Our Ignorance is Breathtaking – We Should be Humble

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

We humans consistently miss the big picture. The world is improving dramatically, but our brains are addicted to worry and fear.

Last week’s edition of Nature includes a highly readable article about Swedish global health professor, Hans Rosling. He makes fantastic videos that help us see the world more clearly. (I’ve written about some of them here and here.)

Embedded in that Nature article is a remarkable TED talk, filmed in Berlin two years ago. The first 10 minutes are eye-popping.

Using multiple choice questions, Rosling demonstrates that most of us are wildly misinformed about big picture trends. Since each multiple choice question has three possible answers, a chimp choosing at random would get the correct answer 33% of the time. But humans routinely score worse than the chimp.

Rosling begins by talking about those who perish due to natural disasters. Over the past century, he asks, has the…

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Do over: The 1997/98 Super El Niño via latest computer animation

Watts Up With That?

From the UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

Extraordinary animation reveals ocean’s role in El Niños
Ocean model data generated by Australia’s most powerful supercomputer, Raijin, shows 97/98 El Nino unfolding

You can see the 97/98 animation form below the ocean months before it manifests in this new detailed visualisation produced by Australian researchers. CREDIT ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science / National Computational Infrastructure. You can see the 97/98 animation form below the ocean months before it manifests in this new detailed visualisation produced by Australian researchers. CREDIT ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science / National Computational Infrastructure.

Sydney, Australia: Australian researchers from the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science have produced a remarkable high-resolution animation of the largest El Niño ever recorded.

It is so detailed that it took 30,000 computer hours crunching ocean model data on Australia’s most powerful supercomputer, Raijin, before it could be extracted by the NCI visualisation team to produce the animation.

The animation looks beneath the ocean surface to reveal the oceanic processes that led to the 1997/98 El Niño…

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