From: email@example.com(Steven B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Scientists' taboos
Date: 17 Feb 1999 05:08:17 GMT
In <x4hww1ig6x9.fsf@Steam.Stanford.EDU> John McCarthy
>The New York Times for Tuesday, 1999 Feb 16 has a long article by
>William K. Stevens about the coming (probably not soon) next ice age
>and the damage it will inflict on civilization. There are interviews
>with many scientists having the relevant specialties. None of the
>scientists nor Stevens himself mentions any possible human action
>aimed at preventing the next ice age or mitigating its effects.
>I suppose some of the scientists think about it but consider it
>improper to discuss it publically.
>The closest it comes to mentioning human effects is the standard
>litany from Wallace Broecker about the probable harmful effects of
>global warming caused by burning fossil fuels. It is also mentioned
>that quite by accident global warming might mitigate some of the
>The taboo is as striking as some tribal taboos, say the one against
>speaking the names of deceased relatives. I believe the taboo is less
>prevalent among Russian scientists than among Westerners.
>John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
>That which is obvious without arithmetic is often wrong.
Agreed. Another ice age is surely coming, although I don't know
how well these things can be predicted. (Gee, it might not be for
10,000 years and then I'll be really old). But it definately would be
nice not to have glaciers come down to the level of New York City, the
way they did last time, 15 or 20,000 years ago.
Though I admit that it would almost be worth it to see the
Canadians, as they were frozen and scoured off their silly country,
admit that their medical system had finally ceased to be entirely