Lewis Page, at the UK tech news outlet The Register, is a standout largely on the strength of his devotion to all things boffin. Some others at the Register including Lester Haines -here's a strange, stiff(y) non-boffin one from him the other day, good for adolescent laughs - tend toward labeling everybody with an advanced degree a boffin. It is a retro-term of fuzzy origin applied in WWII to England's radar and proto-computer nerds. But nobody out-boffins Page.From him, you can count on a boffin as reliably as you find the family dog on top of a car in a Gail Collins reference to Romney.
This morning after wondering about the handling of news in last week's Science that Greenland's glaciers are not speeding up as much as earlier evidence implied -- I'll get momentarily to a roundup -- I came across this version:
- The Register - Lewis Page: Greenland glaciers not set to cause disastrous sea level rises - study / Another blow for hippy doomsayers.
As he writes, between a ref. to boffins and to boffinry, a report from the Univ. of Washington and from Ohio State U's famed Polar Research Center says that a careful look at a passel of southern Greenland's outlet glaciers finds they are indeed speeding up. But it is not enough to enforce earlier predictions they alone could raise global sea level by nearly 20 inches or much more than that in this century. Four to seven inches still fits the data. Bad enough, not in itself disastrous (depends on where one lives of course). But then he throws in this, as reflected in the hed: "Just a few years ago, the fear mongering hippies* at Greenpeace were bandying a wild figure of seven meters about."
Fear mongering gets a pass. But Hippies, say what?! Sure some of them look kind of hippyish, long haired and perhaps not averse to the occasional doobie, but a bunch of slackers mumbling mantras and having an irritating amount of sex and suffering no lightning bolts despite all the beards and beads like in the late 1960s? C'mon. That preceding quote's asterisk is Page's. It leads one to another, recent Page yarn (including two more boffin mentions) that persuasively argues that Greenpeace itself has at least one employee who tells the newbies when they join up to chase whalers and things like that: ".. you're in Greenpeace now "... Which means you're hippies ... hold on to your hippy heart."
That's pretty for such a gratuitous and in many quarters dismissive label, citing Greenpeace staff's utterances. One last thing before moving on to more Greenland ice coverage. Page's documentation for the hippy crack ran earlier this month in a story under the hed: Amount of ice in Bering Sea reaches all-time record / Hippies get it wrong again ;
Aside from the hippy part that story last month is still worth noting. It made much of the high ice level in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia. Unfortunately, he writes it as though that means something in a vein reminiscent of those goofy contrarians who chortle such things as Record Snow Storm and So Much for Al Gore, you Socialist Data-Distorters Har Dee Har Har. He cites a report from the US's National Snow and Ice Data Center and selects a quote from it to support his angle on recent icemelt. Here's this month's version of the same report. Note that it emphatically declares that the onset of the melt season each spring is often erratic and is no guide to how low sea ice will go by the end of summer. Furthermore, data maniacs, the most recent plot of fluctuating northern sea ice is among the weirdest to be found. It reveals almost no melting at all from March to mid-April followed by an exceedingly steep plunge in the last week or two. Weather lately is a spectacle.
Other Greenland Glacier + Sea Level News: Good news, bad news, all depends on where you start. Several news outlets also imply that a slower rate leads to less, ever. It would be good if somebody had asked whether the slower rate is also indicative of anything regarding the eventual, centuries-hence equilibrium level for a more exposed Greenland. It's natural to focus on what will happen within our grandchildren's lifetimes but the ultimate result is worth a question and the sharing of its answer.
- Sydney Morning Herald - Damian Carrington: Greenland's glaciers are lifting sea levels, but not as much as expected ; Picked up from the Guardian in the UK.
- Alaska Dispatch - Doug O'Harra: Melting glaciers of Greenland show good news for rising sea levels ;
- Reuters - Deborah Zabarenko: Racing glaciers cause for concern, scientists say; Greenland glaciers on the move causing rising sea levels worldwide ; The wildly different heds on this and preceding story sit atop stories that nonetheless are in close sync.
- Daily Mail - Rob Waugh: 'The worst case we imagined is not coming true': Greenland's glaciers are melting less quickly than experts feared ; Good hed, in terms of eventual results.
- CNN - Matt Smith: Greenland ice melt could raise seas less than feared, study says ; Not so good hed.
- AFP: Greenland glaciers may melt slower than thought: study ;
- NPR - Richard Harris: Greenland's Ice Melting More Slowly Than Expected ; Nice job, delivered in Harris's recent voice, gravelly as a Mono county jeep trail. A few people have asked tracker what's up with Rick? For just such queries he publicly explained his stubbornly paralyzed vocal cord: here.
Grist for the Mill: Univ. of Washington Press Release ;
- Charlie Petit