I had fun sampling Rush Limbaugh in the latest Point of Inquiry (around minute 3:30), as he stunningly suggests to Andy Revkin: “Why don’t you just go kill yourself, and help the planet by dying?”
First, for the original clip of Rush’s extremism in all its glory, listen here:
While there was much I liked about my Point of Inquiry interview with Andy Revkin, perhaps nothing was more striking than his direct analogy between the massively deadly 2008 Sichuan earthquake, in China, and what is likely to happen someday in Oregon. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing from him:
In Oregon…where there’s a known, extraordinary seismic risk, cities and communities are still not doing much to gird the buildings that matter most, like schools, to make them less likely to fall down and kill thousands of kids and teachers….essentially what you saw in Sichuan province, almost unavoidably will be seen in lots of places in Oregon, where there’s that extraordinary fault offshore, the Cascadia fault, that will generate an extraordinary earthquake, most likely in this century, pretty plausibly in the next few decades, if not tomorrow–that will destroy 1,200 schools. The schools are listed, they’ve been studied, we know where they are, the ones that are very likely or certain to fall down when that quake hits. If my kids were in one of those schools, I’d be pretty energized.
Revkin goes on to discuss why we tend to ignore risks like these, even though there is no possible rational justification for it….you can listen here. The section begins around minute 23:30. And don’t forget to subscribe to Point of Inquiry on iTunes!
Meanwhile, to jon a discussion that has begun about the show, zip over here…
The show with Andy Revkin just went up! Here’s a sample from the write-up:
In this conversation with host Chris Mooney, Revkin discusses the uncertain future of his field, the perils of the science blogosphere, his battles with climate blogger Joe Romm, and what it’s like (no joke) to have Rush Limbaugh suggest that you kill yourself. Moving on to the topics he’s covered for over a decade, Revkin also addresses the problem of population growth, the long-range risks that our minds just aren’t trained to think about, and the likely worsening of earthquake and other catastrophes as more people pack into in vulnerable places.
I will have much more to say about the show soon enough–I’m proud of this one–but for now, listen and download here.
Over at the Point of Inquiry forums, I’ve just opened a thread to announce my next guest: Andrew Revkin, the prominent author of the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog, science and environment reporter for the Times from 1995 until last year, and now a Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.
Revkin has covered a multitude of science-related topics during his career, ranging from climate change and energy to politics and science in the Bush administration. But he has also traveled the globe covering numerous natural disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, and beyond. At a time when we’ve seen two devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, one thing I want to discuss with Revkin is why human societies, and even wealthy countries, seem to have such a hard time preparing for and protecting against these types of extreme risks. We’ll also inquire about which kinds of natural disasters most threaten the U.S., and why we’re not doing much of anything to increase our resiliency to them.
You might think of the intended show as a kind of real life version of the movie 2012.
But the conversation will be much more wide ranging, and I’d be very interested to hear what else you folks think I ought to be asking of Andy Revkin….so please, head over to the forums and pose any questions in the next two days, so that I can read them before the interview is recorded on Sunday. And thanks!
I just saw this story–it reads very consistently, if also disturbingly, with yesterday’s Andrew Revkin news. Natalie Angier, the celebrated science writer and author of The Canon, among other works, now opines that newspaper science reporting is “basically going out of business.” She ought to know–having reported at the New York Times for nearly two decades. Plus, she ought to know because her husband, Rick Weiss (whose story is discussed in Unscientific America) last year left the Washington Post.
It is a tough world out there for those who produce the content that we here care about. And it is getting tougher. And so far, I have not seen the media-economic model that can save us….
Andrew Revkin, the climate ace, is leaving the New York Times. The trend towards fewer and fewer science journalists in the mainstream media continues….and meanwhile, as we’ve just seen, in their absence we get Fox News style phony balanced coverage and attempts to artificially create scientific “debates” where none actually exist.
The situation is grim out there for coverage of science…just when we most need that coverage to be functional and healthy.