Browser – issue 116

Skeptical science for browser

Lance Turner’s regular ReNew column on useful websites

www.skepticalscience.com

We all know a climate sceptic, someone who refuses to accept that humans have had any effect on the Earth’s climate. We also know the lengths some sceptics will go to in order to avoid the facts on climate change (when it becomes fanatical, they can be considered denialists).

Run by physicist John Cook, Skeptical Science is a great site, available in 20 languages, that aims to ‘get skeptical about global warming skepticism’.

The website is basically a large collection of the usual anti-global warming arguments and statements sceptics like to trot out, followed by reasoned analysis showing where these arguments have gone wrong.

You can view the arguments by type or popularity, the most popular blaming the sun for everything of course. There’s a section of useful graphics, available in high resolution, on things such as global average temperatures, solar activity versus global temperature and other interesting data.

There’s also a downloadable Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism and smart phone apps and Firefox plugins for the major platforms that give you the latest tweets and comments from the site (see the review on the next page).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Skeptical Science is the sheer number of other sites trying desperately to discredit John and his site. While a few of the criticisms have some merit (everyone gets things wrong sometimes), they usually add nothing to the debate.

www.green-plastics.net

Most of us have come across biodegradeable plastics at some point, and some of us even go out of our way to buy products made from them instead of petroleum-based plastics. But how much do you really know about green plastics, and what are they made from?

Green-plastics.net is an information site on eco-friendly plastics. Here you can find the latest news, such as new uses for bioplastics, who’s making them and how they are doing it. Read how a group of students from a US high school developed bioplastics suitable for use in athletic shoes or find out when and where the next bioplastic event is to be held.

There’s a discussion area where you can have your questions answered or read solutions to others’ queries.

The most interesting part of the site was the one and only video posted so far which describes how to make simple bioplastic at home from just four common household ingredients.

While this site is quite new and doesn’t have a lot of content as yet, it’s a great start and will hopefully expand into a very good resource for all things bioplastic.

This site also has a sister site, greenplastics.com (without the hyphen), which is a wiki-style site with more general info on bioplastics, their history, properties, use, how they are manufactured, which companies are making them and which countries are promoting their use.

This article is from ReNew 116

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