Monday, January 04, 2010

Climate Information is Beautiful/Terrifying

George sent me a great link:

David McCandless, a London-based author, writer and designer for the Guardian and Wired amongst others, has been putting together some very good graphics on the subject of climate change of late. They are over on his blog, Information is Beautiful. The corker is this post depicting typical arguments and counter arguments between skeptics and the science - would be very interested to hear people's / Gaz's views.

Not the Gaz ain't a person, but you know what I mean..

Roy, and thanks to George!

1 comment:

Gareth said...

Great website. I don't need to tell this audience that communication of ideas graphically is an important way to go for complex issues and the graun/nat geo very often do a great job of this. For this particular graphic though I'm not convinced it's doing any good. Firstly, there's still way too much text and i actually find the images too small to read easily. Secondly, some of the answers are particularly fluffy and could be much stronger. Lastly, and I think more importantly, it lends credence to some of the skeptic arguments which should have none by it's equally weighted presentation (ie half the image is pro and half con). I'd much prefer to see it weighted by evidence to back up the claim (or relevance to the argument. e.g arguing about warming over the arctic when we're talking about GLOBAL warming), but that way you wouldn't be able to see the skeptic side (which on reflection is maybe what I would prefer!). I'm just struggling with the idea that by re-hashing these (often nonsensical) arguments we give them validity, and by having it done by self-confessed amateurs (i.e non climate scientists) you run a very real risk of miscommunication. I'd love to see the arts/humanities run with some hard scientific facts and communicate them more effectively than we scientists can but with due diligence (perhaps by having scientific advisors like they have medical advisors in medical dramas). Either that or scientists have to get MUCH better at communication. I still applaud the idea behind the project, ie simplify and disseminate the main arguments for the lay-public, but the execution is wrought with difficulties and I worry that it could actually set us back when not done effectively.