Language of Science: Stars
In college, my astronomy professor insisted that people were messing up the language of science by using the word “sun” for other stars. There was only one Sun, he said, and it was in our daytime skies.
I understand this need to keep the language of science precise. If we don’t, things get messy and meaning is lost. But we also need words to communicate ideas that are brand new to our language. Inventing new words can be fun, but frequently people with the original need are too busy (or lazy) to create the new words that people will incorporate easily into the common vocabulary.
I had to disagree with my professor on this one word—sun—for it seemed perfect for the new usage. To me, a sun is a star which has planets. A sun is a parent to its flock of worlds. Our own sun already has a proper name: Sol, as in Solar system.
Perhaps ironically, I have my own bone to pick with other scientists on their “sloppy” use of “solar” to refer to any system with planets. Sol is the name of our sun. Our Solar system is the system of Sol—not Alpha Centauri, not Rigel, and not Upsilon Andromedae. What’s the alternative? Call all other planetary systems, “planetary systems.” The obvious solution was right in front of their noses all the time. If they want to be specific, then call the planetary system of Rigel, the Rigellian system. Alpha Centauri? The Alpha Centaurian system. If the names get to long and unwieldy, then drop back to “planetary system.”
When you refer to a person’s home, it’s usually the person’s last name and the word “home.” For me, it would be the “Martin home.” But I don’t go around calling the structure where the Smiths live a “Martin home.” It would be the “Smith home.” See? Clarity in communication.
I’ve started creating a series of monthly videos on constellations of the zodiac. No, this isn’t astrology—it’s 3D astronomy—Cancer Birthday Zodiac — 3D Astronomy Interesting Star Facts. With this series, I hope to improve on the language of science while also entertaining and educating.
Language of Science: Planets
I don’t like our planet’s name. Dirt? I may not be a terribly sophisticated guy, but this seems worse than merely “common.” Oh, sorry. Not “dirt,” but “Earth.” There’s “earth,” which means soil or dirt, and there’s “Earth” (capitalized) which is regrettably the current name of our planet (at least in English).
Latin anyone? We could use “Terra.” That’s used in numerous science fiction stories and sounds somewhat more impressive until you realize that it has practically the same meaning as “dirt.” Ouch!
In our planetary system—The Solar system—the other planets were given names from myth and legend. Mars was the Roman god of war. The planet, because of its reddish color, reminded folks of blood, too often seen in battle. Venus was the Roman goddess of beauty and love. The planet, because of its bright white purity, reminded people of that purity.
So, in Roman mythology, the goddess of the Earth was Terra. Groan! Her name was the same as the common word “terra” which meant “earth, or ground.” The earlier name used during the Republic and possibly earlier, was Tellus, which came from the common word for “land, territory or earth.” I don’t like “Tellus” because it sounds too much like a request for feedback.
“What planet are you from?”
“Well, if I knew, I wouldn’t ask you!”
The Greek primordial goddess, Gaia, is no different. Her name also means “land” or “earth.”
So, perhaps we’re stuck with Dirt or Earth, after all.
Language of Science: Climate
In the last few years, I’ve studied climate science in great depth. My studies actually began in the mid-70s when a PhD forest ecologist friend of mine retired and gave me his two books on climate. But my interest really took off after Al Gore’s infamous film, An Inconvenient Lie. (Oops! I think I got the title wrong.) What piqued my interest was not so much the film itself. Actually, my interest skyrocketed when I found out that my love of his film was sorely misplaced—that I had been wrong!
In the language of science, words are critical for precise understanding. When the popular media messes with the proper use of words, it makes it more difficult for people to understand what scientists are talking about. But in the realm of climate science, it seems that the problem runs far deeper.
Now, scientists are starting to use the messed up definitions. Even NASA has gone stupid on the language of science. Their website even has a page on “scientific consensus.” Why is this bad? Because “scientific consensus” is an oxymoron—a self-contradictory phrase. Why? Because science is never done by consensus. Otherwise, scientists would vote rather than run experiments.
The fact that NASA has gone so incredibly stupid on the language of science is both hilarious and infuriating. But this isn’t some accident. This isn’t merely a colloquial or common use of terms falling into the wrong hands. This is a strategic crippling of language for a hidden, sinister purpose.
Corrupting the Language of Science with Conspiracy
If you feel “conspiracy” talk coming on, then you’re right. But let’s clear the air about this highly-charged word. Conspiracy, to many Americans is equivalent to “fantasy.” They shun any such talk as if it were a prostitute walking in on gentile society.
Curious behavior. Why do Americans have that reaction? When I taught college here in the Philippines, my students did not have that reaction. To them, conspiracies were quite common. They knew their government had been corrupt numerous times, and that it may well have been corrupt then.
When one of my own students asked me if one incident in history involved a conspiracy, I noticed that I flinched. My own reaction had been unnatural and uncomfortable at the mention of the word. I felt in my bones a longing to distance myself from the conversation. The feeling had not come from me—not my conscious thought. Somehow, the feeling had been implanted in my subconscious. It felt foreign.
Looking back, I remembered dozens of times when the word “conspiracy” had been mentioned on talk shoes, news programs, commentary and even in movies. Every one of them ridiculed the barest mention of conspiracy. They ridiculed even simple questions which could imply conspiracy. Had this been born naturally in our own American culture, or had someone transplanted it there? And why?
This got me curious. So curious that I ended up researching and writing a book on the topic—Dirt Ordinary: Shining a Light on Conspiracies. Intellectually, I knew that conspiracies are not fantasy, but I still had the gut reaction to withdraw from the topic. Inside of me, it seemed there were two of me—a programmed reaction—a robotic self—and a critical thinking self who could not believe the reaction.
It was like going to a serious business meeting and suddenly jumping up and down like a chimpanzee without knowing why. Who was pulling my strings? And could I cut them?
In my research, I was shocked to find that there are at least 489 new conspiracies starting every second, on average, day-in and day-out, all year long, and every year. And that’s based only on documented conspiracies. We have to wonder how many undocumented ones there are. Every war started with at least one conspiracy. Many corporations have been guilty of several conspiracies—perhaps even hundreds. The fines ordered by the courts attest to that. When two or more criminals get together to cooperate on a heist, a drug sale or some other criminal activity, they have conspired to do something unethical or illegal.
Do the math. This means that at least 29,340 brand spanking new conspiracies begin each minute. That’s at least 1,760,400 new conspiracies every hour. You get the picture—dirt ordinary.
So, why do so many Americans react the way they do to the topic?
In forums and blog article comments, I’ve frequently read someone saying, “Not everything is a conspiracy.” Wow! Did I learn something new? Not!
Of course, not everything is a conspiracy, but to treat conspiracies as fantasy, or merely rare, is to dabble in self-delusion. To dismiss all talk of conspiracies without digging deeper is a product of willful ignorance. Not very bright. But that used to be me at one time. Surprise! Changing my mind was not easy, but it was possible. Thank goodness.
Conspiracies Corrupting Climate Science?
Imagine you run into a muscular drug addict on a dark street at night. He hasn’t had a fix in days and he’s hurting. He needs money and he’s desperate. One look at you and he’s like, “Oh, boy! Salvation. I can take this guy, easily.”
Two minutes later, you wake up from the sidewalk minus your wallet.
Selfishness and self-concern are a bitch. When pushed into a corner with our lives or sanity threatened, we might do some unsavory things—theft, extortion, assault and even murder. Not every one of us, but most of us. This is the heart of evil—that impulse to put self first. That fear that, if we don’t do something, we’ll suffer horribly. That viewpoint of us versus them. But it’s not the only possible viewpoint.
Now, imagine a Multi-Billionaire anxious for that next billion. Naw! Got enough money.
Instead, he hungers for more power—the only thrill left. Imagine that this Billionaire and his buddies want to run the entire planet, but ordinary folk like you or I would never allow such a thing. We’re in the way. And the biggest barrier in the way is the freedom-loving United States of America. How do these billionaires get rid of America without getting caught or killed? How do they get rid of the masses of “useless eaters” who are using up their resources?
Several political theorists have drawn up plans for such a transition. Those plans include things like eroding morals, changing the definitions of words, increasing the number of people in poverty, making people dependent upon the government, increasing the ease with which people accept murder, making sex more readily available, and many, many more.
In 1907, the bankers conspired to create a banking scare. People panicked and there was a run on the banks. Several banks went out of business. People lost money that the banks never had, so they could not honor their commitments to their customers. In 1910, the same bankers conspired to create a third central bank of the United States.
Historically, they knew such a thing was unpopular and for good reason. Bankers could only be trusted to be selfish. So, they created a name that sounded good. They called it “Federal,” so people would not easily discover that it was a private bank. They called it a “Reserve,” so people would consider it safe. And they called it a “System,” instead of a bank, so alarms of warning would not be set off. In 1913, the bankers, and a few corrupt friends in government, pushed through the creation of the private Federal Reserve System to create money and to control the interest rates of American finance.
A century later, the value of the dollar had lost 97%. Where had that value gone? To the bankers, of course. G. Edward Griffin details this conspiracy in his book, The Creature from Jekyll Island. When the Great Depression crippled America, the Fed tightened the money supply, making the depression far more onerous and dark. The number of citizens forced into poverty skyrocketed.
In today’s society, moral relativism is used all too often as an excuse to let people do what they want, no matter what harm it has on others. We have politically correct speech to protect sensitive ears, but also to destroy the lives of those who happen to say the wrong word or phrase. We have American wars now described as “peacekeeping actions.” The victims of American aggression don’t think it’s very peaceful.
Movies and television shows have made loose morals seem popular and normal. Stealing is now heroic. Cheating on your spouse is normal. Killing your baby is a lifestyle choice. Killing a loved one who is suffering a painful disease is one of life’s necessities.
The value of life, honor and morality has been eroded.
I remember in the 90s, a young Thai boy who immigrated to the United States, who had done poorly in Thailand schools, but was advanced ahead one year by the high school in Hollywood, California. To my surprise, he made top grades, apparently because the schools in Thailand had been academically superior to those in America. I was shocked. And I was dismayed when the same student’s grades plummeted shortly afterward. The reason? Being “smart” was unpopular.
Imagine a Billionaire who knows enough about human nature to know what motivates people and how they react to various inputs. What if that Billionaire—bored out of his mind—decided to see if he could program American society?
In February 1981, newly elected President Reagan asked his CIA director, William Casey, what his vision was for the agency. The director’s reply still sends chills up my spine. “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Conspiring to program American citizens? This program was called, at least in part, Operation Mockingbird.
But what does the Billionaire have to do with the inner workings of government? When David Rockefeller wrote his memoirs, he let slip one ironic confession to treason. “For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
So, he’s proud of his treason.
In two articles I wrote for Uisio.com, I detailed the facts which place corporations and their owners at the helm of government, behind the scenes. The first was titled, “Lobbying in the United States — Foxes in the Hen House.” Though this focuses on lobbying, it includes other methods that corporations have used to overtake the reins of government.
The second article was titled, “The Silent Coup — How Wall Street Took Over Washington without Firing a Shot.”
So, what does all this have to do with climate science?
The Rockefellers have, for over a century, been big fans of eugenics—weeding out the undesirable humans. How many of our current 7½ billion are considered undesirable? Would you believe 7 billion?
When the world seemed to be headed toward sanity after World War II, the Rockefellers donated precious land in Manhattan to the new United Nations. That’s where the UN built their headquarters. Years later, Rockefeller protégé, the late Maurice Strong, headed up the environmental section of the United Nations, eventually giving birth to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That political agency’s mission: to find out what the effects of dangerous, human-induced global warming would be, and how to combat that problem. Curious that they defined the problem so specifically. They assumed—up front—that humans were the cause of global warming and that warming was a problem. Both of these are dead wrong. And I found out why?
Ironically, they ignored the huge fact that we currently live in an Ice Age interglacial called the Holocene. What kind of psychopath promotes a fear of warmth in an ongoing Ice Age? The kind who wants to kill 7 billion people, that’s who.
You see, ice is the killer. Warmth is life-affirming. And CO2 is actually the slandered hero of all this. Carbon dioxide didn’t cause our recent warming, but its modern increases have been greening the Earth. Greenpeace should stop protesting CO2 and should start applauding its helpful effects.
Even NASA has gone stupid on this, more than what I’ve already mentioned. They’re calling our recent warming, “Earth’s fever.” How can a minor thaw in an Ice Age interglacial be a “fever?” That is not only unscientific language on their part, but incredibly wrong. NASA is being political because they are part of the government. Their bosses are appointed by politicians. They have to suck up or lose their jobs or lose funding. They have to use the language of science incorrectly, or risk being called “deniers.”
Well, it seems the entire world is in denial of those 2 little white things at the poles. When you see a pack of wolves headed your way, you climb a tree or pull out your gun. People see the polar ice caps and think cuddly polar bears, instead of deadly, carnivorous predators. They don’t realize that the ice caps can grow much, much larger and eventually destroy civilization.
Glacial conditions are not like anything in human history. The Little Ice Age was a chilled soda compared to the mountain of Frozen hurt headed our way when the Holocene ends. No one knows when it will end. The next glacial period could start later this afternoon, or 10,000 years in the future, based on past interglacials of the current Ice Age. But when it does, all of Canada will be gone. One third of the United States and a third of Europe will be buried in permanent ice for something like 90,000 years. Most current farmland will become frozen or deserts, because cooler oceans won’t evaporate enough water for rain.
Clearing up the Language of Science on Global Warming
My new book, Thermophobia: Shining a Light on Global Warming, is already available at Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and Smashwords. The book is also available at a discount at the publisher’s website, Tharsis Highlands.
If you have any questions on the topic or any favorite anecdotes, please let me know.