from the world's big
Greta Thunberg faces right-wing media attacks after U.N. speech
But few critics actually addressed the science on climate change.
- During her speech at the United Nations on Monday, climate activist Greta Thunberg harshly criticized world leaders for failing to do more about climate change.
- The 16-year-old activist has since received praise from the left and derision from many on the right.
- Thunberg's argument is notable for focusing primarily on getting governments – not individuals – to act on climate change.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, is facing waves of backlash after she harangued global leaders at the United Nations on Monday for not doing more to mitigate climate change.
"People are dying; entire ecosystems are collapsing," Thunberg said at the U.N. "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"
Thunberg first gained media attention in 2018 when she began skipping school to protest outside of the Swedish parliament for climate action. As an activist who has promoted the #flightshaming movement, Thunberg recently traveled by boat from Europe to New York City to attend the U.N. climate summit, where she shamed world leaders for inaction on climate change policies. She said member nations need to get behind the "united science" of climate change, as described by reports from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Greta Thunberg to world leaders at the U.N. climate summit: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your e… https://t.co/9sYfRu5yGk— TIME (@TIME)1569266780.0
The bulk of Thunberg's attackers are right-wing media personalities, elected officials, and climate skeptics. These critics have taken a few different approaches, some more reasonable than others, in countering Thunberg. Some have seemingly tried to use Thunberg's Asperger's diagnosis as a way to discredit her, as Michael Knowles, a writer for The Daily Wire, did on Fox News:
Her mother wrote a book about her mental issues. There is nothing shameful about living with mental disorders. Wha… https://t.co/EeUybv87G5— Michael Knowles (@Michael Knowles)1569285828.0
Others, like conservative political commentator Dinesh D'Suoza, likened Thunberg to children featured in Nazi propaganda.
Children—notably Nordic white girls with braids and red cheeks—were often used in Nazi propaganda. An old Goebbels… https://t.co/eh7epM2MZb— Dinesh D'Souza (@Dinesh D'Souza)1569179093.0
Fox News host Laura Ingraham said Thunberg, and other young protesters who participated in the global climate strikes, seemed like cult members. President Donald Trump also weighed in with a sarcastic tweet that read: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
Other right-wing critics haven't attacked Thunberg herself, but rather have suggested that the adults around the teenage activist are manipulating her for political gain.
Greatest GIF in human history. Trump demonstrates how all Americans should treat annoying, foreign, communist pro… https://t.co/C9H32izW2L— Benny (@Benny)1569261257.0
DeSmog U.K., an environmental organization, published a piece suggesting that a significant amount of the criticism against Thunberg is being coordinated by pro-deregulation officials, business leaders and media personalities who support Brexit.
"...a large subsection of the commentariat driving the abuse of Greta is part of an established network of radical free-marketeer lobby groups — a network that has firm ties to the fossil fuel industry and funders of climate science denial," the organization wrote.
What most of Thunberg's critics have in common is that they don't engage with the science behind her main argument, which is: The IPCC has found that in about 11 years the earth will face a number of "tipping points" that threaten to destabilize not only ecosystems around the world, but also safety and infrastructure for millions of people, and that the global community ought to act on this information now.
"We become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things, because no one else wants to, or dares to," Thunberg said. "And just for quoting and acting on these numbers, these scientific facts, we receive unimaginable amounts of hate and threats. We are being mocked and lied about by elected officials, members of parliament, business leaders, journalists. You can't simply make up your own facts. There is no middle ground when it comes to the climate and ecological emergency."
Among the more reasonable critiques of Thunberg came from Reason's Nick Gillespie, who suggested that the activist's "histrionics" were counterproductive to developing good climate change policy. Also, Jake Novak, writing for CNBC, noted that Thunberg "and the adults guiding her, are seeking to shift almost all the focus from personal responsibility to governments and big corporations to enact environmental reform." This, according to Novak, represents a "shift from the 'Think Globally, Act Locally,' environmental philosophy of the 1980s and 1990s," and threatens to turn environmentalism into another "wedge issue that politicians often use to motivate their base of voters."
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.
Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.
But science loves a good challenge<p>The mystery remained unsolved until 2005, when French scientists <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~audoly/" target="_blank">Basile Audoly</a> and <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/~neukirch/" target="_blank">Sebastien Neukirch </a>won an <a href="https://www.improbable.com/ig/" target="_blank">Ig Nobel Prize</a>, an award given to scientists for real work which is of a less serious nature than the discoveries that win Nobel prizes, for finally determining why this happens. <a href="http://www.lmm.jussieu.fr/spaghetti/audoly_neukirch_fragmentation.pdf" target="_blank">Their paper describing the effect is wonderfully funny to read</a>, as it takes such a banal issue so seriously. </p><p>They demonstrated that when a rod is bent past a certain point, such as when spaghetti is snapped in half by bending it at the ends, a "snapback effect" is created. This causes energy to reverberate from the initial break to other parts of the rod, often leading to a second break elsewhere.</p><p>While this settled the issue of <em>why </em>spaghetti noodles break into three or more pieces, it didn't establish if they always had to break this way. The question of if the snapback could be regulated remained unsettled.</p>
Physicists, being themselves, immediately wanted to try and break pasta into two pieces using this info<p><a href="https://roheiss.wordpress.com/fun/" target="_blank">Ronald Heisser</a> and <a href="https://math.mit.edu/directory/profile.php?pid=1787" target="_blank">Vishal Patil</a>, two graduate students currently at Cornell and MIT respectively, read about Feynman's night of noodle snapping in class and were inspired to try and find what could be done to make sure the pasta always broke in two.</p><p><a href="http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-mathematicians-solve-age-old-spaghetti-mystery-0813" target="_blank">By placing the noodles in a special machine</a> built for the task and recording the bending with a high-powered camera, the young scientists were able to observe in extreme detail exactly what each change in their snapping method did to the pasta. After breaking more than 500 noodles, they found the solution.</p>
The apparatus the MIT researchers built specifically for the task of snapping hundreds of spaghetti sticks.
(Courtesy of the researchers)
What possible application could this have?<p>The snapback effect is not limited to uncooked pasta noodles and can be applied to rods of all sorts. The discovery of how to cleanly break them in two could be applied to future engineering projects.</p><p>Likewise, knowing how things fragment and fail is always handy to know when you're trying to build things. Carbon Nanotubes, <a href="https://bigthink.com/ideafeed/carbon-nanotube-space-elevator" target="_self">super strong cylinders often hailed as the building material of the future</a>, are also rods which can be better understood thanks to this odd experiment.</p><p>Sometimes big discoveries can be inspired by silly questions. If it hadn't been for Richard Feynman bending noodles seventy years ago, we wouldn't know what we know now about how energy is dispersed through rods and how to control their fracturing. While not all silly questions will lead to such a significant discovery, they can all help us learn.</p>
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think.
Women today are founding more businesses than ever. In 2018, they made up 40% of new entrepreneurs, yet in that same year, they received just 2.2% of all venture capital investment. The playing field is off-balance. So what can women do?
In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
- The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
A pastor at the chapel of the St. Josef Hospital on April 1, 2020 in Bochum, German
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images<p>Christian nationalists, in general, believe the U.S. and God's will are tied together, and they want the government to embody conservative Christian values and symbols. As such, they also believe the nation's fate depends on how closely it adheres to Christianity.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unsurprisingly then, in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic, conservative pastors prophesied God's protection over the nation, citing America's righteous support for President Trump and the prolife agenda," the researchers write.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Correspondingly, the link between Christian nationalism and God's influence on how COVID‐19 impacts America can be seen in proclamations about God's divine judgment for its immorality―with the logic being that God is using the pandemic to draw wayward America <em>back </em>to himself, which assumes the two belong together."</p><p>The logical conclusion to this kind of thinking: America can save itself not through cautionary measures, like mask-wearing, but through devotion to God. What's more, it stands to reason that Christian nationalists are less likely to trust the media and scientists, given that these sources are generally not concerned with promoting a conservative, religious view of the world.</p><p>(The researchers note that they're unaware of any research directly linking Christian nationalism to distrust of media sources, but that they're almost certain the two are connected.)</p>
Predicted values of Americans' frequency of incautious behaviors during the COVID‐19 pandemic across values of Christian nationalism
Perry et al.<p>In the new study, the researchers examined three waves of results from the Public and Discourse Ethics Survey. One wave of the survey was issued in May, and it asked respondents to rate how often they engaged in both incautious and precautionary behaviors.</p><p>Incautious behaviors included things like "ate inside a restaurant" and "went shopping for nonessential items," while precautionary behaviors included "washed my hands more often than typical" and "wore a mask in public."</p><p>To measure Christian nationalism, the researchers asked respondents to rate how strongly they agree with statements like "the federal government should advocate Christian values" and "the success of the United States is part of God's plan."</p><p>The results suggest that, compared to other groups, Christian nationalists are far less likely to wear masks, socially distance and take other precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior during the pandemic, and the second leading predictor that Americans avoided taking precautionary measures."</p><p>But that's not to say that religious beliefs are causing Americans to reject mask-wearing or social distancing. In fact, when the study accounted for Christian nationalist beliefs, the results showed that Americans with high levels of religiosity were likely to take precautionary measures for COVID-19.</p>
Limitations<p>Still, the researchers note that they're theorizing about the connections between Christian nationalism and COVID-19 behaviors, not documenting them directly. What's more, they suggest that certain experiences — such as having a family member that contracts COVID-19 — might change a Christian nationalist's behaviors during the pandemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Limitations notwithstanding, the implications of this study are important for understanding Americans' curious inability to quickly implement informed and reasonable strategies to overcome the threat of COVID‐19, an inability that has likely cost thousands of lives," they write.</p>
Parental anxieties stem from the complex relationship between technology, child development, and the internet's trove of unseemly content.