Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

Heating Up and Cooling Down

Posted by hyperpat on September 1, 2006

Just finished Kim Stanley Robinson’s Fifty Degrees Below, book 2 in his current set centered around the effects of global warming. Not a great book, as I had a fair amount of trouble getting deeply involved with his main viewpoint character, but the scientific points he raises are certainly worth taking a look at. Not so much about whether global warming is happening (he takes that as a given), but just what the hell are we going to do about it? What strategies would work best to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced and dumped into the atmosphere? Are there methods for taking things like CO2 and methane out of the atmosphere in signifcant quantities at bearable costs in terms of time, money, and resources? Could we just live with the increased temperature and not worry about it? What happens if the great Atlantic Ocean Current stops circulating (answer to this one is contained in the book title). All intriguing points, and he gives some good potential answers to these items.

But most significantly, he brings up the point that the scientific community is fractured, split into many, many organizations, study groups, universities, business ventures, and government agencies. Getting consensus on what to do and funding for these actions is almost impossible. Can we force our government to give greater priority to scientific proposals? Is there a way to organize, prioritize, and direct all the various research projects with a real end goal in mind?

Read your paper. Do some research of your own. Find out who your representatives in Congress are, and what their positions on things like this are. Vote. Change your own life style to be less intrusive on the planetary ecosphere. Else our children may not have a much a world to live in.


5 Responses to “Heating Up and Cooling Down”

  1. fencer said

    Hi there,

    I came across your blog, and you write of things of interest to me, including science fiction…

    I haven’t read this series you mention of Kim Stanley Robinson’s, although it sounds interesting. I am more interested in character and story, though, than science, and more interested in science than the fantasy end of the sf spectrum.

    What did you think of Robinson’s Mars series, Red Mars, Blue Mars and all that. I enjoyed the couple I read, but not enough so I finished the whole series.


  2. hyperpat said

    Red, Blue, and Green Mars is something of a tour-de-force. Darn few novelists would ever dare put the tremendous amount of ecological and geological detail into their work that is present in this set. And to some degree, if you aren’t personally interested in such subjects, these items get in the way of the story Robinson is telling. On top of this, he indulges in some moralizing on the virtues of conservation and ‘back-to-nature’ that may set some people’s teeth on edge (this is something that’s present in a lot of his works, from his Orange County trilogy and the current series to Antartica, which is actually something of a prequel to the Mars set). Still, even with these flaws (at least as some would see it), the story he tells has power and grandeur, interestingly different characters, and is not only plausible, but a pretty good road map to the way things just might develop if we ever get off our tails and actually go there.

    Since you’re interested in SF, you might want to look at my website, HyperPat’s Science Fiction. I’ve got a long list of recommended items there, you might find something that strikes your fancy.

  3. fencer said

    Hi hyperpat,

    I remember being impressed by the sheer weight of research that must have been behind Robinson’s Mars books…

    I’ve tried on two different computers with two different browsers to try to get to your website. I just get ‘Done’ and a blank page…


  4. hyperpat said

    Thanks for alerting me to a problem with my site! Something got in there and modified my main index file, and good old Internet Explorer, as usual, wouldn’t recognize it. Firefox displayed it just fine, and as this is what I normally use, I wasn’t aware of anything wrong. It’s fixed now, you might try it again. (The above is why I never use IE anymore – besides all the security holes, it has a bad habit of not recognizing perfectly valid HTML code.)

  5. fencer said

    I got to your science fiction site… Very nice!

    Looking forward to spending some time with it.


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