Anthony Leiserowitz on Making People Care About Climate Change

Remember climate change? The issue barely came up during the presidential campaigns, and little has been said since. But bringing climate change back into our national conversation is as much a communications challenge as it is a scientific one.

Scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, joins Bill to describe his efforts to do what even Hurricane Sandy couldn’t — galvanize communities over what’s arguably the greatest single threat facing humanity. Leiserowitz, who specializes in the psychology of risk perception, knows better than anyone if people are willing to change their behavior to make a difference.

“[A] pervasive sense up to now has been that climate change is distant — distant in time, and distant in space,” Leiserowitz tells Bill. “And what we’re now beginning to see is that it’s not so distant. It’s not just future generations. It’s us and it’s our own children. I have a nine-year-old son — he’s going to be my age in the year 2050. I don’t want him to live in the world that we’re currently hurtling towards.”

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Photos taken by astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon in September of 1966 during the Gemini XI mission.

Credit: NASA/JSC/Arizona State University



The Gemini program was designed as a bridge between the Mercury and Apollo programs, primarily to test equipment and mission procedures in Earth orbit and to train astronauts and ground crews for future Apollo missions. The general objectives of the program included: long duration flights in excess of of the requirements of a lunar landing mission; rendezvous and docking of two vehicles in Earth orbit; the development of operational proficiency of both flight and ground crews; the conduct of experiments in space; extravehicular operations; active control of reentry flight path to achieve a precise landing point; and onboard orbital navigation. Each Gemini mission carried two astronauts into Earth orbit for periods ranging from 5 hours to 14 days. The program consisted of 10 crewed launches, 2 uncrewed launches, and 7 target vehicles, at a total cost of approximately 1,280 million dollars.

Gemini 4 was the second crewed mission of the Gemini series and carried James McDivitt and Edward White on a 4-day, 62-orbit, 98-hr flight from June 3 to June 7, 1965. The mission included the first American spacewalk. The objective of the mission was to test the performance of the astronauts and capsule and to evaluate work procedures, schedules, and flight planning for an extended length of time in space. Secondary objectives included demonstration of extravehicular activity in space, conduct stationkeeping and rendezvous maneuvers, evaluate spacecraft systems, demonstrate the capability to make significant in-plane and out-of-plane maneuvers and use of the maneuvering system as a backup reentry system, and conduct 11 experiments.

Credit: NASA/JSC/Arizona State University


via sagansense : ‘Brighter than a full moon’: The biggest star of 2013… could be Ison - the comet of the century

A comet discovered by two Russian astronomers will be visible from Earth next year. Get ready for a once-in-a lifetime light show, says David Whitehouse

At the moment it is a faint object, visible only in sophisticated telescopes as a point of light moving slowly against the background stars. It doesn’t seem much – a frozen chunk of rock and ice – one of many moving in the depths of space. But this one is being tracked with eager anticipation by astronomers from around the world, and in a year everyone could know its name.

Comet Ison could draw millions out into the dark to witness what could be the brightest comet seen in many generations – brighter even than the full Moon.

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Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete?

“I think at some point you need to provoke people. Science is meant to make people uncomfortable.”

It is hard to know how our future descendants will regard the little sliver of history that we live in. It is hard to know what events will seem important to them, what the narrative of now will look like to the twenty-fifth century mind. We tend to think of our time as one uniquely shaped by the advance of technology, but more and more I suspect that this will be remembered as an age of cosmology—-as the moment when the human mind first internalized the cosmos that gave rise to it. Over the past century, since the discovery that our universe is expanding, science has quietly begun to sketch the structure of the entire cosmos, extending its explanatory powers across a hundred billion galaxies, to the dawn of space and time itself. It is breathtaking to consider how quickly we have come to understand the basics of everything from star formation to galaxy formation to universe formation. And now, equipped with the predictive power of quantum physics, theoretical physicists are beginning to push even further, into new universes and new physics, into controversies once thought to be squarely within the domain of theology or philosophy.

In January, Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and Director of the Origins Institute at Arizona State University, published A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, a book that, as its title suggests, purports to explain how something—-and not just any something, but the entire universe—-could have emerged from nothing, the kind of nothing implicated by quantum field theory. But before attempting to do so, the book first tells the story of modern cosmology, whipping its way through the big bang to microwave background radiation and the discovery of dark energy. It’s a story that Krauss is well positioned to tell; in recent years he has emerged as an unusually gifted explainer of astrophysics. One of his lectures has been viewed over a million times on YouTube and his cultural reach extends to some unlikely places—-last year Miley Cyrus came under fire when she tweeted a quote from Krauss that some Christians found offensive. Krauss’ book quickly became a bestseller, drawing raves from popular atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, the latter of which even compared it to The Origin of Species for the way its final chapters were supposed to finally upend the “last trump card of the theologian.”

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Amazing Tilt-Shift Van Gogh Paintings

Serena Malyon, an illustrator in her third year at the Alberta College of Art & Design, has taken the classics works of Vincent Van Gogh and added a contemporary twist. Using Photoshop, Serena has added the ’tilt-shift’ effect to Van Gogh’s paintings, providing a fresh perspective on these masterpieces.



The Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2012

There are an infinite number of perspectives, all relative. Sometimes to truly see you must be close; at other times far away; still other times in between. Sometimes you must be above; sometimes below; sometimes at the same level. Space is multi-dimensional and elastic. It can be tiny or huge or any size at all, but, like awareness, it is always open and welcoming.
- Santosh Roy, via sagan|sense 
I don’t give a damn for anybody’s opinion, I only care about the facts. So I’m not an enthusiast for diversity of opinion where factual matters are concerned. I’m against the propagation of outdated and rather unimaginative ideas about the world which are so much less exciting, so much less enthralling and so much less thrilling that the truth. I’m against the religion that teaches people to be satisfied with non explanations for things when in the 21st century we have extremely good explanations and we are getting better ones.
- Richard Dawkins, via We are star stuff


Inside Elon Musk’s Mars Math

“I do in fact know that this sounds crazy,” Elon Musk tweeted this week. “But if humanity wishes to become a multi-planet species, then we must figure out how to move millions of people to Mars.”

Like any big, bold idea, Musk’s plan for colonizing Mars strikes you at first glance as indeed crazy, and it also probably makes your head spin a bit. How on earth, you are probably wondering, could we possibly do that? But let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and assume Musk is able to build a reusable rocket that can efficiently shuttle colonists to the Red Planet. The question is: what then?

Musk, who told Bloomberg “I want to die on Mars,” is concerned with the question of how to make a Mars colony self-sustaining. That would require 80,000 volunteers, Musk said in a recent speech to the Royal Aeronautical Society. Then Musk qualified that number on Twitter. We will need 80,000 volunteer colonists per year, he argued, in order to eventually reach a population in the millions.

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Ted Turner Interviews Carl Sagan [pt.2]

Carl Sagan and Ted Turner discuss the issues that are vital to the survival of our species on earth. Sagan explains the benefits of our space program, the fascinating possibility of time travel, and our search for life on other worlds. 1989.

Part 1 Part 2: This. Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Personal Note: I found this interview really interesting between the two because Ted raises some questions about business ethics and what can the average citizen do in order to aid our gloomy situation. I thought it applied more so today than it did when it was discussed and I agree wholeheartedly with Carl Sagan’s solutions. We need to understand the problem before we know how to fix it, and in our case we all, as citizens have the duty to understand what is going on around us and what Earth is and isn’t capable of if we’re planning on living in it. We can’t continue making decisions without National consultancy on the grounds that we’re in one corner. As mentioned in the video, what happens in one part of a nation affects another.



The Solar Corona, 1860

The total solar eclipse of 18 July 1860 was probably the most thoroughly observed eclipse up to that time. What is unusual about this eclipse is that, unlike most drawings of the solar corona up until that time, the drawings of the 1860 eclipse all show a peculiar feature in the southwest (lower right) portion of the corona.

The 1860 eclipse was unique in that the outer reaches of the corona were not uniform, but possessed their own unusual structures. The feature drawn repeatedly by a variety of skilled astronomers was unlike anything seen before in these solar hinterlands. [ftp]

Drawings by G. Tempel, F.A. Oom, von Feilitzsch, F. Galton



Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:

  1. Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units. 
  2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves. 
  3. The movement of these particles is inherently random. 
  4. It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is
  5. The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in.

While at a glance this may seem like just another strange theory, it contains many clues as to the fundamental nature of the universe and is more important then even relativity in the grand scheme of things (if any one thing at that level could be said to be more important then anything else). Furthermore, it describes the nature of the universe as being much different then the world we see. As Niels Bohr said, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.


spaceplasma - Credit: NASA

These Saturn photographs have been constructed in false color, obtained Aug. 19 by Voyager 2 from a range of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles)