Wednesday, October 27, 2021

BIG Mouth

What the International Energy Agency is actually telling us

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published “Net Zero by 2050 – A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector”, in which they document details of a scenario (Net-Zero Emissions Scenario, or NZE) taking the world to a time 29 years from now when global humanity will produce net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The report is long – 190 pages plus appendices. It addresses in considerable detail what must happen in all major energy consumption areas –...

Facts, in fact, are facts

What is a fact? A lot of folks these days will tell you that everyone has their own truth, and that facts are subjective. I disagree. I believe that it is very important to distinguish between facts, opinions, theories, conjecture, and falsehoods. Using the #1 definition from dictionary.com, a fact is … "something that actually exists; reality; truth: (e.g.) Your fears have no basis in fact." I hope a lot of people take that example to heart. Some of the...

Returning to our WEIRD roots

In the West, we trust that our public policies are guided by rationalism, and that our governments “listen to the science”. (For more on this topic, see Science – there is method to the madness) We believe that despite being messy, the adversarial nature of our parliaments, combined with transparency from the fourth estate, journalism, and objective laws from an independent judicial system, ultimately translates to a healthy society. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weakness...

Deathscape article was no typical piece of journalism

This is the story behind the story that entrepreneur/geoscientist Laurie Weston wrote on what she called the Alberta Deathscape. It should help some readers better understand the difference between BIG Media’s truth-focused approach and what we are familiar with in mainstream media reports. This is a story that earlier in my career as a journalist, I would have taken on myself. As mainstream media reporters and editors tend to do, I would have looked at the...

Open letter to media organizations – please stop!

Dear Media Friends, Please stop scaring the heck out of people by withholding information that might prevent them from freaking out. For example, when you report that there are a “record-smashing” 300,000 new cases of COVID-19 in India, could you please add some context? Like maybe mention to Canadians that India has roughly 102 times the population of Ontario, so the last daily report of 3,871 news cases in Ontario is higher per capita than India’s reported...

It’s time to start setting realistic goals for energy transition

Politicians and bureaucrats, pushed by demands to “do something” about climate change, are setting goals for reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions based on Paris Agreement targets or some other measure of “where we must be” by mid-century. In other words, they want to reach some emissions target by a certain time not too far in the future without having given any thought about how humanity can get there. It’s like me going to my doctor...

Top 7 reasons to dump the mask mandate

Having examined the dwindling COVID-19 numbers in Texas, it is clear that they are doing some things right. Vaccination and good weather are no doubt parts of the Lone Star State's success story, but I believe that dropping the mask mandate more than a month ago may also have helped. I stirred controversy seven months ago when I postulated in a LinkedIn post that the mask mandate might be counterproductive. Since then, I have seen...

Take me out to the ball game – with 40,000 friends!

When the Texas Rangers play host to my Toronto Blue Jays (I don't own them, but I cheer for them as if I do) at 3:05 p.m. Central today, the eyes of the sports world will be paying close attention. The eyes of the non-sports world will also be tuned in. Why? Because Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex., is expected to be filled to its capacity of 40,300 humans. COVID-19 cases have plummeted since Governor Greg...

Weed + bears … when hiking high, is trouble bruin?

Picture this. It's a cloudy August day, the towering wall of Mount Yamnuska engulfed by the cool, murky mist. You are walking pensively through the forest and up along the expansive rocky stretches of trail. In your left-hand backpack pocket lies a half-smoked joint. Nuken, they call it – an indica hybrid you know well. You pull out your lighter and put the filter to your lips. Inhaling, you savour the peppery quality of the weed....

Do you ‘believe the science’? How about starting with understanding the science?

Laurie Weston recently wrote a series of three very cogent articles in BIG Media addressing science – the scientific method (Science – there is method to the madness), the manipulation of science for various causes (Manipulating science – activism and advocacy), and moral and ethical issues around the practice of science (Science and morality – ethics and judgment). Often now when I read blogs, social media posts and even mainstream media, I think “this author...