Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, October 26, 2009


Americans give global warming a cold shoulder

Science, or science fiction?

Say “;global warming”;—and some people's eyes will light with motivational intensity against a looming doom; for others, their eyes just roll over.

A new poll shows that just 57 percent of 1,500 adults polled think there is solid evidence the world is getting warmer, down 20 points in three years. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press also found that only 36 percent of respondents feel that human activities—such as pollution from power plants, factories and autos—are behind a temperature increase, down from 47 percent in 2006.

All this, despite mounting scientific evidence, including a consensus of 18 scientific organizations telling Congress last week that indeed, global warming is upsetting the Arctic's thermostat.

The bad economy, which prevents people from seeing beyond today, let alone into the next decade, and regional factors were cited as possible reasons for the poll's results. And of course, political persuasion.



H1N1 really starting to make the rounds

If your kid has a fever or other flu-like symptoms, there's a very good chance it's swine flu. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the first 11 days of October estimates that 20 percent of U.S. children have caught the H1N1 virus, which is afflicting more people now than at any time since it was identified in April.

About as many children have died of swine flu since September as have died in the entire first four months of the pandemic. But the vast majority of swine flu-stricken children are recovering quickly at home, with no trip to the hospital and sometimes hardly even any symptoms, the CDC said.