Home | Neorenaissance - A blog from the intersection of science, politics and the creative culture

Republican Meteorologist says 'keep track of who the deniers are today'

Poking a Hornet's Nest

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 31, 2012

My recent Op-Ed gave me a chance to summarize how I feel about the politicization of climate science in recent years - how it's become a bizarre litmus test for conservatism.

Cherry Blossoms, Ice Boxes, BMWs, and Climate Change

The way to counter antiscience thinking is to make science concrete. Hot enough for you?

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 18, 2012

The way to counter antiscience thinking is to make science concrete. Hot enough for you?

Science loses status as a climate arbiter in Durban

South African Climate Summit erodes the status of scientific knowledge in future negotiations

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 11, 2011

Durban ended with an extension of Kyoto, but an erosion of the status of science as an arbiter of future agreements.

Huntsman Goes "Crazy"

"There are questions about the validity of (climate) science" Huntsman Says At Heritage Foundation Event

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Dec 06, 2011

"The scientific community owes us more in terms of a better description of explanation about what might lie beneath all of this." But former Bush economic chief Doug Holtz-Eakin says GOP politicians are taking "positions that are divorced from any reality on the policy and from their own history.”

A Global Warming Primer for Skeptics

Multiple independent lines of data show similar trends

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 25, 2011

Most skeptical conservatives are reason-minded thinkers who are simply too busy to assess vast datasets. Those people should consider the following charts.

Another Climate Denial Argument Bites the Dust

BEST study says urban areas not skewing global temperature measurements

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 20, 2011

One of the favorite arguments of climate change deniers is that the urban heat island effect, which has grown with global development, is unduly biasing global temperature readings. This seems reasonable when you consider that many measuring stations were originally placed outside of cities in the 1800s, but since then the cities have expanded and grown up around them, quite likely affecting their data.

Pricing the New Energy Economy

We hear the term - but how much will a new US energy infrastructure cost?

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 16, 2011

We hear talk about how we need to transition to a green energy economy, but what exactly does that mean? A little math and some energy insight can paint a rough picture.

Am I a bad parent?

Why I gave my son a dangerous cell phone even after San Francisco said it's bad for him

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 01, 2011

Last week the big science news was a new study saying cell phones don't increase cancer risk in kids. It was promptly called into question on HuffPost and elsewhere. Several reporters referenced the May 31 release by the World Health Organization about a "possible" link between brain cancer and cell phone use, which classed it in the same risk category as eating pickled vegetables and drinking coffee. In a related move, last week San Francisco passed a regulation requiring retailers to post radiation exposure warnings on every phone and hand every customer educational material counseling them on the possible risks to their health.

Gimme That Old Heartland Religion

Energy Industry-funded Heartland Institute engaging in more religion-style climate science denial proselytizing

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 11, 2011

I got an email from Joel Primack, Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Director of the University of California High-Performance Astrocomputing Center at UC-Santa Cruz. He and his wife Nancy Abrams, a writer and lawyer, have a new book out and were on Extension 720, a Chicagoland radio show. Who should call in, but Maureen Martin, the Heartland Institute's senior fellow for legal affairs, and she engaged them in a discussion of denial.

Why I'm not worried about my cell phone causing brain cancer

The World Health Organization's cancer "risk" is indistinguishable from chance

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 01, 2011

Today the big news is a release by the World Health Organization about a "possible" link between brain cancer and cell phone use. They class the use in the same risk category as - get this - eating pickled vegetables or drinking coffee. Seriously?

My step mom died of glioblastoma multiforme. It was a particularly horrible way to go. But I'm not worried about my brain, my wife's brain, or my son's brain, at least from cell phone use. Why? Physics.