Meteorologist: Does the Wheel of Fortune Produce the Coriolis Effect?

OPINION

I wanted to use the recent Pat Sajak tweet to turn a negative to a positive. I don’t know Mr. Sajak so will not judge him, his intent, or ideological perspective. Instead, I will draw out 3 things that can help advance the discourse on climate science. (Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, meteorologist)

(Read Pat Sajak’s tweet so you understand what Dr. Shepherd is responding to.)

Use our resources to learn more about meteorology and media literacy.

J. Marshall Shepherd is a meteorologist, adviser to NASA and NOAA, and director of the program in atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia. He also served as the president of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Photograph courtesy J. Marshall Shepherd and Wikimedia. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, J. Marshall Shepherd. This applies worldwide.

J. Marshall Shepherd is a meteorologist, adviser to NASA and NOAA, and director of the program in atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia. He also served as the president of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
Photograph courtesy J. Marshall Shepherd and Wikimedia. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, J. Marshall Shepherd. This applies worldwide.

Discussion Ideas

  • J. Marshall Shepherd suggests three media literacy ideas that will “advance the discourse on climate science.” They’re actually fantastically clear guidelines for advancing the discourse on any subject. What are they?
    • 1. Know your source. “[Y]ou must consume information from credible or expert sources. Ask yourself if the author of that blog or Op-Ed has a background in the science, has published in peer-reviewed journals, or at least put forth their position in a forum that can evaluated, tested, or scrutinized. Additionally, it is important to remember that just because people have ‘equal access’ to experts in formats like Twitter, it doesn’t mean ‘equal expertise.’”
      • This is brilliant advice, and just as true for the arts and “soft sciences,” such as history, as it is for “hard sciences” such as climatology.
    • 2. Celebrities aren’t always scientists. “[U]nderstand that just because you know a TV personality, it doesn’t signify that they are an expert” on any given subject.
      • Remember #1 (know your source): Some celebrities are scientists! Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye are not just celebrity science guys—they’re actual scientists who understand and enthusiastically support the scientific method.
    • 3. “Finally, irrespective of viewpoint, the name-calling and bullying must stop.”
      • Sajak now says his tweet was a joke. It’s important to remember that jokes can be just as “name-calling” and “bullying” as sincere behavior. (And jokes can have the same repercussions for a person’s career or lifestyle.)

 

Thanks to our new social media chief, Dan, for the heads-up on this great current-event connection!

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