Topics: Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming, Politics
|Fahrenheit to Celsius||Celsius to Fahrenheit|
|(5/9)(°F – 32) = °C||(9/5) °C + 32 = °F|
Even though the Big Think video is informative, my critique is it presumes much regarding the audience, presumably the species.
The assumption is that even with the equivalent of supercomputers on our hips, humans will be motivated beyond the video to know the difference between Fahrenheit, and Celsius. What the average human mind will process is: “two degrees,” which doesn’t sound like much as mathematical dexterity is only encouraged in those interested in STEM.
On Wednesday, when former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, his remarks on the occasion contained some of the usual sentiment about the importance of being a bold and inspiring nation—but they also contained something a bit unusual. “Here’s a bold embrace of internationalism: let’s join the rest of the world and go metric,” he said. “I happened to live in Canada as they completed the process. Believe me, it is easy. It doesn’t take long before 34 degrees is hot. Only Myanmar, Liberia, and the United States aren’t metric and it will help our economy!”
The Long, Tortuous History of the U.S. and the Metric System, Lily Rothman, TIME
The resistance to the Metric System (originally from the French) has to quote Ms. Rothman, “a long, tortuous history” in the United States. Resistance to “change” is inherently political, and we have but one of the two major political parties famous for looking backward, as well as celebration, and apotheosis of a hierarchal status quo.
I’m not saying the video isn’t informative. The above formulas were drilled into me in middle school science class, and since I have made my living, and continue my education in STEM, mental conversion is a familiar exercise.
It should be for average citizens also. The video concerns two degrees Celsius hotter; the title I derived from one degree hotter (in bold below):
(9/5) 0°C + 32 = 32°F
(9/5) 1°C + 32 = 1.8 + 32 = 33.8°F
(9/5) 2°C + 32 = 3.6 + 32 = 35.6°F
(9/5) 3°C + 32 = 5.4 + 32 = 37.4°F
(9/5) 4°C + 32 = 7.2 + 32 = 39.2°F
My critique is the video, well-intentioned, has the Curse of Knowledge Cognitive Bias.
Some of the best science lectures I’ve attended are when the speaker assumes the audience is hearing the information for the first time, provides a primer of about 15 – 20 minutes, and about a thirty-five to forty minute lecture, allowing time for questions. It respects the intelligence, and time of the audience.
The opposite: the lecturer is so excited about their work, they hit Warp Seven after clearing orbital drydock, and head for Andromeda, 2.537 million light-years away. The only time they stop is when the host informs them their time is up, and it’s evident the crowd has tuned out, checking social media, and drooling as they wait for the lecture/torture to end.
To communicate the gravity of the situation, I feel we need to communicate better to the general public for buy-in that: 1. There is a crisis, 2. We have to do something about it.
By logical extension, science communication can mean life or death. Ninety-nine-point-five percent of new COVID deaths are from the unvaccinated, so armchair conspiracy theories are not proving helpful. I took the Moderna vaccine. I did not become magnetic. I did not become the carrier of a variant. I’m a grandfather, so my infertility at this stage is kind of irrelevant. No one started tracking me (for what reason, God only knows).
Please feel free to share my post, and check my calculations. We all need a clear understanding, not fossil fuel industry/corporate lobbyist gaslighting, on where we’re headed if we don’t heed the warnings.
“Science-fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.” Isaac Asimov