John Cook, the person behind "Skeptical Science", will probably be described as one of the heroes of the early 21st century's climate work. In a time where traditional media are failing to filter out PR from strong lobby groups this apps demonstrate helps anyone that is interested to keep updated with what science actually tells us.
From the web page: "Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to expand their knowledge and improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens in global warming skepticism. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet uncritically embrace any argument, op-ed piece, blog or study that refutes global warming."
How they describe the goal: "The goal of Skeptical Science is to explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming. When you peruse the many arguments of global warming skeptics, a pattern emerges. Skeptic arguments tend to focus on narrow pieces of the puzzle while neglecting the broader picture.
For example, focus on Climategate emails neglects the full weight of scientific evidence for man-made global warming. Concentrating on a few growing glaciers ignores the world wide trend of accelerating glacier shrinkage. Claims of global cooling fail to realise the planet as a whole is still accumulating heat. This app presents the broader picture by explaining the peer reviewed scientific literature."
The best with the app/supporting initiative
+ Comprehensive and updated scientific information that answers many of the climate skeptics claims.
+ Possibility to ask for updates and report new arguments.
+ It is based on science and enlightenment.
The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative
- Does not show how bad most media is dealing with the issue. The problem would not exist if it was not for mainstream medias dependence on PR material to write stories.
- Does not show clearly the systematic cherry picking most skeptics are engaging in.
- Does not show the power play behind the scene with big companies financing the skeptics.
What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?
> It is a world changes in many ways in that it tries to bring science into the discussion.
> It could help track the way the skeptics arguments are spread and picked up by media.
> It should be possible to track journalists reporting bad science and PR spin.
How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
- Long shot
The more people understand science the better, the challenge is that most people that are skeptics do not care about science.
How transformative is it
- A new world
- A major shift
- A bit of a shake-up
- A gentle rocking
Bringing science into the pockets of large groups of people is very interesting and could help create a more rational society.
How much does it encourage collaborations
How much are new networks supported
- Strong support for global networks?
- Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
- Provides interesting opportunities in the future
- Restricted to a small (expert) group
It is possible to report in what is happening, but not more.
What synergies can be delivered
How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
- It solves everything
- Several important challenges
- Some important challenges
- Only one challenge
The focus is the strength of the app, but hopefully it also inspires people to learn more about science and the state of the world.
Nine billion contribution
How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
- Instant global equality
- Almost global
- Getting (incrementally) global
- Not applicable
The focus is on the climate science, but by understanding the climate science and the risks we face the poor have the most to gain directly as they are the one that already suffer the most.
Building on current trends
How well does it use current trends
- The app is setting new trends by itself
- Building on multiple trends
- Effectively building on one trend
- Not really building on any major trend
Right now climate is not very high on the agenda, neither is science unfortunately, but using the mobile app platform can hopefully make the two former more interesting to a new generation.
How fast can it deliver
- It's already happening
- In the coming weeks
- In a year or so
- In a distant future (hopefully)
Spreading knowledge is necessary, but flanking measures are needed to actually solve the climate challenge (or any other challenge).
Does it support transformative transparency
- Brave new transparency
- Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
- Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
- No increase in transparency
Bringing science into the pockets of the people is new and it can help to shift the global discourse if we are lucky.