Scientist converts UK nuclear energy policy

CHICAGO, Ill. The process by which Sir David King, Tony Blair's science advisor, refocused the prime minister's attention toward climate change and nuclear power was a "spectacular coup," according to Jonathan Leake, science and environment editor at The Sunday Times, where he has written extensively about the British nuclear power industry.

From the time of his appointment in 2000, the accomplished chemist, who is unafraid of controversy and deeply contemptuous of novelist Michael Crichton's skepticism about climate change, learned how to communicate with politicians to demonstrate "that by using an evidence-based approach, scientists can now tackle enormously complex things."

Also in this issue of the Bulletin: "America is full of fear from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that," gloated Osama bin Laden in late 2001, confirming that fear-mongering among U.S. policymakers plays into enemy hands. John Mueller, who holds the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies at Ohio State University, argues that "politicians are the terrorism industry's lead players," aided and abetted by the media's "congenital incapacity for dealing with issues of risk and comparative probabilities."

The upshot is "hopelessly ambitious" policies, wasteful expenditures, and endless hand-wringing, rather than international policing and context-based preventive and protective measures guided by sound risk assessments, says Mueller.

Elsewhere in this issue of the Bulletin: A small, analytical team within the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Intelligence known as the Medical and Psychological Analysis Center (MPAC) provides policy makers "with assessments of the physical and mental health of key foreign actors." This could offer insights into the motivations and behavior of enemies and allies, according to physician Jonathan D. Clemente, who practices in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Contact: Kendal Gladish
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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