I guess that’s why he earns the big bucks.

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Peter Ward’s book, “Under a Green Sky”, kept me awake for several hot summer nights a few years ago.  It’s a description of the ancient greenhouse event that kicked off the “Great Dying” – the Permian Extinction, the most catastrophic period in the planet’s history, a near total wipeout of all species.  A large body of evidence has been accumulating that most of the extinction events in the planet’s history have followed greenhouse events.

I wrote to Ward to find out more, and he sent me the graph above, which is eloquent.

You can see Ward interviewed on the NOVA program I posted last week, and his  piece in Scientific American is useful and informative.


Maher is the only TV host with any audience at all that is upfront and urgent (if occasionally obscene) in his concern about climate change. He taped this rant several months ago, but it’s still relevant…



“This is one of the first stories about climate refugees. —
It will not be the last.”

You remember that story, that fairy tale, where there was a magic fiddle, and an even more magical man that could play it? The mysterious wizard who could charm the children and animals of the forest?

Aly Bain is that guy.

Oh yeah, the other guys are pretty good, too.

The trailer for a movie about nuclear waste – which, I guess will still be topical 10,000 years from now, if people are still reading and writing. If there is no writing, the movie asks, how to warn future cultures against the places we have made so dangerous?  How to create an eternal taboo?

The teaser trailer makes the point in an even spookier and more mysterious style.

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Did you ever wonder why so many websites and comment threads are crawling with right wing climate denying trolls?  There’s a reason. They are an organized movement, promoting ignorance, and hatred for curiosity, knowledge, and expertise.

The clip is from a longer film, “AstroTurf Wars”, which describes how democracy is being distorted and hobbled by corporate funded “citizens” whose full time profession is to spread lies, confuse voters, and disrupt the democratic process with bad information.

NOVA: Permian Extinction

January 28, 2011

You may have seen this week’s post on how new evidence from northern Canada about Earth’s greenhouse past was a smoking gun in a 250 million year old mystery – how 90 percent of everything alive on the planet could have gone extinct, in a massive, nightmarish spasm known as the Permian Extinction.

Over the last few decades, a growing body of evidence has come to light indicating that the Permian was not, like the much more recent extinction that killed the dinosaurs, the result of an asteroid strike, but rather, a volcanically kick-started Greenhouse event.

A few years ago, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, astrophysicist and Project Scientist at New York’s Hayden Planetarium, hosted a NOVA piece that outlined the major puzzle pieces of what we know about this catyclysm, and why it matters today.

Can we drop the “CO2 was higher in the past, so it’s harmless” crock, now?

If you liked the story of William Kamkwamba, building wind turbines in Malawi, or the post about a solar startup in Mali, you’ll love this story about a team of young engineers at the University of Michigan, working on a solar solution for third world problems.

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