Earth Science: February 2017 Archives

How scientists are scrambling to safeguard vital environmental data, Miles O'Brien, PBS NewsHour

"MILES O'BRIEN: Keith Cowing is a former NASA biologist who founded the watchdog Web site NASA Watch 20 years ago. He's the proto-rogue, and now he says everybody seems to be joining in.

KEITH COWING: Nobody has said, shut that database down, take that off your Web site. But what's going to happen when you have got this giant, bubbling, simmering social media crowd, and they go from being worried about things that might happen to things that are happening? There's a colossal hair trigger waiting out there."

Diehard Coders Just Rescued NASA's Earth Science Data, Wired

"Like similar groups across the country - in more than 20 cities - they believe that the Trump administration might want to disappear this data down a memory hole. So these hackers, scientists, and students are collecting it to save outside government servers. But now they're going even further. Groups like DataRefuge and the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which organized the Berkeley hackathon to collect data from NASA's earth sciences programs and the Department of Energy, are doing more than archiving. Diehard coders are building robust systems to monitor ongoing changes to government websites. And they're keeping track of what's already been removed - because yes, the pruning has already begun."

Climate Data Preservation Efforts Mount as Trump Takes Office, Technology Review

"Earlier federal data hackathons include the "Guerrilla Archiving" event at the University of Toronto last month, the Internet Archive's Gov Data Hackathon in San Francisco at the beginning of January, and the DataRescue Philly event at the University of Pennsylvania last week. Much of the collected data is being stored in the servers of the End of Term Web Archive, a collaborative effort to preserve government websites at the conclusion of presidential terms."

Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data from Trump, Wired

"The group was split in two. One half was setting web crawlers upon NOAA web pages that could be easily copied and sent to the Internet Archive. The other was working their way through the harder-to-crack data sets--the ones that fuel pages like the EPA's incredibly detailed interactive map of greenhouse gas emissions, zoomable down to each high-emitting factory and power plant. "In that case, you have to find a back door," said Michelle Murphy, a technoscience scholar at the University of Toronto."

Q&A: David Gelernter, Possible Science Advisor to the President, The Scientist

"TS: Where do you fall on climate change?

DG: My own belief is that global warming is real, that it is happening. . . . After all, the Earth's climate has oscillated clearly in the past. We expect not stability, but oscillation. The evidence I've seen has not convinced me that the cause of this global warming or an appreciable contribution [to it] is human activity. But not until I spend a lot more time with the topic . . . would I be in a position to give anybody advice on it. ... The fact is, the Earth is a very, very large object, and scientists especially think of themselves as gigantically important, and pushing culture around, and changing civilization--which they do, occasionally, to some extent. But I think some of them haven't fully grasped what a gigantic proposition it is for measly human activity, whether it's good or bad, to change something like the climate of a planet in the Solar System."

Q&A: William Happer, Possible Science Advisor to the President, The Scientist

"TS: Did climate change come up at all during that first conversation?

WH: Very briefly. I said, 'I'm sure you know my position that I think climate change has been tremendously exaggerated--its significance. Climate is important, always has been, but I think it's become sort of a cult movement in the last five or 10 years.' So in just a sentence of two, I said, 'That's my view of it.' And he said, Well, I agree with you. But that's all we discussed."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Earth Science category from February 2017.

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