Common Science Column Number 100
This is the 100th Common Science® column I have published on Chapelboro.com and I am taking a break in my series on food (two parts remain) to reflect on the science and technology conversation we have been having these last two years.
When I first discussed publishing Common Science® on Chapelboro with station CEO Barry Leffler, I told him that I had been thinking of writing a column like this for a long time. I was dismayed with the paucity and inaccuracy of science reporting in most media outlets, and I wanted to create a forum for more in-depth discussion of key issues facing our community and our world. I am so very pleased that he agreed to give it a try.
I encountered some initial skepticism from people who thought I would run out of topics to explore on a weekly basis. If you’ve been following along, you will know that’s not going to ever be a problem. As I have been publishing these columns, I have attempted to give you some insight into my science-focused perspective on the world. If it moves, changes, grows, lives or dies, it’s science. My biggest challenges have been choosing which topics to write about, and keeping the column lengths within the range of something which could be read during a single, leisurely, albeit large, cup of coffee. (Please accept my apologies for the occasions when I have been unable to reign myself in on this front.)
I have truly enjoyed the feedback I have received from you, my readers. In addition to notes and questions from my fellow Chapelboro residents, I have received emails from all over the world, including England, France, Lebanon, and Australia. While I was once called an “enemy of the humanity” for not being sufficiently anti-fracking, and have also been accused of unfairly defaming the hotel industry during my column on bed bugs, most of the feedback has been quite positive. One of my favorite e-mails came from an anti-nuclear power industry activist, who told me she wanted to hate my series on nuclear power since I advocated for a phase-out rather than a immediate ban, but told me she found what I had to say insightful and worthy of consideration.
The column which has received the most Facebook likes, with 103, was Part II of my series on methane hydrates, which lays out the mismatch between the amount of carbon which will be released into the atmosphere if our known fossil fuel reserves are used, and the much smaller amount to which we need to limit ourselves in order to maintain some semblance of our current climate. By a wide margin, the columns which have generated the most email responses were the two columns (Part I, Part II) which I published last summer on the sophistication of technology in the Bronze Age and the strong likelihood that Bronze Age sailors from Minoa not only reached the “New World” but also mined copper in Michigan. As recently as last week I received an email on those columns and not long ago a professor from Missouri wrote to ask my permission to reproduce them and use them in his class. I’m looking forward to more communication with my readers going forward.
Next week I’ll kick off my second hundred columns with an exploration of the industrial livestock system in the U.S., and just keep right on going from there. As always, if you have a comment or question, use the Facebook interface below or send me an email to email@example.com.
This milestone column is dedicated to Heather, my wife and editor, who makes me sound smarter than I really am.