efforts of communication, beyond scientists, could still mobilize the public, Nisbet said. Leave aside the third of the population who are in denial or alarmed about climate change, he said, and figure out how to make it relevant to the ambivalent middle.

“We have yet to really do that on climate change,” he said.

Somerville is continuing his efforts to improve communication from scientists. Another Bali declaration is unlikely, though. What he’d really like to do is get trusted messengers from different moral realms beyond science — leaders like the Dalai Lama — to speak repeatedly on climate change.

It’s all Somerville can do. It would be too painful to accept the other option, that climate change is like racism, war or poverty — problems the world has never abolished.

“[It] may well be that it is a problem that is too difficult for humanity to solve,” he said.

World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim: ‘I want to eradicate poverty’ (The Guardian)

World Bank president says he will bring sense of urgency to efforts to end global poverty in exclusive Guardian interview

Sarah Boseley, health editor, in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 July 2012 13.48 BST

Jim Yong KimJim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, speaks at the opening session of the International Aids Conference in Washington on 22 July. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The new president of the World Bank is determined to eradicate globalpoverty through goals, targets and measuring success in the same way that he masterminded an Aids drugs campaign for poor people nearly a decade ago.

Jim Yong Kim, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, said he was passionately committed to ending absolute poverty, which threatens survival and makes progress impossible for the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day.

“I want to eradicate poverty,” he said. “I think that there’s a tremendous passion for that inside the World Bank.”

Kim, who took over at the World Bank three weeks ago and is not only the first doctor and scientist (he is also an anthropologist) to be president but the first with development experience, will set “a clear, simple goal” in the eradication of absolute poverty. Getting there, however, needs progress on multiple, but integrated, fronts.

“The evidence suggests that you’ve got to do a lot of good, good things in unison, to be able to make that happen,” said Kim. “The private sectorhas to grow, you have to have social protection mechanisms, you have to have a functioning health and education system. The scientific evidence strongly suggests that it has to be green – you have to do it in a way that is sustainable both for the environment and financially. All the great themes that we’ve been dealing with here have to come together to eradicate poverty from the face of the Earth.”

Kim, who was previously head of the Ivy League Dartmouth College, is probably best known for his stint at the World Health Organisation (WHO), where he challenged the system to move faster in making Aids drugs available to people with HIV in the developing world who were dying in large numbers. In 2003, he set a target of 3 million people being on treatment by 2005 – thereafter known as “3 by 5”. The target was not met on time, but it did focus minds and rapidly speed up the pace of the rollout, which included setting up clinics and training healthcare staff.

Now, he says, he thinks he can do the same for poverty. “What 3 by 5 did that we just didn’t expect was to set a tempo to the response; it created a sense of urgency. There was pace and rhythm in the way we did things. We think we can do something similar for poverty,” he said.

Asked if he would set a date this time, he said he was sorely tempted, but would not yet. “We don’t know what they will be yet, but [there will be] goals, and counting. We need to keep up and say where we are making successes and why, and when are we going to be held to account next for the level of poverty. If we can build that kind of pace and rhythm into the movement, we think we can make a lot more progress,” he said in his office at the Bank in Washington.

Kim was seen by many as a surprise choice for president. During the election, critics argued there should be an economist at the helm. Some said that, as a doctor, he would focus too much on health.

But Kim, who co-founded Partners In Health, which pioneered sustainable, high-quality healthcare for poor people, first in Haiti and later in Africa, said his three years at the WHO have been the only ones of his career that were solely devoted to health.

“It’s always been about poverty, so for me, making the switch to being here at the Bank is really not that much of a stretch. I’ve been doing this all my life and we’re in a bit of the spotlight because of the stuff we did in healthcare but it was really always about poverty,” he said.

Partners in Health offered HIV and tuberculosis treatment to poor people in Haiti for the first time. “We were trying to make a point. And the point we were trying to make was that just because people are poor shouldn’t mean that they shouldn’t have access to high quality healthcare. It was always based in social justice, it was always based in the notion that people had a right to live a dignified life. The good news is that this place – the Bank – is just full of people like that.”

Kim, who has spent his first weeks talking to Bank staff with expertise in a huge range of areas, strongly believes in the integration of all aspects of development, and says the staff do too. He cites a new hospital Partners built in Rwanda, which led to the building of a road to get there and then the expansion of mobile phone networks in the area. “In a very real sense, we’ve always believed that investing in health means investing in the wellbeing and development of that entire community,” he said.

Speaking to the International Aids Conference in Washington this week – the first World Bank president to do so – Kim told activists and scientists that the end of Aids no longer looked as far-fetched as the 3 by 5 plan had appeared in 2003. Science has delivered tools, such as drugs that not only treat but prevent infection.

But the cost of drugs for life for 15 million or more people is not sustainable, he says. Donors are unlikely to foot the bill. Hard-hit developing countries have to be helped to grow so they can pay for the drugs and healthcare systems they need.

Kim would like the highly active HIV community to broaden its focus. “We’ve had Aids exceptionalism for a long time and Aids exceptionalism has been incredibly important. It has been so productive for all of us,” he said. “But I think that as we go beyond the emergency response and think about the long-term sustainable response, conversations such as how do we spur growth in the private sector have to be part of the discussion.”

Every country wants economic growth, he says, and people want jobs. “If I care about poverty, I have to care a lot about investments in the private sector. The private sector creates the vast majority of jobs in the world and social protection only goes so far,” he said.

Nevertheless, he is a big proponent of social protection policies. “I’ve always been engaged in social protection programmes. But now it is really a signature of the World Bank. We’re very good at helping people look at their public expenditures and we say to them things like, fuel subsidies really aren’t very helpful to the poor – what you really need is to remove fuel subsidies and focus on things like conditional cash transfer plans. The Bank is great at that.”

New to him are climate change and sustainability, he says. “We are watching things happen with one degree changes in ocean temperature that we thought wouldn’t happen until there were two or three degree changes in ocean temperature. These are facts. These are things that have actually happened … I think we now have plenty of evidence that should push us into thinking that this is disturbing data and should spur us to think ever more seriously about clean energy and how can we move our focus more towards clean energy.”

But poor countries are saying they need more energy and we must respect that, he says. “It’s hard to say to them we still do it but you can’t … I think our role is to say the science suggests strongly to us that we should help you looking for clean energy solutions.”

A Century Of Weather Control (POP SCI)

Posted 7.19.12 at 6:20 pm – http://www.popsci.com

 

Keeping Pilots Updated, November 1930

It’s 1930 and, for obvious reasons, pilots want regular reports on the weather. What to do? Congress’s solution was to give the U.S. Weather Bureau cash to send them what they needed. It was a lot of cash, too: $1.4 million, or “more than one third the sum it spend annually for all of its work.”

About 13,000 miles of airway were monitored for activity, and reports were regularly sent via the now quaintly named “teletype”–an early fax machine, basically, that let a typed message be reproduced. Pilots were then radioed with the information.

From the article “Weather Man Makes the Air Safe.”

 

Battling Hail, July 1947

We weren’t shy about laying on the drama in this piece on hail–it was causing millions in damage across the country and we were sick of it. Our writer says, “The war against hail has been declared.” (Remember: this was only two years after World War II, which was a little more serious. Maybe our patriotism just wouldn’t wane.)

The idea was to scatter silver iodide as a form of “cloud seeding”–turning the moisture to snow before it hails. It’s a process that’s still toyed with today.

From the article “The War Against Hail.”

 

Hunting for a Tornado “Cure,” March 1958

1957 was a record-breaking year for tornadoes, and PopSci was forecasting even rougher skies for 1958. As described by an official tornado watcher: ‘”They’re coming so fast and thick … that we’ve lost count.'”

To try to stop it, researchers wanted to learn more. Meteorologists asked for $5 million more a year from Congress to be able to study tornadoes whirling through the Midwest’s Tornado Alley, then, hopefully, learn what they needed to do to stop them.

From the article “What We’re Learning About Tornadoes.”

 

Spotting Clouds With Nimbus, November 1963

Weather satellites were a boon to both forecasters and anyone affected by extreme weather. The powerful Hurricane Esther was discovered two days before anything else spotted it, leaving space engineers “justifiably proud.” The next satellite in line was the Nimbus, which Popular Science devoted multiple pages to covering, highlighting its ability to photograph cloud cover 24 hours a day and give us better insight into extreme weather.

Spoiler: the results really did turn out great, with Nimbus satellites paving the way for modern GPS devices.

From the article “The Weather Eye That Never Blinks.”

 

Saving Money Globally With Forecasts, November 1970

Optimism for weather satellites seemed to be reaching a high by the ’70s, with Popular Science recounting all the disasters predicted–how they “saved countless lives through early hurricane warnings”–and now even saying they’d save your vacation.

What they were hoping for then was an accurate five-day forecast for the world, which they predicted would save billions and make early warnings even better.

From the article “How New Weather Satellites Will Give You More Reliable Forecasts.”

 

Extreme Weather Alerts on the Radio, July 1979

Those weather alerts that come on your television during a storm–or at least one radio version of those–were documented byPopular Science in 1979. But rather than being something that anyone could tune in to, they were specialized radios you had to purchase, which seems like a less-than-great solution to the problem. But at this point the government had plans to set up weather monitoring stations near 90 percent of the country’s population, opening the door for people to find out fast what the weather situation was.

From the article “Weather-Alert Radios–They Could Save Your Life.”

 

Stopping “Bolts From the Blue,” May 1990

Here Popular Science let loose a whooper for anyone with a fear of extreme weather: lightning kills a lot more people every year than you think, and sometimes a lightning bolt will come and hit you even when there’s not a storm. So-called “bolts from the blue” were a part of the story on better predicting lightning, a phenomenon more manic than most types of weather. Improved sensors played a major part in better preparing people before a storm.

From the article “Predicting Deadly Lightning.”

 

Infrared Views of Weather, August 1983

Early access to computers let weather scientists get a 3-D, radar-based view of weather across the country. The system culled information from multiple sources and placed it in one viewable display. (The man pictured looks slightly bored for how revolutionary it is.) The system was an attempt to take global information and make it into “real-time local predictions.”

From the article “Nowcasting: New Weather Computers Pinpoint Deadly Storms.”

 

Modernizing the National Weather Service, August 1997

A year’s worth of weather detection for every American was coming at the price of “a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke,” the deputy director of the National Weather Service said in 1997. The computer age better tied together the individual parts of weather forecasting for the NWS, leaving a unified whole that could grab complicated meteorological information and interpret it in just a few seconds.

From the article “Weather’s New Outlook.”

 

Modeling Weather With Computers, September 2001

Computer simulations, we wrote, would help us predict future storms more accurately. But it took (at the time) the largest supercomputer around to give us the kinds of models we wanted. Judging by the image, we might’ve already made significant progress on the weather modeling front.

A diretriz do Rio é decepcionante, dizem grupos da sociedade civil (IPS)

Envolverde Rio + 20
21/6/2012 – 10h48

por Stephen Leahy, da IPS

Rio Civil Society final1 A diretriz do Rio é decepcionante, dizem grupos da sociedade civil

Um cartaz em uma parede no Riocentro. Grupos da sociedade civil dizem que estão “muito decepcionados” com as negociações formais na Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Desenvolvimento Sustentável, a Rio+20. Foto: Stephen Leahy/IPS

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (TerraViva) “Muito decepcionante” é a forma como empresas e organizações não governamentais descreveram, hoje, as negociações intergovernamentais formais na Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Desenvolvimento Sustentável, a Rio+20.

Depois de dois anos, negociadores de mais de 190 nações concordaram com um documento de 49 páginas destinado a ser o roteiro para essa transformação. Ele será apresentado aos chefes de Estado no Rio de Janeiro, na abertura da reunião de alto nível da cúpula, no dia 20. Funcionários da ONU disseram que era altamente improvável que qualquer mudança seja feita. O documento deixa de fora o fundo de US$ 30 bilhões para financiar a transição para uma economia verde proposto pelo Grupo dos 77 (G-77), bloco de nações em desenvolvimento mais a China, e não define Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (SDGs) tangíveis para substituir as Metas do Milênio, que expiram em 2015.

“Isso é extremamente decepcionante…. Não há visão, não há dinheiro e realmente não há compromissos aqui”, disse Lasse Gustavsson, chefe internacional da delegação para a Rio+20 do World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “A Rio +20 deveria ter sido sobre a vida, sobre o futuro dos nossos filhos, dos nossos netos. Deveria ter sido sobre florestas, rios, lagos, oceanos dos quais todos nós estamos dependendo para a nossa segurança de alimentos, água e energia”, declarou ao TerraViva.

A conferência foi um contraste gritante com a emocionante atmosfera de “vamos mudar o mundo” da primeira Cúpula da Terra em 1992, disse Robert Engleman do Worldwatch Institute, um “think tank” ambiental internacional. Enquanto o documento de forma geral re-confirma compromissos passados de uma forma muito passiva, há uma nova confirmação a respeito da importância da preservação de sementes tradicionais, e a consideração sobre fortalecer o Programa das Nações Unidas para o Meio Ambiente (Pnuma), afirmou ao TerraViva.

“Este documento é uma grande decepção, não há ambição e pouca referência aos desafios planetários que enfrentamos”, disse Kiara Worth, representando o grupo Crianças e Jovens na Rio +20. “As vozes da sociedade civil e as futuras gerações não serão ouvidas. Devemos chamar este evento de ‘Rio menos 20′ porque estamos indo para trás”, declarou ao TerraViva.

Steven Wilson do International Council for Science, uma organização não governamental que representa organismos científicos nacionais e uniões científicas internacionais, observou que “a evidência científica é clara. Nós vamos precisar de um esforço global em ciência e tecnologia para atender o maior desafio que a humanidade já enfrentou, e eu não entendo porque não há uma seção no documento sobre a ciência. Isto passa uma mensagem muito infeliz”.

Jeffery Huffines da Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation, organização com sede em Joahnnesburgo, na África do Sul, opinou que “nós temos um sistema econômico fundamentalmente falho e nós da sociedade civil esperávamos que os governos do mundo reconhecessem essa realidade, mas eles não fizeram isso.” Em vez disso, há 49 páginas de conceitos, sem quaisquer compromissos ou meios para avançar com estes conceitos. O papel da participação da sociedade civil tem sido limitado. “Precisamos de uma tomada de decisões mais democrática, e não menos”, enfatizou. Envolverde/IPS

* Publicado originalmente no site TerraViva.

Definição de economia verde, uma pedra no sapato da Rio+20 (IPS)

Envolverde Rio + 20
15/6/2012 – 09h58

por Thalif Deen, da IPS

Slide18 Definição de economia verde, uma pedra no sapato da Rio+20Nova York, Estados Unidos, 15/6/2012 (IPS/TerraViva) – A discussão central da Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Desenvolvimento Sustentável, a Rio+20, que acontecerá na próxima semana no Rio de Janeiro, será em torno do conceito de “economia verde” e sobre a melhor forma de defini-la.

“Se a economia for definida claramente apontando para um desenvolvimento sustentável, sem recorrer a experimentos baseados no mercado ou em soluções técnicas, será um êxito”, disse Alex Scrivener, oficial de políticas do World Delepoment Movement (WDM – Movimento Mundial de Desenvolvimento), com sede em Londres. O secretário-geral da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU), Ban Ki-moon, afirmou que a comunidade internacional deve chegar a um consenso sobre a economia verde inclusiva, “que tire as pessoas da pobreza e proteja o meio ambiente”. Isto, acrescentou, exige colaboração internacional. Contudo, também investimento, financiamento, experiências compartilhadas e transferência de tecnologia.

Um tema fundamental da Rio+20 será como integrar uma “economia verde” ao conceito mais amplo de desenvolvimento sustentável. Segundo o WDM, “uma verdadeira economia verde adotará a justiça econômica e o direito das comunidades pobres de definirem seu próprio caminho para sair da pobreza e acabar com as políticas perniciosas que priorizam o lucro em relação às pessoas e ao meio ambiente”. O WDM também diz que esta economia porá fim “à nossa obsessão pelo crescimento econômico e um consumo não sustentável, os quais reorientará insistindo em como cobrir as necessidades de todo o mundo de maneira verdadeiramente sustentável”.

O rascunho do plano de ação, documento a ser discutido na Rio+20, divulgado em janeiro, era vago e deixava de fora muitos dos compromissos concretos, diz a organização, mas as negociações seguintes parecem tê-lo diluído ainda mais. Sem declarações específicas, como a disponibilidade de fundos para facilitar para os países em desenvolvimento a implantação de políticas verdes ou um cronograma concreto para o fim dos subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis, o documento final da conferência corre o risco de ser uma declaração insossa de generalidades, destaca o WDM.

Esta organização observa que as nações industrializadas, como a Grã-Bretanha, além dos bancos e das companhias multinacionais, utilizam o termo “economia verde” como cortina de fumaça para esconder seus planos de privatizar bens globais e criar novos mercados para os serviços que a natureza fornece gratuitamente. “Deste cavalo de Troia surgirão novos mecanismos de mercado que permitirão ao setor financeiro obter maior controle sobre a gestão dos bens globais”, alerta a organização.

Em lugar de contribuir para o desenvolvimento sustentável e a justiça econômica, esta “economia verde corporativa” levará à privatização da terra e da natureza, as quais passarão a ser controladas por multinacionais que as afastarão das comunidades que delas dependem, prevê o WDM. Scrivener não acredita que o Fundo Verde para o Clima alcance o objetivo de reunir US$ 100 bilhões até 2020. “A falta de fundos públicos se tornou a desculpa dos países industrializados para justificar sua falta de colaboração econômica para o clima ou sua tentativa de utilizar fundos privados para cobrir o vazio”, afirmou.

“A realidade é que, apesar da crise de dívida soberana na Europa ter aumentando a pressão sobre a disponibilidade de fundos públicos, perdeu-se totalmente a oportunidade de explorar novas fontes”, apontou Scrivener. Como exemplo mencionou que a ideia de introduzir novos impostos em setores muito contaminantes, como são a aviação e os transportes, citada na cúpula de Copenhague no final de 2009, caiu no esquecimento, apesar de esse tipo de medida ser suficiente para cobrir a falta de fundos públicos.

“Quando se fala de escassez de fundos não devemos esquecer a dívida climática que o mundo industrializado tem com as nações em desenvolvimento”, ressaltou Scrivener. Esse dinheiro, que representaria uma ínfima proporção dos orçamentos das nações ricas, “não deveria ser considerado um compromisso discricionário e sua concessão deveria ser vista como prioritária”, considerou.

“Infelizmente, é pouco provável que no Rio de Janeiro seja anunciado um pacote com fundos públicos, e o rascunho preliminar do documento final não estabelece nada significativo além da tradicional assistência oficial ao desenvolvimento, de 0,7% do produto interno bruto”, lamentou Scrivener. “É ruim, mas creio que a principal batalha na cúpula girará em torno dos princípios para definir uma nova economia verde”, acrescentou.

A atual crise econômica deveria servir de lição para os governos sobre a inerente instabilidade, a falta de sustentabilidade de nosso sistema econômico e as razões pelas quais deve ser substituído. No entanto, os governos se concentram em regressar a um crescimento econômico que não é sustentável, e inclusive estudam destinar um valor monetário à natureza, o que poderia estender a influência dos instáveis mercados financeiros sobre o meio ambiente.

A crise também faz os governos não darem importância aos grandes desafios que representam a mudança climática, a redução da pobreza e a degradação ambiental. “Vemos que isso acontece em diferentes âmbitos como a falta de ambição do rascunho do documento final da Rio+20”, acrescentou Scrivener. Quanto à mudança climática, essa mentalidade ficou demonstrada com a retirada de Canadá, Japão e Rússia do Protocolo de Kyoto, bem como pela tentativa de considerar o gás natural como uma fonte de energia barata que emite pouco dióxido de carbono.

Envolverde/IPS

The top five things voters need to know about conservatives and climate change (Grist.org)

By David Roberts4 Jun 2012 3:46 PM

Five! (Photo by woodleywonderworks)I’ve seen a recent surge of stories about conservatives and climate change. None of them, oddly, tell voters what they most need to know on the subject. In fact, one of them does the opposite. (Grrrr …)I respond in accordance with internet tradition: a listicle!
5. Conservatives have a long history of advancing environmental progress. In a column directed to Mitt Romney, Thomas Friedman reels off(one suspects from memory) “the G.O.P.’s long tradition of environmental stewardship that some Republicans are still proud of: Teddy Roosevelt bequeathed us national parks, Richard Nixon the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, Ronald Reagan the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and George H. W. Bush cap-and-trade that reduced acid rain.” This familiar litany is slightly misleading, attributing to presidents what is mostly the work of Congresses, but the basic point is valid enough: In the 20th century, Republicans have frequently played a constructive role on the environment.
4. There is a conservative approach to addressing climate change. Law professor Jonathan Adler has laid it out in the past and does so again in a much-discussed post over at The Atlantic. He suggests prizes for innovation, reduced regulatory barriers to alternative energy, a revenue-neutral carbon tax, and some measure of adaptation.It’ll be no surprise to Adler or anyone else that I believe the problem is more severe than he does; solving it — as opposed to just “doing something” — will involve a far more vigorous government role than he envisions. But he makes an eloquent, principled case for the simple notion that “embrace of limited government principles need not entail the denial of environmental claims.” Conservatives could, if they wanted, spend their time arguing for their preferred solutions rather than denying scientific results.
3. There are conservatives who believe in taking action on climate change. Even thosedismal polls we’re always talking about find 30 or 40 percent of Republicans acknowledging the threat of climate change. And support for clean air and clean energy policies remains high across the board. Heck, some — OK, a tiny handful of — conservatives are even brave enough to say so in public! It’s really only the hard nut of the GOP, anywhere from 15 to 30 percent, depending on how you measure, that is intensely and ideologically opposed to climate science and solutions alike. Oh, and almost all Republicans in Congress.
2. Mitt Romney used to say and do moderate things on green issues when he was governor of Massachusetts. He spoke in favor of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system for Northeastern states, and introduced the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan. He wasn’t afraid to crack down on coal plants — I never get tired of thisremarkable video:Romney also directed considerable state funding to renewable energy companies and waged open war on sprawl. It’s almost like he was running a state where that kind of stuff was popular.
1. The Republican establishment has gone nuts on climate change and the environment.This, more than anything, is what American voters need to know about the Republican Party — not what Republicans used to do, or what one or two outliers say, but what the party as an extant political force is devoted to today. The actually existing GOP wants todismantle the EPA, open more public land to coal mining and oil drilling, remove what regulatory constraints remain on fossil-fuel companies, slash the budget for clean-energy research and deployment, scrap CAFE and efficiency standards, protect inefficient light bulbs, withdraw from all international negotiations or efforts on climate, and stop the military from using less oil.
Which brings me to the piece that drives me crazy, from National Journal‘s customarily excellent Amy Harder: “Campaign Energy Messages Differ; Policies Not So Much.”Seriously?No … seriously?I know journalists don’t headline their own pieces. But the piece itself isn’t much better. Take this bit:

Whether the data is inflated or not, the message that may be coming across most to voters is that there really isn’t much difference between Obama’s policies and those likely to be pursued in a Romney administration.

Ah, so the problem is not that Obama and Romney would have similar energy policies. That’s just the message “coming across to most voters.
”Now, if you’re a journalist, and you determine that voters are receiving a wildly incorrect message, what do you do? Do you write a story about their receipt of the incorrect message? Or do you correct the message?
The fact is, Romney would not pursue the same energy policies that Obama is pursuing. At all. Not even a little bit. It’s interesting, I suppose, that Romney used to run a state (and a state party) where moderate energy policy was demanded by voters. But what matters now is that Mitt Romney serves the present-day Republican Party, which has gone crazy.
The notion that Mitt Romney will rediscover some hidden internal moderate and buck the party on this stuff is just a VSP fantasy. Ever since he started running for president (this time around, anyway), he’s been frantically trying to please the right-wing base. Friedman says Romney’s “biggest challenge in attracting independent swing voters will be overcoming a well-earned reputation for saying whatever the Republican base wants to hear.” But self-styled centrists like Friedman have been saying this kind of thing forever and there remains very little indication that any Republican politician faces a tangible cost for pandering to the right.
Romney will not be elected to follow his heart. He’ll be elected to ratify the GOP agenda. Grover Norquist, a man with as much claim to leadership of the GOP as anyone, made his feelings on the matter extremely clear at CPAC:

All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.…Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared. [my emphasis]

Mitt Romney is well-aware — and if he wasn’t before, the primary taught him — that his job is to “sign the legislation that has already been prepared.” The leadership of the party is in Congress. It has declared skepticism of climate science the de facto party position. It has declared open war on clean energy, efficiency, and environmental protections. It has made clear that it will support fossil-fuel companies at every juncture.
That’s conservatives and climate for you. It’s interesting, intellectually, that there’s a history of green moderation in the party; that there’s a conceptual space where titular conservative principles overlap with climate protection; that many self-identified Republicans aren’t as crazy as their leaders; and that Romney used to pander in a different direction. But what’s relevant to voters who value climate and environmental protection is that they won’t get any under a GOP administration or a GOP Congress.

A Negação das Mudanças Climáticas e seu Despropósito versus a Objetividade e Atitude Ponderada da Comunidade Científica

by Alexandre Araújo Costa on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 12:56pm (postado no Facebook)

Tenho recebido respostas interessantes a meus posts anteriores em que discuto a negação das mudanças climáticas. Alguns, que concordam ou simpatizam com a visão dos negadores, compartilharam links que, democraticamente, permanecem na minha página, expondo ainda mais os erros crassos e primários da negação. Como mostro, nenhum dos pseudo-argumentos apresentados se sustenta de pé, tendo eu mesmo os refutado ou indicado links que desmistificam tudo. Em alguns casos, indicar outros materiais de sites confiáveis como http://www.realclimate.org ou http://www.skepticalscience.com torna-se mais fácil e prático, pois uma característica da incansável hidra negadora é a da reciclagem de material (pelo menos nisso, ela é ecologicamente correta…). Algo desmentido uma vez pode aparecer noutro momento e/ou noutro país como uma “nova descoberta” para mostrar que “o aquecimento global é uma farsa” e toda a ladainha negadora repetida à exaustão, no esforço de repetir tanto uma mentira até que ela pareça verdade. Infelizmente, como mostrei em http://www.facebook.com/notes/alexandre-ara%C3%BAjo-costa/a-nega%C3%A7%C3%A3o-das-mudan%C3%A7as-clim%C3%A1ticas-o-bode-e-os-gamb%C3%A1s-o-que-%C3%A9-uma-opini%C3%A3o-pondera/393911987317366, algumas dessas mentiras parecem mesmo ter forte tendência a serem perpetuadas, como as acusações grotescas contra Michael Mann e outros cientistas.

Obviamente há também os comentários de amigos que compartilham dos meus pontos de vista (ou pelo menos de boa parte deles) sobre o que está em jogo no que diz respeito à negação das mudanças climáticas. E muitos desses comentários têm servido de mote para dar prosseguimento à discussão. Assim como foi com o bode, inspirado por um desses amigos, assim é com a discussão sobre as noções de “posição ponderada” ou “posição radical” trazida por outro, que levanta a questão de que se “a posição ponderada sobre o aquecimento global é a do IPCC”, (…) “ela estaria entre as hipóteses radicais minimizadoras/negacionistas e supostas hipóteses radicais alarmistas/apocalípticas”.

O “texto do bode” dá dicas no sentido de que uma coisa não leva necessariamente à outra, dando exemplos em que, na realidade, pontos de vista intermediários seriam impossíveis ou, no mínimo, bizarrices frankensteinianas de pensamento. Há nessa suposição uma simplificação, como se pudéssemos marcar os pontos de vista como pontos geométricos em um segmento de reta e que a posição que representa uma melhor aproximação da realidade seria uma espécie de média (aritmética ou “ponderada”) dos extremos. Evidentemente, num debate que prime pela honestidade intelectual e em que os atores sejam movidos por um interesse comum, talvez o esqueminha da figura abaixo tenha alguma validade. Caso contrário, é preciso abandoná-lo como representação pictórica adequada.

É fato que não vi nenhum cientista falando de “efeito estufa desenfreado” (que aconteceu provavelmente em Vênus) como algo que possa ocorrer na Terra em um futuro tangível, ou outra teoria “radical” nesse sentido, mas quando digo que o IPCC tenta exprimir o consenso da comunidade científica, isso quer dizer que ele tenta encontrar estimativas quantitativas de um determinado fenômeno, efeito ou processo (bem como da incerteza em torno dessa estimativa), com base no que há disponível na literatura científica e/ou em bases de dados reconhecidamente validadas.

Para processos, fenômenos e componentes do sistema climático com efeito bem conhecido, geralmente a “barra de erro” (incerteza) é pequena, indicando que os valores estimados por diferentes metodologias e por diferentes grupos de pesquisa relatados em diferentes artigos na literatura são todos muito próximos. Processos sobre os quais não se tem um conhecimento quantitativo tão preciso geralmente exibem uma barra de erro maior, exprimindo exatamente esse menor grau de entendimento na forma de um maior espalhamento entre as estimativas individuais disponíveis na literatura.

Uma das estimativas mais importantes nesse sentido é a da grandeza que conhecemos como “Forçante Radiativa”, isto é, a contribuição de um determinado componente do sistema climático (seja um gás de efeito estufa ou um tipo de aerossol, ou a variabilidade solar, etc.) para alterar o balanço de energia desse sistema ao longo de um dado período. A Forçante Radiativa é a energia ganha ou perdida (respectivamente positiva ou negativa) pelo sistema climático em função das mudanças nesse componente por unidade de área por unidade de tempo (sendo medida em Watts por metro quadrado ou W/m2). Por exemplo, como vários gases de efeito estufa têm tido sua concentração aumentada desde o período pré-industrial, eles exercem uma forçante radiativa positiva desde lá até o presente pois mais energia é retida no sistema climático agora do que antes, ao invés de deixar o planeta na forma de radiação infravermelho. Por outro lado, uma atmosfera com mais aerossóis (partículas líquidas ou sólidas em suspensão) reflete mais luz, portanto, como a concentração destes também aumentou com a industrialização, os aerossóis contribuem com uma forçante radiativa negativa, pois menos energia entra no sistema na forma de luz solar. Um componente cujo comportamento não tenha mudado de maneira significativa nos últimos séculos exerce, portanto, uma forçante radiativa próxima de zero.

Dentre as componentes bem estudadas e com estimativas bem consolidadas, estão o CO2 e demais gases de efeito estufa de vida longa (metano, óxido nitroso e halocarbonetos). Em 2005, a estimativa era de que o aumento antrópico do CO2 na atmosfera (cuja concentração então era de 379 partes por milhão e hoje em dia ultrapassou 390) contribuía com uma forçante de +1,66 W/m2 (com pequena incerteza para mais ou para menos) um valor bastante significativo para o aquecimento do sistema climático terrestre. Os demais gases de efeito estufa entram com algo muito próximo de 1 W/m2 a mais.

Mesmo com incertezas relativamente maiores, o caso do Sol é um excelente exemplo de como o IPCC chega a uma estimativa “de consenso”. Em http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-7-1-2.html, é mostrado um levantamento das estimativas disponíveis na literatura científica de quanto a atividade solar teria variado desde o período conhecido como “mínimo de Maunder”, no século XVII, até os dias de hoje, algo que tanto os negadores gostam de falar. Devo dizer que as estimativas não são de artigos de pesquisadores em clima, mas de estudos por especialistas… em Sol. As estimativas são de que as mudanças na atividade solar desde então têm contribuído com quase zero (isso mesmo!) a, na estimativa maior, +0,68 W/m2, como mostrado neste link. Percebam que, baseando-se nos especialistas que estudam o Sol, o IPCC não poderia fazer outra coisa a não ser atribuir às variações de atividade solar uma forçante radiativa de aquecimento bastante modesta, de poucos décimos de W/m2. Não haveria motivo para concluir que o Sol não variou em nada se apenas dois estudos em dez vão nesse sentido, mas também não teria sentido adotar uma estimativa próxima do outro extremo. Mas é preciso deixar claro! Mesmo se escolhêssemos a dedo esse maior valor, ainda assim chegaríamos à conclusão inevitável de que a contribuição da variabilidade solar para o clima desde o século XVII é várias vezes menor do que a dos gases de efeito estufa! Considerando estimativas a partir do século XVIII (e não XVII), fica mais claro que o papel do Sol é ainda menos significativo (forçante radiativa estimada de apenas +0,12 W/m2).

Algo parecido é feito com os aerossóis de sulfato como em http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-4-4-1.html, mostrando que, como sua concentração na atmosfera também aumentou em função da industrialização, esses aerossóis exercem um efeito de resfriamento, contrabalançando parte do efeito de aquecimento dos gases de efeito estufa, com estimativas de forçante radiativa variando entre -0,12 e -0,96 W/m2.

Há valores discrepantes entre estimativas? Há! Mas, ei… não é um leilão onde um negador pode chegar e chutar qualquer valor numérico, nem muito menos, sem nenhum embasamento, chegar e dizer “o aquecimento é natural”, “o sol é que está causando o aquecimento da Terra”, etc. Mede-se, calcula-se, submete-se à apreciação da revisão por pares. Aí sim, ganha-se voz no debate científico. Os que abandonam a seriedade do método realmente não têm compromisso em se aproximar da verdade científica.

Portanto, a opinião ponderada não está “no meio” entre opiniões cientificamente fundamentadas e desvarios motivados por agenda econômica, político-ideológica ou vaidade! Não pode estar! Está “no meio” daquilo que tem valor científico! As indicações do IPCC são médias entre medidas e estimativas de verdade, documentadas e publicadas às quais se agrega uma barra de incerteza. Representa o bom senso de não considerar como verdade absoluta nenhum valor individualmente medido ou estimado por diferentes pesquisadores usando diferentes métodos (satélite, observação de superfície, modelagem, etc.). Tampouco se agarra em um valor extremo, nem de um lado, nem de outro. Essas estimativas são o ponto de partida para obter tanto a melhor avaliação (a grosso modo, a média) quanto a incerteza, que depende do espalhamento das várias estimativas, chegando a algo como http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/fig/figure2-20-l.png, reproduzida a seguir.

Essa figura não deixa margens para dúvidas e é por isso que o IPCC se pronunciou. Ao se somar os efeitos, o resultado é de uma forçante radiativa positiva, que não pode resultar em outra coisa senão aquecimento. De onde vem a maior parte desse sinal? Do CO2 e dos gases de efeito estufa. O silêncio seria uma postura de irresponsabilidade e covardia extremas, numa situação em que, mesmo tomando a menor estimativa de aquecimento por esses gases e a maior estimativa de resfriamento pelos aerossóis (o principal fator que atua no sentido contrário), ainda assim se obtém um número que indica que o planeta está, sim, aquecendo, e de maneira intrinsecamente ligada às atividades humanas. Esse posicionamento (que para muito além do IPCC enquanto instituição é a de mais de 97% daqueles que são pesquisadores atuantes na área, vide http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm), portanto, é ponderada, séria, realista. Nada tem de radical. Se a ciência alerta para riscos e implica em mudanças em nossa sociedade que podem parecer incômodas, e as pessoas preferem ignorar esse alerta, aí é outra história! Espero que fique claro, assim, porque não se pode conceder um milímetro sequer aos negadores, em seu desserviço à opinião pública, em sua ação deliberada de desinformação, em sua campanha abertamente anti-ciência.

Mas se vocês querem saber, parece haver alguém que tem radicalizado no sentido oposto ao dos negadores, sim! Esse alguém tem mostrado que algumas projeções do IPCC são, ao invés de ponderadas, subestimadas, conservadoras… Já ouviram falar de uma tal de “Natureza”? Pois bem… Mas esse será o assunto de outro artigo…

Empresariado promove agenda paralela à Rio+20 (Mercado Ético)

Envolverde Rio + 20
31/5/2012 – 10h44

por Sucena Shkrada Resk, do Mercado Ético

Capa4 Empresariado promove agenda paralela à Rio+20A Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Rio+20) não mobiliza somente os governos e a sociedade civil organizada, mas também o setor empresarial, que estará presente em eventos paralelos, no mês de junho, no Rio de Janeiro e em outras localidades do Brasil. Os temas centrais do evento – economia verde no contexto do desenvolvimento sustentável e da erradicação da pobreza, além da governança internacional da sustentabilidade – são o pano de fundo para a realização dos debates e propostas entre as organizações da iniciativa privada.

“Os eventos paralelos à conferência e à pré-conferência Rio+20 são uma forma de envolver a sociedade organizada, empresas e outras partes interessadas no processo de discussão dos rumos do acordo político que está sendo construído para fortalecer a inclusão dos princípios do desenvolvimento sustentável nas diversas instâncias de processos decisórios. Cada encontro lateral busca atingir algum público e algum ponto de vista”, explica Jorge Soto, diretor de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da Braskem, uma das corporações que terá atividades voltadas ao público presente na Rio+20.

Segundo ele, dessa forma, a soma de todos os encontros laterais cobrirá a diversidade, própria ao desenvolvimento sustentável. “Entendo que dessa ampla participação e discussão surgirão propostas que colocarão a energia e o apoio que os negociadores precisam para que o acordo político resultante seja contundente e à altura do desafio que a humanidade está enfrentando”, avalia.

Programação

A exemplo do evento oficial e da Cúpula dos Povos, a agenda ligada às corporações está bem diversificada. No período de 11 a 13 de junho, em São Paulo, será realizada a já tradicional Conferência Ethos 2012, cujo tema será A empresa e a nova economia: o que muda com a Rio + 20 (www.ethos.org.br/ci2012). Na ocasião também será lançada a versão em português da obra O Estado do Mundo 2012: Rumo à Prosperidade Sustentável, do World Watch Institute.

“Durante o evento, discutiremos e produziremos um documento em parceria com representantes de cerca de 40 organizações, com propostas em relação aos 10 temas (veja abaixo) que serão debatidos por representantes da sociedade civil nos Diálogos sobre Desenvolvimento Sustentável, que será organizados pelo governo brasileiro, de 16 a 19 de junho, na programação da Rio+20″, explica Paulo Itacarambi, vice-presidente executivo do Instituto Ethos.

Os temas são: Desenvolvimento Sustentável para o combate à pobreza; Como resposta às crises econômicas e financeiras; Desemprego, trabalho decente e migrações; A economia do Desenvolvimento Sustentável, incluindo padrões sustentáveis de produção e consumo; Florestas; Segurança alimentar e nutricional; Energia Sustentável para todos; Água; Cidades Sustentáveis e Inovação; Oceanos.

O material será entregue aos participantes dos Diálogos e ao comitê organizador da Rio+20, com o objetivo, segundo ele, de se propor alternativas a cenários futuros. “Durante a Conferência Ethos também avançaremos em um debate além da Rio+20, que refletirá sobre a construção de uma economia includente verde e responsável”. Para isso, será tratada a questão dos novos modelos de negócios, com a participação de John Elkington, criador do conceito do triple bottom line, entre outras personalidades.

No Forte de Copacabana, no Rio de Janeiro, ocorrerão mais eventos entre os dias 11 e 22 de junho. Ainda sem programa definido (a ser lançado no próximo dia 25), as atividades ali serão organizadas pela Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (FIESP) e pela Federação das Indústrias do Estado do Rio (Firjan), em parceria com a Fundação Roberto Marinho e a Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro.

O Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (CEBDS) manterá um espaço institucional no Parque dos Atletas, no Rio de Janeiro, de 13 a 23 de junho, e também manterá eventos paralelos, no Rio Centro e no Forte de Copacana, quando será apresentado o lançamento do documentoVisão Brasil 2050, uma iniciativa “tropicalizada” do documento produzido pelo World Business Council for Sustainable Development – WBCSD (Conselho Mundial de Gestão para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável).

“Esse documento é considerado um dos mais importantes já lançados sobre o futuro da sustentabilidade e tem inspirado o planejamento estratégico de inúmeras empresas em todo o mundo. Visão Brasil 2050 é uma agenda para o desenvolvimento sustentável e a transição para a economia verde nos próximos 40 anos”, explica Marina Grossi, presidente executiva do CEBDS.

Outro projeto a ser divulgado é “Rio Cidade Sustentável“. A iniciativa, lançada, neste ano, tem sete eixos: turismo comunitário, desenvolvimento de empreendedores locais, sustentabilidade nas escolas e lares, infraestrutura urbana verde, agricultura urbana orgânica, gestão comunitária de resíduos e melhoria habitacional sustentável.

“Trata de infraestrutura urbana e transformação social com foco em sustentabilidade, que articula poder público, empresas e moradores para melhorar a qualidade de vida das comunidades. Desde janeiro deste ano, duas comunidades pacificadas da Zona Sul carioca, Babilônia e Chapéu Mangueira, acolhem as sete frentes de atuação do programa.”, diz ela.

Por fim, o Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation & Collaboration for the Future We Want (Rio+20 Fórum de Sustentabilidade Corporativa: inovação e colaboração para o futuro que queremos) será promovido pelo Pacto Global da ONU, entre 15 e 18 de junho, também no Rio de Janeiro (http://csf.compact4rio.org/events/rio-20-corporate-sustainability-forum/event-summary-251b87a2deaa4e56a3e00ca1d66e5bfd.aspx).

* Publicado originalmente no site Mercado Ético.

This Forest Is Our Forest (N.Y.Times)

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

By LUIS UBIÑAS – Published: May 31, 2012

Twenty years ago, the world came together in Rio de Janeiro for a historic summit meeting to tackle the environmental issues that threaten the very sustainability and preservation of our planet. Now, as world leaders and thousands of other participants prepare for the Rio+20 Conference, we are facing an even more urgent set of environmental challenges.

Samrang Pring/Reuters. Koh Kong province, in southwestern Cambodia.

The pace of global climate change has worsened, representing a fundamental threat to the planet’s health and environmental well-being. And there is little indication the world’s leaders are ready to meet the challenges of building an environmentally sustainable future.

But there is some good news to report — and it’s coming from the world’s forests, a critical front line in the effort to slow climate change and conserve biodiversity. In a largely unreported global movement, some 30 of the world’s most forested countries have adopted an innovative idea for protecting forests: granting ownership rights to communities that reside in them.

Almost 90 percent of the laws granting such rights have been passed since the first Earth Summit in 1992, demonstrating that a global consensus can produce real change. A new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative — a global coalition of organizations working for forest-use reforms — presents a growing body of evidence that in places where local communities have taken ownership of forests, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Protected areas, owned by indigenous communities in Asia and Latin America, have lower rates of deforestation, forest fires and, above all, carbon emissions.

Since forests also provide for the livelihoods of tens, even hundreds, of millions of people, clarifying and recognizing ownership rights is helping to spur economic growth and raise living standards.

In Brazil, which is hosting the Rio+20 summit — formally the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development — deforestation rates have significantly declined, even as incomes in indigenous forest communities have increased. Brazil has moved toward this goal by giving communities the legal protections to keep out ranchers, loggers and others seeking to destroy their forests.

Yet the progress we’ve seen across the globe has been uneven, and the potential to build on it stands at risk. As chronicled in the R.R.I. report, most of the new laws that recognize customary rights circumscribe those rights and are applied at limited scale.

In Africa, nearly eight out of 10 laws that recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and communities do not allow them to exclude outsiders — a critical element of land ownership. Even where legal rights exist, complicated bureaucratic procedures often make it difficult to realize them. In Mozambique, for example, to qualify for “community concessions” local communities must provide six copies of a topographical map identifying all the detailed geographical features of the land. Not surprisingly, in 2009 — a decade after the act was passed — no concessions had been granted.

Worse still, some of the countries with rights on the books now find themselves at the center of a growing and troubling land grab by commercial investors focused on clearing forests for agriculture, with little concern for the local communities that call them home.

Recent efforts by wealthy ranchers to weaken land rights in Brazil illustrate this growing threat. In the face of rising food, mineral and energy prices, this fierce competition for land will only increase, making the need for strongly established community rights more important than ever before.

For all of these reasons, Rio+20 must build on the success of its predecessor and serve as a new impetus to expand and strengthen community rights to the world’s forests.

This means ensuring that billions of hectares of forest are turned over to local communities; it means engaging with the private sector to help clarify groups’ rights to land and forest; and it means creating new public/private partnerships, such as those that have been used to combat other global issues like H.I.V.-AIDS and malaria, to build public support for ownership rights. Above all, it means ensuring that the rights already recognized by governments are fully realized in local communities.

Taking action on these fronts will set us on a powerful course for a more sustainable and equitable future — just as it did 20 years ago. Actions that simultaneously strengthen human rights and achieve sustainable development are an unusual win-win. The fact that they also help stop deforestation and climate change makes them an even more attractive and urgent option.

At a time when the struggle against global warming seems more daunting than ever, our two decade-long experience with community forestry shows that we have within our means the ability to turn the tide.

Luis Ubiñas is president of the Ford Foundation.