When on Earth, Google as the Earthlings do

March 7, 2009

I’m probably way behind the curve, but this looks to me as if it could be developed into a classroom exercise of some sort.

At Geevor Tin Mine Museum’s Weblog, I stumbled onto Whenonge #7 — When on Google Earth #7 (archaeology edition).

These wacky archaeologists!  They get a Google Earth image of some dig, post it, and challenge people to identify the dig and the time in history the site was actually occupied.  The first to identify the site accurately gets to host the next round.

Hey, take a look at these things.  They would make great slides for a presentation, but they’re also just cool.

Mystery image for When on Google Earth #7 (archaeology)

Mystery image for When on Google Earth #7 (archaeology)

Like so much in archaeology, this game comes to us from our methodological cousins in geology. Shawn Graham adopted their game, and modified it for our use at whenonge #1. Chuck Jones had the first correct answer, and then hosted whenonge #2. The mysterious and elusive PDD got #2 right but never claimed his prize, so Chuck struck back with whenonge #2.1. Paul Zimmerman got the correct answer to #2.1 and hosted whenonge # 3. Heather Baker got the correct answer to #3 and hosted whenonge # 4, and Jason Ur won and hosted of whenonge # 5 . Dan Diffendale won that,  #6 was hosted on whenonge #6 and i won this! so here we are… be the first to correctly identify the site above and its major period of occupation in the comments below and you can host your own!

What’s that?  There’s a geology version, too?  Good heavens!  The geologists are past #150!

WoGE #124 - Where on Google Earth #124; I dont know where this is, but it looks cool.

WoGE #124 - Where on Google Earth #124; I don't know where this is, but it looks cool.

It’s the sort of geeky game that airline real estate lawyers could play with airports, football geeks could play with collegiate football stadia, or baseball geeks with Major League Baseball parks.  Hiking, camping and wilderness geeks could do a National Parks and National Monuments version, with real aficianadoes including trails in National Wilderness Areas from the National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Why not a simple geography version?  Cities with more than 2 million population; national capital cities, state capital cities; Civil War battlefields; famous battlefields; volcanoes; 7 Wonders of the World.

Maybe someone in the Irving, Texas, ISD can get their geography kids to use their computers and put up a website devoted to some of these issues.

Basic climate skeptic’s pseudoscience

March 7, 2009

Anthony Watts want to make a case that rising ocean levels aren’t connected to human activities, there’s nothing we can do about it, there’s nothing we should do about it, or something.  Looking for a touchstone in history, Watts said:

In 2002, the BBC reported that a submerged city was found off the coast of India, 36 meters below sea level.  This was long before the Hummer or coal fired power plant was invented.  It is quite likely that low lying coastal areas will continue to get submerged, just as they have been for the last 20,000 years.

Submerged city?  Hmm.  Not in the textbooks published since 2002.  What’s up with that?

NASA Earth Observatory photo of the Gujarat Gulfs, including the Gulf of Cambay (Khambhat), where a lost city was thought to have been found in 2001; later research indicates no city underwater.

NASA Earth Observatory photo of the Gujarat Gulfs, including the Gulf of Cambay (Khambhat), where a "lost city" was thought to have been found in 2001; later research indicates no city underwater.

Oh, this is what’s up:  Watts links to a BBC news story, not a science journal — one of the warning signs of Bogus Science and Bogus History, both.   The news story talks about preliminary findings in 2002 that did not hold up to scrutiny.  Measurement error was part of the problem — the pattern of the scanning radar sweep was mistaken for structures found on the sea floor.  Natural formations were mistaken for artificial formations.  When the news announcement was made, archaeologists and other experts in dating such things had not be consulted (and it’s unclear when or whether they were ever brought in).  The follow-up didn’t support the story, notes Bad Archaeology.  Terrible archaeology to support pseudo climate science?  Why not?

This doesn’t deny Watts’ general claims in his post, but it is too indicative of the type of “find anything to support the favored claim of denial” mindset that goes on among denialists.  (There is evidence of a much lower waterline in the area during the last ice age; water levels have risen, according to physical evidence, but probably not inundating the what would be the oldest civilization on Earth.)

It will be interesting to watch what happens.  Will Watts note an oopsie and apologize, or will the entire group circle their Radio Super wagons around the issue and call it a mainstream science plot against them?  Will Watts correct his citation, or will they move on to cite the disappearance of Atlantis as evidence that warming can’t be stopped?

Anybody want to wager?

What sort of irony is there in a guy’s complaining about a scientific consensus held by thousands of scientists with hundreds of publications supporting their claims, and his using one news report almost totally without any scientific corroboration in rebuttal?


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