Years ago Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were on Letterman, and Dave was complaining about the problem posed for movie audiences when one of them gave a movie a thumbs up and the other a thumbs down. Dave came up with a brilliant solution: he had them shoot basketball free throws for it.
As many readers of this site know, there’s been a great deal of argument, both in the blogosphere and the scientific literature, about the possibility of a global warming-hurricane link. My view of the literature is that the question is unresolved, and I counsel patience. But others have been pushing the argument forward, suggesting that an early answer to the debate might be of some policy relevance.
Talking with some friends today at lunch, a solution occurred to me. The proliferation of reality television programs suggests a format for almost every problem: choosing an interior designer, a chef, a nuclear weapon design, a country and western star, etc., by the medium of televised competition. (I’m told initial work is underway on a reality show based on pet grooming.)
My suggestion – Survivor: Hurricane Island.
Take all the major scientific disputants: Judith Curry, Kerry Emanuel, Greg Holland, Phil Klotzbach, Chris Landsea, Peter Webster, Kevin Trenberth, Bill Gray, etc. to a deserted island, preferably one close to sea level, and have them fight it out over a series of challenges.
For example, they could be forced to paw through old paper records trying to determine the intensity of ancient storms. They could test wits using empirical versus model-based forecast tools, and match their best regression models against global sea surface temperature and the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation.
For the program’s hosts, I recommend Chris Mooney and Roger Pielke Jr. It’d be great.
Why stop there? After that show runs, start a new one called “Nuking with the Stars.” Team up various has-been celebrities with top-notch nuclear physicists; the team that can produce a viable warhead first wins the prize. I’ve heard the scene where the teams are trying to procure weapons grade Uranium in Russian black markets beats anything you’ver seen on “The Amazing Race.”