Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Flowers in My Hair
Yes, I was recently on the left coast, yes, in San Franciso, and, yes, I did hum a few bars of Scott McKenzie's song as I boarded the BART. In the absence of live racing at the Big A, I took the opportunity to visit the American Geophysical Union convention, the largest gathering of earth and planetary scientists in the world, some 15,000 of them.
This is the time of year the Moscone Center becomes very scientific. I know this because I read the bulletin boards and the posters put up by researchers. Back when I was in college, bulletin boards announced things like dances and concerts and posters told you where to meet to overthrow the United States govenment.
The first poster I saw at AGU had the following posted on it: Predictability and Uncertainties in Geophysics: from the Butterfly Effect to Ensemble Predictions, Multifractal Predictability and the Anthropocene.
As a non scientific person, I wasn't sure whether it was legal to even be looking at that poster, so I folded my notebad and headed over to the big meeting room, where for the next five days, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., geologists, astronomers, meteorologists and seismologists came together to share their work over the past year.
I listened to an impassioned presentation from Jim Hansen, father of the global warming movement, re-evaluating the evidence given by the IPYY and urging a real cutback in CO2 emissions -- NOW. I listened to a professor from Queensborough Community College explaining how to make an introductory course in meteorology relevant to the minority students his college serves. I listened to a polar researcher celebrating that, after decades, an artic exploration ship is finally on the verge of being built.
My mind reeling, I went back and tracked down Daniel J.M. Schertzer, Universite Paris-Est Ecole des Ponts ParisTech CEREVE, whose research centered on "Predictability and Uncertainties in Geophysics: from the Butterfly Effect to Ensemble Predictions, Multifractal Predictability and the Anthropocene." I asked Prof. Scherzer if there was any liklihood his research could have an impact on human life in the next five years or so, and he said no. But that there might be, soon.
This is good enough for me. I definitely think we ought to continue to fund science research that is subsequently presented in cities with great microbreweries, and who knows, in the next ten years or so, they might get around to discovering horse racing.
At least if I have anything to do with it.
Posted by On the Lead at Tuesday, December 23, 2008