Thursday, July 21, 2011

State of Fear, by Michael Crichton (2005)

I listened to this on CD and think I missed many of the footnotes that support the assertions about climate change Crichton makes in this book. When I return the CDs to the library I am going to take a look at the paper copy and evaluate the science. However, Crichton does have a strong science background (is that an understatement?) and I have no real reason to disbelieve him.

The plot line is about a nonprofit environmental group's initiatives and activities. It includes scenes of polar ice caps, tsunamis, earthquakes, and flash floods. The science of each is explained and resonates with current events. I worry a little about the book creating a following of paranoids that doubt everything. But, I hope that these will be few, and folks that don't need much prompting to go into the land of paranoia. The X-Files would be more dangerous to those sorts.

For me the best part of the book was the author's note at the end in which he presents a strong argument for major changes in the ways that scientific research is conducted. Every assertion he makes about experimental bias, the effects of corporate and government funding, and the problems with the university systems rings completely true in my own experience.

Besides being a really good techno-thriller, this is a great book to use in exploration of current scientific research.

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