People who think their opinions are superior to others are most prone to overestimating their relevant knowledge and ignoring chances to learn more By guest blogger Tom Stafford We all know someone who is convinced their opinion is better than everyone else’s on a topic – perhaps, even, that it is the only correct opinion to have. Maybe, on some topics, you are that person. Climate Undermined by Lobbying For all the evidence that the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases outweigh the costs of regulation, disturbingly few domestic climate change policies have been enacted around the world so far. So say UC Santa Barbara professor and economist Kyle Meng, and co-author Ashwin Rode, a former UCSB Ph.D. student now at the University of Chicago, in a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change. “There is a striking disconnect between what is needed to avoid dangerous climate change and what has actually been done to date,” said Meng, a professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and in the Department of Economics.
‘The devastation of human life is in view’: what a burning world tells us about climate change I have never been an environmentalist. I don’t even think of myself as a nature person. I’ve lived my whole life in cities, enjoying gadgets built by industrial supply chains I hardly think twice about. The Uninhabitable Earth: David Wallace-Wells on the horrors of climate change “It is, I promise, worse than you think.” That was was the first line of David Wallace-Wells’s horrifying 2017 essay in New York magazine about climate change. It was an attempt to paint a very real picture of our not-too-distant future, a future filled with famines, political chaos, economic collapse, fierce resource competition, and a sun that “cooks us.”
A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality Back in 1961, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist Eugene Wigner outlined a thought experiment that demonstrated one of the lesser-known paradoxes of quantum mechanics. The experiment shows how the strange nature of the universe allows two observers—say, Wigner and Wigner’s friend—to experience different realities. Since then, physicists have used the “Wigner’s Friend” thought experiment to explore the nature of measurement and to argue over whether objective facts can exist. That’s important because scientists carry out experiments to establish objective facts. But if they experience different realities, the argument goes, how can they agree on what these facts might be? That’s provided some entertaining fodder for after-dinner conversation, but Wigner’s thought experiment has never been more than that—just a thought experiment.
The Social Life of Forests The Social Life of Forests By Ferris Jabr Photographs by Brendan George Ko As a child, Suzanne Simard often roamed Canada’s old-growth forests with her siblings, building forts from fallen branches, foraging mushrooms and huckleberries and occasionally eating handfuls of dirt (she liked the taste). The Greek Island That Became an Open-Air Prison for Refugees Samos, Greece When Leila, an elegant Afghan woman of 34, goes to bed, she squashes up beside her husband on the narrow bottom mattress of a bunk, while her teenage daughter and 11-year-old son share the bed above. Eighteen inches away, another family is crushed together on another bunk, and down the row stretch 20 more.
Non-survivable humid heatwaves for over 500 million people – Climate Guide Researchers at MIT warn that if climate change remains unchecked (Business As Usual-scenario = RCP 8.5) over half a billion people will, from 2070 onwards, experience humid heat waves that will kill even healthy people in the shade within 6 hours. The Wet Bulb Temperature (WBT) would exceed 35°C (95°F), at which the body – of any mammal – cannot cool itself, overheats and shuts down. Three regions were studied: China (2018), South Asia (2017) and the Persian Gulf (2015). The researchers predict (at RCP 8.5) WBT exceeding 35°C about once every decade for the Northern Plains in China (400+ million people), at locations in the Chota Nagpur plateau, northeastern India, and Bangladesh in South Asia (70+ million people).