Author: Crissie Brown

Campus Chatter – September 18, 2010

George Washington laid the first cornerstone for the Capitol today (1793). Also the Royal Opera House opened in London (1809), Tiffany & Co. was founded (1837), Old Faithful was named (1870), and CBS began broadcasting (1927). And CBS stopped broadcasting The Guiding Light (2009), after a record 72-year run. Greetings and social banter here. Good morning!...

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Morning Feature: Governing Science, Part II – Climate Mysteries and Myths

The 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated a 95% chance that global warming is real and not a passing anomaly, and a 90% chance that human activity is a significant contributing factor. Does that mean they don’t know? The truth is … cloudy. (More) Governing Science, Part II – Climate Mysteries and Myths This week Morning Feature considers Richard Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines, a primer on the science underlying political issues. Yesterday we looked at terrorism and safety. Today we consider what we know, and what we don’t, about global climate change. Tomorrow we conclude with climate and energy solutions based in physics rather than fear or fantasy. Disclaimer: I am not a physicist. Dr. Muller is a professor of physics at Berkeley, and teaches a course on this topic. This is a shorter version of his textbook, written for a general audience. Even so, there is far more material than I can cover in three essays, and any errors are my own. The Case of the “Charismatic Fauna” Most of us have heard about polar bears drowning because the polar ice is melting. A new ad for the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car, plays on that with the image of a polar bear traveling from the arctic to embrace a Leaf owner: It’s a charming ad. But Dr....

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Campus Chatter – September 17, 2010

The battle of Thermopylae began today (480 B.C.E.). Also the city of Boston was founded (1630), the U.S. Constitution was signed (1787), and the NFL was organized (1920). And the Camp David Accords were signed (1978), ending the decades-long conflict between Israel and Egypt. Greetings and social banter here. Kossascopes below. (More) The Janitor Professor of Astrology consulted no Spartans in bringing you this week’s Kossascopes: Virgo – Actually the pass at Thermopylae was not a romantic overture. Libra – Although you might think that from the movie The 300. Scorpio – The Persian air force at Thermopylae did not use rugs. Sorry. Sagittarius – There is no evidence that John McCain was at Thermopylae. Capricorn – But that crashed Persian rug is very suspicious. Aquarius – “Come back carrying your shield or on it” is a mistranslation. Pisces – The Spartan women actually said “What a pita.” Aries – The pass at Thermopylae was not thrown by Brett Favre. Taurus – The 700 Thespians at Thermopylae were not all actors. Gemini – The Persian king Xerxes was not named after a prescription drug. Cancer – Neither was the Spartan king Mycoxadrupin. That wasn’t his name. Leo – The Spartan women may have meant bread. Or maybe not. +++++ Good morning!...

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Morning Feature: Governing Science, Part I – Fear and Safety

In The One Percent Doctrine, journalist Ron Suskind reported Vice President Cheney as declaring that if there were even “a one percent chance” of a terrorist threat, “we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.” That policy promoted the security state, but it was bad science. (More) Governing Science, Part I – Fear and Safety This week Morning Feature considers Richard Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines, a primer on the science underlying political issues. Today we look at terrorism and safety. Tomorrow we consider what we know, and what we don’t, about global climate change. Saturday we conclude with climate and energy solutions based in physics rather than fear or fantasy. Disclaimer: I am not a physicist. Dr. Muller is a professor of physics at Berkeley, and teaches a  course on this topic. This is a shorter version of his textbook, written for a general audience. Even so, there is far more material than I can cover in three essays, and any errors are my own. Which is more dangerous: a gasoline bomb or a “dirty” bomb? This question was on the first slide of a presentation I used this week with some high school classes, in discussing how the media shape the public dialogue. I explained that a gasoline bomb spreads fire at the target, while a “dirty”...

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Campus Chatter – September 16, 2010

The Mayflower set sail for America today (1620).  Also, the Grito de Dolores ignited the Mexican War of Independence (1810), Malaysia was founded (1963), and Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia (1975). And the Montreal Protocol was signed (1987), banning ozone-depleting CFCs. It worked. Greetings and social banter here. Good morning!...

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