Monday, July 19, 2010

Stephen Schneider: 1945-2010

Sadly, one day after he jumped the shark, Stephen Schneider used a flying carbon-burning killing machine and before he landed in London, he died of a heart attack caused by complications induced by a rare type of cancer.

The world is losing a passionate champion of the causes he genuinely believed in, including an imminent ice age and catastrophic global warming. Many of his worries were based on sophisticated models of global warming (see the link below).

My semi-personal memories will always be kind of warm - also because in his last paper, one that elaborated upon their black list of climate skeptics, he and his co-authors identified your humble correspondent as the 23rd top-cited sane climate scientist in the world (and 3rd top-cited sane climate scientist outside the U.S.) - and about 10 people have already congratulated me...

So far, this PNAS paper remained the only visible result of a bigger project that Schneider, Ehrlich, Falkowski, and others invented - a self-described outlandishly aggressively partisan campaign against the climate skeptics.

Rest in peace, Prof Schneider.

Bonus: Bob Laughlin against climate fear

Canada's The Globe and Mail writes about a fun essay by Bob Laughlin, a 1998 (condensed matter) physics Nobel prize winner of Stanford University (and an entertaining and aggressive advocate of emergentism), who argues that the Earth will heal itself:
What the Earth Knows (The American Scholar, by Bob Laughlin)
Relax, our planet is a survivor, the discoverer of the fractional Hall effect wave function says. And to threaten the Earth in practice is at least as difficult to invade Russia. It's much easier to talk about these things than to do them.

Governments may care about the Earth but the love isn't mutual: the planet doesn't give a damn about them or their bills. Saving energy only changes the distribution of the burning but the outcome is unchanged: all fossil fuels will be burned and all the CO2 will ultimately be re-absorbed in an instant of geological time.

Laughlin goes into some detail about all these things - and biodiversity. This text is a part of his 2011 book on fossil fuels.

1 comment:

  1. A younger, wiser Steven Schneider on the 'ice age' scare of the 70s:

    "We can’t predict with any certainty what’s happening to our own climatic future. How can we come along and intervene then in that ignorance? …The cure could be worse than the disease."

    toward the end of this video