shaken & stirred

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tuesday morning

Tuesday Hangovers
1. Terry shares the wisdom of Bono. "Very good," Bono says, "is the enemy of great. You think great is right next door. It's not. It's in another country."
2. Charles McGrath talks to Michael Crichton, who asserts some pretty whack shit (note: at least this is one example of a writer interview where the looks of a male writer are mentioned):
Sitting in his hotel room, he had at hand a stack of photocopied graphs and articles, but he seldom needed to refer to them as he patiently explained what he thinks is wrong with the theory of global warming: temperatures have not increased at anything like the rate that was originally predicted, and temperature data are not especially reliable to begin with; back in the 70's we were worried about global cooling. He was particularly dismissive of the various computer models for climate change, saying, "You have to remember, I come from an experience where you can use a computer to make a photo-realistic dinosaur, and I know that isn't real."

He began idly looking at temperature records about three years ago, he explained, and even after he became convinced that climate changes were impossible to predict and the threat of global warming much less than environmentalists were claiming, he resisted writing about it. "I didn't want the hassle," he said, adding that at first he didn't see a way to turn his findings into a novel. "My message is there isn't a problem," he said. "That's not a very good message - it's not a smash-bang one."
Michael Crichton, global warming expert? Carl Zimmer at The Loom points to analysis of State of Fear by an actual scientific expert on climate at Real Climate:
The inevitable conclusion of the book is that global warming is a non-problem. A lesson for our times maybe? Unfortunately, I think not.

Like the recent movie “The Day After Tomorrow", the novel addresses real scientific issues and controversies, but is similarly selective (and occasionally mistaken) about the basic science. I will discuss a selection of the global warming-related issues that are raised in between the car chases, shoot-outs, cannibalistic rites and assorted derring-do. The champion of Crichton’s scientific view is a MIT academic-turned-undercover operative who clearly runs intellectual rings around other characters. The issues are raised as conversations and Q and A sessions between him (and other ‘good guys’) and two characters; an actor (not a very clever chap) and a lawyer (a previously duped innocent), neither of whom know much about the science.

Read the whole thing and lest you doubt the blogger's credentials, the person doing the analyzing is Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller for NASA. He concludes by saying:
In summary, I am a little disappointed, not least because while researching this book, Crichton actually visited our lab and discussed some of these issues with me and a few of my colleagues. I guess we didn’t do a very good job. Judging from his reading list, the rather dry prose of the IPCC reports did not match up to the some of the racier contrarian texts.
In a just world, all this attention would be heaped on Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain, which Cory Doctorow posted about yesterday at Boing Boing and which is undoubtedly a far more scientifically valid text.
3. Penguins are the new monkeys, proclaims Booklust.
4. Much about mail art, using the Griffin and Sabine books as a jumping off point, at MeFi.
5. And, hey, remember that judge who supposedly said told a 14-year-old rape victim to "get over it"? He's suing several journalists who worked on the story(ies) because this is supposedly untrue and this Washington Post piece focuses on the fact that the suit uses an interview one of the reporters gave on The O'Reilly Factor as evidence.
6. The Washington Post reviews Bicycle: The History by David Herlihy -- and they let actual commuting bicyclist Colman McCarthy write the review. I see this on someone's birthday wish list in the very near future.
7. France shows off world's tallest bridge, with ooh-lala beautiful photos. Via Maccers.


  • At 12:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Whenever Crichton has written about something I've known about, I've found him to be wrong.



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