photo-1421081177127-339f586c9b49Over a decade ago Michael Crichton put out a book, State of Fear, on climate change. Probably it was his most controversial book and that’s reflected in the mixed Amazon reviews.

The point of the book wasn’t so much that climate change is a myth, but that there’s always been change and there’s a lot we don’t know. Such statements instantly label you a “denier” since it is an easy refuge for deniers to claim the same thing.

To demonstrate this, here’s what I do: When someone brings up climate change, I ask them why the sky is blue. The point, again, isn’t to deny climate change. The point is that the sky occupies about half peoples vision every waking day of their life, and most people don’t know why it’s blue. This question tends to make people pretty angry, but that’s not the intent. I have yet to meet anyone who knows why the sky is blue.

We’re all human, so we think it’s ok to on the one hand believe global temperatures will be higher in 100 years time and on the other not know the most basic things about the same system we’re trying to predict. Maybe that’s ok, but it still worries me.


Good luck fixing this…

For the record, I’m more on the climate change side of the fence than anything else. But I’ve also worked in academic research environments, and you get to see just how much nonsense is put out when you do that. It doesn’t appear that climate change is a major problem for a while, and that’s why so few people care today. The question is how to get people to care about something bad that will happen to other people in the future. Maybe I’m wrong.

If you’re interested, here’s why the sky is blue. It was one of the questions I was asked when I wanted to move from Computer Science to Physics in University, and I happened to know why. The other interesting question was to show why basic differentials worked, essentially the proof Newton did a few hundred years ago. That’s another one where we’re taught the rules but rarely why they work.