Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Serious Scientist Has Great Sense of Humor

Wanting to read science news that has not been filtered through the media, last year I subscribed to Access to Energy, a newsletter published and edited by Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, President and Research Professor of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. I am not an avid science reader, so I have been delighted to discover that in between the heavy science information there is usually a dose of comic relief to help me through.

In an article titled "Demographics," from the Vol. 35, no. 6 issue, Dr. Robinson explains that the "required ratio of children to women for population stability is 2.1--the 0.1 allowing for pre-reproductive mortality."

The United States is now at 2.1., he says, but that is because of Mexicans and blacks. Dr. Robinson says that white Americans reproduce at a rate below the minimum required for population stability.

Obviously, the situation is bleak. Instead of depressing the reader further, Dr. Robinson gives us this paragraph:

"On the list of jobs Mexican-American immigrants do that many other Americans are unwilling to do is having children. Most of these immigrants have not attended liberal American universities--which may explain their remaining interest in basic human values."

He closes the article with this clincher:

"On an optimistic note, however, two influential groups within the United States of comparable population size are home schoolers and liberal academics. Home schoolers have a reproductive ratio of about 3.5, while liberal academics--for which I do not have an authoritative number--appear to be far less than 1.0. At 4 to 1 relative reproductive rates--and the lower rate far below replacement, which group will ultimately prevail?"

In the Vol. 35, no. 8 issue, Dr. Robinson wrote an article entitled "Wolves", in which he says that he and his family have raised sheep on their Oregon farm for 28 years. They are now looking at the end of their sheep business because government-placed and government-protected wolves are killing several sheep a night. The wolves cannot be disturbed, much-less killed--even in self-defense--without the risk of incurring a large fine and jail time. It is a felony offense. In the midst of this sad story, Dr. Robinson interjects this:

"Wolves, of course, are only introduced into rural areas--where they can kill livestock and rural residents, who are a minority voting block. Wolves should also be introduced into downtown Washington, D.C., and Portland and Salem, Oregon."

What a howl!

Despite my enjoyment of his humor, I want to emphasize that Dr. Robinson is a serious scientist, and the topics he covers in Access to Energy are important. For sample newsletters, see the left sidebar on the Access to Energy website. Subscriptions are $35 per year. Order from: Access to Energy, Box 1250, Cave Junction, OR 97253.

No comments: