Friday, November 8, 2002
1. CLIMATE CHANGE: ABOUT THAT BEACH-FRONT
PROPERTY YOU BOUGHT...
Unlike previous climate talks, the talks in New Delhi, which ended last
Friday, addressed ways of coping with a warmer world in addition to emission
controls (WN 25 Oct 02). Both are needed.
No matter what we do to limit emissions, climate change models predict
continued warming for maybe 100 years from gases we've already put in
the atmosphere. So what became of the Climate Change Vulnerability and
Resilience Program, introduced by Rep. J.C. Watts, Jr. (WN
14 Jun 02)? It had seemed like a sure thing: the Oklahoma congressman
was chair of the powerful House Republican Conference, and because the
bill didn't call for increased regulation, it attracted industry backers.
But a month later, Watts announced he was not running for reelection.
His phone stopped ringing, and his bill disappeared from the agenda. Emissions
must eventually be cut, of course, and the Bush Administration is pursuing
a program of "voluntary reductions" by industry. But meanwhile, you might
want to think about moving the sump pump from the basement to the first
2. IRRADIATED MEAT: RISK PERCEPTION
AND THE AMERICAN HAMBURGER.
Several grocery chains are gambling that consumers, spooked by recent
outbreaks of illness and death from E.coli and listeria bacteria, may
at last be ready to try irradiated ground beef. Past attempts to introduce
consumers to irradiated foods fell victim to the exaggerated fear of anything
"atomic," but the two largest meat recalls in history may have changed
that. The supermarket experiment will test whether the very real risk
of bacterial contamination can overcome the public's irrational fear of
3. NASA: BOOK WILL CLAIM AMERICAN ASTRONAUTS
LANDED ON THE MOON.
While half the population is convinced Earth is being visited by space
aliens who have mastered faster-than light travel, others are equally
convinced that we humans never even made it as far as the moon. The problem,
if it is a problem, got a lot worse after the Fox television network aired
"Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?" last year. Maybe it was
put together by the same people who fabricated "Alien Autopsy" (WN
11 Dec 98). NASA revealed its incredibly thin skin, hiring aeronautics
engineer James Oberg to write a monograph that will say we really did
land on the moon. Well that should settle it. What a headline it will
make: "NASA Finds Astronauts Landed on the Moon in 1969."
4. THE SNIPERS: THE THIN VENEER OF CIVILIZATION.
Six states and the District of Columbia have been locked in an appalling
struggle over which would get to carry out the executions. The referee
was Attorney General John Ashcroft. Virginia won the honor hands down.
Not only has Virginia conducted more executions than any other state except
Texas, it has an impressive record of trying teenagers as adults.