Subtle and not so subtle biases shape assessment of Fukushima

As readers of this blog may have figured out, I like to discuss political issues related to science and technology. Although I am personally a bit to the left of the American center, my ideology, if I have one, is that evidence trumps ideology every time. Perhaps the best description, given my willingness to state … Read more

Should we call the Fukushima meltdowns a nuclear disaster?

A year ago, in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima meltdowns, I prepared a proposal for a middle grade book called “Lessons from Fukushima: The Promise and Risks of Nuclear Power.” My editor at Twenty-First Century Books accepted it, and put it on the fast track, but wanted a more marketable title. The result was … Read more

James Webb Space Telescope on Chopping Block

URGENT from Heidi Hammel: “The House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee has proposed termination of the James Webb Space Telescope. Now is the time to contact your representatives in Washington, as well as members of the Appropriations Subcommittees, if you support JWST.”

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What do extreme weather events tell us about climate change?

“Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.”

That famous quotation from science fiction great Robert A. Heinlein captures the difficulty climate scientists have when trying to share the science behind global warming to the general public through the media.

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Make no myth-take about climate change risks

I have been an admirer of Richard Muller for some time, though I had no idea that he was among the climate change skeptics. One of the reasons I admire him is that he follows the evidence, and in doing so, he came to a conclusion opposite to what his funders had hoped for: “that the Berkeley (Earth Surface Temperature) project would conclude that global warming is a myth.” No myth. No myth-take!

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Japanese Nuclear Crisis: TMI, Chernobyl, or In-between

My favorite chapter from my 1995 book Catastrophe! coverCatastrophe! Great Engineering Failure–and Success is the one where I discuss two very different nuclear reactor accidents, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. It is my favorite because of the way I ended it. That ending applies to the current situation at the reactors in Fukushima, Japan.

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