FiveThirtyEight and Roger Pielke, Jr. Part Ways

Political poll guru and founder of the site FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver took a lot of heat for hiring Roger Pielke, Jr. to work for 538 in March, 2014. Pielke is professor and political scientist who has been heavily criticized by climate change researchers for his article published on 538 that the damage caused by climate change is rising in value only due to the corresponding rise in global wealth. Pielke has fought against charges of being a denialist, and according to his Wikipedia article, accepts human-driven global warming. In his book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming, Pielke spends a great deal of time criticizing researchers and critics note that he seems unwilling to agree that the situation is one worthy of immediate and dramatic changes in how humans affect the environment.

Pielke has now parted from 538 according to an interview on the Collide-a-scape blog on I'm not fully aware of Pielke's arguments or those of his critics against him to weigh in on this issue. A quick read of some of the sources cited in the interview shows Pielke has a history of snide comments about climate science and the political nature of the controversy. While he may be correct about the link between losses and global wealth, I feel his tight focus on politicalization and existing losses due to climate change are myopic at best. The science is clear, and Pielke does not seem to doubt the fact that humans are making the planet warmer. Instead of spending so much effort adding to the squawking politicos that seem to miss the point, I'd much rather see him working on building bridges between researchers and the politicians who need to act.

Debunking the Paleo Diet

There are many myths and misconceptions in the world of weight loss and nutrition. Diets, especially, suffer from misleading claims and unreasonable expectations. From the Cookie Diet to Gluten-Free diets, there are no shortages of hopeful and eager people looking for the next miracle menu that both tastes good and helps shed the pounds while providing the nutrition needed to stay healthy.

One of the hottest in the middle of 2014 is the Paleo Diet.

I met a woman at a recent meeting who runs a group here in the Sarasota area which supports eating food as our ancestors did back before agriculture. I became interested in this concept, having read some skepticism about it but didn't recall the details. The Paleo diet avoids dairy, beans, salt, refined sugar, and almost all grains. The diet is heavy on meats and encourages more fat and protein than many diets.

I haven't had a chance to talk to the woman I met about her group or the evidence she has for the diet's benefits, so I'm withholding judgement on her specific situation until I know more. But with a bit of research, as often turns out in the fad-and-fade pattern of diets, there are many myths and misconceptions where the Paleo Diet is concerned.

Christina Warinner studies diets and health of ancient people, and explores the foundational ideas of the Paleo Diet in a TEDxOU talk which took place in Norman, Oklahoma.