Blog bits #438(b)

Observant readers might have noticed a few changes at Hot Topic over the weekend. Two new navigation options have popped up over the header: Book Reviews and Debate Map. The first one’s fairly straightforward, it’s a link to the book reviews category — a short cut to all the book reviews we’ve published at Hot Topic since Bryan started diligently working his way through new and notable climate-related books. Thanks to his efforts we now host the most comprehensive review coverage of climate books on the web (that’s my claim, and I’m sticking to it).

The Debate Map link goes to a new page created to provide a permanent home for the Debategraph interactive map of the climate debate I first posted about back in March. It’s a wiki-style site given a nice graphical structure. I find the whole thing fascinating, so I urge all Hot Topic‘s readers (even sceptics) to go and have a play and don’t be afraid to contribute items and arguments. Debategraph head honcho David Price provides the accompanying text, and is very happy to discuss any aspects of the map with interested readers.

One other tweak regular readers may like: I’ve updated the site’s theme to allow for “threaded comments”. This means you can now reply to individual comments by clicking on the “reply” link at the bottom of each comment. Your response will then appear immediately underneath, slightly indented. You should be able to reply to replies up to five indents deep, but I haven’t tested that…

Visionary road maps

Here’s a way to map the climate change “debate” that goes a million miles beyond the simplistic for and against view beloved of sceptics and Climate Debate Daily. Click in the Flash animation above and you can access a Debategraph view of the issues around climate change (the buttons below allow you to access various map tools — the green button opens underlying information in a pop-up window). It’s a sort of cross between a mind map and a wiki, allowing you to add and develop ideas and viewpoints. Produced by Debategraph in collaboration with the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute, the IQ2 Green Festival on Climate Change and The Independent the idea is to build the map as a public, international resource in the run up to the crucial Copenhagen meeting in December. Click on the central “climate change” circle, and then the details viewer (green button) to read more). David Price, co-founder of Debategraph, explained in an email:

The goal is develop the map iteratively to a point at which it represents genuinely rich and comprehensive public resource; so any recommendations of people on the science and/or policy side who you think might be interested in the visualization approach and in contributing to the map will be very welcome.

I think this is a fascinating way to look at the issues around climate change — to map the arguments in a manner that conveys the complexity of the issue, and avoids the constant need to restate the obvious. Changes you make here at Hot Topic will be reflected at all other sites embedding the map. Have a play, explore, and let me know what you think in the comments. If there’s enough interest, I’ll embed the map in its own page so that it’s only one click away from the front page. Could be a fantastic tool, especially for PolSci students… 😉