Small Talk and Conversational Skills
My introduction to polar studies was mostly serendipitous, stemming from a chance conversation about turbulence with a favorite professor (J. Dungan Smith) when I was a first-year graduate student in the geophysics program at the University of Washington in 1971. In March 1972, I thus found myself standing on the flight deck of a C130 Hercules as it made the first nighttime landing on a frozen-lead runway lit with smudge pots about 300 nm north of Barrow, Alaska. My memory of the remainder of that night is the roar (and smell) of C130 turbines as flight after flight landed, and all hands turned out to offload tons of scientific equipment and support materiel. The next day I had a chance to observe what was for me a completely new environment breathtakingly cold in spite of dazzling sunlight a terrain of pressure ridges and sastrugi, like miniature landforms and a color spectrum consisting only of gradations from blue to white. In a fundamental way, I have enjoyed the polar environment...
If a bridge were built, a really sturdy bridge allowing many to cross and intermingle at the same time, rather than one allowing rare, solo crossings of high specificity, what might the conversations be about Could the various visitors to the respective foreign side even speak the same language as their new hosts What would they have in common, and if prioritizing, what projects might they most fruitfully undertake together There would be many, of course, but I know how I would vote when on the other side, the side new to me, the side populated by climatologists of the now as well as those looking back into the ice ages of the last 2.5 million years. I would vote for those who now work on the oceanic thermohaline conveyer currents to examine the evidence of those who study the past mass extinctions.
I had a conversation with an editor of one of the major American magazines in New York about five years ago, trying to entice him into doing a cover story about what was happening up north in the Arctic and surrounding territories. His answer was very frank and blunt 'No, sorry, we are not going to do anything about it all. Our readers are not interested'. I was therefore very happy to see the same magazine only some months ago carrying a major cover story, with a polar bear on the front, warning the world in strong terms that time is very short.
So what are the possible ways forward The objective of this chapter is to give some idea of the complexity that exists in the world of multilateral climate change and energy within the UN system. The other chapters in this book clearly indicate the urgency that the world is facing as far as climate and energy is concerned. We believe that now is the right time to try and look at how the system might operate in the future. These suggestions are a contribution to that conversation.
Case studies and lessons learned about chemical emergencies during hurricanes were derived from a review of the literature on three prominent hazardous materials incidents relating to the hurricanes. Only one of the three case studies was captured by HSEES the other two did not qualify for HSEES because they were either petroleum-related or were a chronic release. The case study of the incident captured by HSEES is based on details from the literature as these were more extensive that the information captured by HSEES. The three case studies were originally prepared for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Chemical Emergencies workgroup of the National Conversation on Public Health and Environmental Exposures and have been modified for this chapter. These case studies are reviews and interpretations of the current literature concerning these incidents and are presented to give a broader perspective on hurricane-related hazardous substance issues than HSEES data alone...
A comprehensive understanding of the implications of extreme climate change requires an in-depth exploration of the perceptions and reactions of the affected stakeholder groups and the lay public. Toth and Hizsnyik (2005) describe how participatory techniques might be applied to inform decisions in the context of possible abrupt climate change. Their project has studied one such case, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and a subsequent 5 to 6 m sea-level rise. Possible methods for assessing the societal consequences of impacts and adaptations include simulation-gaming techniques, a policy exercise approach, as well as directed focus-group conversations. Each approach can be designed to explore adaptation as a local response to a global phenomenon. As a result, each sees adaptation being informed by a fusion of top-down descriptions of impacts from global climate change and bottom-up deliberations rooted in local, national and regional experiences (see Chapter 2, Section...
This was clearly illustrated by a conversation I had, in 2003, with a very senior executive at one of the UK's largest companies. The company had a fairly progressive position on climate change and I asked him what he was doing to challenge the position of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) -which remained sceptical of the need for action on climate change. He laughed about the CBI's position, told me 'not to worry' and explained that they only bothered to send junior staff to the CBI policy meetings.
For many years, both NSF (BEST 2004 BEST Science Steering Committee 2005), largely through conversation with the research community facilitated by George Hunt, and NPRB (NPRB 2005) had been considering a study of the Bering Sea as a large marine ecosystem. Each had envisaged a physics-to-humans study. It quickly became apparent to both organizations that such a study was beyond the resources of either alone. With support from the upper management of both organizations, a coordinated competition was held. The conceptual structure was that NSF would solicit proposals dealing with the physics, chemistry and lower trophic levels, while NPRB would solicit proposal that dealt with the upper trophic levels. Both organizations would be involved in the human dimensions studies of the program. Furthermore, to make the project manageable, the geographic domain of the study was restricted to the eastern Bering Sea shelf.
The landslide occurred during a period of very heavy rainfall, and the rain may have both lubricated the slip surfaces and filled open pore spaces in the rego-lith and rock above the slip surface, loading the slip planes beyond their ability to resist sliding. A small earthquake with a magnitude of 2.6 occurred about 15 miles (25 km) west of the head of the slide, at approximately the same time as the slide. The time of the slide is known from a telephone conversation, in which the speaker noted a loud noise, then screamed in fear, and then the line went dead. It is uncertain if such a small earthquake at this distance could initiate the landslide, but the apparent coincidence in time is remarkable. The most likely scenario is that the steep joint surfaces were already overloaded by the weight of the fresh water, and the small amount of shaking from the earthquake was just enough to change a metastable slope into a moving deadly landslide. Other observations suggest that the...
Sacred Way, a wide ceremonial road, as well as to the open space of the Agora, where trade and political affairs were conducted. Within the city walls resided some 100,000 people, including a large number of resident aliens. City-dwelling Athenians had little space, and Athens suffered from crowding, noise, air and water pollution, the accumulation of wastes, plagues, and other dangers to life and limb. No wonder Socrates preferred to hold his conversations with young Athenians along the tree-shaded banks of a stream flowing outside the city.76 But the effects of urbanization on the natural environment were not limited to the city's immediate neighborhood, since the city drew upon the resources of a large part of Greece and even more distant lands such as Egypt and the Black Sea coast.77
But he knows that the reliance on aviation is the Achilles heel of his business. Whatever he does about other sources of emissions, there is little to be done about aviation. He recounts conversations with Boeing about possible future purchases. Given that an average 747 lasts around 40 years and takes 5-7 years to build, he knows he'll still be running it in 2050. 'So I says to Mr Boeing, what will the carbon price be in 2050. Will I be able to afford to run this plane then Will there even be the oil available then '
A half century later, Albert Howard, an Englishman working in India, devised his famous Indore composting system, which was far more than simply a composting system. Howard's approach, which we can presume came from extensive observations of and conversations with Indian farmers, was focused on the health of the soil, arguing that a healthy soil, by which he meant one that contained a well-balanced mixture of worms, fungi, and bacteria and other microorganisms, would produce healthy food, while a soil devoid of those healthy elements would not produce such healthy food. Indeed, the connection between ecological health on the farm and the health-promoting qualities of food produced there was a key element of the early organic agriculture movement (Conford 2001). Howard thus noticed the immense effect of ecological engineers (i.e., worms, fungi, and bacteria and other microorganisms in the soil) in creating what he referred to as a healthy soil.
This is neither an argument against markets in their proper place nor one against corporations properly chartered and regulated for the public good. It is decidedly not an argument against private enterprise, although we have every reason to dislike unaccountable corporate power, as well as the power of business to manipulate appearances so as to appear considerably better than they are. My position is not socialist, whatever that word is presumed to mean, but it is decidedly in favor of placing limits on corporate power and even individualism where its excesses cast long shadows on the prospects of our grandchildren and theirs. It is not a hymn to a mythical American past but a call to draw strength and perspective from our history, which at its best has been always pragmatic and experimental. We must repair and enhance our civic culture and our collective capacity to solve problems associated with climate change in the brief time before they become unmanageable. To that end we will...
Public perception is critical to the future of global warming. Whether people understand that global warming is an important issue that must be dealt with will determine the future of the Earth. Many people's perceptions are shaped by the media. Information learned at school and conversations with adults are also important sources of information for students. It is important to become educated about the topic. Be aware of what scientists know, what they suspect, and of the controversy surrounding it. There are many organizations both in governments and the private sector with Web sites that have information about global warming and the environment. These include the Environmental Defense Fund, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace, the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, the National Geographic, the IPCC, the EPA, and many others. A listing of more sites can be found in the Further Resources section.
While both the government and oil companies are the beneficiaries of the crisis raging in the oil fields, enjoying huge profits and windfalls, both are equally vulnerable to the challenge of access to oilfields. One Nigerian activist (in private conversation) posited that the Nigerian government is a victim of disaster capitalism. The new government is caught in the web of supremacist gangs, engaged in the kidnappings of oil workers and the abductions of children and parents of politicians. Unless they take steps to look away from short-term
I do recall at the time that fellow conservation biologists attending a Lomborg talk would correct his science, only to find the same assertions made in subsequent talks as if the corrections had never occurred. That left me disinclined to engage with Lomborg. Science and public understanding do not advance on the basis of assertions as opposed to conversations and discussion.
Many who believe that we need a robust, democratic, and rational politics propose to harness technology in order to create an electronic version of a town meeting. After a thorough and convincing examination of the causes of the decline in the rationality in our politics, former vice president Al Gore, for one, proposes to harness the power of the internet to join us electronically as citizens across the divisions of age, geography, and ethnicity. The internet, he argues, is perhaps the greatest source of hope for reestablishing an open communications environment in which the conversation of democracy can flourish (Gore, 2007, p. 260). Susan Jacoby, to the contrary, argues that the first essential step is negative we must give up the delusion that technology can supply the fix for a condition that, however much it is abetted by our new machines, is essentially nontechnological (p. 309).
Our visit to the Salt Range would not have been possible but for the generous help offered by the Pakistan Geological Survey, whose deputy director, Mahmoud Raza, accompanied us in a Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to the Survey. One day in the field, Paul and I were measuring a section in a gully when we looked up the hillside to see Mahmoud engaged in conversation with a tall, slim young man dressed in the traditional shalwa kameez, with a rifle over his shoulder - not an unusual sight in the remoter uplands of Pakistan. Within a few minutes a disturbed-looking Mahmoud joined us and said that we were getting out of here, in a tone that brooked no dissent. As we sped along the road leading to the small town where our hotel was situated, he gave the reason for his precipitate decision. The man he had encountered on the hillside had introduced himself as someone who was on the run from the
The idea that the environment - in particular climate - influences the behaviour of a society is known as environmental determinism. Over the long term, changes in climate can make the difference between a rise or fall in civilization. But some supporters of this idea seem to passionately believe that every slight change in climate has a big knock-on effect. Its opponents are equally vehement and argue that the environment has no role to play if it gets cold, people light a fire if it gets dry, people draw on a well. You get the idea. In the few times I get invited to a dinner party, it can be good sport to toss the phrase 'environmental determinism' into a conversation with a colleague and see what happens. Either they'll momentarily look stunned, as if you might have escaped from the local lunatic asylum, and then rant and rave about what a load of rubbish the whole idea is, or they'll nervously scan around, and conspiratori-ally whisper that they think...
Information on the following ecological characteristics of tree species will be useful in helping to select them for plantation purposes light requirements, growth under different soil fertility conditions, resistance to drought, tolerance to low or high pH, tolerance to high concentrations of toxic metals, resistance against pest and disease, ability to sprout and to respond to pruning and coppicing, seed production, germination characteristics, need for inoculation with mycorrhizae, need for fertilisers, wood characteristics, and uses. In most cases basic ecological information on tree species can be found at universities, ministries of agriculture, or departments of forestry. Local information can also be obtained from nurseries, agricultural or forestry cooperatives, and from conversations with local producers. However, sometimes native species are poorly known, yet another reason for people's tendency to use exotics, which have been better studied.
Form of a predoctoral grant by DURSI (Departament d'Universitats, Recerca i Societat de la Informacio) 2003 FI 00083. This paper has also been supported by project B0S2001-1004 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, Grup de Recerca de Qualitat SGR2001-00077 of DURSI and RH0I-H0MINID-NSF-BCS-0321893 of the Researching Hominid Origins Initiative. We would like to thank M. Fortelius and his team for developing and maintaining NOW, which was the main source for the database used in this paper. We have used the PAST program in many of our calculations, so we thank 0. Hammer the effort done to create and improve it. The idea of writing this work arose after the conversation of the first author with Drs. Hans de De Bruijn and A. J. van der Van der Meulen at Utrecht University and I. C.-V. is very grateful to them for indirectly suggesting it. This work does not result from the single work by four people, but from the work of many paleontologists who compiled the data during...
Good communication tells the audience what they need to know about the current situation and what they should do differently in the future. Some energy data must be provided, so the audience can understand their role and course of action, where they fit and what they can do. For that reason, pertinent information must be delivered in a language that is appropriate to their position, background and usual tasks. This helps to support their engagement with energy efficiency. The message must be clear, in a concise style, as in a one-on-one conversation. Simple, understandable language is better for general staff than technical jargon. But technical slang may fit in just fine for engineers, operators, maintainers, designers and draftsmen. For managers, it must follow the same tone that strategy and the business plan uses.
Appears to have been quite significant judging from comments made by the ACIA authors in informal conversations during the conference. A study of the media coverage in the United States shows that the ACIA made major TV network news and was mentioned 72 times in major US newspapers between September 2004 and February 2005. Tjernhaugen and Bang find that the coverage was slightly less than the third IPCC assessment but calls this considerable because of the smaller scope of the Artic assessment compared to the IPCC. Moreover, the media coverage was less focused on scientific controversies.230 A search in a media database that covers Sweden and Norway reveals 21 mentions of Arctic Climate Impact Assessment during the same period.231
Gaining access for making field observations in a closed social setting is not straightforward.15 Several factors probably contributed to my being able to gain access. From the participants' perspective, a key element may have been shared norms about the importance of research. In connection with previous professional activities, I was known to several people at the meetings. It was therefore important to define my specific role as an observer rather than as a colleague. The major strategy for doing this was in personal conversations and by distributing written information about the research project. To avoid being seen as more connected to some people in the process, a special effort was made to connect with people with whom I had not had previous contact, if not at the first meeting at least at some time during the process.
Approximately 70 semi-structured interviews with people participating in the ACIA process were conducted. This included meetings with participants in the Assessment Integration Team, lead authors, and representatives of national delegations to the Arctic Council. A list of interviewees is presented in Appendix II. Some people were interviewed several times and, in total, the group that I talked to at one time or another included 56 people. The purpose of the interviews was to gather information that was not likely to have been elaborated in written documents and to gather information on the participants' own analysis of the process. As Stake expresses, the interview is the main road to multiple realities.19 Interviews can thus be a way to facilitate triangulation, especially in establishing a description of events. As noted previously in the discussion on observations, interviews were also used to probe some issues noted during observations. In addition, interviews gave participants...
IPCC (2007b) Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Working Group II Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report IPCC, Cambridge University Press New York IPO (2001) Van ordenen naar ontwikkelen Interprovinciaal overleg Den Haag Innovatienetwerk Groene Ruimte en Agrocluster, International Centre for Integral Studies & Min-isterie van LNV (2002) Samenleving in transitie, een vernieuwend gezichtspunt Innovatienetwerk Groene Ruimte en Agrocluster, International Centre for Integral Studies & Min-isterie van LNV Den Haag Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities Random House New York Jacobs, D. and Roggema, R. (2005) Swarm Planning Term Invented During Searching Conversation Brainstorm June 2005, Groningen Johnson, S. (2001) Emergence Scribner New York
Although there are several different types of solid precipitation, there are even more variations and appellations for snow on the ground. Mariana Gosnell discusses the veracity of the legendary 100-plus different words for snow in Inuktitut, confirming only about 20 of these in conversation with Inuit elders. Dictionaries of more than 120 variations can be found, inflated by the conjunction of nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs into single words describing snow and ice. Table 4.1 provides some examples. Regardless of the semantic debate, the Inuit people know whereof they speak they read the story of the weather, seasons,
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