From Wikipedia: A Stradivarius is a stringed instrument built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial.
So it is not surprising then that when somebody claims “global warming is to blame” they’ll get called on it as this reporter in the Vanouver base Province newspaper has done. h/t to reader Antonio Sans – Anthony
Musical prof a mouthpiece for eco-propaganda
She should know the jury’s still out on climate change
By Jon Ferry, The Province B.C. Canada
What set my teeth on edge last week was not the chilly weather, though Wednesday was the coldest March 11 on record. It was a University of B.C. professor’s claim that global warming is largely responsible for the fact folks can no longer make the heavenly-sounding violins they used to hundreds of years ago.
Not that I should be surprised: Global warming gets fingered for virtually everything these days, especially at our eco-infatuated universities. For these grant-hungry institutions, the fashionable notion that humans are mainly to blame for warming the planet is a godsend. It opens up so many fields of study where taxpayer funding can be justified on the grounds of saving Mother Earth and everything on it, including fabulous old fiddles, from climactic Armageddon.
Eugenia Choi, the UBC professor, clearly knows a thing or two about violins, including the 300-year-old Stradivarius she plays. She’s a concert violinist with impressive global credentials. And I wouldn’t dream of questioning either the moral duty she says she feels to protect these fine, handmade instruments or her interest in global warming. As reported in the university’s official news publication, Choi recently travelled to the Arctic with scientists and [U.S. president] Barack Obama team members, and “saw first-hand the plight of polar bears.”
No, where I take issue with the nimble-fingered professor is over her contention, as detailed in UBC Reports, that the reason a violin like a Stradivarius can now cost more than a house is largely because “global warming has changed how trees grow.”
How so? Choi explains: “You can no longer create new violins of the same quality. There just aren’t the same types of wood or density.”
And there’s a chance she’s right. Certainly, in 2003, a New York climatologist and a Tennessee tree-ring dating expert claimed that a mini ice age in Europe at the time master instrument-maker Antonio Stradivari was producing violins may have affected the density of the wood he was using — and hence enhanced the instruments’ tone quality. It was a theory supported last year by Dutch researchers. But it was far from conclusive.
Earlier this year, Texas researchers had a different theory, namely that the violins from the golden age of Italian instrument-making in the late 17th and early 18th centuries owed their celestial sound to chemicals in the wood preservatives. And other theories over the years have focused on everything from the fiddles’ glues and varnish to their unique shape. But as a Wikipedia entry on the subject concludes: “There remains no consensus on the single most probable factor.”
My point here is that the scientific debate over the violins made in Cremona, Italy, during a 70-year period of global cooling is far from over. It’s as unsettled as that over climate change today.
Our universities should be keeping an open and inquiring mind about both — at least if they’re interested in higher learning, as they claim to be.
Instead, they simply seem intent on cheerleading for the green team, pushing eco-propaganda. And that shortchanges us all.