23 April 2009


Videos that are scary-dumb

Example the First: I stumbled into this fine satire of a climate change denial video the other day. It's hilarious, with its ironic attempts at hipness, images of the world exploding, and with-it clip art youth proclaiming "Shut up!", "What the hell?", and "No way!"

Except, um, it's not a satire. It's an actual, serious video from our pals here at Vancouver's right-wing think-tank the Fraser Institute. I think it may very well be the "Gathering Storm" of anti–global warming videos—so ridiculous it's laughable.

Example the Second: Via Phil Plait, I found this astonishing record of Texas congressman Joe Barton, yesterday asking the U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (also the winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics, by the way) where all the oil in Alaska came from. Chu is obviously puzzled at why Barton would ask something so basic, but as the congressman continues his question, Dr. Chu realizes that Mr. Barton apparently doesn't have the first clue about geology or plate tectonics:

Wow. Even more depressing, Mr. Barton thought he'd stumped Dr. Chu, and said so on his Twitter account! The rest of the Twitterverse (me included) quickly corrected the congressman. Since Dr. Chu only had six seconds to respond, and was obviously so aghast at Mr. Barton's lack of knowledge, he couldn't formulate a proper response. Given a minute, he could have said:

Hundreds of millions of years ago, when Alaska was in a different place on the globe because of continental drift, trillions of microorganisms lived and died there. Immense heat and pressure converted their bodies, buried deep underground by geological processes, into simpler hydrocarbons, like oil. That’s why they’re called fossil fuels.

Not an Example: As a relief from those, here's something amazing (via Tim Bray and kk+):

That's more like it.

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He's pretty amazing on that bike, eh? I love it when he goes off something crazy and people rush over to see if he's okay.
And he's just riding off below them.

Nice outtakes at the beginning -- wonder how many other misses there were.
i am sooooo proud to be an american! woot!

Thanks for the the guy is good!
Will be sending out to the my contacts!

Hope your feeling better!

Like the updates!

Think tank? Is that what they call themselves?

I am amazed at how often news programs/talk shows/newspapers solicit opinions from the Fraser Institute. What qualifies them to provide an opinion that should be heard by the general population? This sort of thing?
Thank tanks, whether the Fraser Institute, the Cato Institute, the David Suzuki Foundation, or the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, are inevitably ideological. All too often, their positions on any particular question are easy to predict simply by knowing that ideological foundation, regardless of the facts of the issue.

I'm more likely to agree with the left-wing ones, but that doesn't necessarily make them less predictable. The Fraser Institute video is a particularly egregious example of that sort of predictability.