You have to wonder who at the National Science Foundation thought funding a website that makes fake voicemails from the future and games that have people running around looking for fictional fallen “chronofacts” (artistic plastic disks named “chronofalls” that apparently fall out of time) was a good idea? Yes, you can hear voicemails from the future about “Arctic Corn” and “Hurricane Simulator Booths”. Your tax dollars at work.
Eric Worrall writes:
Columbia University’s Climate Center has received $5.7 million from the National Science Foundation for the university’s “PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership,” to “engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change.”
The funding was used to create climate change “games”, including fake voicemails from the future, one of which bizarrely warns that in 2035 neo-luddites would kill scientists, anyone who “knows anything”, and other oddities such as advertisements for Tsunami insurance.
This cloud has one silver lining – next time anyone you know suggests that the government spends your money wisely, on your behalf, send them a link to the Future Coast project.
Note from Anthony.
When I saw this story submitted I thought surely this must be some sort of mistake, but the deeper I went, the more bizarre it got. And it is true, the website is set up by Columbia on a grant from NSF: See http://www.futurevoices.net/the-fine-print/
Strangely, and perhaps illegally (since this is publicly funded), the ownership of the website is secret: http://whois.net/whois/futurecoast.org
Here are some voicemail topics: http://futurecoast.org/voicemail/93594-38625955/
And a video they produced, which looks like a bad version of the “Blair Witch Project”:
Actually, ten of them: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa0iSEwmopVXf2Y8x1NnbSg
And of course, anyone can play. You can call this number and make a “voicemail from the future” about climate. From http://www.futurevoices.net/
Here are the people and rationale behind it, something called “The Polar Hub”, they say:
Mission and Vision
The world’s polar regions are changing rapidly. What implications do these changes have for polar ecosystems and communities? How do they compare to changes of the past? Do changes in the Arctic and Antarctic regions affect life outside of the poles? The Polar Learning and Responding Climate Change Education Partnership (PoLAR CCEP) seeks to inform public understanding of and response to climate change through the creation of novel educational approaches that utilize fascination with shifting polar environments and are geared towards today’s adult learners.
Supported by a five year grant from the National Science Foundation, the PoLAR Partnership is developing a suite of interactive and game-like tools that capitalize on the iconic imagery of the Arctic and Antarctic, areas of the globe that are experiencing the most dramatic shifts in climate. Games and game-like activities are increasingly used to engage diverse participants in problem solving. Focusing on the poles also leads to discussion of broader impacts, especially as the changes taking place in the polar regions are increasingly linked to concerns about rising sea levels and extreme weather around the globe. Adult learners, be they community leaders, the general public, pre- and in-service teachers, or college students, are today’s decision makers and are more likely to make informed decisions if they understand the scientific evidence of climate change and its social, economic, and environmental consequences.
The PoLAR Hub is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DUE-1239783. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
The next time somebody complains about a climate skeptic getting a tiny scrap of funding for a study or a project, show them this.