It's Halloween and I am in New York and I wanted to do something local. But since Sleepy Hollow does not have a way to get there by subway (I don't even know where I would rent a car in Manhattan, I suppose I could get there by bus, but even using a subway is a populist stretch for me) I instead decided to get up and create a Ghostbusters tour. Why? Because even though only three actual weeks of filming took place here, it is strongly associated with the city.
Fortunately I am just a few blocks from Spook Central where all of the real action takes place, and almost all of it was on a subway line, minus some technology hiccups.(1)
In 2014, one person confirmed with Ebola set off a panic in the United States. Though 28,000 people died of heart disease while media attention focused on that outbreak, and anti-vaccine parents on the West Coast were suddenly prepared to spend any amount of money to get their kids immunized against it, what happened with pandemic preparation after the fear subsided was...not much.
The fact is, we tend not to think about disaster preparedness unless disaster is already upon us. This makes some sense, of course, because people may be hungry right now so there isn't much point to spending money worrying about a volcano - but pandemics are so devastating and so rapid in their effects that it almost demands there be some level of preparedness.
If you are in Manhattan or one of the five boroughs or New Jersey or Long Island and want a free beer and to talk about science communication, you are invited to join me as guest of honor at the Science On Tap event, October 28th from 6:30-9:30 PM.
The location is Connolly's Pub&Restaurant at 121 West 45th Street.
The sci-fi comedy "Back To The Future" is a seminal piece of modern cinema. Like "Blade Runner" (and unlike most movies of any kind, much less science fiction, where special effects are important) from the same period, it holds up really well.
Last week, the Western Plant Health Association, which represents California, Arizona and Hawaii companies involved in plant nutrients, soil amendments, agricultural minerals and crop protection products (basically, technologies such as fertilizer and pesticides), held its annual meeting in Maui and I was invited to speak about the issues involved in bringing agricultural science to a public that is increasingly removed from its food.
A pilot Earth Index commissioned by BBC Earth using data from the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) sets a new standard for estimating pretend money. It values coral at $10 trillion for the global economy. Trees are worth even more, at $16 trillion, which means the pretend value of trees are almost as much as all of the real value of the people in the United States (GDP $17.42 trillion.) Heck, the Grand Canyon is worth $700 million and it just sits there looking stoic.