Thursday, July 11, 2013

Unscientific Adoration of "Chasing Ice"

Recently some of my unscientific friends have been carried away with wonder by a movie “Chasing Ice” filmed by an environmental photographer, James Balog, who is not a scientist. Among the obvious flaws not noticed by its gullible viewers is that it only spans a four-year period, and mixes photography shot in May with September. Obviously, this produces dramatic differences in glacier dynamics, although not nearly as dramatic as the period for the same glacier from 1780 AD to 1948 AD. During that period, glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and in particular the glacier in the Muir Inlet, retreated over 60 miles. Since 1948, the retreat has only been 6 miles, and all this information is courtesy of a very informative US government map, which I am pleased to include for your use and admiration. Truly a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Concerning “Chasing Ice”, I’m reminded of a saying mistakenly attributed to Samuel Johnson that I will paraphrase: “I’ve heard it is true and original. However, what is true is not original, and what is original is not true.”

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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