Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pennsylvania, Fracking, and Academic Politics on "This American Life"

Check out the main story on public radio's "This American Life."  Entitled "The Game Changer," the piece is about the controversial practice of extracting natural gas by "fracking," but it goes beyond the usual coverage of the economics and the environmental cost to discuss the involvement of academics in the controversy:

A professor in Pennsylvania makes a calculation, to discover that his state is sitting atop a massive reserve of natural gas—enough to revolutionize how America gets its energy. But another professor in Pennsylvania does a different calculation and reaches a troubling conclusion: that getting natural gas out of the ground poses a risk to public health. Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences.

The professor with the "revolutionary" calculation is getting rich and famous. The one with the "troubing conclusion" recently lost his job.  Fascinating, if not completely surprising, stuff.

Jamie Baker Roskie


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