I remember when people saw the frontiers of science filled with gee whiz gadgets like family flying cars or family robots that would bring us mixed drinks in the afternoon. Perhaps this focus on technological achievement was fueled by the sense that if we didn’t have the latest devices to use in our nation’s weaponry, the commies would overwhelm us with their own genius.
Of course, nothing of the sort ever came close to happening. Our government tried a few new evil enemies on for size between then and now, and has tried to push science into developing all-aware computer databases, radio identification badges, and biometric scanning to keep track of citizens wherever they go. That schtick has gotten kind of old too, turning the Homeland Security carnival into something more like an old shopping mall from the 1970s that is rapidly losing its stores.
These days, people are focusing less on themselves, and less on the challenges brought by human enemies, in order to consider basic challenges like the need to keep ourselves high and dry in a changing world in which sea levels are rising and sea storms are growing more furious.
Now, the frontier of science is occupied by matters such as a possible causal connection between global warming and strengthened hurricanes. It’s this kind of thing that we’re warned of by the Pentagon’s own assessment of the risks of global warming. The connection is also being advocated by some scientists who are seeing a growing body of evidence linking powerful storms and increasing ocean temperatures and sea levels.
Right now, the connection is not absolutely nailed down, but it’s worth watching. As ice from formerly frigid areas like the Arctic, Greenland and Antarctica enters the oceans, sharp minds can forsee many scenarios – including even a temporary cooling in some regions do to changes in ocean currents.
A new web site, Katrina No More, is the first to be dedicated to keeping a watch on the relationship between global warming and hurricane strength. Nothing is absolutely certain yet, but it’s worth keeping a look out and preparing for more disasters. Katrina No More is a welcome new voice at this scientific frontier.