This week's roundup of Good Reads includes the long tail of a 'cooling trend' article, how a Flemish town cares for the mentally ill, the rise of petty crime in France, a board game older than chess, and humor in politics.
In 1975, Newsweek science editor Peter Gwynne wrote a nine-paragraph story that ran on page 64 of the magazine. It noted that average global temperatures had gradually decreased since about 1940, and it rounded up some climate scientists predicting that the planet could move toward the colder temperatures of several centuries ago.
Doug Struck, writing for The Daily Climate and appearing in Scientific American, revisits the long tail of that minor article, and several similar ones that followed it in other publications. It is prominently cited today as Exhibit A in arguments against the existence of global warming.
Mr. Gwynne didn’t see it as a big deal at the time. He told Mr. Struck: “It was just an intriguing piece about what a certain group in a certain niche of climatology was thinking.” That cooling trend is now long over and has been dwarfed by the rise in global temperatures since the Newsweek article appeared.
Gwynne is philosophical about writing science for popular audiences. “I’ve been willing to accept that some of that is misused and misinterpreted.”
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