Six candles to blow!

six birthday candles

This blog turns six!

When I started it back then in 2013, I couldn’t imagine that this blog would still be active for so long and that I would write more than 400 posts in the meanwhile.

There certainly was no shortage of inspiration. On the contrary, there were several posts that I started, but were not finished (because of a lack of time or something else came along or the topic became irrelevant in the meanwhile).

I still like the writing process, the researching and the figuring out of how things work, so I will continue doing that.

There are however some limitations that I ran into. Individual posts move out of sight when new ones are published. This can make it difficult to find back individual posts, but also it is easy to loose overview of posts detailing one specific topic. For example, there are many posts dealing with the consensus and they all have one piece of information. It would be nice to group all those thoughts together in one page per paper.

The same is true for the several posts I wrote on the Alice-in-Wonderland paper. Back then, I started to create an interactive version of that paper, in such a way that all issues are visible on one page. I abandoned the project and then forgot about it. This is a project that I might revive again.

This revealed another limitation: I start to miss the possibility of using scripts or the strength of a database. Some things could get presented in a clearer way using for example interactive graphs or other interactive elements like I started to do with the Alice-in-Wonderland project.

Not sure how to tackle all these things. If I can miss scripting/database ability, then I could smarten up my categories and tags or just make an index page. I could also make use of static pages, summarizing one specific topic in some more detail. If I want to make use of scripting and databases, then I could go for a self-hosted WordPress site or just create a webpage with supplementary materials for this blog. So many options.

Something that I also want to do is writing some posts in Dutch (my mother tongue). Not sure how to do that in practice, maybe a new blog dealing specifically with things related to Flanders/Belgium, keeping the more international/general topics to this blog. Or maybe centralize it together with the supplementary materials site. It is currently not very clear, so I think this could be for the (far) future.

When it comes to the closer future, I will walk down memory lane and write some posts on why I changed from believer to skeptic, what changed exactly and what I learned from it. I already started writing one of those posts and have ideas for some others, so these might arrive soon.

I am glad to see an increase in views recently. Including the number of views from Belgium. These were very low until a couple months ago, so apparently more Belgians seem to find their way to this blog.

Finally a very big thank you for those who liked my posts, shared them on social media or wrote comments. I really appreciate it.

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Feed the debate with (some) facts (and loads of assumptions)

Belgian scientists wrote an open letter in which they ask for better climate policies. This open letter is a reaction to the several climate marches that were organized in the last weeks by schoolchildren skipping school.

In a newspaper article (Dutch ahead), one of the organizers claimed that they want to feed the “climate debate with facts”. The word “fact” was mentioned six times throughout the article, so she wanted to emphasize that.

A debate based on facts. I surely like the sound of that!

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Belgian offshore wind produces as much as four nuclear plants

Last Monday, our Prime Minister gave a speech on the occasion of the Belgian Diplomatic Days (Dutch ahead). In his speech, he claimed that a lot has been achieved by the current Government and, as an example, he made the remarkable claim that the Belgian wind farms in the North Sea produce the same as four nuclear power plants! He raised four fingers and said “four” twice, so he apparently wanted to make a point with this specific claim.

Screenshot VRT news of January 28, 2019

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Cook: the 97% consensus on “climate change is bad”

It has been a long time that I read something of John Cook. I recently came across the National Center for Science Education blog post in which he was interviewed. The post is titled Got Climate Change Misconceptions? John Cook Can Help and dates from the beginning of this year. This “help” seems to be learning students how to combat climate change misconceptions.

I am not going to make a long post, so I will come to the point immediately. This is what caught my eye at first read (my emphasis):

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Electric car registrations: a 2% increase of something tiny is still tiny

We have a new Flemish Minister of Energy since two days. As a result of the local elections of October last year, the previous Minister became mayor of his home town Ostend. That is a bit sad, he had the habit of enthusiastically sprouting meaningless claims about energy that were very easily debunked. I wrote several posts about such claims, so I will certainly miss his mindless claims.

The new Minister, Lydia Peeters, took the oath of office the day before yesterday. The first tweet on her twitter account came only a day later and is a retweet of a tweet written by her spokeswoman (translated from Dutch):

Nice increase becomes visible! @Lydiapeeters: “The switch to electric vehicles keeps going on” @BelgaPolitics Read it here:

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Realists need not apply…

Continuing from previous two posts on the “interview” of Nic Balthazar, something that was clear from the beginning was that Balthazar was not very keen on “realism”. I certainly can understand why and will explain it later in this post. One of those realists that Balhazar looked down on is a certain “climate critic” (whatever that may be) (translated from Dutch):

A climate critic was in De Morgen (Belgian newspaper) this weekend and he said two things a) that two percent [sic], that is not enough anyway, also we should not cheer about it. Even if we get there, it would be far too little and 2) [sic] there are many other important things for many people on this planet, namely, do I survive today? Do I survive this week?

My first thought was that it must be Bjørn Lomborg. He got, to my surprise (and that of many others), interviewed in that (left-wing) newspaper only about two weeks ago. I knew that Lomborg indeed claims that there are more important things than climate, but then, as far as I knew, he didn’t claim that “two degrees is not enough/far too little”.

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The doctor’s analogy again: the climate is like a child with a diagnosed cancer

The doctor’s analogy is frequently used in climate change communication. In most cases, it goes like this: “Wouldn’t you go with the advises of your doctor when he tells you …?” or “When you have cancer would you go to a cardiologist?”. Last Sunday I saw that doctor enter the analogy in a different way in the interview of Nic Balthazar in the current events program “De 7de dag” (see previous post) (translated from Dutch):

Screenshot of “de 7de dag” of December 16, 2018. Nic Balthazar: making the doctor’s analogy

You should really have to compare to, an unpleasant comparison, the doctors come and they say, madam and sir, your child has cancer. At the moment, it could still be contained, we can operate, do chemo therapy, everything. It is going to cost, it will be difficult, hard and all, but we can get that child to recover. And when you now talk about our economy, we can really come out of this better. We can, with renewable energy, cleaner air, end up in a much safer life in geopolitics. But it will be difficult. Would that father and mother then say, yes but, pfff, it’s a bit too expensive? No, they will not do that. We [sic] are going to say: whatever it takes. Just look at Music for Life, everything is possible at that moment. And yet we do not do it, and an annoying comparison, one single child that have cancer, but we are talking about all the children of the world.

and also later this emotional appeal (translated from Dutch):

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