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

Track Kepler’s Candidate Exoplanets with a new app

I’m not an app person, but when I got an e-mail from Hanno Rein of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University suggesting that I look at a new iPhone/iPad app called “Kepler” to track the ever-increasing list of candidate exoplanets from the Kepler satellite, I decided to check it out.

Read more

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.

Read more