I visited my folks today, looked through some of the books I had as a kid, and found one called The Answer Book. The initial copyright is from 1959, but this copy was printed in 1977 (although the creators didn't bother updating it for the new printing - - it mentions that one day man will walk on the moon.)
The book promises to answer 300 common questions asked by kids, such as explaining where lightning comes from. I found a few gems hidden inside.
This page explains that the pyramids were built by laying down a layer of stones, and then building a sloping road to drag stones up to the next level. Which sort of begs the question: How did they build the giant road?
This page confidently describes ice caps at the poles on Mars (and plant life).
And this page helpfully explains that "Indians" don't have to live on reservations. They just like to.
But best of all, this page warns of the danger of global warming.
The text says:
Perhaps you've heard somebody's grandmother say, "Winters aren't as cold as they used to be when I was a girl." Scientists are beginning to think Grandma is right, if she lives in the northeastern part of the United States. That part of the world is warmer than it was fifty years ago. But along the Pacific coast the weather seems to have grown a little colder. Alaska is warming up, and glaciers are melting in other parts of the world. Why? Scientists have made many guesses, but they admit they don't really know. At any rate, if all the ice in the world melted, the oceans would rise at least 200 feet.
The more things change...
A timely find as Al Gore was on Meet The Press this morning. Here's part of the exchange:
MR. BROKAW: Let me ask you about your personal lifestyle, because it's been the subject of a lot of dialogue on the blogs, as you know . . . . Why was it necessary for you to have a 10,000 square foot home? Because that is going to be more energy intensive than a smaller home for just the two of you.
VICE PRES. GORE: Well, there--I don't claim to be perfect, and all of us who care about this issue are, are trying to do our part, but I, I will say this. We buy green energy. The issue is carbon. The issue is carbon, and we have, essentially, a carbon-free home. We buy from wind energy and solar energy. Our roof is covered with solar electric panels, a geothermal system with all these deep wells, and we cut our natural gas bill by 90 percent, and I'm, I'm--we're, we're walking the walk and not just talking the talk. There are always people who are going to try to aim at the messenger if they don't like the message, and I don't claim to be perfect, but we are walking the walk.
MR. BROKAW: How often do you fly on a private jet?
VICE PRES. GORE: I've--much more frequently on public transportation. I'm flying on Southwest Airlines again today. But sometimes the schedule requires that, and sometimes I do that.