The Corner

Science’s Next Frontier: Emoticons

Some top-notch silliness from the Huffington Post:

We’ve read the daunting headlines. We’ve seen the bleak predictions. We know in our minds that climate change is putting our Earth’s future in danger. And yet there’s something uniquely frightening about this artist’s attempt to transform global warming data into visceral, human responses.

Not really, no. Here are a few of these “uniquely frightening” images:

This approach, HuffPo concedes, is “not often associated with scientific knowledge.” Indeed it is not. And why not? Well, because moody photographs of people looking sad represent the polar opposite of sustained and reasoned argument. The question of climate change is a complex one. Certainly, the earth is warming, and man’s behavior almost certainly has something to do with it. And yet the extent to which this is the case, precisely what it means for the future, and — crucially – how we should deal with the issue politically remain serious questions that attract a host of different answers. I am not sure what the correct response is. I can’t possibly know. I am sure, however, that it cannot be intuited from glorified emoticons.

Still, if this is the future of sober deliberation, one has to wonder what we might expect next? Perhaps those who believe that ISIS needs to be dealt with militarily will take to bolstering their case with photographs of John Bolton looking glum? Maybe staunch advocates of the PATRIOT Act will contrive a moody video of John Yoo weeping desperately? Will voters be persuaded to embrace a new round of tax cuts by snapshot of Art Laffer bawling his eyes out in an abandoned warehouse?

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