March 23, 2010

The March Sci Am is Full of Natural Security Goodness

Anyone reading this blog knows the importance of understanding science and technology trends to the nation’s security. Most months, Scientific American has a few articles I’d consider must-reads for you dear readers, but if you still have a chance to pick up the March 2010 issue, almost every article provides great info on natural security issues. If you can’t get this issue and want to check any of them out, note that some of these links go to free content and others require a fee. Highlights include:

  • Invasion of the Drones,” on the increasing use of UAVs for environmental monitoring.
  • My favorite is “Climate Change: A Controlled Experiment,” about experiments over the last decade to determine various potential climate change effects (changes in precipitation, more CO2 in the air, etc.) on forests. I had the luck to see first-hand one of the experiments highlighted, Oak Ridge National Lab’s Free-Air CO2 Enrichment experiment, last summer. I emerged from the forest, hopped in my car to drive off, and found that I had about a half dozen ticks stuck to my skin. But it was a remarkable forest.
  • Evolution of Minerals,” which discusses the evolution of minerals. It turns out that “more than half of the mineral species on Earth owe their existence to life, which began transforming the planet’s geology more than two billion years ago.”  There are wicked pictures of old-school minerals throughout this piece.
  • The letters to the editor regarding last month’s sustainable energy issue (all online here). These short notes cover many of the pro and con points we all often hear about solar, wind, etc. It’s helpful to see the arguments aligned in one spot.
  • A very short piece highlighting a Proceedings piece on
  • A long piece on “Fusion’s False Dawn.” The title explains the verdict, but this is the best single article I’ve seen on the current status of fusion.

It hasn’t hit my mailbox yet, but looks like April’s issue is on “Managing Earth’s Future.” I bet I’ll have more to say on these topics than the simple characterization of what is or isn’t worth your precious reading minutes.

And in the theme of science & technology (for non-scientists) magazines, has anyone been reading SEED lately? I tend to only pick it up at airports, but let me know if you all think it should be on our must-read list.