Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Skeptical Science now an iPhone app

Skeptical Science

Here is another tool for debating climate change deniers but you have to have an iPhone.

With Tim Lambert debating Christopher Monckton this Friday, there's been no shortage of debating suggestions. One interesting idea was for audience members to have on their mobiles. Coincidentally, Skeptical Science has just become available today as an iPhone or iPod app. The app lets you use an iPhone or iPod to view the entire list of skeptic arguments as well as (more importantly) what the science says on each argument. To download the app, go to

How it happened was a few months ago, I was contacted by Shine Technologies, a software development company from Melbourne, Australia. The owners of the company are passionate about climate change and were interested in getting the science from Skeptical Science onto mobile phones. This is a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, because now more than ever it's imperative that the climate debate focuses on science so the more readily available the science, the better. Secondly, well, an iPhone app is pretty cool.

So for the last few months, the boffins at Shine have been developing the app with Apple approving it today. How does it work? You browse arguments via the Top 10 most used arguments as well as 3 main categories ("It's not happening", "It's not us", "It's not bad"):

When you select one of the 3 main categories, a list of sub-categories pop up. You can then select any category to see the skeptic argument, a summary of what the science says and the full answer including graphs plus links to papers or other sources.

A novel inclusion is a feature that lets you report when you encounter a skeptic argument. By clicking on the red ear icon (above left, shown to the left of the skeptic arguments or above right, next to the headline), the iPhone adds another hit to that particular skeptic argument. At the moment, which arguments you report are only available in a My Reports page, shown below. Shine Tech are hoping to play around with the Reports meta-data in future versions of the app - the phrase "heat-map" gets mentioned often.

So if you have an iPhone or iPod, be sure to download the app and post any feedback or suggestions here. If you have friends with iPhones, be sure to let them know of the app. The more people use the app, hopefully the more versions will be developed in the future with snazzy extra features. If anyone encounters any technical problems with the app, please let me know.

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