If we don’t do something now to stop the ever increasing amounts of CO2 going into (and staying for hundreds of years) the atmosphere, then pretty muc...moreIf we don’t do something now to stop the ever increasing amounts of CO2 going into (and staying for hundreds of years) the atmosphere, then pretty much nothing else we do now will matter in a hundred years. We will be the generation of people who still had a chance to make a difference but were too busy wrangling about money – yes, it boils down to money – that we just couldn’t rise to what the occasion demanded of us.
This is the message of [I]Censoring Science[/I], the message Jim Hansen wants the American people and the rest of the world to clearly understand. He feels the responsibility to give us the information we need for understanding weighing heavily on him and he [I]is[/I] rising to the occasion. In the last chapter of Censoring Science, he is quoted from an NPR interview, one which the NASA administration tried to prevent, giving his motivation: “In thinking about whether I was going to speak up or not, what really brought me to this conclusion was, I don’t want, in the future, my grandchildren to say, ‘Opa understood what was going to happen, but he didn’t make it clear.’ And so I’m trying to make it clear.”
Dr. James Hansen is “almost universally regarded as the preeminent climate scientist of our time,” says Mark Bowen in Chapter 1. Bowen tells a painful story of the secrecy and subterfuge used by the Bush administration to censor the information that Dr. Hansen and other scientists at NASA and NOAA attempted to release to the American public about climate change. President Bush’s appointees carried out White House orders to suppress information completely or change the wording to soften the implications of any information relating to climate change. They (the appointees) developed a system of monitoring scientists’ contact with the press and denying interviews to news organizations they felt were too left wing, or just sitting on the requests for interviews long enough that the requests were withdrawn.
There are points in the book where things get a little confusing – lots of names and organizational acronyms being bandied about. But that is a minor flaw. If this book had only told the story of the suppression of scientists, it wouldn’t be as important as it is. But Bowen also includes much of the information that was suppressed by the administration, information that Dr. Hansen wants everyone to know, information that we need to know if we are going to make informed decisions about our future on this planet. After reading this book, I think I understand a bit better what’s going on.
This book will help you think seriously about what you’re doing to help and what our country should be doing. Dr. Hansen makes recommendations for the changes we should make to our CO2 emission levels, our energy usage as a whole and longer term strategies. He bases his recommendations strictly on the information he’s gotten from his scientific studies and global climate models he created. Hopefully the next administration will be listening to those recommendations.
If you’ve ever seen Dr. Hansen on TV and wondered why he looked grim and very worried, this book explains it. (less)
This book gives the person interested in fossils a look at what's been found in the last 20 or 30 years. It's fascinating stuff! I didn't want to put...moreThis book gives the person interested in fossils a look at what's been found in the last 20 or 30 years. It's fascinating stuff! I didn't want to put the book down at times.
Prothero goes from detailing both the finding of the fossils and the fossils themselves, to how pissed he is at creationists who do no actual science at all, then spend their time taking pot shots at the work of real scientists, and quote-mining their works. I enjoyed Prothero's attacks on such people, Duane Gish most prominently. Prothero is really a scientist down to his bones. He is appalled at people who call themselves scientists but who are not, and appalled at people who use credentials that don't relate to the field they're talking about.
While the parts of this book where Prothero castigates creationist pseudo-scientists are fun, the best parts are the descriptions of fossils and the animals they were, and the strange and wonderful environments these ancient animals inhabited on this ancient planet.
Interesting walk through the prehistory of us, using recently acquired genetic information as a guide. This book w...moreListened to this through audible.com
Interesting walk through the prehistory of us, using recently acquired genetic information as a guide. This book would be better understood, at least by me, through a read rather than a listen. There is so much specific information to absorb. But I enjoyed listening very much and got an overview. Someday I'll buy the book and sink my interestingly evolved cut-and-grind teeth into it. (less)
Gives a feel for the life of a paleontologist - fascinating stuff!
The last few chapters on the extent of the currently occurring mass extinction are d...moreGives a feel for the life of a paleontologist - fascinating stuff!
The last few chapters on the extent of the currently occurring mass extinction are devastating. Even though Dr. Ward says things like "unless we do something" about the health of our biosphere, it seems that we've started a juggernaut we can only ride, not control.
This loss of species diversity and habitat was not a thing planned by humans, or even completely our doing. But its ramp-up is a consequence of our global actions and might be helped by a global response. However, given what a fractious species we are, it seems unlikely that we will all agree enough to do much in the way of slowing the ecological degradation of our home.
As the author says at the end of this book, "There will never be a new dominant fauna on the earth other than humanity and its domesticated vassals until we go extinct--and if we succeed in reaching the stars, that may never happen.
We are at the pinnacle of biodiversity on this planet. We have dominion."
Another way to look at how we got here evolutionarily speaking. Interesting info on specific parts - arms and hands, eyes, teeth, ears, genes. Written...moreAnother way to look at how we got here evolutionarily speaking. Interesting info on specific parts - arms and hands, eyes, teeth, ears, genes. Written for those of us who haven't studied science. A reasonably smart 6th grader could get a lot out of this book and it might encourage them to think about a career in paleontology, or another of the sciences. Less than a third of the length of The Ancestor's Tale and much less is therefore covered, but at least I finished it! Yeah! Anyway, nice summer read!(less)