My favorite chapter from my 1995 book Catastrophe! 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.
The military services can’t afford an ideological interpretation of climate change data. It has to be prepared for whatever comes our way, such as a very different Arctic environment including ice-free shipping lanes.
If you are a regular reader of my blog postings, you know that I am a passionate, opinionated middle-of-the-roader. I bring the same passion to my writing for young readers, but I want them to learn to form their own opinions.
One of the best things about speaking my mind in print and on line is that it gives me the chance to “meet” people who are willing to challenge me or share viewpoints that put mine in perspective. Such was the case this morning, when I got an e-mail from Andrew Wright, who wrote an article for Politico.com entitled “Scientific talk on climate change.”
Probably the greatest missing element in the public discourse about climate change (to characterize the current rancorous political debate with a more benign phrase) is error bars. Too much of the public expects scientific projections of sea level to be well-defined, but climate scientists know that best estimates reported in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are likely to be much too low because they neglect “dynamic melting” of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
What do you know about global warming? Can you tell FACT from SCIENCE FICTION? Want a free “Got Science?” sticker?
Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
by Steven Johnson
(Riverhead, October 2010, $26.95, 336 pages)
Reviewed by Dr. Fred Bortz
I recently had a letter published in Physics Today, taking issue with another reader who wrote that “pronouncements concerning global warming issued by the Royal Society and the American Physical Society in 2007 indicate that some societies appear set on usurping science.”