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A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate…
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A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (Infrastructures) (vuoden 2013 painos)

Tekijä: Paul N. Edwards (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
883309,913 (3.83)1
Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, "sound science." In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these doubters: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations--even from satellites, which can "see" the whole planet with a single instrument--becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world's climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere--to measure it, trace its past, and model its future. Edwards argues that all our knowledge about climate change comes from three kinds of computer models: simulation models of weather and climate; reanalysis models, which recreate climate history from historical weather data; and data models, used to combine and adjust measurements from many different sources. Meteorology creates knowledge through an infrastructure (weather stations and other data platforms) that covers the whole world, making global data. This infrastructure generates information so vast in quantity and so diverse in quality and form that it can be understood only by computer analysis--making data global. Edwards describes the science behind the scientific consensus on climate change, arguing that over the years data and models have converged to create a stable, reliable, and trustworthy basis for the reality of global warming.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:PhilSroka
Teoksen nimi:A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (Infrastructures)
Kirjailijat:Paul N. Edwards (Tekijä)
Info:The MIT Press (2013), 552 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read, my-library, philosophy-and-theory, semester-reads

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A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (Infrastructures) (tekijä: Paul N. Edwards)

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näyttää 3/3
This book hits squarely at the center of my thinking. I have been dreaming of a Buddhist Philosophy of Science. This book works as the foundation. Edwards quotes Harry Collins on the need for a third wave in philosophy of science. Wave 1 is absolutist science: science as facts, truth. Wave 2 is relativist science: science is some kind of mutually reinforcing network of beliefs. Wave 3 is some kind of middle ground, recognizing that science is connected to belief and perception, but also that perception is connected to reality. This is the middle way of Buddhism. Edwards returns again and again to the shimmering quality of data. It's not fabricated from whole cloth, but there is no way to cut through to raw reality either.

I studied physics in school, including a couple semesters of geophysics - more about the oceans than the atmosphere, but close enough. I spend my working life developing software for electrical engineers, including a variety of system simulators etc. I've kept my toe in the waters of history and philosophy of science and technology. I found this whole book quite fascinating. The title comes from John Ruskin in the 1830s, envisioning a global network of weather stations. Edwards tracks the implementation of this vision right up to the turn of the millennium.

Even though this book hits right at the heart of one of the most critical issues of our time, it's hard to say what the right audience for it is. Climate scientists know all this, because it's their lives. For most folks, the basic facts churned out by the vast machine, the consequences of burning fossil fuels, are sufficient. The way that such diverse measurements get incorporated into climate models is really quite remarkable but also a bit subtle. I imagine most folks won't come away with too clear a notion. I think I could write some code based on this book, but I'm sure there are many crucial details left out here. It's a high level sketch, but quite comprehensive if the impression I come away with is correct. ( )
1 ääni kukulaj | Jun 5, 2019 |
"This is first rate intellectual history. Not an easy read, but worth it if you want to understand how science in the modern age works. Turns out that theory is the easy part. Data and models (in particular, computer models) are at the center of all the controversies around global warming. You could take the conceptual framework Edwards develops and apply it to any number of public policy problems, starting with education. Highly recommended." ( )
1 ääni atortorice001 | Mar 4, 2012 |
A comprehensive, informative, and accessible account of the history of the development of climate models, of the infrastructure that sustains them, and of their epistemological underpinnings. ( )
  jorgearanda | Nov 21, 2010 |
näyttää 3/3
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, "sound science." In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these doubters: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations--even from satellites, which can "see" the whole planet with a single instrument--becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world's climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere--to measure it, trace its past, and model its future. Edwards argues that all our knowledge about climate change comes from three kinds of computer models: simulation models of weather and climate; reanalysis models, which recreate climate history from historical weather data; and data models, used to combine and adjust measurements from many different sources. Meteorology creates knowledge through an infrastructure (weather stations and other data platforms) that covers the whole world, making global data. This infrastructure generates information so vast in quantity and so diverse in quality and form that it can be understood only by computer analysis--making data global. Edwards describes the science behind the scientific consensus on climate change, arguing that over the years data and models have converged to create a stable, reliable, and trustworthy basis for the reality of global warming.

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