Comments on UCAR community registration and purpose, global climate change

I was looking at where it says “Become a Registered User”. Courteous, inviting. But click and it says, “Access denied, The page you requested requires that you login.” So it seems to login you have to register, and to register you have to be able to log in.

Your cookie banners are not necessary and waste time for everyone. If you just have to have one, then have “Full” “Minimal” “none” and you cannot deny service to people who do not let you write cookies on their computer. I think these notices are a waste and issues of cooperation and collaboration can be dealt with by building open community practices that span the Internet to encourage growth and interaction globally.

I was searching “tropical rainfall” and wondering if anyone had tried a retrograde equatorial satellite to monitor the intertropical convergence zone. A basic model published online would let anyone examine and experiment with the tradeoffs. When I got to I was impressed with a very unusual level of openness about who is working on different datasets. I review the whole Internet, and most data or posted materials have no author listed, and no way to contact the specific individuals responsible for things.

What I do not see in the 879 entry points listed from googling is any use of the word, “cooperation” OR “co-operation”. I was hoping to find a map of global climate research as seen by UCAR. Data without people and models and active community doesn’t really do anything. The map, in living form, is structured data, as or more necessary than any sensor data streams or derived products.

Your mission statement and site map also are missing key pieces. It is “us” and “them” again. I review tens of thousands of sites and communities on the Internet. Every day for the last 23 years.

“We also support and train future generations of diverse scientists and engineers, and we partner with the universities to help strengthen their programs for students in the Earth system sciences.” –> “Every person is affected by climate events. Every person should have a clear and deep understanding of how it works and can be changed by human activities. There are 1.92 Billion first time learners from (5-20) in the world now. And many more involved in monitoring and responding to climate events, data collection, modeling and development.

Sorry I cannot give you a clearer mission. But for the Internet as a whole, the best strategy seems to be: If a group posts material on the Internet – potentially accessible by any of the 4.8 billion people with some level of access now – they have to have higher standards and be committed to serving and educating everyone – regardless of country, age, or shape.

“If it is on the Internet, it is for everyone”. Or don’t put it on the Internet. – I have only been hammering on that idea for 30 years, but is seems fairly close to what works best for everyone. Not for “my school”, “my country”, “my corporation”, “our benefit”, “our project”, “certain ages”, “certain training” – everyone. Practical reasons can limit that, but never letting go of the goal will keep to the most optimal paths for everyone.

Live camera sharing is exploding on the Internet. There are relatively few all sky cameras, and they have no standards or goals or sharing yet. But the traffic cameras, beach cameras, river camera, city camera, animal cameras and all kinds of purposes – many have bits of sky and those – with a range of resolutions and camera type – can be used to extract information about the weather. Weather cameras probably should all be for whole cities to see the clouds and sky and ground during the day, and the heavens and stars, comets, planets and clouds at night. The quality of cameras is great and improving constantly, they need better software, decent weather and sky overlays and public education. And not “dumbed down” but professional level tools where all the pieces have been gathered and fit together in a consistent and universal framework. If someone wants to study any part or all of the climate models, give them access to the equations, training data, and let them join in helping to improve some or all of it. Every country, every school and college and university, and an exploding number of online education groups, many formal and informal groups – care about climate and want to do things.

I always end up writing more than I planned. I start thinking of things I feel you ought to know, and want to offer advice because of the rapidly changing nature of the Internet. I took over TheInternetFoundation.Org from Network Solutions back in Jul 1998 after the original Internet Foundation was cancelled for US political reasons. It was to set standards, but more importantly policies and missions, human values and best practices. has 325,000 entry points showing. Imagine you went to a school and wanted to ask a question. In response they hand you 325,000 documents instead. Unindexed, uncurated, much out of date, many pages stuck together or torn out and lost, in widely varying styles, and with many tens of thousands of hand writtten sticky notes referring to things that mostly cannot be found. (“covid” OR “coronavirus” OR “corona virus”) has 843 entry points. Same criticism – unindexed, uncategorized, responsible person and purposes not identified, no structure or organization. No cooperation with all the rest of the 7.72 billion (“covid” OR “coronavirus” OR “corona virus”) entry points just now. “wash hands” and massive duplication overwhelming the people and groups who should be working together, but cannot find each other or a way to connect. “global climate change” has 4,960 entry points. That is not a coherent project, or mission, or thoughtful presentation – it is a pile of paper.

“global climate change” has 16.5 Million entry points. That is a mess, but not so large that all the people responsible and their communities cannot be documented, mapped, categorized and linked into a coherent global response. It is NOT just paid employees or government contracts. That is only a tiny portion of the whole. And billions who have to know how the climate works – just to live their lives.

Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation

Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

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