Best Opening Question

By Keith Kloor | January 10, 2011 5:04 pm

Goes to Randy Olson at The Benshi, for his great interview with a microbiologist who has recently debunked the Texas-sized “garbage patch” myth:

Are you now or have you even been a card-carrying member of the American Plastics Council?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: plastics, pollution
MORE ABOUT: plastics, pollution
  • Ed Forbes

    Question:  “…. Since no one’s showing me the pictures, I read about the research and saw that they had to tow a net for a few hours to fill the bottom of a mayonnaise jar with some confetti, and “¦ that’s not a patch, is it?…..”

    Answer:  “…So they’re asking for a response to a very legitimate question. And now we’re stuck with coming up with visuals that appropriately scare people…”.”

    LoL ….””Appropriately scare people”apI love it

  • David44

    Kudos to Randy Olson for the story and kudos to Dr. Angel White, a truly refreshing person and scientist.  Since the President is revamping his administration, perhaps she could be considered for
    “advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology”

  • Roddy Campbell

    Terrifically factual interview.

    Nev – you probably disagree?

  • Bart Verheggen

    In answer to the second question, whether she’d make a public statement re plastic in the environment, she replies:

    “There’s no place for plastic in our marine environment.”
    Imagine a similarly worded and honest interview about AGW. And the scientist interviewed sais right in the beginning: “There’s no place for unlimited amounts of CO2 to be emitted into our atmosphere.”

    I dare say that it wouldn’t receieve the same amount of praise as this article has (also referring the the applause it received at JC’s). Both are normative statements that people agree or disagree with. People in the latter category will be predisposed to dismiss what follows. It just so happens that with plastic, this category is smaller than with climate change.

  • Keith Kloor


    In the wee hours of the morning, I happened to see this comment that you made over at Curry’s site, and was struck by it. Oddly, I made it into a post before even seeing you made it here.

  • Jim Owen

    Now there’s a lady/scientist I can like and respect.  She’l honest, fortright and doesn’t slant her opinions to maximize the horrors.  And she presents the problems in terms that are workable. 

    My first thought, though, was that Olson’s first question was adversarial, insulting and unnecessary.  Which is another reason to admire Ms White – she kept her cool. 


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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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