Welcome to the Anthropocene – What now?

The current epoch of time is called by many the Anthropocene. The time of mans impact on the natural world.

This video shows how dramatically our impact on the world has changed since the industrial revolution.

This BBC News article introduces the effects we have had and the views of scientists as to whether we can survive this era.

The Earth system will stabilise again, but under a different set of conditions, which would be a lot less suitable for the whole range of nature that we find today – Professor Will Steffen

Mr G

Sources: BBC News, Vimeo.

Do we understand risk?

Risk, uncertainty, reliability, correlation, relationship, causality….

All very important words to a scientist. They help us explain what our results mean and how we can compare our results and the results of others.

But does the public understand in the same way? This question formed a large chunk of my Masters of Science course when we looked at science communication.

This BBC article sums up the issue quite well (pity it wasn’t around last year… it would have been useful to quote from…) It was triggered by the latest OTT writing about mobile phones and cancer…

Does not knowing something for certain (what ever “certain” is) make us more worried or less worried?

The problem we have (as the public and the scientists) is that lack of evidence FOR a link between things does not mean evidence AGAINST a link (though if 2000 experiments said “no” we get fairly well convinced) – this Digital Lifestyles article from  2 008 sums up the evidence – but notice the “hedging of bets” in the very last sentence…

Mr G

Sources – BBC News, Digital Lifestyles

The End of Religion?

This post is about something controversial. Be warned… You might not like what you read no matter what side of the argument you are on.

Religion.

The census data for 9 countries over time has seen an increase in the number claiming “No Religion” and according to the mathematical models religion seems to be heading for extinction in these countries (and likely others too).

You can read the BBC News article discussing the findings here.

But it does appear to be backed up by research in Britain – finding 2/3 of us are not religious. Oddly – many who claimed to have a religion also claimed not to be religious – perhaps linked to our social expectation of people to identify with a religion or to fit with tradition. For example, less than half the Christians questioned thought that Jesus came back to life or is the Son of God, around half of those being unsure.

At the same time religion is reaching out to science to avoid the kind of conflict we see over Evolution and the Big Bang.

Mr G.

Sources: BBC News