Ice Age Ecologist Dr. Jacquelyn Gill - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Jacquelyn Gill on Background Mode.

Dr. Jacquelyn Gill is an Associate Professor of Paleoecology and Plant Ecology, School of Biology, Ecology and Climate Change Institute, the University of Maine. Her research interests include: Paleoecology, community ecology, vegetation dynamics, extinction, climate change and biotic interactions. She received her Ph.D. in Paleoecology from the Univ. of Wisconsin.

An outdoor life, science fiction, cave exploration and a professor who taught her how to ask questions about what she saw in the natural environment laid the foundation for Jacquelyn’s interest in Nature and Ecology. She tells a remarkable, instructive story about how she got admitted to her Ph.D. program. Then we chatted about just what Paleoecology and Biogeography are as well as the effects of animal extinction, recovering extinct animals from DNA, ecological models, and recovery from bad ecological trends. Jacquelyn is spellbinding in her description of her work.

Manfredi Gioacchini Used an iPhone to Document Climate Change in Antarctica

· Andrew Orr · Link

Photo of an iceberg

Documentary photographer Manfredi Gioacchini is documenting climate change in Antarctica. His tool? An iPhone.

“Most of the usage was related with video recording, in fact the audio of the new phone is incredible,” says the photographer. “That’s important in matters of the climate change… capturing the sounds of icebergs breaking down…”

He also managed to take advantage of the phone’s Night Mode, though it wasn’t necessary for most of the trip, since the sun never dipped below twilight. Scroll down to see Manfredi’s photos for yourself.

Important work, and also beautiful.

Founding Director, End Climate Silence Dr. Genevieve Guenther — TMO BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Genevieve Guenther on Background Mode

Dr. Genevieve Guenther is a scholar and author. She is affiliate faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School in New York and the founder and director of End Climate Silence, an activist organization helping the news media cover the climate crisis.

How should climate scientists use effective language skills and storytelling to convey scientific research? How can they speak effectively to both fellow scientists and the lay public? How can they avoid what’s called semantic ambiguity so that their choice of words isn’t twisted by deniers? How can the media learn to couch severe climate change events in proper science context while not appearing unduly biased? Dr. Genevieve Guenther chats with me on all this and more in a most engaging and informative discusion.

What Impact Does Watching Netflix Have Climate Change?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Netflix logo

Despite what mainstream media wants you to think, the outcome is mostly still unclear when it comes to Netflix binging.

On one hand, the paper reports, strides in data center efficiency have mostly kept pace with growing demand for data, meaning that in the last decade the total amount of energy consumed by the centers has not changed much—around 1% of global energy use. That’s about the same as 18 million US homes.

On the other hand, it’s clear that we’re approaching a limit to squeezing out more efficiency—especially given the rise of data-ravenous artificial intelligence.

What I find annoying about the debates around climate change is how a lot of mainstream media are trying to blame people. Like blaming their Netflix binging instead of reporting the facts like 100 corporations are responsible for 71% of emissions. Sure, Netflix wouldn’t exist without its users, but I think it’s important to focus on how much more damage a corporation does than an individual.

Apple and Others Sign Letter to Support Paris Agreement

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Adobe, and more tech companies have signed a United For The Paris Agreement letter that calls on the U.S. to stay in the international climate change pact.

They argued that the international pact would “strengthen [US] competitiveness” by helping it lead the way in technologies that will usher in an eco-friendly future. It also sets “clear goals” that help with planning and spur innovation, the companies said.

The letter isn’t a binding commitment, and it’s unlikely to persuade a White House that has both ignored and tried to censor climate science. Nonetheless, it makes clear where numerous companies stand…

In the meantime we can educate people to accept scientific facts and not treat climate change as a hoax or political issue.

Astronomer Dr. Clay Sherrod (#2) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Clay Sherrod on Background Mode

Dr. Clay Sherrod’s astronomical studies began, soon after his Ph.D. work, in 1970 with the Arkansas Sky, Inc., his private non-profit and educational research and educational program. Although now retired, the work, publications and outreach from him via the Arkansas Sky Observatory ranks among the top in private non-profit facilities.

In his second appearance on the show, Clay and I talked about his latest book which covers the entire spectrum of the change in the Earth’s climate. We noted that climate science has deep roots into the planet’s history and is based on the scientific method. Not everyone speaks the language of science, and so it’s important to identify authoritative sources that can be trusted. We tried to cover as many aspects as we could to deliver a broad picture of the perils facing the Earth.

We Need a New Internet That Can Withstand Climate Change

· Andrew Orr · Link

The internet infrastructure is vulnerable to climate change. The fiber optic cables that ferry data can handle some water damage, but they weren’t meant to be permanently underwater.

…within the next 15 years, in a scenario that projects about a foot of sea level rise by then, 4,067 miles of fiber conduit cables are likely to be permanently underwater. In New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, the rising seas could drown roughly 20 percent of all metro fiber conduit. These are the lines that physically ferry our Internet traffic from place to place.

Another 1,101 “nodes”—the buildings or places where cables rise out of the ground, which often house computer servers, routers, and network switches to move our data around—are also expected to be swamped.

Fight Climate Change, Get a Free Nomad Lightning Cable

· Andrew Orr · Link

Get a free Nomad Lightning cable when you donate to the company’s Carbon Fund fundraising event. The minimum donation is US$5, which the company will use to plant trees. This is a steal because the cable on offer is normally US$24.95.

Every dollar donated plants a tree in Acre, a region of Brazil, that is being devastated by deforestation. We want to try to reverse this. Every ten trees planted captures around one ton of C02. Learn more about the project.

These Artificial Gills Could One Day Help Divers

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Jun Kamei, graduate of the Royal College of Art, designed artificial gills using 3D printing. They consist of a gill and a respiratory mask, and it lets people breathe underwater. Mr. Kamei has built a working prototype, and it successfully extracts oxygen from water, and releases carbon dioxide back out. Right now it doesn’t product enough oxygen for a human though. His idea was that artificial gills would be essential in the future when the ocean rises due to climate change.

By 2100, a temperature rise of 3.2 degrees celsius is predicted to happen, causing a sea-level rise affecting between 500 million and three billion people, and submerging the megacities situated in the coastal areas.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Axios Energy & Climate Reporter Amy Harder

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Amy Harder on Background Mode.

Amy Harder covers energy and climate change for Axios. She writes a weekly column called the Harder Line that reports on trends, has exclusive scoops and analyzes the news driving the debate about energy and climate. Her coverage includes congressional legislation, regulations, lobbying, and international policy actions affecting the United States. Amy holds a B.A. in Journalism with honors. In our interview, I asked Amy about some of the most important issues of her coverage: what is “clean coal,” how does global warming affect climate, do all conservatives deny global warming, what is a good website for scientific information, what is her workday like, and what could scientists do to better to communicate with the public? Come meet and listen to the reporter who has a terrific grasp of these important topics.

TMO Background Mode Encore #2 Interview with Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Kiki Sanford on Background Mode

Dr. Kiki Sanford is a neurophysiologist with a Ph.D from U.C. Davis. She’s a popular science communicator and creator of This Week in Science (TWIS) podcast and radio show. This is her third appearance on Background Mode. In this episode, Kiki and I once again get geeky with science: an in-depth discussion of 1) Whether it’s a bad idea for our AI agents to have human names, 2) How attitudes about some science affects all science budgeting, 3) The wholistic system effects of climate change, 4) A fascinating discussion about the human microbiome and how the digestion of key nutrients affects whole body health and 5) How astronomers use Pulsars to detect gravitational waves. Kiki has a special way of inspiring one to learn about … everything, so don’t miss this very special guest.

What Earth Would Look Like if All the Ice Melted

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Curious what the planet would look like if all the world’s ice melted? Let’s just say the topic has been on my mind lately. National Geographic did the math, with pictures to help us wrap our heads around it. If all the world’s ice melted—an extreme eventuality that would require thousands of years—sea levels would rise an estimated 216 feet. Unsurprisingly, what we know as “coast” today would become “offshore.” In North America, the Atlantic seaboard is gone, as is Florida. In my novel (set in 2139), the Philly Bay is a thing, but that was based on a model of just 22 meters (72 feet) in sea levels rising. In Nat Geo‘s more extreme model, the Central Valley in California becomes a giant bay. San Diego goes bye, bye, as does a little town in Texas called “Houston.” Nat Geo has detailed maps of all the continents, including the desert formerly known as North Africa, the desert formerly known as Australia, and parts of China that are currently home to some 600 million people. As noted above, this map represents the ultimate extreme of global warming, including melted Antartica ice sheets that have survived previous warming periods. The point, though, is that it’s fascinating to see what it might look like.

What Earth Would Look Like if All the Ice Melted