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How We Fixed the Ozone Layer (worksinprogress.co)
37 points by barry-cotter 65 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments

The European Space Agency is preparing a mission for a satellite which will try to determine the connection between solar activity and ozone layer status.

A lingering theory is that it might have not been related so much to chlorofluorocarbons, but a phenomenon we didn't know about. I hope they're wrong, because that would mean we spent an insane amount of money getting rid of a lot of substances, but even if they are right, it was the right decision to take at the time with the information we had.

Right decision = DuPont's patents were expiring and they pushed regulations to hinder competition.

How* We Fixed The Ozone Layer

Hacker News often trims clickbaity words from headlines. Modern headlines are low on substance and high on curiosity-inducing phrases ("How", "Why", "You wouldn't believe..."). This is in contrast to the style of newspaper headlines before the internet, when editors tried to summarize the entire story in one sentence. Naturally such a headline was low on detail, but the goal was the beginning, middle, and end of the story, so that a harried reader could skim the headlines and know the news of the day.

This is because the paper already had your money. Nowadays, news sites don't make money until you click each story. A sad situation for readers.

I have read the article. I can make an attempt at an old-style headline. Something like, "International cooperation halted the depletion of the ozone layer 1989-2019." Less enticing, eh? Now you know whether you really care for the details.

Which brings me to another problem with the article: it could be a third as long. This was a general problem even pre-internet, moreso in magazines than newspapers, which William Zinnser pointed out in his book On Writing Well. The first few paragraphs can often be excised, with nothing lost. It's as if the writer is warming up to writing the article, out loud. First there is a lot of philosophy. Then there is what could pass as an encyclopedia entry for Ozone Layer. Then a human-interest story of the discovery of the hole. This has its place (like in an encyclopedia) but you need to bear your readers in mind, and you are doing them a favor if you omit information that most of your readers already know. No need to bring newborn babies up to speed with each article.

The headline isn't even accurate, because we have not "fixed" it. The damage stopped at the beginning of this century, but the article itself says that the layer won't completely recover until the end of this century.

I feel like the lack of "how" gives very different conotations.

'Related Geoengeneering'-Pickings: 'A Weight, suspended from a System of String where cutting one of the Strings would actually increase the Tensions make it move...'? (-;

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