The original title, which my editor changed in the last revision, was “SuperFreakonomics: Constructing Straw Men, Misrepresenting the Science, and How NOT to Sell Books.” It’s a little play on the actual title of the controversial follow up to Freakonomics and much more indicative of how I feel about the chapter-in-question. Oh well, below is the opening to another blog post that should have been an article.
UPDATE: My post has been promoted to the Top Story box–a first for me at Mother Jones! It has also been linked to by Brad DeLong, FireDogLake, and Climate Progress which was the original source of the story.
It is still nearly a week before the follow-up to Freakonomics—the award-winning pop economics tome by journalist Stephen Dubner and University of Chicago economics professor Steven Levitt—hits the shelves. Yet already the book is generating controversy. A chapter on climate change—a new subject for the authors—has attracted the ire of Joe Romm, an outspoken expert on the subject. But with the provocative title SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, perhaps that’s what the authors intended.
The chapter on climate is titled “What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common?” [PDF]. The author’s answer to this quixotic question is that both Gore and Mt. Pinatubo present solutions to global warming—but that Mt. Pinatubo’s are better. Dubner and Levitt conclude that Gore-style proposals to cap carbon emissions are ineffective and prohibitively costly. But they see the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo—a volcano in the Philippines that spewed 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, lowering average global temperatures by half a Celsius degree for two years—as an example of the best way to combat climate change. The authors don’t advocate blowing up more volcanoes to avert a climate catastrophe, but rather geoengineering a similar result. The concept of geoengineering—a low cost but high-risk remedy to climate change—is highly controversial. And a closer reading of the chapter prompts a number of questions about the scientific evidence the authors cite to make their case.
Click here to read the rest of The Blue Marble blog post.
Photo credit: Chris Makarsky (via Flickr)
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Posted in More Intelligent Life, tagged Britain, Film, Religion on September 21, 2009|
When I originally submitted it, this post also touched on the difficult path into the US market trod of another controversial film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus–and had the catchy title “Darwin, the Devil and American Cinema.” Why my editor chose to entirely chop out all references to Heath Ledger’s last film, I do not understand.
UPDATE: This post was picked up by The Penn Pusher.
Bible Belters and their red state ilk don’t often infiltrate America’s cosmopolitan coast (the occasional befuddling health care reform protests aside). The righteous and religious have Branson and Dollywood; Hollywood and New York remain the destinations of the decadent and the depraved. The denizens of these opposing poles have little to do with each other, except for within the disappointing realm of politics.
That’s what makes the dispute surrounding “Creation”, a film about the life of Charles Darwin (in British theatres on September 25th), so surprising…
Click here to read the rest of the MIL post or to make a comment.
Photo credit: Amy Watts (via Flickr)
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I wrote this on Sunday night in between stoppages of play during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Wings won and my piece got posted the next evening so I was pretty happy with the results.
Hockey fan or not, be sure to watch the ad I refer to in the post–I asked my editor to embed the YouTube video in the text but she just made it another hyperlink, for some strange reason.
Also, I touched “the ultimate prize” when I was in high school, thus ruining my chance at becoming a successful player in the NHL. It was worth it.
UPDATE – My editor emailed me: “Okay, fixed those issues and embedded the video (I didn’t at first because it was all starting to seem a bit too worshipful, like you were on the NHL payroll….). But added now, because your pathological adoration of hockey may have company.” Oh what I would not give to be on the NHL payroll…
On May 31st the Detroit Red Wings earned a two-game lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, the championship series of the National Hockey League (NHL). The hard-fought games showcased hockey at its finest and fiercest. Indeed, a fight broke out with 18.2 seconds left in the second game—something common in the regular season and nearly unheard of in the finals, when a two-minute penalty can cost a team its season.
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs passions run high. Perhaps this is because players are not competing for gaudy rings, silly trophies (designed to look like a collection of giant cocktail toothpicks) or cash bonuses, per se, unlike in other major North American sports. Rather, they are battling to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup, “perhaps the world’s best known piece of folk art,” according to the authors of the book “The Ultimate Prize“.
Click here to read the rest of the blog post and make a comment.
Photo credit: michaelrighi (via Flickr)
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According to Jon Stewart, the worshiper-in-chief can’t seem to decide what faith he’s going to adhere to.
Click here to watch The Daily Show clip.
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