“Global weirding”

Instead of “global warming” we should say “global weirding” say some people. The term became a buzzword back in 2010; it’s a way to preempt climate change skeptics from saying, “But how can it be global *warming* if it’s snowing outside?”

I was listening to a new podcast called “Pod Save America” the other day. It’s a venture by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau (not the same guy as the movie director — see yesterday’s topic) and his Crooked Media colleagues. They had Katharine Hayhoe, “sensible Canadian” and climate scientist on the show, and her hopeful, easy-to-understand explanation of where we are and what we can do was inspiring. The interview with Hayhoe begins at about the 37’40” mark of the April 3 episode.

Here’s her Global Weirding YouTube channel, and here’s one of the most recent uploads:

Discussion & writing topics:

  • Do you typically use the term “global warming” or “climate change” in English? What do you say in Japanese? What do you know about the phenomenon? What do you know about the “climate change deniers” and their point of view?
  • Do you think your carbon footprint is small or large?
  • Besides the cliched “eco bag” and “my bottle” answers to the “What can we as individuals do to protect the environment and prevent climate change?” what other answers are there? (You can try summarizing the video above and also add your ideas.)
  • What podcasts do you listen to in Japanese? In English? If you were to create your own, what would the theme be?

For more research, try Skeptical Science.

Here’s one carbon footprint calculator to try (it’s from the UK, so when you answer questions about travel, pretend you’re living in the UK — “domestic travel” — to get a more accurate result), and these are some tips about what you can do to decrease your footprint.

Short of the Week

The Academy Awards are this weekend. One of the awards that doesn’t get as much media attention is Animated Short Film. These are the nominees this year, one of which I posted about in October.

Short of the Week is a collection of short films — from very short (2 or 3 minutes) to a bit longer (45 minutes or so).

Short of the weekIn the About page they say,

“We believe in the power of stories. Stories were our first way of passing on knowledge. From tales around a cave fire to dramatic theater to virtual reality experiences, great stories have shaped our culture.”

You can browse in several ways, including the channels (Animation, SciFi, Horror, Documentary, Comedy, Drama), by genre, topic and style (see below) and also by country and collection.

Short of the Week

Some of the shorts I have watched and thought were ripe for contemplation and discussion — and one was just plain charming:

“3 + 1” (in French with English subtitles) — Comedy

“Rosa: These Storms” (in Spanish with English subtitles) — Documentary

“Eggplant” — Drama

Here is an interview with the creators of the site: “Andrew S. Allen and Jason Sondhi on the Relaunch of Short of the Week” (from Filmmaker)

Another related article: “Why Short Films Are Still Thriving” (from the Atlantic)

“It all starts with a story.”

Pixar in a Box is free lesson series of videos and activities from Khan Academy about storytelling and making animated videos. Here’s the Introduction to Storytelling video:

If this interests you, go back and start with the introduction video to this lesson series on the Khan Academy site. These videos have transcripts, to help your listening comprehension.

This is a free course, and you don’t have to sign up to just enjoy it, but if you want to save your progress, sign up.

If you’re unfamiliar with Khan Academy, here’s Salman Khan’s TED Talk from several years ago, when the organization was just starting out:

1000 Awesome Things

1000 Awesome Things is a list by Neil Pasricha dedicated to “the simple universal pleasures that we all love but we just don’t talk about enough.” (Quoted from his TED Talk — here’s the transcript) Practice your reading and listening comprehension and getting inspired to make your own list.

Watch his TED Talk:

A sample from the 1000 Awesome Things:

#967 Illegal naps

#122 Using nature as a fridge

#194 When insects are struggling to do something and you help them

#912 Hanging your hand out the window of a car