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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday links is a perfect storm of lazy reporting

+NPR profiles an electric wire factory in western Georgia is staffed almost entirely by teenagers. They are there because of a partnership between a local company, Southwire, and the Carroll County school system. They teamed up six years ago to try to reduce the high school dropout rate. Strictly speaking this doesn't have much to do sustainability per se, though I like the attempt at finding unconventional solutions to intractable problems.

+NPR again: A perfect storm of sorts is leading some Western energy companies to step back from investments and operations in the Middle East. Companies see increased risk in the region because of the turmoil and violence following the Arab Spring. And, advances in technology have made it easier to produce oil in North America. This is more like a perfect storm of lazy reporting. The lede is really buried in this story. They mention that long-standing high oil prices are making it more profitable for companies to drill in unconventional places (like North America), and yet the reporter buys at face value the explanation that political instability is why oil and gas companies are willing to pay far more to drill in NA than the Middle East. Really!? The Middle East has been politically unstable the entire time they've been there, and that instability has been built into their pricing and risk assessment for decades, so why would that be a problem now? Could it be that Middle Eastern oil fields are starting to dry up and with oil prices so high and technology allowing unconventional wells to be drilled, it no longer seems worth it to deal with the politics of Middle Eastern drilling? Certainly not. That couldn't be it.

+AOL Founder Steve Case is ditching Silicon Valley for the greener start-up pastures of, like, the rest of the world. So, heads up to all you non-Silicon Valley start-up founders. He's on the prowl with his $200M Revolution Fund.

+This is how you do it! UPS pledges $2.3M to green organizations. Only problem is that none of them appear to be Atlanta orgs.

+Bob didn't come to this conclusion by way of a revelation. He studied the science, traveled twice to Antarctica, talked to the experts and looked at the evidence. His conclusion: Climate change is real, the consequences are dire, and we're to blame. The world's first Republican climate change believer is found in South Carolina. Naturally he was voted from office and replaced with someone from the Tea Party.

+And one more Climate Change post: Reaching agreement among hundreds of authors and reviewers ensures that only the statements which are hardest to dispute are allowed to pass. Even when the scientists have agreed, the report must be tempered in another forge, as politicians question anything they find disagreeable: the new report received 1,855 comments from 32 governments, and the arguments raged through the night before launch. In other words, it's perhaps the biggest and most rigorous process of peer review conducted in any scientific field, at any point in human history. It's real. It's happening. And we need to prepare for it.

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