The Intersection

Archives for August, 2007

This is pretty troubling. NASA is reportedly requiring longtime career scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center to go through FBI screening similar to what you need to get a security clearance. The new scrutiny is allegedly pursuant to a Homeland Security directive, but that directive seems to allow considerably more…

PZ Almighty? You Decide…

Since Monday’s foray into the realm of religion, many readers have responded regarding: I just don’t think these [atheist] books provide folks reason to notice they were atheists all along without a shepherd. Wouldn’t that liken PZ to Abraham? Or dare I say it, Jesus? Of course, this was only in jest and PZ knows…

Discovery News Vid on YouTube

In which I discourse about hurricanes and global warming with Sarah Goforth of Discovery News: What do folks think of the ending, where–following my lead–the video contrasts the number of Category 5 storms between 1970 and 2002 (8) with the number between 2003 and 2007 (7)? My own view is that while we shouldn’t make…

This is the picture–suspiciously resembling my colleague and Scibling Matt Nisbet–that runs alongside our two and a half page letters exchange (PDF) in the current issue of Science. Essentially, there are four letters reacting to and criticizing various aspects of our “Framing Science” policy forum article from April (PDF). And then there’s our lengthy response–which…

I Fought God and, God Won

[God: "Go ahead, make my day."] I have been staying out of the science and religion mess lately–although I think it’s already known that while I’m personally non-religious, I agree with Nisbet that going head-on at people’s faith probably isn’t a very good strategy if you want to defend the teaching of evolution in the…

Where the SciBlings Are

During our casual 3.5 hour dinner last night, Bora and I got to wondering… Why isn’t North Carolina’s Research Triangle in grand prize destinations for the 500,000 comment contest? Winner receives a 5-day trip to the greatest science city in the world and the three contenders are Boston/Cambridge, MA, San Francisco, CA, and Cambridge, UK.…

In January of 2003, I sat in Joe Kelley’s seminar at the University of Maine as he foretold the devastation that was to come to New Orleans. I’d never heard this chilling story before and listened intently as he explained that as far back as when The Big Easy flooded in the 1920’s, scientists realized…

[Matt Nisbet battles PZ Myers (artist's rendition).] Uh oh. There is some heavy talk coming out of some folks about this Minnesota thing in September. Greg Laden: Ladies and Gentlemen, Scoundrels and Aristocrats … … In this corner, we have Author and Journalist Chris the Madman Mooney. … In this corner, we have American University…

And so this is what it has all been building up to: Leadership. If New Orleans is languishing right now, there’s one chief person to blame. And if we’re not investigating how global warming is going to change our hurricane risks on a national level–well, again, there’s one person to blame. The person in charge…

My first two Katrina posts announced the following “lessons”: 1) science doesn’t confer certainty about hurricanes and global warming; but scientific uncertainty doesn’t justify inaction, either; 2) the issue of hurricane risks is much bigger than New Orleans. In other words, there are many, many other disaster-prone places. I only named a few possible worst…