Sunday, December 6, 2015

In Action: Former Climate Change Fear Monger at Scientific American

Robin Lloyd, author of Why Are Americans So Ill-Informed about Climate Change?, which she wrote for Scientific American in 2011, is quite the shrewd disciplined  scientist. A dramatic snippet from the article:
As glaciers melt and island populations retreat from their coastlines to escape rising seas, many scientists remain baffled as to why the global research consensus on human-induced climate change remains contentious in the U.S.

Here is a report on Lloyd in this Sunday's New York Times:
Robin Lloyd wasn’t looking to get rich. She was just a poor college student who thought she’d finally caught a break. It was 1982, and Ms. Lloyd was making her first trip to New York City. On Day 1 she fell for what, to a hardened New Yorker, would seem impossible: a game of three-card monte. On a Broadway sidewalk, a loud man behind a cardboard box was doing something at lightning speed with three playing cards, telling the crowd to “follow the lady.” Guess where she went correctly, and you could easily double your cash.

“I remember being like a kid at the circus, so fascinated by him showing us how easy it was to win,” Ms. Lloyd told me. She didn’t take the decision to play lightly. She had only two $20 bills in her pocket, and she remembered, “At this time in my life, I had no winter coat.”

But something about this man’s patter seemed genuine; it was almost as if he saw her woes and wanted to help. And she’d just seen a lucky winner who’d doubled his money and walked away elated. “It was so exciting, the energy there. And you want to win and want to believe so much.” The moment the cash left her hand, she regretted it, and rightly so. In a flash, she lost everything.

Three-card monte is one of the most persistent and effective cons in history. The games still pop up along city streets. But we tend to dismiss the victims as rubes. Even Ms. Lloyd felt that way, calling herself a fool. “I probably deserved it,” she says. But that’s in retrospect. In the moment, it wasn’t so simple. She was frugal and intelligent (a student in sociology, who would soon go on to get her Ph.D., she was, until recently, the news editor at Scientific American).

But Ms. Lloyd was up against forces far greater than she realized. Monte operators, like all good con men, are exceptional judges of character, but even more important they are exceptional creators of drama, of the sort of narrative sweep that makes everything seem legitimate, even inevitable. When I mentioned to Ms. Lloyd that the winner she’d seen was planted there to lure people in, she expressed surprise. She hadn’t realized that that was how the game worked. “The rational part of me knows I was conned. But there’s still a part of me that feels like I was unlucky.”


  1. Replies
    1. Did not get it Mike. Was some claim made that 1440 Robins (the bird) dying per day because of CC?

  2. Sacrifice and obedience to ward off bad weather and a declining climate is only a few thousand years older than three card monte.

    1. Good point! BTW, did anybody get my joke?

    2. Indeed. And you ain't talking about vacuum cleaners.

  3. Years ago Scientific American was the best popular science magazine you could by. I resubscribed briefly around ten years ago and cancelled after six months. It had become nothing but an empty rag shilling for government control, particularly with respect to "climate change", while offering none of the kinds of data, logic, or detailed analyses that it did in its heyday. When I called to cancel the circulation department asked me why and I told them straight out. Obviously they haven't listened to me...

  4. So, is there some inference here to the climate changes scam; and/or she is now refuting in any way? The article imo offers no opinion. Also, is she a 'former' climate change fear monger or just a former employee of Sci Am?