Shows: 08.18.08

Monday mornings I'm on the air sharing more stories about how people are living better through computers. I'll tuck field notes from those shows right here. You'll also be able to dig into the archives to explore previous shows as I determine how best to share some of the highlights of the past 9 year's worth of adventures.

Monday, August 18, 2008

NASA's giving armchair scientists and students alike a front seat in monitoring climate control through an interactive new web site


You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to notice the unusually early and blistering start we had to summer this year, but you -can- have rocket science at your finger tips to help understand why it may have happened. On today's show I shared how NASA has unveiled a simple, educational tool for tapping into some very sophisticated equipment and data, including satellites and the information they provide that show some rather dramatic realities about how we are personally impacting our climate and earth:

For folks who watched Al Gore's award winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth" the global warming wake-up call seems distressing and still sometimes largely unheard.

When it comes to a problem as big as the climate, it's hard to imagine that as individuals it will either matter in our lifetime or that we truly have the ability to personally impact it. NASA's new web site offers some rather simple visual cues and links to resources that help us understand our role in changing what may otherwise be the very unhappy fate of our planet, and yes, within our lifetime.

How it Works …


The NASA web portal allows us to monitor the earth's vital signs through the eyes of NASA spacecraft, measuring changes in the oceans, land, atmosphere, biosphere, and cyrosphere.

Through this new web resource visitors can track levels of arctic sea ice, CO2, sea rises, global temperature, and ozone.

In addition to being a source of insight for adults, the new NASA web site is also a terrific resource for students as they head back to school in a few weeks. The tools tap directly into many topics covered in both public and secondary school curriculae, and offer kids a visual way to grasp some very complex ideas. Dramatically shrinking ice masses in our polar regions, a huge, invisible carbon monoxide cloud and an expanding hole in our ozone layer are only a few of the things explored both thoughtfully and in a way that makes their importance easy to understand.

What can I do as an individual to make a difference?


While NASA states it isn't their role to offer solutions to the climate change they monitor and report on, they do link to some tools that help us understand as individuals some of the simple things we can do to make a real difference.

For instance:

A detailed guide to reducing personal greenhouse gas emissions, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Use this tool from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to estimate you or your family's greenhouse gas emissions and explore ways to lower your impact.

What's on Deck?

Stay tuned for more ways to plug in as we slip into the fall …


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