Science textbook gets science right!!!

Last summer my son was required to read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton in preparation for his Geosciences class that all high school seniors are required to take at his school (it's a school that specializes in science and technology).  That made me nervous, knowing that "State of Fear" has been widely debunked as a source of useful information on climate science (see my series on State of Fear here).  I was hoping that his teachers were not going to use it as some sort of instructional material on climate change.

I was immensely relieved, though, when I read the very first sentence in his textbook:

State of Folly 3 - How Michael Crichton was wrong: Humans insignificant?

This is the third in a series of posts related to Michael Crichton's State of Fear, which I just read this summer. [previous posts here and here]

On p. 709, one of Crichton's key characters, John Kenner, who he presents as the level-headed, intelligent understander of all things climate, says, after describing the ordinary violence of the earth's weather:
The nasty little apes that call themselves human beings can do nothing except run and hide.  For these same apes to imagine they can stabilize this atmosphere is arrogant beyond belief.  They can't control the climate.
Yet we know that to be undeniably false.  We are, in fact, already controlling the climate.  We've raised it a degree or so Celsius in the last 100 years.  "Unequivocally" according to the best climate science on the planet.  We may not be "controlling" it very well--more like sending it out of control.  The point he was trying to make is that humans are just too small to make any difference to the enormity of the earth's systems.  Wrong.

Bike commuting in DC highest in US Northeast - among highest in nation

According to a recent article in the The Atlantic Cities, bike commuting has seen significant increases across the US between 2000 and 2009.  In the Northeast region, DC led the pack, tied with Philadelphia, at 2.2%.  That is up from 1.2% in 2000.Bike commuting table
Although DC's increase in cycling was not as remarkable as some of the other Northeastern cities, DC started the decade with more bike commuters.

State of Folly 2 - More Why Michael Crichton is Wrong

This is the second in a series of posts about Michael Crichton's State of Fear. (Previous post here)

Mr. Crichton's book was widely hailed by the climate deniers/skeptics, despite the fact that Mr. Crichton has no credentials whatsoever in regards to climate science.  Nonetheless, the book covered a lot of ground related to global warming.

On pages 490-492 (in my paperback version), in the chapter titled "Culver City: Tuesday, October 12, 1:20 PM" Mr. Crichton presents 14 different temperature graphs from around the world showing temperature trends from 1875 to 2003.  Some go up, some go down, some go sideways.  In the story, one of the main protagonists comes across a stack of these graphs and is disturbed that so many do not seem to agree with his preconceived notion of global warming.

State of Folly - How Michael Crichton was Wrong

I finally got around to reading State of Fear by Michael Crichton. Interestingly, my son was assigned this book as a summer reading assignment (I'll follow up on that shortly). So I read it, too.

There have been many people who have reviewed and criticized the book. This is the first of a series of posts that look at particular claims and issues raised in the book as I see them. Enjoy.

Crichton adds an "Author's Message" at the end, in which he clarifies his personal views on the climate science. One of his bullet points reads:

Capital Bikeshare featured on Streetfilms

The amazing success of Capital Bikeshare is being noted not just here in the DC area (such as in the Wash Post), but nationwide and around the world.  The acclaimed Streetfilms featured Capital Bikeshare last month.

Seven Corners Safeway fixes sidewalk

Back in March I reported that the newly renovated Safeway at Seven Corners had designed their shopping cart corral in such a way as to block sidewalk access, forcing pedestrians to walk into traffic.

Two weeks ago, the Safeway removed this barrier, and now the sidewalk is completely open, allowing for safe and convenient pedestrian passage as shown in this photo.