Tagged: Elizabeth May

A Saturday spike in Google searchs for Jack Layton

Since the debate, we’ve kept an eye on searches for the five party leaders, using the Google Trends tool that famously notices ‘flu outbreaks before the Centres for Disease control. (Previous examples here and here.) Extreme caution is required, but look what happened to Jack Layton yesterday.

Google Trends Saturday

On its face, this means a lot of interest in Jack. I assume that’s mainly a result of the found-in story, but a friend argues otherwise:

[I]ndications from previous elections (check 2008) seem to suggest [it reflects] popularity as well, though I don’t know why. It’s quite a spike, though.

It is quite a spike, and quite a leap to assume it reflects an increase in popularity, given that it occurred in the 24 hours after the campaign took a  salacious incoming missile. Still, it’s intriguing—and noteworthy that Layton searches have consistently outpaced those for Harper, which consistently outpace those for Ignatieff, May, and Duceppe. Searches for Iggy and Harper remained flat yesterday.

Trending federal leaders in Google searches

Google’s Trend feature lets users track and compare the frequency of searches for particular words or phrases in any country, or worldwide. This chart compares searches within Canada for the full names (first and last) of the five leaders contesting the May 2 Federal Election.

Google Trends Elxn41

I used Gilles Duceppe as the standard, so you could say Stephen Harper scored 12.6 duceppes; Jack Layton 7.8 duceppes; Michael Ignatieff 7.2 duceppes; and Elizabeth May 4.0 duseppes. (Sorry about the confusing colour assignments. Google picked ’em.)

May and Monbiot narrowly lose climate debate – feedback

Contrarian reader Dana Doiron offers a subtly different take on Elizabeth May’s performance in the recent Munk debate on climate change:

I suspect that May was uncomfortable with the black and white (not another crayon issue) framing of the proposition.  One can support individual and collective action in response to climate change without making it the end-all and be-all, just as one can support our soldiers while having reservations about the conflict to which they have been deployed.

May and Monbiot narrowly lose Munk debate

Contrarian reader and tech fixer Mike Targett points out that Guardian columnist George Monbiot, whose blistering denunciation of Canada’s climate change policies appeared here yesterday, was in Toronto to take part in a Munk Debate Tuesday.

Munk - Monbiot

One of a series sponsored by Aurea Foundation, the debate considered this proposition: “Be it resolved: climate change is mankind’s defining crisis, and demands a commensurate response.” Monbiot and Elizabeth May took the affirmative; Bjørn Lomborg and Lord Nigel Lawson the negative.

Audience polls taken before and after the debate showed the con side to be slightly more persuasive. My reading is that Lomborg and Lawson won not by denying climate change but by acknowledging it as a real problem—just not the earth-imperiling calamity it’s been sold as. Solutions, they argued, need to be commensurate with the threat, and with other problems faced by humanity. That’s a much more interesting debate than denial vs. end of the world.

Contrarian is not sure who’s right, nor what impact doubts should have on public policy given the consequences if May and Monbiot are right. [Click the image to view the two-hour debate.]

How the Bush administration quietly quashed clean coal

coalGreen Party leader Elizabeth May likes to deride clean coal technology as “George Bush’s favorite techno-fix” for climate change. But a new documentary from the Australian Broadcasting Company says the Bush administration actually undermined clean coal, even as it pretended to support the technology.

Coal is our most abundant conventional energy resource, also our dirtiest. It contributes about half of greenhouse gas production in Nova Scotia, about 30 percent worldwide. So a technology that let us use this resource without producing greenhouse gas emissions would be a huge breakthrough in efforts to slow climate change.

In 2007, MIT produced a study called, “The Future of Coal.” It concluded that if carbon capture and storage were to help stem climate change, there was no time to lose. The Bush administration’s Energy Department responded by killing FutureGen, the major US demonstration project for Carbon Capture and Storage.

Liz heads west

Elizabeth May is moving to British Columbia. From both provinces’ perspectives, it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

Are windmills too noisy?

Crest Halifax has a thoughtful discussion about the problem of low frequency noise from windmills, and the illness some say it causes.

Of course it is possible that those reporting the symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome are more sensitive to sound and vibration than most people, or even than detection instruments. It’s also possible that other factors are at work. Could the illness be, to some extent, psychosomatic in nature? Read more »