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19 January 2023
Miseducation: How climate change is taught in America, by Katie Worth
A quick read through a disheartening topic: journalist Katie Worth reports on the state of climate change education in the United States. There’s good news and there’s bad news in this slim volume. First, it’ll be no surprise to hear that many talented, dedicated educators are working hard to incorporate scientific thinking about climate into their teaching. They are inspiring! Worth briefly profiles a handful of these exemplary teachers, and …
11 October 2022
The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, by Amitav Ghosh Marcia Bjornerud put me onto this one. An interesting book that explores the roots and results of our response to climate change. The author, an acclaimed Indian novelist, is particularly interested in the unwillingness of artists and novelists to grapple with climate change, citing this failure to engage as evidence of a great derangement in society: society’s awareness of …
5 September 2022
Callan reviews five books, both fiction and non-. In this batch, we get Neal Stephenson’s latest techno-thriller, about geoengineering and its discontents, Barack Obama’s first memoir, a novel by Charles Dickens, a collection of short stories by Andy Weir (author of The Martian), and Bill Bryson’s sole foray into popular science writing.
14 February 2021
Under a White Sky, by Elizabeth Kolbert
Elizabeth Kolbert’s third book is now out! Under a White Sky is “a book about people trying to solve problems created by people trying to solve problems.” These problems are environmental problems – they are instances of nature becoming less natural. As humans build cities and plant crops and make waste, we alter the world we live on, the ecology we live within. In Kolbert’s previous book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning …
25 March 2020
The Story of More, by Hope Jahren
Humanity faces a crisis today, and we struggle to find the right way to deal with it, to solve it, to live meaningfully within the constraints it imposes. You might think I’m referring to coronavirus, but it’s actually climate change that’s on my mind. Hope Jahren, author of the incandescent Lab Girl, has a new volume out, on the unsustainability of modern Western life, and what actions we can take …
8 May 2019
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush
A book review of one of the runners-up for this year’s Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction: Elizabeth Rush’s chronicle of modern sea level rise.
25 March 2019
The End, by Phil Torres
I’ve been fortunate lately to get to meet and interact with Phil Torres, independent scholar of existential risks. At my prompting, Phil came to a GSW meeting where Peter Brannen was talking about mass extinctions, and later he came to my class to talk to my Historical Geology students at NOVA about risks humanity faces. I figured it was about time I read his books, and now I can report …
7 June 2017
The epistemology of carbon atoms
I have some questions for you. You answers determine whether you’re ready to begin talking about climate policy. Do you believe that carbon atoms exist? Do you believe that carbon can bond to oxygen? Do you believe that the bonding of carbon to oxygen is an exothermic reaction? Do you believe that exothermic reactions make heat? Do you believe that heat can be used to boil water? Do you believe …
27 April 2017
Identifying logical fallacies and scientific misdirection in a CO2 video
A quick exercise in deconstructing the argument of a “elevated CO2 is good” video on YouTube by identifying its logical fallacies. Pull up a chair, grab a bowl of popcorn, and join us in the critique!
8 March 2017
Q&A, episode 4
Who are “the 3%?” A reader question prompts a conversation with “Skeptical Science” guru and cognitive scientist John Cook.