Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Journalistic Triumph of Michael Crichton

Scientific American comments on the journalism award given to Michael Crichton by American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
In these days of James Frey's phony memoirs becoming best-selling nonfiction, why shouldn't a novel full of half-truths and misleading nonsense win a journalism award? And so in that spirit of 'reality sucker-punching irony into submission,' let's have a round of applause for Michael Crichton, whom the American Association of Petroleum Geologists has honored with its Journalism Award for those hard-hitting journalistic classics State of Fear and Jurassic Park. (See Editor & Publisher for its note on this.)

We all know Jurassic Park, which blew the lid off the secret dinosaur cloning activities of that billionaire industrialist operating an unlicensed theme park. Thanks to Crichton's enterprising reporting on that scandal, the incidence of velociraptor attacks has plummeted to an historic low. State of Fear didn't sell quite as well, but it is a best-seller, and I wrote about it back in December 2004. Or as the New York Times put it recently:
'State of Fear,' dismisses global warming as a largely imaginary threat embraced by malignant scientists for their own ends.

'It is fiction,' conceded Larry Nation, communications director for the association. 'But it has the absolute ring of truth.'

'Absolute' except for the made-up and wrong parts, that is.
In confirmation of the effects of global warming, Scientific American has a story on the melting of Greenland's gladiers.
The glaciers in southern Greenland are melting and moving. In fact, Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier went from standing still in 1996 to flowing at a rate of 14 kilometers a year by 2005, making it one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world. According to a new study, all of Greenland's coastal glaciers are already experiencing or may soon experience such speedups, meaning that Greenland's ice will contribute even more than expected to the world's rising seas.

"It takes a long time to build and melt an ice sheet, but glaciers can react quickly to temperature changes," notes Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Greenland is probably going to contribute more and faster to sea level rise than predicted by current models."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't want to start a flame way, but have you read State of Fear? If so, I think you missed the main point. Crichton cited a wealth of evidence demonstrating that Global Warming isn't nearly the calamity that is being claimed. You can't just dismiss all worldwide evidence based on one the glacier result that you cite to "prove" your point. Some glaciers are growing. Some are shrinking. Most of the hard data available is conflicting.