In Science, Policy, and Society class today, we talked about parameters and tuning in climate modeling, from Paul N. Edwards’ A Vast Machine. I did a rant about the three books that essentially created environmental studies as a recognizable academic discipline, a policy issue, and an element of popular culture: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, The Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth, and the Brundtland Commission’s Our Common Future.
Edwards’ whole book is essentially about climate simulation models – especially how models have come to dominate the world that we live in today. One thing that mystifies understanding modeling, however, is that our students largely do not know how to code. At a liberal arts college, many faculty are coming to believe that technological literacy, like our traditional writing requirement, should be incorporated into our college curriculum. Here’s a nice video that argues the point more coherently – thanks Vanessa W.!