The recent report on the findings of climatic research into the causes and probable evolution of climate change – a more accurate term than “global warming” – prompted me to consider a possible answer to Enrico Fermi’s classic question “Where is everybody?” Multiple generations of science fiction writers have projected a future in which the Milky Way Galaxy fairly teems with life, rather like Times Square on New Year’s Eve or the tavern in the first Star Wars movie – so much so that the late Prof. Stephen Hawking has publicly counseled SETI investigators to – not literally STFU – but certainly to exercise due caution in broadcasting the existence of intelligent life on earth to every corner of the Galaxy. (Not that we have a choice by now: earth’s electromagnetic emissions by now com
Sometimes even smart and literate people are somewhat naïve when it comes to science. We had an example just recently when educated and sophisticated people compared prevalent conservative skepticism about climate change / global warming with almost non-existent skepticism about the causes of the recent solar eclipse. But this turns out to be a case of dueling misconceptions about differences in scientific methodology: the methodology used to substantiate climate change and the methodology used to account for solar eclipses. The differences are subtle, requiring a working knowledge of the history of science, but important in appreciating the extent to which the two cases – climate change and eclipses – are not quite comparable. Almost. But not quite.
I am riding this partic
“. . . a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2b, NRSV
I am sure all of you noticed we had a big windstorm 2 weeks ago. John and I lost our power on Saturday just before noon and didn’t get it back until after 3 pm on Sunday. For those of us in Edmonds that was a really long time. Normally our power losses are quite short due to the presence of the Hospital and the transit center so close to us, but not this time. What has been most frustrating for John and me is the lost of our internet, which we still don’t have, because we both have things to do. While I gladly gave up internet access when we were on Holiday in the spring I was not quite so happy without this time. I have things to do such as writing for my blogs, ordering pet food, doing activities for