30 September 2005

It's time for October baseball in Boston. As readers who were here last October may remember, that's likely cause for sleep deprivation, wild mood swings, and complete loss of editorial focus.

Posted 05:25 PM

26 September 2005

Global warming is in the news a lot lately. Some models suggest that warmer oceans are responsible for this year's unusually active hurricane season, for example.

The result has been a secondary political hurricane, with lots of charges and countercharges flying back and forth. Each side claims that the other is gambling with humanity's physical and/or economic well being. Each side claims that the other is elevating scientific speculation to the level of religious dogma.

So, I went looking for some facts, which I found courtesy of the National Research Council report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions.

The report is worth reading, and very accessible to non-technical audiences. The very short version is that the National Academies are pretty well convinced that global temperatures are increasing as a result of human activities, and that future climate change is very sensitive to the concentrations of greenhouse gases and atmospheric aerosols. It is not currently possible to predict future warming with any degree of certainty, as we simply don't know enough about how greenhouse gases enter (or leave) the atmosphere, or about the feedback loops within the climate system.

My own conclusion is that both the Doomsday is Here scenario and the No Worries scenario are highly speculative. The truth more likely lies somewhere in between. However, conducting an uncontrolled climate change experiment on the only planet we have is probably a dumb idea.

Posted 05:34 PM

Food is really important in South Louisiana, probably more important than anywhere else in the United States. The Cajuns, after all, take their name from their Acadian ancestors: French settlers who were evicted from Nova Scotia by the British. Cajun cooking applies French techniques to local ingredients like shrimp and speckled trout. You're as likely to find a bad meal in South Louisiana as you are in Provence.

Which is why, as Wall Street Journal reporter Ken Wells explains, residents who were chased from their homes by Hurricane Rita are hurrying back to rescue the contents of their freezers.

(Wall Street Journal article. Paid subscribers only.)

Posted 02:53 PM


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