remember, tuesday is soylent green day
I saw a magazine from the 1970s that said we didn't have to worry about Soylent Green! But it's made of people!
Memes, memes the musical fruit (click through for the links):
Meanwhile, the right is once again trotting out one of its favorite talking points: back in the 1970s, scientists were carping about global cooling, and since they were wrong about that, why should we believe their dire predictions now? In December, Dennis Miller went on the Tonight Show and held up an issue of Newsweek from April of 1975 with a story titled "The Cooling World". This week, in the Canada Free Press, global warming-skeptic Timothy Ball cited a 1976 book by Lowell Ponte, who argued that "Global Cooling" is "of ultimate importance". Michael Crichton even mentioned it in his 2004 novelist, State of Fear. The message is clear: Scientists were wrong then, so they're probably wrong now, too.
It's a neat little argument, and it's acquired no small amount of staying power. Plumb the depths of any conservative blog opining on climate change and inevitably you'll see someone mention "global cooling" in the comment section. There's just one problem: Scientists weren't wrong then, and they aren't wrong now. William Connolley, a climate modeler at the British Antarctic Survey, has collected just about everything ever written on the topic on his website, and his archives are worth going through for anyone who wants to get the story straight.
First things first: It's worth distinguishing what the scientific community was actually saying in the mid-70s from what science reporters were writing. This may shock Dennis Miller, but Newsweek doesn't always get things right. The magazine's 1975 article boldly stated that "after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down." But a 1975 report on climate change from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was hardly so forthright. The foreword of that report stated, in plain terms: "[W]e do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course." In 1975, scientists simply didn't know enough to predict global cooling.
The same goes for Lowell Ponte's book, which Ball cited as evidence that global cooling was the scientific "consensus" in the early 1970s. The book certainly does not represent the consensus of the time. Ponte was a journalist writing for a popular audience and his book referenced very few scientific papers. (As Connolley points out, Ponte displayed an "inability to tell sense from nonsense" by bizarrely asserting that gravity was weakening in the universe.) Most tellingly, Ponte also misquoted the 1975 NAS report, which did represent the scientific consensus at the time and explicitly stated that there simply wasn't enough information to make the sort of predictions Ponte was making.
Remember when the only conspiracies that mattered had to do with the pyramids, alien geneticists and JFK? Man, I do. What self-respecting, slightly-unhinged-but-mostly-cute hippie girl is gonna let a "global cooling" spiel count as foreplay? None, that's how many.