To earn a living, scientists or engineers must obtain funding for their projects. To get this funding, they are forced to become marketers and try to sell their ideas to their potential benefactors.
One good excuse for obtaining funding is to claim that at some future time a tragedy will befall the human race if something isn’t done about it now. As long as there is enough data being created to signal impending doom, the influx of funds will continue to the ones performing the research.
Impending doom is good for the media too. Reporters have a lot to talk about; the more they scare the public, the more attention the public gives the media networks, and the more advertising dollars they get.
Politicians have to get involved too. The more laws they pass to save the world, the more the media-conditioned masses applaud their efforts and insure their reelection.
Let’s look at what the media said would be a major tragedy, and how tens of billions of dollars were spent to avert it. The disaster never happened and lot of the money spent was wasted. This event should still be fresh in all but the youngest memories. It was labeled “Y2K” and ended just over seven years ago.
It came about because early mainframe computers were programmed using two digits to store the year instead of four. Thus “98” meant 1998 and “95” meant 1995. The older software would not know how to interpret “00”; it could mean 1900 or 2000. It was believed that some financial systems could crash if this problem was not corrected by the time the clock hit midnight bringing in the year 2000.
Many banks and financial institutions were aware of the problem and had it fixed or upgraded their software long before the end of the century.
With the help of the news media, “Y2K” turned into a serious business during the last decade of the twentieth century. Experts were often seen appearing on TV warning about the horrible things that would happen if every computerized device was not made “Y2K” compatible.
“Y2K” even made it to the movies. In the popular movie “Office Space” the main character, Peter Gibbons, was a “Y2K” engineer. “Y2K: The Movie” was a made-for-television movie released in late 1999 that depicted all the possible horrors that could occur because of “Y2K.”
In 1999, I was working for the Chicago branch of a Technical College as a systems administrator. This college had over eighty branches throughout the U.S. and each branch got its policy from corporate headquarters. I was in charge of maintaining over 300 computers, the majority of which were used as student laboratory computers.
It was early in 1999, when the corporate directive came. All computers in school had to be made “Y2K” compatible. I tried to explain to the school director that it makes no sense to upgrade student lab computers, since they are not used in production and most of the PC software that the students run already recognized the year 2000. The experts have told them that the ROMs (Read Only Memories) had to be upgraded.
On the newer computers I was able to download a ROM update and flash the ROMs. On older computers the ROM chips had to be physically changed. We had to get “Y2K” engineers to come and change the chips. This service cost thousands of dollars. What really irritated me, was that requests for things the students or instructors really needed were always denied, instead the corporate idiots spent their money on useless upgrades. Undoubtedly, they must have made all their eighty schools “Y2K” compatible.
As 1999 drew to a close, rumors of impending doom became more prevalent. The media kept emphasizing the possibility of riots. People were buying bottled water, wood stoves, and other survival gear, expecting the worse.
Then the new century rolled in, and nothing happened. It is estimated that 300 billion dollars were spent trying to make everything “Y2K” compatible. I would guess that only a small fraction of the total expenditure was really necessary.
I also have a consulting business, and none of computers I own were made “Y2K” compatible nor did I recommend that my clients make any “Y2K” upgrades. I have never seen a “Y2K” problem, nor has any client reported one.
Now let’s look at the present. In 2006 the former vice president and ex presidential candidate Al Gore released a documentary called “The Inconvenient Truth.” This documentary discusses a phenomenon called global warming. According to the film scientists are saying that the earth’s temperature is rising because of man’s carbon dioxide emissions. This rise in temperature can have cataclysmic effects on our world.
The film received an Academy Award for best documentary. This revived Gore’s career as a politician.
Experts are popping up throughout the world saying something must be done to avert disaster. The media has already assumed that most scientists agree that global warming is a reality and that we can expect dire consequences if we do not act.
Thus the new “Y2K” is born. This one can last more than ten years as long as the experts keep feeding the frenzy. Global Warming has now become a big business. As long as favorable data keeps being generated, the research keeps being funded and the media happily passes it on to the public.
The politicians are there to pass all the laws needed, no matter how ridiculous, to save the planet from impending doom. They can expect more votes from masses who have been thoroughly indoctrinated about the horrors of global warming from media propaganda.
Some scientists do not agree with the findings of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the United Nations group pushing global warming. They concur that currently the earth’s surface temperature is warming. However, they contend that solar activity data correlates much closer to the increase of the earth’s surface temperature than man’s carbon dioxide emissions. They also say that the computer models used to predict future disasters are based on incomplete data and can’t accurately foretell upcoming events.
I’ve seen the movie “The Inconvenient Truth.” Gore tries to illustrate his point by using a standard IPCC hockey stick curve, that many critics dispute. The majority of the movie gives examples of the bad things that are happening supposedly because of global warming. But if the major premise is wrong, then his examples of extreme weather are just events based on the unpredictability of climate change. The film feels like it’s more emotional than factual. It’s seems entertaining enough as a documentary to deserve the academy award.
The opposition has several films out. The best is called “The Great Global Warming Swindle (1hr 14min)” and is available on DVD from sellers such as Amazon.com. This film is much more informative than Gore’s documentary, since it gives a thorough and very convincing explanation of why global warming opponent scientists believe that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels do not influence climate change.
Global warming is being marketed pretty much like “Y2K” was in the late nineties. Even Hollywood is capitalizing on it. The opening lines of the movie “AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001)” predict the melting of polar ice caps due to greenhouse gases and the flooding of cities like New York. More recently, “The Day After Tomorrow (2004)” predicted massive climate change because of unabated global warming.
I think that the scientists who oppose global warming present a much better case than the ones for it. But because global warming is “politically correct” these days, the opposition is largely ignored or accused of being paid by oil companies in order to sabotage the “inconvenient truth.”