Archive for October 14th, 2009

Dow 10,000

By Chris Mooney | October 14, 2009 1:33 pm

Wow, it was only a year ago when the whole financial system seemed on the brink of collapse; today, by contrast, if only briefly (so far), the Dow topped 10,000, a huge rebound from its March 09 low of 6,547.

Do folks think the nightmare is finally coming to an end?

P.S.: And if you are feeling optimistic, all the more reason to take this opportunity to use some of your extra cash on a DonorsChoose donation to help promote science education in the U.S…..

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture
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Call For A National Ocean Policy!

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | October 14, 2009 10:57 am

Moon-Jelly_smallThere has been no comprehensive statement from our government on oceans. Now for the first time, we have a common vision to govern the 4.4 million square miles of America’s marine waters: President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force has issued science-based recommendations for a national policy to govern, protect, maintain and restore ocean habitat.

Why should you care? Oceans are important to all of us–not just fishermen and boaters, but snorkelers, sunbathers, divers… even those who may not see the coast on a regular basis. They drive life on our planet. Unless we take responsibility for keeping oceans sound, we’re all in trouble. As the Marine Conservation Biology Institute explains:

If adopted, implemented and funded, the recommendations would usher in a new era of ocean management — one based on environmental stewardship. Just imagine the impact we could have if, rather than the hodgepodge of agencies and laws that currently govern oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes, we work together to restore the health of these critical ecosystems!

Go visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/ and tell the White House Council on Environmental Quality that you support a comprehensive national policy to protect, maintain and restore our oceans and coasts. The 30 day comment period ends on the 17th.

For inspiration, once again, here’s My Top Ten List of reasons why oceans are vital:

  1. Ocean critters generate a good deal of the oxygen we breathe.
  2. We’re talking 99% of the habitat, 97% of the water, and 71% of surface on the planet!
  3. Oceans drive climate and weather through transfer of water and heat.
  4. Most U.S. commerce travels through the nation’s ports.
  5. Oceans account for a $20 billion recreational fishing industry… not to mention, a $60 billion annual seafood industry.
  6. And we’re talking $8 trillion estimated in oil and gas reserves.
  7. They support nearly 50 percent of all species on Earth.
  8. Over 50% of our nation’s population lives in coastal counties.
  9. Oceans mitigate the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere at their own expense… (okay, and ultimately ours).
  10. Marine animals and plants produce a ton of compounds that prevent and treat human disease.  Like sea cucumbers

Two Coming Science Books

By Chris Mooney | October 14, 2009 9:06 am

denialismYesterday at our MIT seminar, we heard a presentation from Michael Specter of The New Yorker, who will soon be out with a book called Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. I won’t say more about its contents yet, but suffice it to say that while this book may sound a lot like The Republican War on Science or Unscientific America–all the way down to the cover image with the trusty test tube/beaker–it actually appears to be pretty different, in a good way. I’m hoping I’ll have a lot more to say about it soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve just gotten an email notification that an even bigger scientific publishing event is happening: Timed for the IPCC-Copenhagen Summit, famed climatologist James Hansen will be out with a book entitled Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, with an initial press run of 100,000 copies by Bloomsbury USA. I can’t yet seem to find a good image of the book, so I’ll do without one here–but it sounds like Hansen is going to upbraid the world, and the U.S., for moving way too slowly and lamely on climate change, and basically lay it all out there–if we don’t do something really radical, it’s going to be too late. No doubt this is going to be a very, very important statement.

So look out for both books…..

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