First Choice Energy

Monday, July 9, 2012

What is the Green Grok?

From Energy in Depth:
A few weeks back my wife called to say a helicopter had earlier landed in our neighbor’s backyard.  This would have been unusual anywhere, of course — but especially so in a residential area of Honesdale.  Being curious, we crossed the street to find out what happened. 
As it turns out, according to our neighbor, his unexpected drop-in guests were from Duke University, of all places — and were apparently in the area to do some “research” on natural gas.  My neighbor, who is unfailingly polite, had given them a ride down to a local restaurant for a meeting.  Who they were, what that meeting was about, and why they had decided to air-drop themselves into our community — he didn’t know and couldn’t say. And neither could we, until we came across a puzzling post on the Internet the other day by someone who refers to himself as the “Green Grok.”
Green Grok's Red Helicopter
Green Grok’s Red Helicopter
The post itself, which appeared on the website of Bill Chameides, the Dean of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, is available here. Reading Mr. Chameides’ post provides all the explanation needed for this strange behavior. According to the post, he was one of the occupants of the mystery helicopter and came back to town a couple of weeks later to continue his discussions.  Chameides is, apparently, the kind of guy who thinks he doesn’t  need anyone’s permission and requires a helicopter consuming about 25 to 30 gallons of fuel per hour to ferry him about — because, well, he’s just so darned smart and Duke University is just so darned important. 
Frankly, the Chameides post made my blood run cold until I realized I wasn’t the blue blood here — he was.  Chameides’ condescending remarks were the kind of statements we’ve come to expect from certain parts of academia where political correctness is the first order of every day, arrogance is the rule of the road and special-interest agendas govern and direct the research.  He titled his post “A Visit With Some Folks in Fracking Land,” which pretty well tells the reader what is to follow.  It’s bad enough when our opponents resort to slang terms for a single part of the process to inaccurately and derisively label an entire industry, but you’d think a man who’s the dean of a respected department at a respected university would be a bit more careful and precise with the language he calls upon.
So what is a grok?  Well, that is a little interesting.  To refer to oneself as a grok doesn't make very much sense based on the definition from dictionary.com, which says that grok is a verb instead of a noun.
verb (used with object)1.to understand thoroughly and intuitively.
Here is what the article says:
This brings us to an essential question – what the heck is a “grok” anyway?  I’m just a farm boy from Wayne County and we never used terms like that growing up here.  I found (well, think I found) the answer at, not so trusty, Wikipedia where it is described as follows (emphasis added):
To grok is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein’s view, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed. From the novel:
Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines grok as “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with” and “to empathise or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment”. Other forms of the word include groks (present third person singular), grokked (past participle) and grokking (present participle).

In an ideological context, a grokked concept becomes part of the person who contributes to its evolution by improving the doctrine, perpetuating the myth, espousing the belief, adding detail to the social plan, refining the idea or proving the theory.
May we conclude the Green Grok is so ingrained in his subject he is no longer an independent observer but part of what is being observed?  It would seem to mean a grok is no longer a scientist, but an advocate who pretends to be a scientist.  Come to think of it, there is a whole lot of grokking going on among the anti-natural gas crowd.  And, that part about contributing to the evolution of the doctrine, perpetuating the myth and espousing the belief (as opposed to the facts) – does that resonate or what?
Read the whole article here.

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