the rules of engagement

A house collapsed after the 2008 Wisconsin Floods. Photo credit: US Air Force via the Great Lakes Echo.

I follow Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist, on Twitter, and I respect both her work and her efforts to engage the evangelical community with the issue of climate change. She works at Texas Tech, in a part of the country not known for its fierce commitment to climate science, and has endured considerable harassment because of her job. A few days ago she got this reply during an exchange on Twitter from Anthony Watts, a climate skeptic blogger: Continue reading “the rules of engagement”

map of the moment: hurricane sandy flooding map

I got into New York City yesterday. It is so cold outside at night that it hurts my eyeballs, but fortunately the novelty of this has not worn off. Yet. I am immersed once again in subway noise and unexpected smells and dodging taxis while I jaywalk and 24 hour diners. There is too much to do, always, especially because I have spent hours – or what seems like hours – staring at this map of predicted vs. actual flooding during Hurricane Sandy. [There is also a “remixed” version which doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out but juxtaposes the two for a better idea of real vs. predicted.] Henry Grabar, who posted it to the Atlantic Cities blog, writes:

The striking thing about the map, which includes all areas of New York and New Jersey affected by the storm surge, is how close the contours of the estimates were to reality. Though the degree of damage varied from place to place, flipping back and forth from projection to reality is an affirmation of how well-informed we were about what a storm surge would look like — and, despite that, ill-prepared.

The larger question, I think, is what we imagine preparedness to be. Continue reading “map of the moment: hurricane sandy flooding map”