Friday, May 19, 2006

State of Fear

I've been fighting off a cold this week - it's been a losing battle. Today is my 3rd day at home. On the bright side, it's Friday which means I still have another 2 days off after today before I have to go back to work. Now to get better so that I can enjoy them...

But I'm not here to complain today. One good thing about the time off is that it gave me time to read a book. A novel. An entire novel. Something I haven't done for a while, despite the fact that I have always loved reading.
The novel in question is "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. Great writer. He gave us "Prey" and "ER" - really, what more could we ask for?

I found it in my bookshelf and had no idea how it got there until my li'l sister owned up to having left it there the last time she visited. She does that - brings over books she's read and sneakily leaves them behind because she doesn't have space for them in her own bookshelf. She was recently saying that her bookshelf was so full that she was considering moving to a bigger apartment. Most people would just buy another bookshelf, but hey, nobody ever accused my li'l Sister of being like most people. Reminded me a bit of a fellow blogger (no names mentioned) who was considering moving because her bookshelf was getting dusty. Or of Hubby, for that matter, who bought a new car once because the old one needed a wash. See? My li'l Sis is not alone in her, uh, eccentricities.

Enough about that though, back to "State of Fear"...
(Is it just me or am I taking a very roundabout route to get to the point here? Must be 'cos of all the cotton-wool inside my head.)
I'm trying to fathom why this book hasn't made headlines the way the Da Vinci Code did.
OK, they're about two totally different subjects but both are of global interest.
We all know about the Da Vinci Code, so let me tell you about State of Fear. It's about Global Warming. Or rather, the lack thereof. Yes, that's right - if the facts and references quoted in State of Fear are to be believed, then it turns out we've been panicking for nothing because Global Warming is a myth. Bummer, and here I thought Summers in Ireland might improve over time.

Am I the only one who thinks this is possibly even more news-worthy than any of the revalations in the Da Vinci Code? I mean yes, I really enjoyed that book. It was very thought-provoking. Dan Brown very, very cleverly took a bunch of facts and references and wove them together to make up a story... the operative phrase here being "make up". The thing is, it is fiction. I find it slightly amusing that it has been taken up by various people as being fact and thus caused such an outcry.

OK, so State of Fear is fiction too, only... Crichton is not trying to sell the story part as fact. The part I found disturbing are the facts stated - if they are accurate, that is, and if they're not then this post is completely pointless. For argument's sake then, let's assume they are correct. Antarctica is not melting. The earth is not getting hotter. In some places it's actually getting colder. Blah blah blah - I'm not a scientist and my head is too stuffy to go into details here but why has this stuff been left out of the news? Because good news doesn't sell as well as bad news? Because governments function better when the general population is afraid of something that they believe the government can do something about? Communism, terrorism, global warming... hoo boy this could turn into quite an interesting discussion, no?

I tell you why this has my knickers in a twist: Because I don't like being misled. Every day the newspapers tell you something else has been found that will kill you or make you sick. I must've been about 14 when I read an article saying it had been discovered that eating potato skins can give you cancer. That was when I stopped believing them. If 'they' are to be believed, we should all be dead already. This is the thing that annoys me - we are fed all sorts of information every day by the media. Scary stuff, about all the things that could go wrong. But they never make as big a deal about the good stuff... or in this case, after scaring the crap out of everyone for decades about Global Warming, is it true that oops! Someone made a mistake and it isn't really a problem?
Well thanks for telling us.

In short: I recommend this book. I found it a bit difficult to get into in the beginning for some reason but it turned into a pretty good book and very thought provoking. Oh and if anyone reads it and has the energy to check out the references in it, let me know what you think. Maybe we should start a revolution...

And if this subject interests you at all, check out what the author has to say about this whole thing.


anne said...

You know another blogger who would move rather than dust her bookshelves???

About the Crichton guy, I think the difference between him and Dan Brown is that Dan Brown never intended for the controversy, the Church started that all on its own. Whereas Michael Crichton is trying to kickstart his own by presenting the stuff as facts, and apparently, the media are less likely to go for the guy who's tooting his own horn.
Am I making sense?

kyknoord said...

I have proof of global warming! I still have a blister from trying to replace a burned-out globe in the kitchen.

Fence said...

Most scientists tend to disagree with Crichton though. And personally I'd believe them over that Jurassic Park dude :)

There is a load of scientific goobledegook over at the Earth Institute showing how he got it wrong.

Spookie the Warrior said...

Hm, similar titles - different posts on our blogs today, how cool is that.

I don't like scientific stuff and have never been worried about Global Warming - and I am not in the least bit interested in Da Vinci.

I know how it feels to want to move rather than cleaning too - I can definitely relate!
Hope you are feeling better soon!

Terri said...

Anne - perfect sense, as always.

Kyknoord - Ouch. And the blister must hurt, too.

Fence - Thanks for the link. I guess my point is the scientists haven't been as vocal or well-publicised as the Church. What am I saying??? Never mind...

Spookie - I must admit the science stuff is a little too much for my befuddled brain to absorb at the moment.

beadinggalinMS said...

I will eventually get around to reading the Da Vinci code. I will also put this on my reading list and yes the kiddos and I will be checking into global warming. It is quite warm today 89 already and it almost 12:30 in the afternoon. LOL

Hope your feeling better soon!

bluepaul said...

free tunes at my (non-profit) website:

Jeff said...

Hope you feel better soon, Terri :)

beadinggalinMS said...

Hi Terri! I am being the evil twin right now. haaahaaaa!! You know what Lori just told me?? Rob Thomas is playing on the radio and every time they play him the station is giving away tickets to see him in Orlando. She is not calling the station for me!! Can you do something about it?? lol Threaten her, something! heehee
I told her come on it is Rob!!! Ya know what she said, she was sick of him hearing him on the radio. I nearly passed out! LMAO!!

I am skipping housework for right now heehee.
Hope your feeling better.

angel said...

honestly- i have no intention of reading or seeing the da vinci code... personally, i think the genius (what's left of him) must be turning in his grave!

i've also been sick- i've just finished tom holt "faust among equals" and alex kava "at the stroke of madness" and i thoroughly enjoyed them both!

Reluctant Nomad said...

Sounds like a good read. I really ought to get back into reading.

I've had Da Vinci Code on the shelf for months but somehow doubt that I'll read it although I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Good review! Global warming or not, it is bloody cold where I am right now, and the forecast says it will be below zero by Wednesday.
Good luck with that cold and I hope that you feel better soon.

Terri said...

Beads - Glad it's warm where you are. It's been raining for 4 days solid here. Good luck on the whole Rob Thomas thing - Lori's just being a meanie!

Paul - Thanks.

Jeff - I'm getting there :)

Angel - Actually the Da Vinci Code is a really good book. I think people have just taken it too seriously. It's a good, entertaining story.

Nomad - It took me a while to get down to reading it too, but I really enjoyed it when I did. Although I must confess I thought Angels and Demons was even better, from a storytelling and pace point of view.

Chitty - I feel for you on the weather front. Sort of. We're in summer here and it was a whole 9 degrees or something today.

Ron_F said...

I'm a bit of a weather and science geek, and I read the book with interest. The biggest thing I took from this is the idea that everyone is really just making educated guesses based on conflicting or erroneous data. Despite the best of intentions and research grants, I don't the answer can be found definitively. In the end, when the oil crash happens sometime in the next 25 years, global warming will be the least of our worries.

Jerry said...

I like his stories. Definitely they are well researched. I personally recommend reading his old biography or I should say Part of his life story. They title of the book is Travels and the ISBN number is: 0060509058.

Terri said...

ron f - Hi & Welcome... so we need to be worrying about the oil too, eh? I suspect 'they' will never run out of things for us to fear.

jerry - 2 new visitors in one day - welcome! Should make for an interesting read, I'll keep an eye out for it, thanks. The research is good. In my opinion that's what sets a good author apart from, well, people like myself i.e. too lazy to go to so much trouble ;)

Anonymous said...

You are perfectly right. And that's why I found this page off google.
According to Crichton, they have been setting up scares all throughout. It's a big issue, and when you look back, it was alright.
His facts on global warming, anthrax etc. make sense.