Covering Climate Now interviewed me for CJR and Andrew McCormick, who conducted the interview, was very kind in making me sound much more eloquent than I am. But the interview is good fundamentally because it does a pretty good job of presenting who I am
The Ike Dike is a $29 billion dollar project that won’t work
This Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/MIT analysis shows that almost 4,900 sites that handle toxic chemicals sit in flood-prone areas of Texas and Louisiana, posing a catastrophic environmental threat if a major hurricane hits the wrong place. Which it inevitably will. The government’s current plan to protect Gulf Coast infrastructure—the $29 billion Ike Dike, which would harden 70 miles of Texas coastline with artificial dunes, huge gates, and a new sea wall that wraps around the city of Galveston—will simply not stand up to the major storms that are its raison d’etre, experts say. If the big one hits the Houston Ship Channel head on, LSU researcher John Pardue says, “It really is a potential Chernobyl, The Houston area has such a large number of tanks and the potential for so many chemical releases all at once.”
The full story (with interactive maps showing flood-endangered industrial sites and the chemicals they contain) is here.
Why $750 billion? The defense budget insanity
The United States spends as much as China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia spend on defense—combined. And remember: Many of the countries in that list are US allies. The continuous, almost automatic approval of ever-higher US defense budgets is a scandal in plain sight. Someone ought to do something about it. That someone is you. https://thebulletin.org/premium/2021-09/introduction-can-we-make-overspending-on-the-military-politically-costly/
Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book is worth reading
I was lucky enough to get to interview Elizabeth Kolbert about her new book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future. The book is good, she’s brilliant, and I thought the interview went reasonably well. You can judge for yourself. https://thebulletin.org/2021/03/watch-now-under-a-white-sky-the-nature-of-the-future/
The missile we don’t need
This story is going everywhere on the interwebs. That’s because it’s first-rate journalism.
Columbia Journalism Review: That Bulletin is pretty damn interesting
This may be the best outside appraisal of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists I have ever read. The author, Tammy Kim, did an amazing job of reporting and writing. The result is more than worth reading, and it is here.
Bioluminescent dolphins. You know you want to see them.
There’s an algae bloom along the California coast that makes the water glow in the dark. Which is cool. But nowhere near as cool as these bioluminscent dolphins, streaking through the algae glow. So I just went with it.
Why it’s so important to have an outside investigation of the origin of the coronavirus pandemic
There has been a wave of articles about the origin of the coronavirus. A lot of the coverage is politically tinged. This piece by Filippa Lentzos, one of the world’s top biosecurity experts, lays out the facts and explains why it’s nonproductive to use a political lens to view the factual reality of how the pandemic began. Knowing how the pandemic began is vital to understanding how we can prevent other pandemics. The only way to gain that understanding is via an outside investigation that is not led by China or the United States. The full story is here.
The traitor question
My latest piece for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists explains why it is important for the US press to ask whether President Trump is a traitor—and to keep on asking, until a definitive legal answer is established. It’s a rude question, but the Constitution protects the press precisely so it will ask the questions decent people would not.
Songs for Helsinki
The publication I edit has posted a set of songs that President Trump might consider presenting to President Putin at their Helsinki meeting. Feel free to add your choice by tweeting it to: @bulletin atomic.