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Re^3: Global warning is an act of:

by talexb (Canon)
on Nov 22, 2008 at 01:20 UTC ( #725272=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: Global warning is an act of:
in thread Global warning is an act of:

Although I acknowledge that Crichton was a fiction writer, and that State of Fear was a work of fiction, it did reference many, many published, academic works. I'm guessing you haven't read this book, right?

Alex / talexb / Toronto

"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

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Re^4: Global warning is an act of:
by planetscape (Chancellor) on Nov 27, 2008 at 02:52 UTC

      A long, long time ago (in the Fall of 75, actually) I was a green, just out of high school kid in first year of CEGEP at John Abbott (this is a combination academic and vocational college, for those of you who didn't grow up in Quebec). One of the courses was a horrific doom and gloom course, probably titled Philosphy of Life or something, and one of the texts was Limits to Growth.

      Each class seemed to consist of the professor lecturing on and on about how the world was doomed to die as a result of food shortages, lack of drinking water, pollution and population explosion. He also guaranteed that the world was going to go "****ing nuts" on December 31, 1983, just eight years away. Not exactly a cheery message for young adults.

      So it's now the end of November, 2008, about thirty years later. If the world did go nuts back in 1983, it wasn't a big deal. The environment probably is in worse shape than it was then, but at least there's increasing attention paid to it, and there are serious attempts to reverse the problem by, for example, encouraging the car companies to build cars that have a smaller carbon footprint.

      And I still don't know for sure what's happening with the environment -- when the scientific opinions point in so many directions, it's hard to know who to believe.

      But thanks for the links.

      Alex / talexb / Toronto

      "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

        While reading Crichton's bibliography, I was struck by one entry in particular:

        Furedi, Frank. Culture of Fear: Risk-taking and the Morality of Low Expectation. New York: Continuum, 2002. As Western societies become more affluent and safer, as life expectancy has steadily increased, one might expect the populations to become relaxed and secure. The opposite has happened: Western societies have become panic-stricken and hysterically risk averse. The pattern is evident in everything from environmental issues to the vastly increased supervision of children. This text by a British sociologist discusses why.

        (In looking this up on Google, I came across a Wikipedia article of the same name.)

        I have not yet read this book, but I intend to. While I cannot yet express an opinion of my own on the author's conclusions, this citation in turn reminded me of a lecture I attended in 1995, called "Building a 21st Century Mind", given by an anthropologist named Jennifer James.

        To the best of my recollection and note-taking ability, she said:

        Every period of chaos and disorder produces a better society:

        Dark Ages -> Renaissance

        If we could see the overall (self-organizing) pattern, we would recognize this, and not worry (about the future).


        People have said throughout all time: Our generation was born and lived during the good times; your generation will see the world going to hell in a bucket.

        Why we worry: We have trouble making sense of what's going on. We are improvising during periods of chaos, or transition.

        I would not say this quote is 100% accurate in verbiage, but sufficiently accurate in spirit. However, it does get one thinking.

        Being an American in a post-9/11 world perhaps predisposes me to seeing a tendency towards governance by FUD and the ubiquity of fear mongering as a strategy for social control. Where that ends and scientific inquiry into global climate change begins, I truly cannot say.


Re^4: Global warning is an act of:
by bangers (Pilgrim) on Nov 24, 2008 at 09:21 UTC
    Wrong, I have read it. Not one of his better books, by some distance. Good science fiction writers (and Crichton was very good) research the science underpinning their work, but it is still a work of fiction. Science fiction is a wonderful tool for looking at social implications of theories, but it is not very useful in helping test the truth of a theory.
Re^4: Global warning is an act of:
by swampyankee (Parson) on Nov 23, 2008 at 13:55 UTC

    Crichton was the same guy who "warned" the world about the dangers of metal fatigue in Airframe, with the underlying tenet that the engineers were too stupid to notice.

    Rather insulting to an airframer (at the time, a group which included me), especially as every engineer in the aviation world had known about the dangers of metal fatigue since this report. I didn't notice Crichton's name in the list of investigators.

    Early in my career I worked with one of the engineers responsible for fixing the Comet, and by extension, keeping 707's and DC-8's from having the same problem.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting. — emc

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