Clearing off my desktop, I ran across a fascinating article comparing public resistance to three major scientific paradigm shifts: Copernicus’s heliocentric view of the solar system, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and global warming. What fascinates me about all three episodes was that so many people took their opinions about scientific matters from their political leaders. This quote, from a scientist who found an empirical confirmation of the theory of relativity, seems particularly apropos to today’s global warming debate:

“This world is a strange madhouse.  Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct.  Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”…Instead of quelling the debate, the confirmation of the theory and acclaim for its author had sparked an organized opposition dedicated to discrediting both theory and author.

To me, the episode could have been ripped out of today’s headlines—substituting “relativity theory” with “climate change.”

Bloomberg reports that young people are driving less, and many are giving up on cars altogether. According to an auto industry consultant, many Millenials would rather have the internet than a car. “A vehicle is really a discretionary purchase and a secondary need versus an iPhone, mobile phone or personal computer.”


  • Our work is made possible by the generosity of people like you!

    Thanks to Carlin Cherry for supporting a sustainable Cascadia.

  • Ever wonder if a ventilator would be a good idea—after you already have a headache from paint fumes or heavy duty glue? Blue Green Alliance has a new tool “designed by workers for workers” to make it easier to learn about chemicals.

    When neti pots turn deadly…Of particular interest to some heavy neti pot evangelists—and their converts—here at Sightline.

    Solutions in our backyard. A small Seattle biotech company just secured enough funding to expand their research on how to cultivate algae to make fuel—and it’s not just plain, old brown, scummy algae, it’s a shockingly bright green color that looks good in beakers and apparently it’s fat—and fat algae has more energy than thin. (And of course, it’s also phat!)

    Eric dP:

    If you’re following the coal exports debate, here’s a must-read for you. Climate Solutions’ Ross Macfarlane filets Matt Rose, the CEO of BNSF Railways, who has lately been traveling to Northwest communities in an increasingly desperate effort to cajole local officials into getting on board with coal.

    Brad Plumer has an enraging account of how Democrats have shifted on climate policy since 2008.

    As a semi-committed runner and mountain climber I’ve been taking some pleasure in watching the news media explode Paul Ryan’s assertion that he ran a 3 hour marathon. (Here’s one spot-on explanation for why the claim was pretty clearly false.) And I confess to more than a little skepticism that Ryan has climbed 40 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, or attempted climbs on 40 of them, or made “about 40” climbs but on only 28 mountains, or whatever the latest version of his story his. I’m going on record right now: it’s a fib. (More here.)

    Finally, I enjoyed reading the always-interesting Roger Valdez on a nascent attempt to prevent some small-lot development in Seattle. Erica C. Barnett has a good take on the subject too.

    Eric H:

    Restaurants are beginning to follow airlines and hotels by charging variable rates to make sure every table is filled. Who’s ready for a 4:30 dinner?

    The physics of savoring candy.

    I was lucky enough to spend the holiday weekend in the North Cascades, where I even heard a wolf howl. It reminded me just how lucky we are to live in the Pacific Northwest. So, some eye candy:

    Purely Pacific Northwest from John Eklund on Vimeo.