Stephany's Reviews > Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

Physics for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller
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Jun 07, 10

Read from May 01 to 25, 2010

After reading this book, you'll be tempted to correct people you overhear, comment on a host of news articles with corrections, and go on a Facebook comment rampage on the Walls of less informed friends. Don't say I didn't warn you.

This book is so necessary right now, with cherry-picked data and outright propaganda trumping fact-based debate. Muller tells you "everything you know that just ain't so," which you might not even know until reading this book. To name just a few highlights, he explains the physics behind why and how the Twin Towers melted; why we should not be terribly afraid of dirty bombs (you'd likely get more natural, ground-based radiation just from living in Colorado than you would in an urban area if a dirty bomb goes off); all the various types of nuclear energy and yes, why some are in fact quite clean and safe; why the half-lives of nuclear materials make Yucca Mountain storage a very safe idea; why solar energy is so challenging to channel; why global warming is most certainly real (but not perfectly understood, which does not mean it's not real); and why energy conservation, in terms of getting more for the same energy, is the way we need to go (think of the improvements in the efficiency of home appliances now vs. in the 1970s).

Those who are, and are determined to remain conspiracy theorists, outright opposed to nuclear energy no matter what, and fans of the idea that "natural" radiation is somehow "different" or "better for you" than "other" radiation, and so on may not like this book... but probably need it more than anyone.
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