Are We Alone, Little Ice Age edition

By Phil Plait | June 28, 2011 2:14 pm

Every month or so I go on SETI’s "Are We Alone" radio show/podcast with Seth Shostak, and we discuss some weird scientifically distorted news item in a segment we call "Skeptic Check". The latest one is now online, where Seth and I talk about the recent news about the Sun’s potentially weakening magnetic field, and some folks who have leapt to the conclusion that we’re facing a new ice age because of it.

Here’s an article I wrote about this topic, and here’s the direct link to the show. [UPDATE: I just found out the AWA blog has links to the various show segments as stand-alone audio files, so here’s the link to mine.]

The conclusion? Spoiler alert: don’t stock up on portable heaters just yet.

Related posts:

Are we headed for a new ice age?
The Sun may be headed for a little quiet time
Are We Alone Skeptic Check: Tyche, or not Tyche
Are We Alone of DEATH

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Science, Skepticism

Comments (12)

  1. Sili

    It’s not Are We Alone for much longer; they’re updating the name to Big Picture Science for some reason.

  2. Wzrd1

    If it’s all the same to you, I’ll stockpile those portable heaters.
    Winter will still come and I *HATE* being cold. :)

    As for “Are we alone?”, well… Put yourself in an alien’s shoes for a minute.
    The first broadcast you receive with your super sensitive receiving array is a television broadcast of a man with a narrow mustache, wearing a uniform with a swastika armband… Later broadcasts show the cold war, Korean war, Vietnam war, space alien movies, westerns and all manner of violence directed against our own species.
    The final nail in the coffin would be our current broadcasts, with antivaxers, Sarah Palin…

    Hell, *I* wouldn’t want to talk to such a species either!

  3. jearley

    I’m working at the NSO for the summer, and we are not getting many inquiries abut this, AFAIK.

  4. amateur scientician

    @Wzrd1 let’s just hope they don’t see ‘according to jim!’

  5. VinceRN

    Too bad too. A mini ice age might counterbalance the warming we experiencing.

  6. CB

    Your part of the show was great, Phil, and I have to say that the end of the show where they talked about using hydrogen sulfide to potentially put people into suspended animation or hibernation was very interesting. It sounded like something to be debunked rather than something coming from skeptics. Of course the difference is all about science and evidence.

  7. Defenske

    You should do a piece on earthquakes and haarp conspiracy stories

  8. CB

    What’s another CB doing here? Don’t you know I have a patent on those initials?!

    Anyway, nice try Phil, but there’s no way I’m going to sit at home twiddling my thumbs while you buy up all the portable heaters!

  9. Lars Bruchmann

    The A/C in my VW Bus is broken, but both heaters work great so I’d welcome some serious cold. And the Bus (Filmore) handles well in snow!

  10. Radoo

    “Winter is coming!” (as in Game of Thrones)… LOL

  11. SLC

    I guess that PZ Myers has now joined the ranks of Bob Park and Steven Weinberg as someone who doesn’t know what he is talking about. Here’s what he had to say about SETI this morning.

    Andrei Finkelstein runs a program that resembles SETI — and if I wanted to start a real argument here I’d tell you that SETI is about as quaintly absurd as Herschel’s belief that people lived on the moon. So I won’t tell you that. Yet.

  12. Isaac

    Bob Park doesn’t know what he’s talking about? How so?


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