Thursday, April 28, 2005

State of Fear

A me.

Now, I have read 5 Chrichton books, and although this was not the worst it was not the best. The book develops slowly and is a hard read at first. The first chapter is not explained until about 2/3 through the book. But the story and the action pick up at the end and end with the classic "make you think" Crichton ending.

Now to the subject matter. I find quite interesting the things he points to and even goes to detail to reference the science behind him. "This is a work of fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions, and organizations in this novel are the product of the author's imagination, or, if real, are used fictitiously without any intent to describe their actual conduct. However, references to real people, institutions, and organizations that are documented in footnotes, are accurate. Footnotes are real."

The first of his footnotes deals with glaciers and more specifically Antartica:

Evans said, "Come on guys. Antartica ismelting."
"Actually, it's not," Sanjong said. "I cant give you the references if you like."
Kenner said, "While you were asleep, Sanjong and I were talking about how to clarify things for you, since you seem to be so ill-informed."
"Ill-informed?" Evans said, stiffening.
"I don't know what else one would call it," Kenner said. "Your heart may be in the right place, Peter, but you simply don't know what you're talking about."
"Hey," he said, controlling his anger. "Antartica is melting."
"You think repetition makes something true? The data show that one relatively small area called the Antartic Peninsula is melting and calving huge icebergs. That's what gets reported year after year. But the continent as a whole is getting colder and the ice is getting thicker."
"Antartica is getting colder?"
Sanjong had taken out a laptop and was hooking it up to a small portable bubble jet printer. He flipped open his laptop screen.
"What we decided," Kenner said, "is that we're going to give you references from now on. Because it's too boring to try and explain everything to you."
A shee of paper began to buss out of the printer. Sanjong passed it to Evans.

My notes here, if someone really wants I will provide the scientists names, but it is more typing than I wish to do tonight
"Antartic climate cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response," Nature 415: 517-20
From 1986 to 2000 central Antartic valleys cooled .7C per decade with serious ecosystem damage from the cold
"Variability and trends in Antartic surface temperature from in situ and satelite infared measurements," Journal of Climate 13: 1674-96
Both satelite data and ground stations show slight cooling over the last 20 years
"Positive mass balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antartica," Science 296: 476-80
Side-looking radar measurements show west Antartic ice is increasing at 26.8 gigatons/yr. Reversing the melting trend of the last 6,000 years

I will stop there. There are six more that point to general cooling and ice build up in the Antartic. This should be enough to make anyone stop and think. He spends the rest of that section going back and forth with Evans about the trends and like the same response I will get for posting it.

Very good book, very good read.
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