How the Huffington Post is still blowing it on science but has a chance to make a real difference
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Apr 17, 2012
When the publication's science editor publishes antiscience propaganda, what can we learn?
A revised computer analysis incorporates suggestions from the embattled climate denier
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 29, 2012
It's possible that the program identified Bast as the most likely author because so much of the strategy memo appears to be cut and pasted from other Heartland documents. So I decided to take Bast up on his suggestion and rerun my stylometric analyses.
A book review of Michael Mann’s saga from the front lines
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 27, 2012
What makes The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars an important addition is the thread of Mann’s evolution in thinking as he followed the simple logic of science where it led, something we want any graduate student to do, and as a result was increasingly forced to defend his work, himself, and ultimately the future of the planet. A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial.
A computer analysis may suggest the document's most likely author
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 23, 2012
A lot of fuss is being made about the provenance of the Heartland Institute's climate strategy memo. Heartland says it's a fake. I decided to test that.
"In this incredible book, Otto explores the devaluation of science in America."
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 19, 2011
I'm really thrilled to announce they've given my new book Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America not just a passing grade, but a "starred review" which they say "indicates a book of outstanding quality."
New Pew study signals what may be the best hope for democracy
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 21, 2011
A major part of the American public's weakening grip on reality is caused by the pernicious myth of the "marketplace of ideas." As a Hollywood screenwriter, I can tell you there is no "marketplace of ideas." It's a marketplace of emotions.
Energy Industry-funded Heartland Institute engaging in more religion-style climate science denial proselytizing
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 11, 2011
I got an email from Joel Primack, Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Director of the University of California High-Performance Astrocomputing Center at UC-Santa Cruz. He and his wife Nancy Abrams, a writer and lawyer, have a new book out and were on Extension 720, a Chicagoland radio show. Who should call in, but Maureen Martin, the Heartland Institute's senior fellow for legal affairs, and she engaged them in a discussion of denial.
Alteration of Reuters headline to convey the opposite message is the latest in Fox News' propaganda war on climate change
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 06, 2011
On July 4, Reuters ran the following headline: “Asia pollution blamed for halt in warming: study.” The FOX NationThe following day, Fox News picked up the Reuters story, but changed the headline to “Reuters Bombshell: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduce Global Warming.” Just one problem: the sulfur dioxide emissions from the Chinese coal plants, the subject of the article, are not greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, they are the opposite.
A new movement is afoot to end liberal arts degrees and transform higher ed into trade school
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 19, 2011
Salon runs this article about the benefits of killing the liberal arts degree.
Stanley Fish wrote of this sort of triumph of small-mindedness in 2010 in an eloquent criticism of Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education, a set of recommendations made by an independent panel to the British government. It advocated “student choice” in funding higher education.
Among the report’s palliatives: “Our proposals put students at the heart of the system.” “Our recommendations…are based on giving students the ability to make an informed choice of where and what to study.” “Students are best placed to make the judgment about what they want to get from participating in higher education.” The idea is that the money follows the students. Courses that compete successfully for student attendance survive and prosper; those that do not wither and die. The assumptions of market economics have triumphed: Ideas are now considered commodities.
New numbers show the press is doing a lousy job of reporting climate facts
By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jun 08, 2011
Anthony Leiserowitz is out with the Yale Project on Climate Change's annual polling data on Americans' beliefs about climate change.