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Systemic - Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems

Press attention…

3 Mar 2011, 01:20 UTC
Press attention…
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Klaus Nomi and David Bowie (Image source and backstory)
I was in the middle of my dynamics lecture this past Monday morning, explaining the Fokker-Planck approximation to the collision term on the right-hand-side of the Boltzmann equation, when my phone started buzzing and vibrating in my pocket. Good thing I had remembered to turn the volume off. Without having to look at who might be calling, I knew it was likely some media outlet, BBC? KCBS? There was a sudden all-to-familiar sensation of queasy uneasiness which made it very hard to focus on the second-order terms I had just written on the whiteboard.
Back in 2001, I naively and foolishly spoke to a reporter at the London Observer about the “relative ease” of accomplishing strictly hypothetical orbital engineering in the context of a billion-year time-frame. The resulting article contained an alarmingly incorrect cognitive leap from the ultra-long term to the immediate near-term:

The misconception came exactly at the time when George W. Bush was pulling the US out of the Kyoto Protocols, and became a huge, completely nightmarish story in Europe, which then echoed across the Atlantic, where it was seized upon by the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh and others. ...

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