From GENE LOGSDON
When I was a greenhorn journalist starting to work for Farm Journal magazine in Philadelphia many thousands of years ago, I got all wrought up over news that my hometown state of Ohio was having a crop failure in the cornfields. I wanted to write an alarming piece on how the grain markets were in for a real purge. One of the older editors sat me down in his office and gently said: “Gene, you gotta have more ‘perspeck’ on the news. It’s all about ‘perspeck’.” I had not heard of that word, but understood it was his shorthand for perspective. “The entire corn crop of Ohio could fail and it would be only a drop in the bucket compared to Illinois and Iowa and their surrounding states,” he informed me. And then he showed me the statistics to prove it.
Society today needs more perspeck. We have all become paranoid about everything. One doomsday prediction after another throws a shadow over even the brightest news. When I try to relieve the gloom with a little humor, I get scolded for being naïve or ignorant or irresponsible. I am inclined, for example, to make snide wisecracks about global warming. I am supposed to stand here on the edge of eternity, quailing and moaning about future flooding of the coastal plains, future deserts in the Great Plains, future obsolescence of the airplanes, future end of stock market gains, and future destruction of the food grains, all because the polar ice is melting and the oceans have risen a couple of inches (actually I just read that it is really a half inch) in the last twenty years. Sure global warming is a worrisome fact and no doubt humans are making it worse. I will quit making snotty remarks about it the very second I see a significant number of people, or even an insignificant number, reduce their fuel-burning traveling habit by one mile or when I see one government reduce by one gallon the amount of fuel it burns in pursuit of war or votes. I will quit making snotty remarks when I could find a scientist who can tell me with accuracy how much CO2 is being emitted into the earth’s atmosphere by natural sources on any particular day or year. No one, as far as I can find out, has any accurate perspeck on that amount. People are standing around, living exactly like they have always lived, wringing their hands about global warming as if they lived in some sort of ghastly dystopia like people in earlier days worrying about the increase in witches in New England.
A study just released on the diets of French people seems to suggest (doesn’t say so exactly) that a good healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and grains causes people to emit more greenhouse gas than a diet high in meat, eggs and dairy products. So if you want to do your part to save the planet, eat more animal products even if it kills you. Since eating more meat would mean more animals passing more gas, well, you see, we are still doomed. The perspeck needed here is some accurate, reliable figures on how much CO2 the earth is releasing. Is it 1,000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 pounds a day or thereabouts in which case all the farting humans and farm animals together wouldn’t be a drop in the bucket or a bubble in the bathtub.
The gloom and doom industry got a big boost on Feb. 15 when a meteorite disintegrated over Russia. What made that event so delicious for paranoidsville was that on the very same day an asteroid passed overhead, only some 18,000 miles away. God or Gaia or somebody is trying to tell us something. OMG.
Don’t you make fun, Mr. Logsdon. An asteroid did hit the earth in 1908 and flattened an area 20 miles by 40 miles in size. And a very large asteroid hit the earth 65 million years ago destroying most of the higher forms of life. That is correct. And now I quote the New York Times: “Earth collisions with objects that large happen only at average intervals of 100 million years.” The end is nigh—just 35 million years away