Saturday, January 10, 2009

What We're Reading: Physics for Future Presidents

Richard Muller's Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines is a timely and revealing book, even for those of us without presidential ambitions. He discusses some of the most critical scientific issues of the day and also the common misconceptions about these anxiety-causing topics. For instance, if you're like me, you naturally assume that a nuclear power plant has the potential to blow up like a nuclear bomb. (It won't.) Also, did you know that the natural radioactivity in Denver will likely cause more cancer than those linked to the Chernobyl accident?

In addition to nuclear power, he talks about terrorism, energy, space, and global warming. In the course of reading, you'll learn about the limitations of anthrax, why gasoline is so addictive, the possibility of using an airplane for space travel, and more. In terms of limiting our carbon footprint, you'll find out what we can actually do to make a big difference and why commonly touted solutions may not cancel out the coal plants in China and India. I'd say this is a must-read for everyone. And Obama, you have 10 days remaining, so best get started now!

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