Talent and Taste
“Snille och Smak” is a Swedish saying that means “Shoot the Puck.”
Actually, I’m kidding. It really means “Talent and Taste.”
It also happens to be the motto of the Swedish Academy.
The Swedish Academy is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden, which include three major science academies. Sweden’s Royal Academies were founded more than two centuries ago by King Gustav III who, in his infinite wisdom, granted Royal Charters; the purpose of which was to promote science, culture, and the arts in Sweden.
Given such a history, it’s not at all surprising that 224 years later the seeds that King Gustav planted have become Giant Sequoia’s and Sweden is now one of the world’s most prosperous nations, currently ranking 3rd overall on the Legatum Prosperity Index right behind Finland (#1) and Switzerland (#2).
I wrote about the index in a previous post that you can re-visit here:
Sweden’s Royal Academies are without a doubt the most influential scientific and literary bodies in the world. For instance, one of the many scholarly things they do is decide who gets Nobel Prizes.
The Nobel Prizes are five annual international awards presented to people in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. They were established in 1895 by the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the scientist made famous for inventing dynamite. Make no mistake about it. A Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award in its field, and the prize winners are worthy of a great deal of respect. That said, anyone who tries to tell you differently is full of it.
The Nobel Peace Prize is probably the most well-known of the Nobel Prizes. However, it also happens to be the only one of the five prizes not awarded by a Swedish organization. That task is handled by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway on December 10th each year (the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death).
The other Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, the capital and largest city in Sweden. Incidentally, Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture. It’s also recognized for its abundant clean water and gorgeous parks, which is inspiring given that the city is 760 years old, or about 5 times older than Canada and 3 times older than the United States.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature. Each Nobel Prize includes a monetary award, which varies from year to year depending on how much the Nobel Foundation has available to give at the time. In 2009, the award for each category was about $1,400,000. Also, it’s not uncommon for recipients of a Nobel Prize to donate the prize money to some scientific, cultural, or humanitarian cause.
Having said all that, it bothers me that attacking the dignity of such highly regarded scientific organizations is considered good politics on the conservative side of the political spectrum in the United States. Basically, the Republican Party has been trying to convince everybody that the most reputable scientists and scientific organizations in the world are all either corrupt or stupid.
And why, might you ask, are Republicans doing this?
Because not a single reputable scientific organization in the world, or reputable scientist for that matter, thinks that man-made global warming is a myth, or that global warming and climate change aren’t very serious problems that require immediate attention.
Allow me to introduce you one of the top global warming deniers:
James Mountain “Jim” Inhoff is a member of the Republican Party and currently serves as the senior Senator from Oklahoma. Inhoff is among the most vocal global warming skeptics in the United States Congress and has been busy as a beaver trying to convince anybody and everybody that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.” Believe it or not, he’s actually the guy who coined that phrase.
Here’s a link to Inhoff explaining what he believes and why:
It sounds like Inhoff studied science at the University of Archie Bunker.
Check out this snippet from a 1975 episode of All In The Family to see what I mean. Archie displays Inhoff-like reasoning about 8 minutes in:
In contrast, Anton Zeilinger is an Austrian quantum physicist. Zeilinger is an example of a reputable scientist from a reputable scientific organization. Here is a link to an interview where he talks a bit about science including a brief explanation of quantum physics:
It bears repeating that not a single reputable scientist or scientific organization in the world thinks that man-made global warming is a myth.
If you find one, let me know.