State of fear -crichton -- umm???

Safin

Well-Known Member
Skilled
Did any one of you read this?

fear_cover2.jpg


this is what the publisher has to say(description)
State of Fear
Hardcover
Published in December, 2004 by Harper Collins

In Paris, a physicist dies after performing
a laboratory experiment for a beautiful visitor.

In the jungles of Malaysia, a mysterious buyer
purchases deadly cavitation technology, built to
his specifications.

In Vancouver, a small research submarine is leased
for use in the waters off New Guinea.

And in Tokyo, an intelligence agent tries to
understand what it all means.

Thus begins Michael Crichton's exciting and provocative techno-thriller State of Fear. Only Crichton's unique ability to blend scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction could bring such disparate elements to a heart-stopping conclusion.

This is Crichton's most wide-ranging thriller. State of Fear takes the reader from the glaciers of Iceland to the volcanoes of Antarctica, from the Arizona desert to the deadly jungles of the Solomon Islands, from the streets of Paris to the beaches of Los Angeles. The novel races forward on a roller-coaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear. Gripping and thought provoking, State of Fear is Michael Crichton at his very best.

i read this some 15 days back. first up this is a compelling read. whether you are a right wing or left wing or no wing :tongue: (which is what i am btw) it raises some very very good issues. Though its pretty hard to summarize of 600page book but i will try what issues it covers

This book is about challenging the ideas. Yes... It challenges our beliefs of climate and climate change. But more then that the insights that it gives on environmentalists and many of the so called good deeds that they have done is questioned.
Whats the big deal in that??
Well here is the big deal. Facts are provided. Actual data from sites you can search on net is given so that you can check on it. And believe me its pretty thought provoking. Atleast you will have to think whether what you think till now has been the truth..

Here are some of the excerpts:

(every staement made here is supported by facts which can be checked on the sites quoted or actual technical papers. The references are given in the footnotes which i am not giving.(i have given in the case of only DDT. read it below) Read the book for those. :) Anyway my idea here is to tell you what this book is about.

“I think you’re being harsh,†Bradley said, in his presidential tone. “Why should you call someone like Ann ‘a prescription for disaster?’ She cares very much about these issues. She has devoted her life to them, really. She cares.â€

“So what?†Kenner said. “Caring is irrelevant. Desire to do good is irrelevant. All that counts is knowledge and results. She doesn’t have the knowledge—and, worse, she doesn’t know it. Human beings don’t know how to do the things she believes ought to be done.â€

“Like what?â€

“Like managing the environment. We don’t know how to do that.â€

“What are you talking about?†Bradley said, throwing his hands in the air. “This is nonsense. Of course we can manage the environment.â€

“Really? Do you know anything about the history of Yellowstone Park? The first national park?â€

“I’ve been there.â€

“That’s not what I asked.â€

“Could you just get to the point?†Bradley said. “It’s pretty late for Q-and-A, Professor. You know what I mean?â€

“All right, then,†Kenner said. “I’ll tell you.â€
Yellowstone Park, he explained, was the first wilderness to be set aside as a natural preserve anywhere in the world. The region around the Yellowstone River in Wyoming had long been recognized for its wondrous scenic beauty. Lewis and Clark sang its praises. Artists like Bierstadt and Moran painted it. And the new Northern Pacific Railroad wanted a scenic attraction to draw tourists west. So in 1872, in part because of railroad pressure, President Ulysses Grant set aside two million acres and created Yellowstone National Park.

There was only one problem, unacknowledged then and later. No one had any experience trying to preserve wilderness. There had never been any need to do it before. And it was assumed to be much easier than it proved to be.

When Theodore Roosevelt visited the park in 1903, he saw a landscape teeming with game. There were thousands of elk, buffalo, black bear, deer, mountain lions, grizzlies, coyotes, wolves, and bighorn sheep. By that time there were rules in place to keep things as they were. Soon after that, the Park Service was formed, a new bureaucracy whose sole job was to maintain the park in its original condition.

Yet within ten years, the teeming landscape that Roosevelt saw was gone forever. And the reason for this was the park managers—charged with keeping the park in pristine condition—had taken a series of steps that they thought were in the best interest of preserving the park and its animals. But they were wrong.

“Well,†Bradley said, “our knowledge has increased with time…â€

“No, it hasn’t,†Kenner said. “That’s my point. It’s a perpetual claim that we know more today, and it’s not borne out by what actually happened.â€

Which was this: the early park managers mistakenly believed that elk were about to become extinct. So they tried to increase the elk herds within the park by eliminating predators. To that end, they shot and poisoned all the wolves in the park. And they prohibited Indians from hunting in the park, though Yellowstone was a traditional hunting ground.

Protected, the elk herds exploded, and ate so much of certain trees and grasses that the ecology of the area began to change. The elk ate the trees that the beavers used to make dams, so the beavers vanished. That was when the managers discovered beavers were vital to the overall water management of the region.

When the beavers disappeared, the meadows dried up; the trout and otter vanished; soil erosion increased; and the park ecology changed even further.

By the 1920s it had become abundantly clear there were too many elk, so the rangers began to shoot them by the thousands. But the change in plant ecology seemed to be permanent; the old mix of trees and grasses did not return.

It also became increasingly clear that the Indian hunters of old had exerted a valuable ecological influence on the park lands by keeping down the numbers of elk, moose, and bison. This belated recognition came as part of a more general understanding that native Americans had strongly shaped the “untouched wilderness†that the first white men saw—or thought they were seeing—when they first arrived in the New World. The “untouched wilderness†was nothing of the sort. Human beings on the North American continent had exerted a huge influence on the environment for thousands of years—burning plains grasses, modifying forests, thinning specific animal populations, and hunting others to extinction.

In retrospect, the rule forbidding Indians from hunting was seen as a mistake. But it was just one of many mistakes that continued to be made in an unbroken stream by park managers. Grizzlies were protected, then killed off. Wolves were killed off, then brought back. Animal research involving field study and radio collars was halted, then resumed after certain species were declared endangered. A policy of fire prevention was instituted, with no understanding of the regenerative effects of fire. When the policy was finally reversed, thousands of acres burned so hotly that the ground was sterilized, and the forests did not grow back without reseeding. Rainbow trout were introduced in the 1970s, soon killing off the native cutthroat species.

And on and on.

And on.

“So what you have,†Kenner said, “is a history of ignorant, incompetent, and disastrously intrusive intervention, followed by attempts to repair the intervention, followed by attempts to repair the damage caused by the repairs, as dramatic as any oil spill or toxic dump. Except in this case there is no evil corporation or fossil fuel economy to blame. This disaster was caused by environmentalists charged with protecting the wilderness, who made one dreadful mistake after another—and, along the way, proved how little they understood the environment they intended to protect.â€

“This is absurd,†Bradley said. “To preserve a wilderness, you just preserve it. You leave it alone and let the balance of nature take over. That’s all that is required.â€

“Absolutely wrong,†Kenner said. “Passive protection—leaving things alone—doesn’t preserve the status quo in a wilderness, any more than it does in your backyard. The world is alive, Ted. Things are constantly in flux. Species are winning, losing, rising, falling, taking over, being pushed back. Merely setting aside wilderness doesn’t freeze it in its present state, any more than locking your children in a room will prevent them from growing up. Ours is a changing world, and if you want to preserve a piece of land in a particular state, you have to decide what that state is, and then actively, even aggressively, manage it.â€

“But you said we don’t know how to do that.â€

“Correct. We don’t. Because any action you take causes change in the environment, Ted. And any change hurts some plant or animal. It’s inevitable. Preserving old-growth forest to help the spotted owl means Kirtland’s warbler and other species are deprived of the new-growth forest they prefer. There is no free lunch.â€

“But—â€

“No buts, Ted. Name an action that had only positive consequences.â€

“Okay, I will. Banning CFCs for the ozone layer.â€

“That harmed Third World people by eliminating cheap refrigerants so that their food spoiled more often and more of them died of food poisoning.â€

“But the ozone layer is more important—â€

“Perhaps to you. They might disagree. But we’re talking about whether you can take an action that does not have harmful consequences.â€

“Okay. Solar panels. Water recycling systems for houses.â€

“Enables people to put houses in remote wilderness areas where formerly they could not because of lack of water and power. Invades wilderness and thus endangers species that were previously unmolested.â€

“Banning DDT.â€

“Arguably the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century. DDT was the best agent against mosquitoes, and despite the rhetoric there was nothing anywhere near as good or as safe. Since the ban, two million people a year have died unnecessarily from malaria, mostly children. All together, the ban has caused more than fifty million needless deaths.*(Footnote: Some estimates put the number at 30 million deaths. ) Banning DDT killed more people than Hitler, Ted. And the environmental movement pushed hard for it.â€â€ 

“But DDT was a carcinogen.â€

“No, it wasn’t. And everybody knew it at the time of the ban.â€â€ (footnote : ‡ Sweeney Committee, 25 April 1972, “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man.†Ruckelshaus banned it two months later, saying, DDT “poses a carcinogenic risk†to man. He never read the Sweeney report.
)

“It was unsafe.â€

“Actually, it was so safe you could eat it. People did just that for two years, in one experiment.* After the ban, it was replaced by parathion, which is really unsafe. More than a hundred farm workers died in the months after the DDT ban, because they were unaccustomed to handling really toxic pesticides.â€â€  (Footnote: John Noble Wilford, “Deaths from DDT Successor Stir Concern,†New York Times, 21 August 1970, p. 1; Wildavsky, 1996, p. 73. )

“We disagree about all this.â€

“Only because you lack the relevant facts, or are unwilling to face up to the consequences of the actions of organizations you support. Banning DDT will someday be seen as a scandalous blunder.â€

“DDT was never banned.â€

“You’re right. Countries were just told that if they used it, they wouldn’t get foreign aid.†Kenner shook his head. “But the unarguable point, based on UN statistics, is that before the DDT ban, malaria had become almost a minor illness. Fifty thousand deaths a year worldwide. A few years later, it was once again a global scourge. Fifty million people have died since the ban, Ted. Once again, there can be no action without harm.â€

A long silence followed. Ted shifted in his seat, started to speak, then closed his mouth again. Finally he said, “Okay. Fine.†He adopted his most lofty, presidential manner. “You have persuaded me. I grant you the point. So?â€

“So the real question with any environmental action is, do the benefits outweigh the harm? Because there is always harm.â€

“Okay, okay. So?â€

“When do you hear any environmental group speak that way? Never. They’re all absolutists. They go before judges arguing that regulations should be imposed with no consideration of costs at all.‡ The requirement that regulations show a cost-benefit was imposed on them by the courts after a period of wretched excess. Environmentalists screamed bloody murder about cost-benefit requirements and they’re still screaming. They don’t want people to know how much their forays into regulation actually cost society and the world. The most egregious example was the benzene regulations in the late 1980s that were so expensive for so little benefit that they ended up costing twenty billion dollars for every year of life saved.* Do you agree with that regulation?â€

“Well, when you put it in those terms, no.â€

“What other terms are there, Ted, besides the truth? Twenty billion dollars to save one year of life. That was the cost of the regulation. Should you support organizations that push for such wasteful regulation?â€



Hopefully that gives you some idea. I can definately say that this book is enlightening. The story is pretty absurd. :) (some eco-terrorists funda and the prophecy that our biggest threat is going to be from them in the future ... bah :) )
But among all this the questions it raises on climate and the end discussion on science and politics is outstanding. Its for the first time i have read an alternate version of the ideas as we see them.

If anyone has read this book... what you make of it? I know you can proove anything in science and that facts to proove anything exists but especially fr the global warming thing, I have checked on websites and now i too think that it ain't that clear that global warming is at all happening. Its open for everyone to see.
What you think?
:S
 
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