Relevant articles from the Retriever Weekly

Student wins Idea competition with plans for an on-campus produce stand called “The Green Bean”

By Chris Cook
Contributing Writer

Junior mechanical engineering major Mariano Mumpower came away with a $750 gift certificate to for winning November 19th’s Idea Competition Finalists Review. His idea? To bring healthy, fresh, quality, and affordable daily dining options to UMBC through a project he called “The Green Bean.” The selection was met with applause from the standing-room only crowd at The Commons Sports Zone during the two-hour event’s conclusion.

Mumpower conceptualized “The Green Bean” as a repainted, refurbished, and redesigned old school bus turned mobile organic produce stand. His presentation explained that his project would incorporate the concepts of using sustainable energy and providing seasonal menus, in addition to other things. He identified four main advantages of his idea: innovation, sustainability, benefit to the local community, and convenience. “I feel great,” he said shortly after he was announced as the winner. “I’m glad I was able to get my message across.”

He cited ice cream trucks and produce stands that are common in other countries as the main inspirations for his idea. “I like the thought of bringing produce directly to the community,” he said. He attributed the success of his project to its involvement with the health and green movements that are gaining larger followings throughout the country. “If students have just a little bit of time before class, [the Green Bean can] give students an option to have a healthy meal,” he said. He believes that students will value a healthier alternative to The Commons and a quicker alternative to the Dining Hall.

Global warming all hot air? Obama pushes full speed ahead at Copenhagen summit

By Courtney Ring
Senior Staff Writer

The escalating Internet hubbub over the e-mails released from Great Britain’s Climate Research Unit in East Anglia has been matched by near silence in the mass media. Why is that? Is it because these e-mails have the potential to force us to rethink the entire global warming scenario in several different ways?

The first thing to think about is the information on which the global warming platform is founded. The research from the Climate Research Unit was one of the four major sources relied on by the pivotal United Nations report dealing with man-caused global warming. If that information proves to be faulty, it calls into question the conclusions of the rest of the report. Tellingly, the e-mails mention frustration at not finding evidence for global warming to back up the predictions of models. One e-mail reads, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.” Usually, when the data isn’t there, it’s standard procedure to allow that the theory might be wrong-not automatically assume that the problem resides in the data.

The second thing to reconsider would be the policy response of the United States and the rest of the world. The timing of the documents’ release comes just before the December 9 United Nations summit on global warming in Copenhagen, a summit that hoped to secure promises for sweeping cuts in carbon emissions.

This move promises to be highly expensive, making it particularly onerous for economies struggling to shake off the torpor of recession. Before agreeing to anything, representatives from the countries involved would do well to take a hard look at whether or not they’re potentially hurting their industries for the sake of tilting at windmills.

Third, we would have to re-think how the information about the global warming theory was disseminated. The e-mails hint at tampering with data, including requests to delete e-mails about the United Nations report, threats to keep a dissenting report out of a paper even if “we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is” and to put pressure on journals to keep dissenting voices out of accredited journals. The defense offered has been that scientists, according to Dr.Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, “speak in a language they understand and is often foreign to the outside world.” Agreed, but how difficult is it to understand the following e-mail, sent after one journal published several articles by dissenters: “I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”

With so much money involved and the sweeping social changes envisioned by proponents of this theory, the facts had better be correct! But if people are not allowed to test the facts for themselves, and to dispute the conclusions, then there’s no way of telling what course of action is actually appropriate, potentially wasting time and resources.

This leads back to the original question: Why aren’t more people in positions of power publicly investigating this issue to find out the truth? President Obama is still planning to appear at the Copenhagen Summit to promise heavy cuts in carbon emissions. The situation is a bit like being on a high-speed train headed for a tall trestle over a fast-flowing river. Someone has raised a red flag to indicate danger on the tracks ahead. So, why aren’t more people slowing the train down in order to see what’s actually happening on the tracks before proceeding? As a society, are we so wedded to this theory that we can no longer step back and consider the facts objectively?